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Green caucus calls for better supports for small businesses and self-employed

by Amanda Wildeman
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May 20, 2020

Green caucus calls for better supports for small businesses and self-employed

FREDERICTON – Green Party Leader and MLA for Fredericton-South, David Coon, is calling for the provincial government to provide better supports for entrepreneurs; including small business owners, artists, artisans, and self-employed individuals, as well as an exemption to the ban on Temporary Foreign Workers for farms that can comply to the health and safety requirements.

“Small and medium-size businesses are the backbone of our economy,” says Coon. “Business owners, entrepreneurs, farmers, artists and artisans need to know that we recognize their immense economic and cultural contributions to our province and that we have their backs.”

Megan Mitton, MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar, is already seeing a wave of permanent business closures in her community.

“We need to protect entrepreneurs so they have a fighting chance,” said Mitton. “That may mean helping them access advice and support to help their businesses adapt or recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Many businesses are struggling with payroll and rent, and government must take action now to protect the people in our business community.”

Among other solutions, the Green MLAs are immediately calling for:

  • Targeted small business grant programs such as those offered by PEI and NS
  • Property tax forgiveness for the most affected sectors
  • A commercial retrofit program to cut energy costs and improve energy efficiency
  • An exemption for businesses that meet public health requirements to hire Temporary Foreign Workers
  • An import-substitution strategy and targets for government procurement of local products, and strategies to expand and create new local business opportunities that keep money circulating within New Brunswick’s economy

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The NB Green Caucus will be rolling out its principles for recovery from COVID-19 over the next few weeks. This issue constitutes the first principle: “Economic Survival: Ensure small business owners, artists and self-employed people can adapt to the new reality”.