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2020-03-27

COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses

UPDATED JULY 29
 

international

CANADA - UNITED STATES - MEXICO AGREEMENT (cusma)

The CUSMA SME chapter of the agreement will provide opportunities to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), by

  • promoting increased trade and investment opportunities for SMEs, including through cooperation on support initiatives, joint activities to promote SMEs owned by under-represented groups, and the exchange of information and best practices
  • recognizing Indigenous peoples, women, youth and minorities as groups who may benefit from strengthened collaboration on SME promotion activities designed to increase participation in international trade
  • including requirements to make information available that is specifically tailored for SMEs’ use, including information on entrepreneurship education programs for youth and under-represented groups, and information on obligations in the Agreement that are particularly relevant to SMEs - an issue previously identified by Canadian SMEs as a challenge to leveraging the opportunities created by FTAs
  • establishing a Committee on SME issues and a trilateral SME dialogue, which includes private sector stakeholders, to discuss issues of the agreement that are relevant to SMEs

CUSMA includes a new small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) chapter as well as a competitiveness chapter that recognize the increasingly large economic contribution made by small companies across North America. Other elements have been added across the agreement to better address SME interests in North American trade. Please visit the following link to understand SME-specific commitments:

https://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/cusma-aceum/commitments-sme_engagements-pme.aspx?lang=eng

 

NATIONAL

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)


* The government has proposed a further extension of the CEWS, until December 19, 2020, providing proposed program details until November 21, 2020.

On July 17, the government announced proposed changes to the CEWS. More information will be coming soon.

Provincial

 

NEW: West Coast 

 

On July 28th, 2020, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced that businesses across Western Canada have received over $95 million in support from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) that was launched on May 13. These interest-free repayable contributions are now flowing to more than 1,760 businesses across the West that were unable to get access to existing Government of Canada relief measures.

 

 

British Columbia

Self-isolation

  • Residents of Yukon, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have to self-isolate when they arrive in the territory if they have not travelled outside of these 4 regions.
  • Residents of other parts of Canada who arrive in Yukon must self-isolate, with limited exceptions.
  • When you self-isolate, monitor yourself for symptoms

Tax deferrals for your business:

The BC Government is deferring many provincial tax filings to Sept 30, 2020. This is effective as of March 23, 2020, and means the deadline to file and pay for the following taxes has been extended. They include:

  • Employer Health Tax
  • Provincial Sales Tax
  • Carbon tax
  • Motor fuel tax
  • Tobacco tax

The BC Government is also:

  • Delaying the increase of the Carbon Tax to Sept 30, 2020 (initially planned for April 1, 2020).
  • Postponing the tax on carbonated, sweetened beverages which was introduced in Budget 2020 is being until further notice.

Tax relief for your business:

The province has announced they will be reducing the Provincial Property tax (i.e. Provincial School Tax) for commercial and industrial properties (Class 4, 5 and 6). The average business will see a 25% reduction in their total property tax bill.

Rent protection for commercial properties: On June 1, 2020 The BC government  announced eviction protection for small businesses. Until June 30, 2020 landlords cannot evict tenants or repossess goods/property due to non-payment of rent. See the provincial governments News Release here for more information.

 

Alberta
  • The Alberta government has announced measures to help small businesses maintain normal business operations.

    • Commercial eviction protection: the Alberta government has introduced legislation to ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19.
    • Small business grant program: the Alberta government is providing eligible small businesses and non-profits to access up to $5,000 to help with relaunch costs. This will be a one-time direct cash payment. Applications for the program are now open here. Applications will remain open until August 31 or for 4 weeks following the start of Phase 3 - whichever is later.
    • Corporate income tax changes: corporate income tax balances and installment payments will be deferred until August 31, 2020.
    • Utility payment deferral: residents, agri-businesses and small businesses can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments until June 18, 2020 to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider. Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a deferral on all payments. Learn more about utility payment deferral here.
    • Education property tax freeze: the Alberta government canceled the decision made in Budget 2020 and will freeze education property taxes at last year's level (a savings of $32 million for businesses).
    • Education property tax deferral: the Alberta government has deferred education property tax for businesses for the next six months.
    • WCB premium deferral and relief: WCB premiums have been deferred until early 2021. Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit. For small and medium businesses, the government with cover 50% of the premium when it is due. Find out more here.
    • Tourism levy deferral: Hotels and other lodging providers can keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

    For more detailed information, please visit the Alberta government’s COVID-19 information page.

Saskatchewan

 

CURRENT STATE OF EMERGENCY: Extended to Wednesday, July 22nd.

Premier Scott Moe and Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab  announced the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan. Re-Open Saskatchewan is a plan built on a methodical and phased approach to slowly lifting restrictions so that more businesses can open and more employees can go back to work.  The plan introduces five phases to methodically, gradually and cautiously re-open businesses and services across Saskatchewan, beginning May 4, 2020.  The plan also details physical distancing measures and restrictions that will remain in place throughout the five phases and provides a number of factors to inform decisions regarding the lifting of long-term restrictions.

