The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is not elaborating on a spike in audits of small businesses who benefited from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. 

On Wednesday, opposition parties in the House of Commons voted on a Conservative motion to suspend audits on Canadians for the next seven months. 

“The first thing the government can do is stop treating small business owners like tax cheaters. Stop auditing them and coming in asking for onerous documentation while they are in survival mode and trying to cope with the pandemic,” said Conservative MP Pat Kelly who brought forward the motion. 

The motion calls on the “government to immediately pause the audits of small businesses that received the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until at least June 2021, and provide additional flexibility in the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and other support programs.”

However, according to Blacklock’s Reporter the CRA would not provide further information on where auditors have been allocated since relocating 3,000 of them to focus on coronavirus programs on April 21. 

“Just as these businesses were busy battling COVID, what did the government demand of them? A nine-page audit request template that asks for corporate minute books, two years of bank statements, employment contracts and organizational charts,” said Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. 

In 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was criticized for implying that small business owners evade taxes. 

“I think small businesses should be paying less taxes, we just have to make sure that it’s done right … We have to know that a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes and we want to reward the people who are actually creating jobs,” said Trudeau during a CBC interview aired September 8, 2015. 

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