GODERICH, ONT. -- Bill Brittain is sadly, getting used to rejection.

“You see the politicians on TV every night saying how much they’re doing for small business, and everyone cares about small business. I’m a small business. Where’s the help? I’m not getting it,” says the owner of Winston’s Men’s Wear in Goderich.

Since July, Brittain has sent in three applications for the CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account) program, which is essentially a $40,000 federal government loan with $10,000 forgivable if repaid in two years time.

All three of his applications have been rejected. One of the reasons given was that some of his expense receipts were hand-written, and not typed.

“The Canada Revenue Agency accepts them, so I don’t know what their issue was with that. If it was typed, it was allowed, I was told. This is just the type of thing we’re dealing with,” says Brittain.

Brittain says he’s down $80,000 in revenue this year, due to the pandemic, and forced 11 week lock-down this spring. $40,000 would have been a big boost.

Since the CEBA rejections, he’s gone to a bank to refinance, as well as liquidating some assets to keep his business afloat.

“I have more mortgages on my house than I care to think of anymore. That’s how small business is financed. We don’t have millions of dollars in liquidity when we start this,” he says.

Brittain’s accountant says he’s not alone. He had several other businesses rejected for CEBA.

“This is a broad swath of businesses and families affected, and this is their livelihood. There’s not a lot of support. They’re not asking for much. There just asking for liquidity. And remember they were forced to close their doors this spring. That’s not their fault,” says Ron Burt, of Takalo and Burt Chartered Accountants.

ore federal government programs to help businesses cover rent were just announced this week. Brittain thinks he would qualify, but isn’t sure he’s going to apply.

“To be honest, I’m afraid to submit the application, because it’s just so frustrating,” he says.

The federal government says more than 3000 CEBA applications were approved this week, and nearly $32 billion has been paid out to business owners and non-profits to date. Winston’s Men’s Wear in Goderich, is not one of them.