(OTTAWA) – June 15, 2020 – Co-chair of the National Cannabis Working Group and Cannabis Policy Lead at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Ryan Greer, issued the following statement today regarding the notice of intent from Health Canada to consult on providing the cannabis industry with financial relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
“The National Cannabis Working Group welcomes the notice of intent from Health Canada to consult on the potential deferment of the 2.3 per cent annual regulatory fee for licensed producers. However, a deferral falls short of what is needed for Canada’s cannabis industry at this time.
Canada’s nascent cannabis industry is facing significant liquidity challenges in the current economic environment along with continued competition from a robust illegal market. While the federal government launched an unprecedented number of loan programs to support Canadian business liquidity during the COVID-crisis, the criteria for these programs largely excluded most of the cannabis industry from accessing them.
In response, the National Cannabis Working Group called on the federal government to look at other ways to support the industry during this crisis, including by temporarily waiving payment of Health Canada’s 2.3 per cent annual regulatory fee. The annual regulatory fee of 2.3 per cent of gross cannabis revenue represents a significant cost to the industry given most licence holders have not yet achieved an operating profit. Deferring fee payments will not help the industry nearly as much as waiving them altogether.
We welcome the acknowledgement by Health Canada that the cannabis industry merits financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with the government to find a solution that will position the industry to emerge from the crisis in a better position and to support the government’s objective of displacing the illegal market.
During the COVID-19 pandemic Canada’s cannabis industry has been legitimized by provincial governments designating sale and production as an essential service. This consultation by Health Canada is yet another recognition of the important role the regulated cannabis industry and the thousands of Canadians it employs plays in the Canadian economy.”
About the National Cannabis Working Group
Since its launch in June 2019, the National Cannabis Working Group has grown to more than 70 organizations with a shared interested of improving the growth and competitiveness of the Canadian cannabis industry while helping governments achieve their health and safety objectives.
About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.
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