Over the next several weeks, restrictions will be gradually lifted by adding more types of businesses to the allowable businesses list, meaning that they can re-open if they so choose. All businesses and public venues will be required to continue following physical distancing and cleaning and disinfection practices to protect both employees and customers.  Members of the public will be expected to follow physical distancing rules and to stay home if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

For additional information, please visit the provincial government's Re-Open Saskatchewan website.

 

Do you have questions about how to safely get back to business as Saskatchewan’s economy reopens?
As the province starts to lift restrictions and reopen the economy, CFIB has put together tools and resources to help you get back to business and keep your staff and customers safe:

 

If you have any outstanding questions or concerns about the province's reopening plan please contact CFIB directly at 1-888-234-2232 or email at ms.saskatchewan@cfib.ca 

You can also contact the Government of Saskatchewan's  Business Response Team by calling 1-844-800-8688, email supportforbusiness@gov.sk.ca or by visiting www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-businesses.

 

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Manitoba

The Manitoba Back to Work initiative, which provides businesses with a wage subsidy to help returning staff or new hires, has been extended until October 31. This program extension covers 50% of wages up to $5,000 per new hire between July 16 and October 31, for up to 10 new hires ($50,000 total per business). This amount can be in addition to any hires through the same program before July 14 and can include hiring students.

The new application deadline is October 1. 

For more information and to apply, visit: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/business/btwmp.html

Eligibility criteria:

  • Manitoba-based businesses operating in the province are eligible.
  • Employers must possess an active and valid Business Number, business bank account, and e-mail address.
  • Businesses must be registered, and in good standing with the Companies Office (not required for sole proprietors).
  • Employer can hire 10 new employees under this program. Employers cannot receive funding for any positions that are already being subsidized by another government program. This includes, but is not limited to, the Canada Summer Job Program, Green Team, Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Manitoba Back to Work this Summer Program and Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program. (This does not include the Federal government's 10 per cent Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers.)

The following employers are not eligible:

  • Businesses are not eligible if they were in arrears for taxes owing to Manitoba on March 20, 2020 (i.e., before the state of emergency), and that have not since rectified this amount in arrears. (This does not include businesses that have deferred taxes as a result of COVID-19 relief programs to defer tax remittances.)
  • Businesses that conduct multilevel marketing are not eligible, nor are passive businesses or corporate entities that do not exist for the purpose of carrying on an active business in Manitoba.
  • Businesses that currently have an active Manitoba Business Start Loan Guarantee, a loan under the Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program, or an agreement under The Community Revitalization Tax Increment Financing Act, are not eligible.
  • Charities and not-for-profit organizations are not eligible.
  • Public sector employers, including public health, educational institutions, and municipal/provincial/federal governments and agencies and political parties, are not eligible.

Financial support:

  • Employers are eligible to receive a reimbursement of 50 per cent of total wages actually paid between July 16 and October 31, 2020, to a maximum of $5,000 per worker. Payment will be made as a lump sum upon proof of payment of wages.

Ontario
  • Ontario is gradually reopening businesses, services and public spaces on a regional basis as progress is made in the fight against COVID-19. The province declared a provincial state of emergency under the province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. For more information about this legislation and the government’s powers under it, see our “explainer”, here

    General relief measures

    COVID-19 contingency fund

    • The Minister of Finance announced on March 25, 2020 that the provincial government is committing to a dedicated $1.0 billion COVID-19 contingency fund for emerging needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of March 25, 2020.

    Relief for northern Ontario property taxpayers

    • The Minister of Finance announced on April 6, 2020, that the Ontario government is deferring the payment of property taxes for 90 days for people and businesses in parts of Northern Ontario located outside of municipal boundaries.
    • Taxpayers in unincorporated areas have an extra 90 days to pay each of their four 2020 Provincial Land Tax installments without incurring interest or penalties.
    • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of April 6, 2020.

    Specifics of electricity rate relief to families and small businesses

    • The Government of Ontario is providing immediate electricity rate relief for families, small businesses and farms paying time-of-use (TOU) rates.
    • The Government of Ontario is working to suspend TOU electricity rates for a 45-day period, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour.
    • The discount is applied automatically to electricity bills and is effective immediately.
    • On May 6, 2020, the original 45-day period was extended for an additional 24 days (until May 31, 2020).
    • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of May 6, 2020.
  • Urgent relief for small businesses and landlords

    • The Government of Ontario announced on April 24, 2020 that it is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (OCECRA) provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To receive the loan, property owners are required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants by at least 75% and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months (April to June 2020).
    • The support is retroactive to April 1, 2020, and the deadline to apply is August 31, 2020.
    • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 2020 and the Government of Ontario’s news release of May 29, 2020. For detailed information about this program, also see our real estate group’s publication, here.
Quebec

Support for Montréal’s small businesses

  • Governments of Canada and Québec, along with Ville de Montréal, announced on June 8, 2020, a funding of up to $50 million to support businesses. The fund will be administrated by PME MTL. In addition, the Government of Québec is contributing $20 million more to the envelope for the Ville de Montréal under the Aide d’urgence aux petites et moyennes entreprises

  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of June 8, 2020.

