Canada's aid package does nothing for medium-sized businesses: Danby Appliances CEO
The Canadian government's $82-billion aid packages aimed at propping up the economy will do "nothing" for medium-sized businesses, the owner of one of the country's largest appliance makers said.
Jim Estill, chief executive officer of Danby Appliances Inc. and a founding director of Research in Motion Ltd., said that Ottawa's economic measures announced on Wednesday are largely aimed at small businesses, but not larger enterprises like his.
Estill said that the government's planned temporary wage subsidy, equal to 10 per cent of an employee's salary for three months would equate to just a day's worth of support for his company.
"That is nothing. It doesn't get you anywhere," Estill said during an interview with BNN Bloomberg.
He added that Ottawa needs to find another solution that looks at a different approach that could assist larger businesses that will also be impacted by a slowdown in economic activity due to COVID-19.
"If a company is going to lay off people, the government is going to have to pay EI. Why not take EI and pay some of that to keep people employed, at least for some period of time to let companies adjust," Estill said.
Above all, there's too much uncertainty happening in the economy that will undoubtedly weigh on the country's small-to-medium-sized businesses, Estill added. Danby's factory continues to produce freezer equipment as demand for that product is high from people who think they're going to run out of food, he said.
"Is the economy going to get out of this five per cent down or 15 per cent down. We really don't know," Estill said. "But if the economy is down 15 per cent, then our sales are down 15 per cent."