But a peek behind the headlines reveals the source of the story to be a business lobby group using a powerful and classic public relations strategy — the news release — to manipulate headlines.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) represents more than 100,000 members who operate small businesses across Canada. The association advocates for specific policy changes that advance the goals of their membership.
To rally support for these changes, organizations like the CFIB employ public relations strategies designed to secure headlines that sway public opinion and put pressure on governments. This is especially important when their policy goal is at odds with public sentiment.
For example, polling suggests Canadians overwhelmingly support the federal Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit, known as the CERB, which pays $500 a week to workers who are out of work due to the pandemic.
The CFIB, however, said in its news release that the CERB is a “disincentive” to work and wants to see wage subsidies expanded to include more profitable small businesses. To campaign for this, organizations like the CFIB use PR techniques to undermine public support for CERB and advocate for their own policy solutions.