  • Creation of the Fond Croissance PME Banque Nationale. The Government of Quebec will invest up to 100 million in order to support the growth of small and medium businesses.

  • For more information, see Government of Quebec’s news release of July 13, 2020.

Urgent relief for small businesses and landlords

  • The Government of Québec announced on April 24, 2020, that it is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA) will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will provide owners with repayable loans covering up to 50% of the rent for three months (April, May and June). Upon receipt of this loan, owners will have to lower or cancel the rents for their tenants for these months. In order to be eligible for the program, the owners' eligible tenants affected by the situation must be small businesses that have temporarily ceased operations or experienced a decline of at least 70% in their revenues compared to revenues prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the monthly rent of these small businesses must not exceed $50 000. The Québec government will contribute to this initiative by covering 50% of its costs and the small businesses will be responsible for the 50% remaining of the rent in the CECRA program.
  • On June 8, the Government of Québec announced an increase of up to $140 million in the budget allocated to the CECRA program.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s news releases of April 24, 2020 and of June 8, 2020 For detailed information about this program, also see our real estate group’s publication, here.

New programs to help businesses

  • The Government of Québec announced the Programme d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises (PACTE). The government is committing at least $2.5 billion to help companies overcome liquidity issues connected to the pandemic. This program is intended to support businesses’ working capital to help them continue operations. Most industries are eligible for this emergency program, with these exceptions. Eligible businesses are those that find themselves in a precarious situation and temporary difficulty as a result of COVID-19 and who demonstrate that they are likely to be profitable after the crisis. Businesses must show that their cash flow issues are temporary and that the liquidity shortage stems from:
    • a problem involving the supply of raw materials or products (goods or services);
    • an inability, or a substantially decreased ability, to deliver goods, products or services.
  • The financial assistance is a minimum amount of $50,000, provided in the form of a loan guarantee, but may also take the form of a loan.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s “Financial assistance for Québec businesses website (in French only). Investissement Québec is currently evaluating requests for financial assistance. To make a request, visit Investissement Québec’s website (in French only).
  • The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) announced on March 30, 2020, a $4-billion fund to support the specific liquidity needs of Québec companies temporarily impacted by COVID-19. Companies do not have to be in the CDPQ’s portfolio to be eligible for funding, but have to meet certain criteria, including having been profitable before the COVID-19 crisis, having a promising growth outlook in their sector and seeking financing of over $5 million. The CDPQ also announced a donation of $300,000, to support the organizations that directly address the basic needs of the most vulnerable people.
  • For more information, see the CDPQ’s news release of March 30, 2020. The application can be filled here.
  • The Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale is proposing a temporary web platform enabling businesses offering essential services or commercial activities to publish job offers that quickly reach workers looking for a job.
  • For more information, or to post a job offer, see the Government of Quebec news release of April 22, 2020.

Tax flexibility measures for businesses

  • The deadline to make instalment payments for the 2020 taxation year is postponed to September 1, 2020.
  • The deadline for businesses to pay tax instalments and the balance of tax otherwise due between March 18, 2020, and September 1, 2020, is suspended until September 1, 2020. No late filing penalties will apply to income tax returns filed on or before September 1, 2020.
New Brunswick
  • One-time payments of $900 to workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 state of emergency in NB, including the self-employed are eligible
  • Operating loans up to $200,000 to support small businesses
  • Under section 19 of the renewed and revised Mandatory Order COVID-19 , no landlord shall, in relation to any commercial and any other type of non-residential lease, weather written or verbal, give any sort of notice to quit, re-enter or re-possess, or exercise any right of distress, until May 31 2020, for non-payment of rent that came due after March 19 2020.

Waiving late penalties on property taxes:

  • Though business property taxes must be paid by May 31, late penalties will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to see if the penalty can be waived due to undue financial challenges, such as having to close a business due to COVID-19.

Deferring interest and principal payments on existing loans:

  • As an immediate measure, and on a case-by-case basis – the Government of New Brunswick will defer loan and interest repayments for up to six months on existing provincial loans.
  • This support will enable businesses to have immediate relief if they are experiencing difficulties as a result of COVID-19.
  • This assistance is available, on a case-by-case basis, to any business that has a loan with an existing Government of New Brunswick department. The deferral can be requested by contacting the department that issued the loan.

