Support For Businesses

This page was last updated: May 27, 2020**Disclaimer: We strive to update the information on this page as quickly as possible.

 

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.

You can also visit the following government website for help in finding information on the programs that are right for your business: https://innovation.ised-isde.canada.ca/s/?language=en 

 

Business Credit Availability Program

  •  The federal government  has established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
  • BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.
  • This program includes:
    • Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
      Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
      This financing support is to be used for operational expenses and is available to both exporting and non-exporting companies.
      Contact your financial institution for more information.
    • Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
      Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
      The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues.
      Financed amount:

      • 80 % provided by BDC
      • 20 % provided by your financial institution
      • This support is available until or before September 30, 2020.
        Contact your financial institution for more information.

These programs are now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.

 

Expanding the BCAP

 

Extending the federal work- sharing program:

 

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

 

 Refund for Certain Payroll Contributions

  • The Government is proposing to expand the CEWS by introducing a new 100 per cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. This refund would cover 100 per cent of employer-paid contributions for eligible employees for each week throughout which those employees are on leave with pay and for which the employer is eligible to claim for the CEWS for those employees.
  • In general, an employee will be considered to be on leave with pay throughout a week if that employee is remunerated by the employer for that week but does not perform any work for the employer in that week. This refund would not be available for eligible employees that are on leave with pay for only a portion of a week.
  • This refund would not be subject to the weekly maximum benefit per employee of $847 that an eligible employer may claim in respect of the CEWS. There would be no overall limit on the refund amount that an eligible employer may claim.
  • For greater certainty, employers would be required to continue to collect and remit employer and employee contributions to each program as usual. Eligible employers would apply for a refund, as described above, at the same time that they apply for the CEWS.
  • More information here:   https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/wage-subsidy.html

 

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
  • To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.
  • Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.
  • Learn more here: https://ceba-cuec.ca/

 

Canada Summer Jobs Program:

  • To help students facing job loss, the Federal Government recently announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program that offers funding for employers that provide students with work experience.
  • These changes include:
    • increasing the wage subsidy to 100%,
    • extending the program end date to February 28, 2021,
    • allowing employers to adapt their projects and activities to support essential services; and
    • permitting employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.
  •  The date for businesses or organizations to express their interest has closed. If you have any further questions about the changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program, please feel free to contact my office directly.
  • More info:   https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/canada-summer-jobs/temporary-flexibility.html

 

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.

 

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

  • This program is expected to lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
  • Applications will be accepted through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website beginning on May 25.
  • Application documents are accessible now. 
  • More information here:  https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business

Conservative Solutions to Gaps in CECRA Support:

  • In order to get rental relief, businesses need to have lost 70% of their revenue.  This all or nothing threshold means that many businesses that have stayed open despite significant revenue loss will have to close entirely in order to get help. In addition, businesses who experience a gradual increase in revenue as provinces ease health restrictions will lose the entire benefit.
  • To fix these gaps and ensure that small businesses get the rental relief they desperately need, Conservatives are calling on the government to:
    • Make the CECRA program more flexible and allow landlords to negotiate the unsubsidized half of the rent with their tenants.  The agreement would then be submitted to CMHC as part of their application for rental relief.
    • Include a sliding scale for businesses with less than 70% revenue loss, so that those experiencing significant revenue decline get some relief.

 

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

  • This Fund aims to help businesses in southern Ontario cope with financial hardship resulting from COVID-19.
  • For more information, please visit: https://www.feddevontario.gc.ca/eic/site/723.nsf/eng/h_02581.html?OpenDocument
  • Funding through Community Futures Development:
    • There has been separate funding set aside through Ontario’s Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC) in order to provide targeted assistance to rural businesses.
    • Applications for funding should be made through your local CFDC.
    • For Haldimand: Visit Grand Erie Business Centre’s website here for more information.
    • For Norfolk: Visit Venture Norfolk’s website here for more information.

 

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

  • Government of Canada is establishing the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.
  • The LEEFF program will be open to large for-profit businesses – with the exception of those in the financial sector – as well as certain not-for-profit businesses, such as airports, with annual revenues generally in the order of $300 million or higher.
  • To qualify, eligible businesses must be seeking financing of about $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings.
  • The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses, their workers and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.
  • This program will be delivered by the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Department of Finance.
  • More details will be available soon.

 

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

 

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 until May 31, 2020.

 

General FAQ

As an employer, do you have questions regarding your obligations to your employees?

 

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

 

Where can I find Ontario’s reopening plan?

 

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.

 

Additional Links

 

This page was last updated: May 27, 2020**Disclaimer: We strive to update the information on this page as quickly as possible.