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Coronavirus Support Programs for Businesses

The following information has been compiled to help support your business during the coronavirus pandemic. Please check back regularly for updates.

Government of Canada programs for businesses

Payroll support

• The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides a 75% wage subsidy ($58,240 per year or up to $840 per week, per employee) retroactively from March 15 to June 6, 2020 to eligible employers demonstrating at least a 15% drop in revenues in March 2020 and 30% for the following months compared to the same period last year. January and February 2020 can be used as reference periods for companies that cannot compare to the same period last year. Businesses and non-profits can begin applying for the wage subsidy on Monday, April 27. The CRA is expected to begin releasing funds on May 7. There is now a calculator on the CRA website to help businesses determine how much they are eligible to receive.

• The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses, will be funded jointly with the provinces, and will provide non-repayable loans to commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of rent payments for April, May and June. The loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to cut the rent by at least 75 per cent for those months and promises not to evict the tenant. The small business tenant must cover the remaining portion of the rent. To qualify, tenants must pay less than $50,000 a month in rent. They also must have experienced a revenue decline of at least 70 per cent from pre-COVID-19 levels, or they must have been forced to close down because of pandemic restrictions. Non-profit and charitable organizations are also eligible. It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May. Further details on CECRA will be shared soon once final terms and conditions are available.

• Canada Emergency Response Benefit, providing $2,000/month for up to 4 months, applies to contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

• The Canada Summer Job program will offer subsidies to businesses of up to 100% to cover the costs of hiring students part time. The end date for employment has also been extended to Feb. 28, 2021.

• Work-Sharing Program – an option for companies that fail to meet the 75% wage subsidy requirements. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for EI benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. It is a threeparty agreement involving employers, employees and Service Canada. The program has been extended to allow agreements of 76 weeks.

Filing business taxes

• The CRA is allowing businesses to defer payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 until after Aug. 31, 2020.

• Businesses, including self-employed individuals, can defer payments of the GST/HST, as well as customs duty owing on their imports, until June 30, 2020.

• The CRA will not contact any small or medium enterprise (SME) to initiate post assessment GST/HST or income tax audits for the next 4 weeks.

Ensuring businesses have access to credit

• Two financing programs are available through the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP): The Canada Emergency Business Account and SME Loan and Guarantee program. Both initiatives will be administered by private-sector financial institutions.

• Canada Emergency Business Account program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. To qualify, an organization’s 2019 payroll total must be between $20,000 and $1.5 million. Organizations who repay the balance of their loans by Dec. 31, 2022 will have 25% of their loans forgiven, up to $10,000. Businesses can now apply through their banks; approvals are expected to take several days.

• SME Loan and Guarantee program will provide up to $6.25 million at a commercial interest rate with a 10-year repayment period.

• Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is receiving an extra $5 billion in lending capacity. Sign up for FCC Online Services.

• The Government of Canada Economic Response Plan is providing immediate, temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans. This relief will help ensure employers have financial resources to maintain their operations and their pension plans and to protect the retirement security of their workers and retirees.

• The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will help small businesses pay commercial rents for April, May and June. The program will provide loans, including some forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who are then to either lower or forgo the rent for small businesses during these months. The plan will be worked out with the premiers, as rent issues fall under provincial jurisdiction.

• The COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations will provide $500 million to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors. The Fund will be administered by Canadian Heritage with the support of its partners.

• Financial support for Indigenous businesses will be provided through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association and the Métis capital corporations in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada. The funding will allow for interest-free loans, as well as non-repayable contributions.

• Additional support available through regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network.

• The Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund will provide assistance to the fish and seafood processing sector. The funds will be delivered through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, and Western Economic Diversification Canada. Further details on how and when processors can apply for assistance will be confirmed at a later date.

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CLEMENT CHUNG, CFP, CLU

Certified Financial Planner

Fee-Based Financial Planning
Burnaby & Metro Vancouver

©2018 by Clement Chung.