Letter to your MLA


Here is a draft letter to use to send emails to your MLA. Based on a letter from Jim Button, co-founder of Village Brewery. You can find contact info for your MLA here -> https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en/search



Dear MLA Member Name,

As a constituent in your riding and an owner of a small business that caters to the entertainment and event industry. I’m writing to you about my serious concern over the Government of Canada’s response to this COVID-19 crisis – specifically as it relates to keeping the small business economy moving. It becomes more obvious with each passing day that the efforts to date are slow, cumbersome, and inadequate.

There is really only one way out of this immense challenge. There is only one way that we can avoid massive bankruptcies, 50% unemployment, home losses, and sheer panic that will make the present environment look like a walk in the park.

The worldwide event industry has already ground to a halt. Our industry was the first in line to feel the devastating impact COVID-19 has bestowed upon the community. Many, many small businesses and self-employed professionals can’t drive a single dollar of revenue because of the policies now in place to deal with this crisis, and many, many people have already lost their jobs because businesses can’t drive revenue. And this will get so much worse in April and May. So much worse.

We have created the Canadian Event Industry Crisis (1) website that asks our fellow event industry professionals to sign a petition and participate in an Impact Study. This page allows them to report their losses (revenue and job layoffs) as well as write a testimonial letting our government know how the pandemic has impacted their livelihood. The results of that survey can be found here: Impact Survey (2)

Deferring tax payments and mortgage payments – which is what was announced on March 18th – is such short-term thinking. Where does the government think all these people are going to get money from in the summer to pay these deferred mortgages and taxes? From jobs that no longer exist, because the businesses no longer exist?

A few economists have started to circulate the following plan that governments need to get on board with immediately. And, as citizens and taxpayers, we need our government to implement the recommendations below. 

The Government of Canada should immediately:

  • Set up a program that provides any business (or at least small business) that wishes to apply, with the funds to pay 80% of people’s wages for the next four months, from April 1st to July 30th. This program would be administered by the banks, not the government, to ensure it gets directly to the businesses and quickly as possible, as these customer relationships already exist. The businesses would need to show through their payroll deductions that the dollars are going directly to their staff, and not in their own pockets.
  • Self-employed individuals or sole proprietors could have access to the same funds for 80% of their take-home pay, by providing their bank a copy of their T4 from last year.
  • This move would ensure businesses stay open and continue to employ their people, even while the economy is shut down. It would stop the panic we’re seeing in grocery stores and on the stock market and in people’s living rooms.
  • These funds would be part loan/part bail out: one-third would be a bail out from the federal government to deal with this unprecedented situation; one-third would be a low-interest (2.5%) loan to the business to be paid back over 10 years, like a mortgage; and one-third would be a low-interest (2.5%) loan to the employees to be paid back over 10 years.
  • Yes, this would cost a lot of money. Yes, it would be a large percentage of our GDP and yes, we’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. But how much is it going to cost us, and for how long, if we don’t do this? What will be the social safety net cost with millions of people out of work? Or worse, the social program costs of dealing with alcoholism, suicides, and drug addiction, which will increase the worse this gets?

And if you think all of the above is crazy talk, action like this is already happening in other parts of the world. In Denmark, the government is providing temporary pay compensation of 75% for salaried employees and 90% for hourly workers. In the United States, small businesses can access loans of up to $2 million to cover fixed debts, payroll and accounts payable, at an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits, with payment terms up to 30 years.

This is the only way out. If you think things are bad now, imagine life two months from now without this type of support. Try to imagine it, if you can. I don’t think you will be able to, because most of us couldn’t have imagined three weeks ago what our lives are like today.

Sincerely,

Your name
Title
Company Name

References: 

  1. Canadian Event Industry Crisis - https://www.canadahelps.events
  2. Impact Survey Results - https://app.gogrow.com/dashboard/90956?shareToken=ebd7e1c0733495880f4952f592248176