These are unprecedented times and the full impact of what is happening is still to come. As a small business owner with approximately 25 employees, I feel a sense of responsibility to do what is right. I haven’t laid off any employees, I haven’t asked them to take a pay cut, but without immediate relief, I don’t see any alternative for my company and for other small companies across the country who employ incredible people.
Here is what I think would help. I’m not saying these are the perfect solutions but I’m saying they should be the basis for quick action.
Step one. Make insurance companies come to the table. Every business has business interruption insurance. Yet, as a result of some inexplicable small print reasoning, a pandemic does not qualify as business interruption. I wish I was kidding. These insurance companies are incredibly well-capitalized and need to be told by the highest levels of government that a pandemic must be considered a business interruption, and validate our business claims. If not the entire amount, then pay out half or a third, but insurance companies must be told to step up.
Step two: It’s time for the government to put all of our business tax dollars to good use. There is no one move that would help my company more than a 30-day payroll tax holiday — any business, any size.
Step three: Furthermore, the government should ask companies big and small to keep your people employed and in place and by doing so for the next 30 days we are going to give you a tax break at the end of that to cover it. And if some of the companies can’t afford it and don’t have the money, fine we’re going to make credit available to them during that time to pay them and keep them in place because employees are the most valuable part of a business. And putting people on layoff is not an answer unless the goal is soup lines and a depression.
Step four: Banks are very well-capitalized and have enjoyed a virtual monopoly for decades. It’s time for banks to give a little something back to everyone to pay Canadians back for the years and years of fees for everything imaginable. The banks should immediately give every Canadian a 30-day mortgage and household debt holiday — no payments to the home, no payments to the credit card, no interest, nothing. Unlike what was announced earlier this week, that people could wait six months as the interest would still be piling on. And, that is just absolutely bad corporate behaviour disguised as altruism.
These moves should be made retroactively. These moves are designed to allow people to stop worrying about putting food on the table and start taking care of their own health and that of their family.