Trudeau announces fiscal package amid pandemic
Canada's cannabis industry is lobbying the government to be included in Ottawa's $82-billion economic aid package for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 70 cannabis industry professionals, ranging from producers to retailers to consultants, signed a letter sent to Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Finance Minister Bill Morneau requesting the government provide the legal pot sector "immediate measures to receive economic stimulus."
"Canada’s cannabis industry has weathered several shocks in the past six months, including the loss of over 2,000 well-paying jobs in the sector. Our access to capital, including credit, is challenging," according to the letter obtained by BNN Bloomberg.
"COVID-19 has added another significant impact, both with our suppliers and our workforce."
Some notable signatories of the letter dated March 20 include Fire & Flower Inc. CEO Trevor Fencott, Aurora Cannabis Inc. Senior Vice President Rick Savone, and Tilray Inc. Chief Marketing Officer Adine Carter.
The letter suggests that Ottawa provide wage subsidies to cannabis-related companies in order to keep staff employed, and "equal and fair access" to funding provided by Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
"We are not asking for special treatment, but rather equitable treatment," the letter states.
Representatives from the Finance Ministry or Industry Ministry weren't immediately available for comment on the letter.
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the BDC and EDC would disperse $10 billion to provide continued access to financing for those impacted by COVID-19.
Last week, BDC spokesperson Jean Philippe Nadeau told BNN Bloomberg in an email the organization is still evaluating the needs of each sector impacted by COVID-19, but didn't specify if the pot industry would be able to access those funds.
"We are working on the details on how the program will work, and will share an update in the coming days," Nadeau said.