Quick run-down of Federal Budget 2021 and impacts for Saskatoon businesses:
1. Extended COVID business relief programs (CEWS, CERS, CEBA) through to the Fall. These “lifeline” programs will facilitate the recovery of many SMEs in Saskatoon, providing needed financial stability as they look to rehire, reinvest and reopen fully.
2. Concerned that Budget 2021 did not fix access problems to CEBA, CERS, CEWS, HASCAP for the many thousands who have received zero support, including 2020 businesses and micro-sized firms.
3. No measures announced in #Budget2021 to help reduce new COVID debt small and medium-sized businesses have inherited to stay afloat. Low-interest rates will help but updating CEBA and HASCAP with a higher forgivable portion would have provided a direct/immediate benefit.
4. Great news for Vido-InterVac that will receive $59.2M starting this year for the development of its vaccine candidates and expand its facility in Saskatoon. Enormous opportunities for spin-offs, jobs in Saskatoon. Solid boost for the University of Saskatchewan and our innovation cluster. Puts our city and province on the map.
5. New $15 federal minimum wage sets a new benchmark for low-wage earners and employers across Canada.
6. No mention of direct relief for ailing mid-market airports like ours. COVID restrictions have severely curtailed operations and revenue for airports like ours in #yxe that provide a vital link to for our products and people to reach markets around the world.
7. New $30B investment in childcare will be welcomed by working parents and business owners who have struggled to keep working through COVID while taking care of their children. Will be invested over a 5 year period starting this year.
8. Good to see major hiring incentive in Budget2021. Canada Recovery Hiring Program will help small firms rehire and hire new. Assuming this applies to all businesses not just those using wage backstop program.
9. $300M to support black, women, and other underrepresented entrepreneurs is welcome news. Investments in the dreams and ambitions of small businesses owners and entrepreneurs create ripples of opportunity across communities like Saskatoon.
10. Path back to budget balance in 2025-26 will depend on strength of revenue/cost projections and low-interest rates. Canada’s 51.2% debt-to-GDP ratio is concerning and fragile. If Budget 2021 projections are off even a little, it means individual and corporate tax hikes to offset.