Vidal calls for more support for First Nations-owned businesses

Taken from: meadowlakeNOW

Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River MP Gary Vidal is calling on the federal government to do more for businesses owned by First Nations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter written to Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, Vidal wrote he wanted to bring attention to the fact many businesses owned by First Nations don’t qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program. He noted the standard model for a First Nation in Canada to carry on a for-profit business is with the use of a limited partnership, adding many variations of the model exist, but all have the First Nations as a limited power.

“These limited partnerships operate for-profit businesses in all part of the Canadian economy including forestry, mining, manufacturing, construction and consumer sales,” Vidal wrote. “These businesses are the life-blood of First Nations communities providing jobs, support for community programming and a foundation on which to build future prosperity.”

In his riding, Vidal mentioned First Nations-led businesses provide hundreds of well-paying jobs. He wrote the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on these companies is even more significant than those in the general Canadian economy.

Meadow Lake Tribal Council Industrial Investments would also like to see changes to the subsidy program. He wrote the exclusion of First Nations limited partnerships causes disproportionate harm to the First Nations business community across Canada.

 “If First Nations businesses through their limited partnership model are in fact excluded from the benefits of the emergency wage subsidies, it can only be because of an oversight in the creation of these important wage subsidy programs,” Balisky said. “This issue must be addressed immediately so First Nations can make plans today for the retention and hiring of employees during the coming weeks and months.”