Support For Businesses & Farmers

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but many have shut down in order to combat COVID-19.
Below is a list of support programs available to small businesses during this time.

If you own a small business, I would like to hear from you on whether these programs are helpful to you. Please email my office at diane.finley@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1-866-496-3400 to share your views.

 

Temporary Business Wage Subsidy

  • 75 per cent wage subsidy for all businesses that have seen a 30% drop in revenue due to COVID-19, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll.
  • The Government will cover up to 75 per cent of a salary on the first $58,700, which could mean payments up to $847 per week.
  • Businesses are encouraged to top-up their employees wages by covering the remaining 25% of their salaries.
  • Wage subsidies will be retroactive to March 15, 2020.
  • Charities and non-profits are also eligible for the wage subsidy.
  • More details on the program are expected on April 1, 2020.
  • More information:  https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html

 

Extending the federal work- sharing program:

 

GST/HST Payments:

  • Businesses, including self-employed individuals, will be able to defer their GST and HST payments until June 30, 2020.
  • Custom duties owed for imports will also be deferred until June 30, 2020.

 

Help for Farmers & the Agri-food Sector:

 

Business Credit Availability Program

  • This program will provide more than $65 billion in additional support to Canadian businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
  • BDC and EDC are also working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exportation and tourism. This program includes:
    • Canada Emergency Business Account:
      • This program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and non-profits to help cover operating costs when their revenues have been reduced due to COVID-19
      • To qualify, these organizations need to demonstrate that they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.
    • Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
      • EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
    • Co-lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
      • BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements
      • Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program
  • These programs will role out three weeks after March 27, 2020 and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.

Additional Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Supports

Additional Export Development Canada (EDC) Supports

EDC is here to help Canadian exporters. For all inquiries, please contact an EDC Trade Advisor:

Launch of Insure Mortgage Purchase Program

 

Bank of Canada actions

  • The Bank of Canada is acting in several ways to support the economy and financial system and stands ready to take any and all actions that it can to protect the well-being of Canadians during this difficult time. The Bank has responded by lowering interest rates, intervening to support key financial markets and providing liquidity support for financial institutions.
  • Learn more

 

Lowering the domestic stability buffer

  • The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25%of risk-weighted assets. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy.

 

Lower Hydro Rates:

  • On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Provincial government announced that it would be dropping the price of hydro from its peak price of 20.8 cents per kilowatt hour to 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour to help less the financial burden on families and businesses.
  • This price will be in effect for 45 days.

 

General FAQ

As an employer, do you have questions regarding your obligation to your employees:

 

Do I need to provide a Record of Employment (ROE) to Service Canada for an employee that is going on leave as a result of COVID-19?

  • Employers should use reason Code A (Shortage of work) as the reason for separation on the ROE.
  • When the ROE is not submitted:
    • In situations where fact-finding is required with the employer (i.e. a dismissal); this is the high-level process followed by agents:
      • The agent attempts to obtain the facts concerning the reason for separation by calling the employer. Two telephone attempts are made within 48 hours. Voicemails are left when the employer has one.
      • If the telephone attempts are unsuccessful, a letter is sent to the employer by mail asking to contact the agent. A delay of 10 days is provided.
      • If the employer does not contact the agent after those attempts, a decision is rendered with the facts on file, hence without the facts from the employer.
    • For a situation where the ROE is missing to calculate the claim, and the client is requesting help in obtaining the ROE, this is the high-level process followed by agents:
      • The agents attempt to remind the employer of their obligation to submit an ROE by calling them. Two telephone attempts are made within 48 hours. Voicemails are left when the employer has one.
      • If the telephone attempts are unsuccessful, a letter is sent to the employer by mail asking them to submit the ROE. A delay of 10 days is provided.
      • As soon as the first letter is sent, the processing agents starts the interim ROE process to calculate the claim without the ROE and benefits may begin.
      • If the employer does not submit the ROE after the first letter, a second letter is sent by mail asking to submit the ROE. At this stage, the processing agent does not do a follow-up on the second letter. Instead, the file is referred to Integrity Services for them to follow-up with the employer.
    • For more information, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/ei-roe.html
  • Need to order a paper ROE?
    • Employers must communicate with the Employer Contact Centre to order paper ROE forms. Service Canada no longer accepts orders for paper ROE forms by fax or mail.
    • When you call, you will be asked to provide the following information:
      • Your 15-character Payroll Account Number (PAN) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The PAN can be found on the CRA PD7A (Statement of account for current source deductions) form. If you do not have a PAN, you will have to request one from CRA, and
      • The name, address and telephone number of your business.
    • What to do with each copy of a paper ROE form:
      • Give the 1st copy (the original) to your employee as proof of insurable earnings for claiming EI benefits
      • Send the 2nd copy (blue) to Service Canada as indicated on the form
      • Keep the 3rd copy (white) in your files for 6 years
    • If you need to call, you will need:
      • Your Business Number (BN), or the BN of the business you are calling about
      • The postal code associated with the BN (as registered with CRA)
      • Canada and the United States:
        • Toll-free: 1-800-367-5693
        • TTY: 1-855-881-9874

 

As an employer, should I be requiring my employees to provide a medical certificate if they are unable to work due to COVID-19?

  • Claimants placed in quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate, if the quarantine is:
    • Imposed on the claimant under the laws of Canada or a province
    • Imposed on the claimant by a public health official for the health and safety of the public at large, or
    • Recommended by such an official for health and safety of the public at large, and the claimant was asked by their employer, medical doctor, a nurse or a person in authority to place themselves under quarantine.
  • However, claimants who fall sick during the quarantine period and collect benefits beyond the period of quarantine will be required to obtain and retain a medical certificate, which is the current practice for all other sickness benefits claims. As these individuals would be under active medical care, getting a medical certificate is expected not to be problematic.

 

What supports for Small Business owners are the Conservative Party calling for?

  • Small businesses across the country are being hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis and need urgent support.
  • Conservatives are calling on the federal government to increase support for small businesses and workers by:
    • Significantly increasing the wage subsidy to protect workers;
    • Refunding all GST remittances to the small businesses that collected them in at least the last six months; and
    • Back stopping banks that extend low interest loans to small businesses.

 

What is the Government of Ontario doing to support small businesses?

Lower Hydro Rates:

  • On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Provincial government announced that it would be dropping the price of hydro from its peak price of 20.8 cents per kilowatt hour to 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour to help lessen the financial burden on families and businesses.
  • This price will be in effect for 45 days.

 

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