Senators question Freeland on transparency of aid package for troubled businesses


Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is pledging to fill a gap in the government’s bid to bolster hard-hit businesses with rent relief, but she faced stern questions from senators about transparency. The House of Commons agreed last week to pass a proposed package of measures quickly, but none can be enacted until the Senate passes it as well. The aid bill known as C-9, now under review by the Senate finance committee, would extend the federal wage subsidy until next summer — cancelling a previously planned decline in its value — and expand a popular business loan program. The legislation would also redo a widely criticized program for commercial rent relief. The revamped program includes a requirement that entrepreneurs pay their rent before applying, putting the subsidy out of reach for many cash-strapped stores.

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