The wide-ranging public and economic health impacts of COVID-19 are just starting to unfold. As the virus spreads, there will be consequences for the economy, manufacturers, and their employees. We can and must learn from other parts of the world and attempt to mitigate potential long-term negative consequences.
CME’s recommendations are aimed at helping manufacturers weather the COVID-19 crisis. The first priority is the health and safety of Canadians. But the public health response to COVID-19 will directly result in severe economic ramifications. While some sectors of the economy can shift delivery models, including telecommuting, and continue with minimal impacts, manufacturers cannot. This means that manufacturers are vulnerable to disruptions in production if workers fall sick to coronavirus. In turn, the local and international supply chains of production components will become restricted and their customers will limit purchases.
CME’s recommendations are designed to blunt those impacts, enable the economy to keep functioning, and allow for a rapid rebound once the crisis has passed.
- Manufacturing must be designated as an essential service
- Governments at all levels must create a structure to coordinate economic support and ensure all measures are meaningful and appropriate to the current crisis.
- Economic relief measures should prioritize keeping workers employed and working rather than pushing them to the EI system or out of the manufacturing workforce.
- Canada’s response must be proportional and in-line with international competitors.
ECONOMIC RELIEF RECOMMENDATIONS
TAXES, RENT & UTILITIES
- Temporarily stop collecting all payroll, property, sales, and income taxes from individuals and business to allow as much cash as possible to stay in the system.
- Halt on issuing penalties and fines on taxes owed and limit audits for the remainder of the year fiscal year.
- Requiring a freeze on all utilities, rent, and mortgage payments for businesses and individuals without interest or penalties.
INJECTING MONEY INTO THE SYSTEM
- Providing direct wage subsidies through employers
- Establish a direct granting program for companies in considerable financial distress, which would be in addition to loan guarantees.
- Instruct Canadian financial institutions to pause corporate/personal debt payment collection for a 60-day period.
- Financially support manufacturers producing or scaling up production of goods that will support Canada’s response to the crisis, including medical devices and treatment.
EASE RED TAPE
- Ensure federal assistance is universally and easily accessible with minimal reporting and application requirements.
- Eliminate or reduce reporting requirements of the Work-Sharing Program and make sure “full top-up” is available to all employees.
- Introduce a one-year moratorium on new business sector regulations that fall outside of protecting the health and safety of Canadians due to COVID-19