Frustration & misunderstanding: the Chamber of Commerce demands real help from the Provincial government

CAP-PELÉ, NB., JANUARY 20th, 2022 — The Cap-Pelé/Beaubassin-Est Chamber of Commerce is greatly disappointed with the new Self-Employed Lockdown Fund as well as the Business Recovery Grant program due to the lockdown in place under the phase 3 of the COVID-19 Winter Plan from the Government of New Brunswick.

The Cap-Pelé and Beaubassin-Est region includes several dozen self-employed workers in various fields: from personal services (barbers, hairdressers, spas), to communication, to construction and estimating services. In addition, large internationally renowned companies are members of the Chamber. All sizes of businesses have one thing in common: they come up against criteria or processes that are too tight and still need help.

“There are businesses that won’t get through this,” warns Christine Duguay, president of the Cap-Pelé/Beaubassin-Est Chamber of Commerce.

“Among the self-employed, a large part of this group does not even reach $30,000 per year in our region. We do not hide it, the vast majority of self-employed women are hairdressers, barbers or manage spas. The assistance program does not reflect the reality of any of our members in this sector of activity,” explains Ms. Duguay.

According to the Cap-Pelé/Beaubassin-Est Chamber of Commerce, the government is not really listening to the business world and is not expanding its programs enough to help businesses in different sectors.

Same observation for the business support program announced on January 13th, 2022. A maximum amount of $10,000 is offered over a period of three (3) months and applies to businesses that have been ordered to close during lockdown. However, most companies operating in the region in the sectors concerned are not eligible for financial assistance due to one or more criteria. For some, the losses are much greater than receiving the simple maximum amount of $10,000.

“Listening to the business community means opening the wallet and creating assistance programs that concretely meet the needs of our community in times of crisis. It is time for the Government of New Brunswick to start putting on its shoes, wear glasses and come and see the reality of our entrepreneurs on the ground,” says the Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Azard.

Several solutions could be considered to lighten the financial burden of our business community: tax freeze for the year 2021, expanded assistance programs with a relaxation of the criteria or assistance adapted to rural regions of New Brunswick, who do not have the same resources as in the major centres.

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