Keeping abreast of the ever-changing landscape of laws, regulations, government initiatives, and emerging concerns that could influence franchised enterprises and the franchising sector in Canada is an immense undertaking. The advocacy division of the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) is dedicated to guaranteeing that policymakers nationwide recognize the significant role played by the franchise business model in Canada’s economy and its impact on the livelihoods of nearly two million Canadians employed in franchising.
In-person meetings with government and public officials resumed in 2022 as we continued to raise awareness about franchising and the integral franchisor-franchisee relationship. More than 20 meetings took place through Franchise Awareness Day in Ottawa on April 7, and we also embarked on an Atlantic Canada tour in June, meeting with representatives in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to discuss key issues, including common employer, minimum wage, access to labour, and more. CFA representatives also met with government officials in Ontario and British
Columbia to provide insight into how legislation could impact the franchise industry.
We also celebrated big policy wins, as changes we lobbied for to the Canada Small Business Finance Program came into effect in July, making it easier for franchisors and franchisees to access financing, including ‘soft cost’ items such as the franchise fee and training school. We also worked with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC), which adopted the CFA proposal to government that will allow Canadians to access their RRSP funds for the purchase of a business.
CFA’s Advocacy Work
Kept CFA members informed. Through weekly Advocacy Updates and an updated Advocacy page on CFA.ca, the CFA kept members in the know on government and political news, economic change, and available resources and programs.
Provided vital education to the government. The CFA continued to provide education about the franchise business model and franchising’s positive
contributions to the Canadian economy.
Raised awareness about franchising. During Franchise Awareness Day in Ottawa in April, the CFA met with 22 federal politicians and staff members to lobby for the issues that are important to the franchising community. The CFA also held its Advocacy Awareness Month campaign in June, which resulted in more than 51,000 social media impressions.
Held key meetings with government representatives across Canada. The CFA participated in meetings with 10 provincial representatives plus staff members in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, met with the British
Columbia government regarding gig labour, and consulted with the Ontario government in respect to the Employment Standards Act.
Successfully lobbied for changes to the CEBA program. The CFA lobbied for a loan repayment extension for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) from December 2022 to December 2023. This was a CFA win, as the extension came into effect!
Changes to the Canada Small Business Finance Program came into effect. Through these changes, the CSBFP will now allow intangible assets (franchise fees, incorporation costs, permits and licenses, etc.) and working capital costs to be financed as a term loan. This was a CFA win! No one else has been lobbying for these changes!
Worked with the Chamber of Commerce to improve access to capital. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) adopted a policy resolution,
put forward by the CFA, that asks the federal government to create a program to allow RRSP withdrawals for the purchase of a new or existing
Sent a joint letter regarding anti-replacement worker legislation. The CFA participated in a joint submission with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and 75 other Chambers and Associations, urging the government to reconsider its plan to introduce legislation that would
prohibit the use of replacement workers in federally regulated sectors.
Improved access to labour. The CFA met with the federal government to lift restrictions on international student workers. This was a CFA win, as the restrictions were lifted!
CFA’s Advocacy First
- Completed our FIRST Atlantic Canada tour to meet with provincial representatives in June
- Changes to the Canada Small Business Finance Program came into effect for the FIRST time
- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce adopted the CFA’s resolution that will allow Canadians to use RRSP contributions for the purchase of a business for the FIRST time
- Consulted with the British Columbia government regarding gig economy workers in late 2022
- Consulted on the Employment Standards Act (ESA) with Ontario officials in January 2023
CFA’s Advocacy Accomplishments
Changes to the Canada Small Business Finance Program are Now in Force
After several years of advocacy, the CFA successfully lobbied to make key changes to the Canada Small Business Finance Program (CSBFP) to better help franchisors and franchisees. These changes to the Canada Small Business Financing Regulations came into force on July 4, 2022.
Through these changes, the CSBFP will now allow intangible assets (franchise fees, incorporation costs, permits and licenses, etc.) and working capital costs to be financed as a term loan. These were previously ineligible for financing under the program and had to be paid for out of pocket or through other credit products that were offered by financial institutions.
The changes to the CSBFP give lenders and small businesses additional financing products, a new class of loans, increased loan amounts and terms, improved loan conditions, and decreased administrative burden. Now that the changes are legally in force, the banks can start to incorporate them into the financing products that they offer. Each bank will implement the changes based on its own internal rollout process that is outside of the control of both the federal government and the CFA.
Create a Program to Help Unlock RRSP Savings to Buy a Business
At its Annual General Meeting, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) adopted a policy resolution, put forward
by the CFA, that asks the federal government to create a program to allow RRSP withdrawals for the purchase of a new or existing business.
The proposal would allow individuals to withdraw up to $100,000 from their RRSP/RESP accounts to make a down
payment on the purchase of a new or existing business, without having to pay tax on the withdrawal. The program would then require the individual to repay, on a non-deductible basis, the amount withdrawn over a period not exceeding 15 years, beginning the second calendar year following the calendar year in which the withdrawal was made. This is similar in structure to the First Time Home Buyers Plan.
