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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks in Ottawa, on March 1.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

The voice of Canadian small business says it hopes the federal government breathes extra months of life into an incentive for companies to hire new staff, a way to help firms only now hitting recovery mode.

Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says his organization has asked Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to extend the hiring credit.

The hiring incentive and two other programs aimed at hard-hit businesses are scheduled to expire in early May.

The government introduced the credit in last year’s budget, providing a subsidy to struggling businesses that expanded their payrolls by hiring staff or giving their workers more hours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly says take-up of the program has been low because public health restrictions have only recently eased, allowing businesses to get closer to usual operations.

It’s why he is hoping the Liberals add six more months to the program to give it life until the fall.

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