Support for small business

  • To support our small businesses, the Government of New Brunswick will provide working capital to support small businesses. Loans will help companies respond to challenges associated with COVID-19.
  • Loans will be up to $100,000.
  • Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB) will work with a trusted partner to administer the application process.
  • More details will be available on application process in the coming days.
Nova Scotia
  • Business support website

    Business support during COVID-19 provides education, training and guidance for small businesses. Community innovation leads at NSCC help connect businesses with support programs available from post-secondary institutions and other regional organizations.

    Small Business Credit and Support Program

    Applications for the Small Business Credit and Support Program are now closed. If you applied and have questions, contact the credit union you’re working with.

    Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

    The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program is available for qualifying businesses.

    Small Business Reopening and Support Grant

    Through this $25-million program, eligible small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises that were ordered to close or greatly reduce operations because of the Public Health Order, or that were greatly impacted by social distancing and orders to stay home, may qualify for a reopening and support grant.



    Business Navigators
     are available to help Nova Scotia businesses with any questions they may have. They can be reached Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm at 1-844-628-7347, 902-424-4475 or by email at BusNavigation@novascotia.ca 

For more detailed information, please visit the Nova Scotia COVID-19 information page.

Prince Edward Island

COVID-19 Support for Essential Workers

The COVID-19 Support for Essential Workers is a wage top-up program for essential workers employed during the Public Health State of Emergency. Essential workers earning $3,000 per month or less can receive a one-time payment, administered through eligible employers. Employers will also be eligible for a 10% administrative costs to cover Mandatory Employer Related Costs.

Workers' Compensation: deferred premiums

The Workers’ Compensation Board of PEI has deferred assessment due dates until September 30, 2020. Employers will not need to pay WCB premiums until September 30, and will not be charged interest or penalties during this time.

Employers are asked to submit any revisions to their 2020 payroll estimates to the WCB before August 15th to ensure that it is reflected on their September statement of assessment amounts due.

For more click here

Newfoundland and Labrador

For employers

To help businesses in the province during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deferring the collection of employer assessment payments and waiving interest charges or penalties until August 31, 2020.

This means that all insured employers will not have to worry about paying assessments until September 2020. The deferral will be applied to all existing payment plans. Employers do not need to contact WorkplaceNL.

 

Supports for Business

  • Loan payments on business loans administered by the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation are deferred by three months.
  • Workers safety training certificates that expired since February 28, 2020 have been extended to June 30, 2020, with workers having to recertify by August 30, 2020.

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has yet to announce supports for the self-employed.

    Workers’ Compensation

  • WorkplaceNL is offering reduced services at this time, but is prepared to help with any questions business owners may have. Employers are able to revise their payroll estimates at any time.

  • For more detailed information, please visit the Newfoundland and Labrador COVID-19 information page.

Yukon

Entered Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. If you have non-medical questions, email covid19info@gov.yk.ca or phone 1-877-374-0425.

For medical questions or if you feel ill, phone 811, or launch the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

Self-isolation

  • Residents of Yukon, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have to self-isolate when they arrive in the territory if they have not travelled outside of these 4 regions.
  • Residents of other parts of Canada who arrive in Yukon must self-isolate, with limited exceptions.
  • When you self-isolate, monitor yourself for symptoms

Find out more about what being in Phase 2 means.

Travel and borders

See all information about travel and borders.  

To see the Yukon government’s most recent announcements, click here.

Northwest Territories

 Self-isolation

  • Residents of Yukon, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have to self-isolate when they arrive in the territory if they have not travelled outside of these 4 regions.

Provide small businesses and individuals with access to greater cash flow during this crisis, by pausing most collections efforts, including:

  • Outside collection agency activity
  • GNWT set-offs on GNWT payments
  • GNWT set-offs on Canada Revenue Agency tax refunds
    • Low interest loans to business operators through the Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC). Loans of up to $25,000 are available to NWT businesses at a rate of 1.75%. To see if you are eligible and to apply, click here
    • Clients of the BDIC can also apply to reduce or defer up to three months of loan payments without penalty or additional interest charges. Businesses will be automatically approved and do not require demonstration of financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Requests must be received no later than the 24th day of the month prior to the payment date. For more information, click here.

    For all other information business related information from Northwest Territories, please visit the official government website here. 


Nunavut

One-time relief grant of $5000 for small businesses affected by COVID-19.

 

Self-isolation

  • Residents of Yukon, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have to self-isolate when they arrive in the territory if they have not travelled outside of these 4 regions.
  • Residents of other parts of Canada who arrive in Yukon must self-isolate, with limited exceptions.
  • When you self-isolate, monitor yourself for symptoms

Prospective applicants can apply on the Government of Nunavut's website, or by contacting a staffer who works at their regional Economic Development office.