Joint Letter – Replacement Workers
As part of the Government’s supply agreement with the NDP, they have committed to introduce anti-replacement worker legislation by the end of 2023 that would seek to prohibit the use of replacement workers in federally regulated sectors. The proposal to introduce such legislation raises serious concern for Canadian business, including many that play an essential role in growing our economy and ensuring that our supply chains operate efficiently.
The CFA participated in a joint submission with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and 75 other Chambers and
Associations, urging the government to reconsider its plan to introduce this legislation. The full joint letter is available in the Advocacy section of the Members Only Area at CFA.ca.
Franchise Awareness Month
In June 2022, the CFA highlighted member franchisees as local small business owners, with a focus on their community contributions, through our Franchise Awareness Month campaign. We drove this key messaging about franchising via social media and the CFA’s weekly email campaigns.
Franchise Awareness Month helped to raise awareness among all Canadians about the franchise industry, from sharing success stories about franchisees and celebrating the ways that franchising gives back to the community, to educating about the various franchise sectors, and more.
Key social media stats:
- 51,015 impressions
- 446 clicks
- 419 likes
- 221 shares
48% of all social impressions generated in June 2022 were attributed to the Franchise Awareness Month campaign, and there was a 177% increase in social impressions in June 2022 compared to June 2021. 46% of all social shares generated in June 2022 were attributed to the Franchise Awareness Month campaign.
Franchise Awareness Day in Ontario
The 2022 Franchise Awareness Day took place on April 7 in Ottawa, Ontario, alongside CFA National Convention. The CFA met with 22 Members of Parliament (MPs) and staff members to raise awareness of the franchise business model and important franchisee-franchisor relationship, and to lobby for the issues that are important to the franchise business community. Some of the issues the CFA brought to the attention of these public officials and politicians included the clarification of common/joint employer designation, postpandemic supports for franchised businesses, reducing red tape, and fair treatment under environmental legislation.
The MPs and staff members we met with included:
- Tony Baldinelli, MP, CPC
- James Bezan, MP, CPC
- Kelly Bryant, LPC staff
- Adam Chambers MP, CPC
- Michael Coteay, MP, LPC
- Ed Fast, MP, CPC
- Tracy Gray, MP, CPC
- Damien Kurek, MP, CPC
- Stephanie Kusie, MP, CPC
- Marie-France Lalonde, MP, LPC
- Bob Zimmer, MP, CPC
- Melissa Lantsman, MP, CPC
- Philip Lawrence, MP, CPC
- Eric Melillo, MP, CPC
- Rob Moore, MP, CPC
- Yash Nanda, LPC staff
- Zachary Nixon, LPC staff
- Churence Rogers, MP, LPC
- Kyle Seeback, MP, CPC
- Clifford Small, MP, CPC
- Francesco Sorbara, MP, LPC
- Lawrence Zhang, LPC staff
Atlantic Canada Meetings with Government Officials
In June 2022, CFA representatives headed to Atlantic Canada for meetings with government officials regarding key issues in the region. These messages included: franchised businesses are local businesses, the economic impact of franchising, common employer, access to labour, access to capital, and fair treatment under environmental legislation.
The CFA met with the following elected officials:
- Hon. Jill Balser, Minister, Labour, Skills and Immigration (PC)
- Ava Czapalay, Deputy Minister, Labour, Skills and Immigration
- Ben Jessome, Critic, Advanced Education (Liberal)
- Kelly Regan, Critic, Finance (Liberal)
- Other participants included Cecilley Carroll, Special Advisor to the Minister, LSI and Shannon Bennett, Executive Director of Policy and Planning, Economic Development.
- Cameron Bodnar, Director, Research, Policy & Analytics (Team), Opportunities NB
- Gilles LePage, Critic for Economic Development and Opportunities New Brunswick
- Peter MacNutt, Executive Director, Policy, Competitive
- Regulation and Operational Excellence (Team), Opportunities NB
- Robert McKee, Critic for Finance and the Treasury Board
- Roger Melanson, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition (Liberal)
- Nicole Picot, Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Official Opposition
Ontario Bill 88 – Working for Workers Act, 2022
CFA representatives met with Brandon Crandall, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Relations, Ministry of Immigration, Labour, Training & Skills Development on February 24, 2023, to discuss Ontario’s Bill 88, “Working for Workers Act, 2022,” which passed in the Ontario Legislature and is awaiting Regulations for enactment. The purpose of
the bill is to establish certain worker rights for workers, regardless of whether those workers are employees.
The CFA discussed the common employer issue with special references to labour as it pertains to the franchisor/franchisee arrangement, stressing the similarities and differences between the franchisor and franchisees, and how grouping the two can lead to unfair economic treatment for small business owners. The CFA offered valuable input and will continue to update the Ministry of Labour on specific concerns.
Other Key Meetings
In 2022, the CFA consulted with the British Columbia government regarding gig economy workers, which is a key issue for our members, as small businesses could be impacted by regulations that introduce certain benefits to temporary workers. In January 2023, David Druker, Chair of the CFA Board of Directors, consulted with the Ontario government regarding upcoming changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA).