Volume 43 | April 30, 2020
Hoback Electronic Herald
A Message From Randy - Click Below to Watch!
April 30, 2020

On Monday of this week, the Government of Canada began accepting applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Businesses and organizations can apply for the subsidy here.

While my Conservative Caucus colleagues and I support measures that the government has put forward to get real help to people affected by this pandemic, we continue to hear from constituents about significant issues and gaps in the government’s implementation.

We have heard from small business owners who don’t qualify for the wage subsidy and from constituents who have received both EI and CERB payments, and are now worried about when the extra money will be clawed back.

We continue to propose meaningful solutions to the Liberal Government, such as rebating the GST to small businesses that have collected it, increasing the Charitable Tax Credit for charitable giving, and making it easier for businesses to qualify for the wage subsidy.

We have also proposed easy solutions to help small businesses access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). Senseless rules exclude many deserving businesses from the CEBA. First, under the current criteria, small businesses must have a pre-existing business account to qualify for the CEBA.

Sole proprietors typically use a chequing account, rather than a business account, and thus do not qualify.

Second, businesses must have a payroll of at least $20,000 to qualify for the CEBA. Newer family-run businesses typically have no payroll because family members do all the work without salary, so they can pay off debt and build up the business instead. When family members eventually do get paid, it is through dividends, which do not count as payroll. This type of business tends to have little cash to cushion catastrophic surprises like the COVID-19 shut down.

The government can correct the shortcomings of the Canada Emergency Business Account with two simple corrections to the loan criteria. It can remove the requirement to have a business account to qualify for the CEBA.

The Government can also expand the eligibility criteria for the CEBA, to include revenue decline, so more small businesses qualify for the $40,000 loan.

Conservatives have been part of Team Canada since Day 1, putting forward constructive solutions to improve government policies and programs. We look forward to the government starting to implement our suggestions so that no one falls through the cracks.

I am my staff will continue to provide service to constituents via telephone, email and videoconference until it is safe for all of us to resume our normal lives.
Improving the New Canada Student Benefit
This week, the House of Commons is debating legislation to create the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.

This benefit will provide eligible students with $1,250 a month, or $2000 a month if they have a dependent or a disability, from May to August 2020. Details about the announcement can be found here: 

Conservatives negotiated several changes to the legislation, including requiring the government to connect all applicants to the Canada Job Bank and providing them with job availability information before applying, requiring a parliamentary review of the legislation and benefit, and instituting a legislated sunset so the benefit could not be extended through regulation.

No government program should ever disincentivize Canadians from working. However, we recognize that in much of the country Canadians, including students, need real help now.

This is why I and my Conservative colleagues have also proposed to the government that it create a new program to match students and youth employees with jobs in the agriculture and agri-food sector.

Like the Canada Summer Jobs program, this program would cover the minimum wage of a new student or youth employee. This wage could then be supplemented by an additional stipend paid for by the employer. Businesses looking to augment their existing workforce this year would have an opportunity to apply immediately. Employers would also be required to ensure that proper workplace safety measures were in place to protect all employees.

Many agriculture businesses, including our many apiaries, rely on the Temporary Foreign Workers or Seasonal Agricultural Workers programs. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year these vital sectors are facing significant labour shortages.

While local labour can fill some of the gaps, without support, Canadian producers and processors from coast to coast will struggle to maintain essential food supply chains.
Clarifying Justin Trudeau's Remarks
on the Canada Summer Jobs Program
I wanted to provide some clarity on Justin Trudeau's latest comments on the Canada Summer Jobs Program.

In his speech to Canadians on April 8th, Trudeau publicly asked Members of Parliament to reach out to businesses and to organizations providing critical services in our communities to look at how students can help during this critical time.

What the Prime Minister did not say is that the Canada Summer Jobs application process would not be reopened or extended.

Further, I have been advised by Service Canada that it does not have adequate funding to accommodate all requests for funding in our constituency.
There is currently a queue of 27 eligible organizations in our constituency that will not receive funding.

You may wish to contact The Prime Minister directly to inquire how he plans to address this funding shortfall. He can be reached at  justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca .
The Liberal Government Must Come Up With A Plan To Assist the Provinces As They Revise Health Restrictions
On April 22nd, Premier Scott Moe and Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab announced their Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.

The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan consists of five phases. The timing and order of the businesses and workplaces included in each phase is subject to change throughout the process based on a continuous assessment of transmission patterns and other factors.

The first phase of the plan, beginning on May 4th, includes the re-opening of medical services restricted under the current public health order, and the resumption of low-risk outdoor recreational activities, including fishing and boat launches, golf courses and a fixed date for parks and campgrounds. The size restrictions of public and private gatherings will remain at a maximum of 10 people.

Public access to medical services will also be reinstated on the 4th of May, including access to dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy and chiropractic treatment. When it is not possible to physically distance, providers will be required to take precautionary measures as outlined by the Chief Medical Health Officer.

Low-risk outdoor recreational activities will be allowable with precautionary measures, including fishing and boat launches (May 4), golfing with physical distancing guidelines (May 15) and a fixed date (June 1) and clear guidelines for the operation of parks and campgrounds.

As the provinces and territories revise their health restrictions, the Liberal Government must immediately come up with a plan to support them.