Eugene Kwon of Gratia Bakery and Cafe says the business will be relying on take out orders and a small patio. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

OTTAWA — A group representing thousands of the country’s small businesses says many hope the Trudeau Liberals heed their concerns and reshape aid in the upcoming federal budget to help them survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says lockdowns and public-health restrictions hitting non-essential retail stores have stretched some to the financial brink, making them reliant on federal aid to cover everyday costs and keep employees on payrolls.

President Dan Kelly says it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic but with fixes to catch companies still slipping through cracks.

Kelly also says he hopes the Liberals add a new round of funding to a popular loan program to increase the amounts available to $80,000 and make up to half of that forgivable if paid off on time.

But Kelly isn’t all that confident that the Liberals are going to do anything on that front, suggesting the government is instead focused on other files.

He says the federal momentum to fix economic program supports has stalled after the Liberals amended some programs and extended deadlines for others.

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