COVID-19 & Your Business
This resource page contains all the information on business supports announced by the Federal, Provincial and Municipal levels of Government. We’ve provided details and access to links below.
Please check back frequently as we will continue to provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, please send us your questions and let us know how else we can support you.
May 22, 2020
To see the announcement of the Ontario Virtual Action Centre please click here
May 14, 2020
Provincial Framework for Re-Opening the Economy
The Provincial Government has announced the first stage of the framework for re-opening the economy. Multiple businesses across several sectors will be able to re-open under strict health and safety guidelines. See which businesses are allowed to open here and read stage one of the re-opening framework here.
May 6, 2020
The Government of Ontario has announced a further loosening of restrictions for the retail and essential construction sectors. These changes come into effect between May 8th and 11th.
Friday, May 8th: Garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases. They will operateu nder the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies.
Saturday 9th: Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases.
Monday, May 11: Retail stores with a street entrance can start offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health's Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.
The government is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue.
April 27, 2020
Though Ontario is not ready to re-open the economy yet, the Provincial Government has outlined the requirements that it will use to begin re-opening businesses, services and public spaces in gradual stages. Click to read the full framework.
Prime Minister Trudeau has announced the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) is now open for applications. The LEEFF program offers bridge financing to medium-to-large Canadian companies. The Prime Minister also announced that applications for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance will open on May 25th. CECRA will see the Federal and Provincial Governments cover 50% of a tenant’s rent, with tenants and landlords each covering another 25%.
LEEFF Link: https://www.cdev.gc.ca/
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund:
The Federal Government has announced the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund which will provide financial support to SMEs that are unable to access other federal COVID-19 relief measures. Eligible SMEs in Southern Ontario will be able to apply for this financial assistance through FedDev. Read the full information on the RRRF here.
The Federal Government has taken a number of measures to assist businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
The Federal Government has announced new details around the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA) which is expected to be operational by mid-May:
- Rent will be lowered by 75% for qualifying small businesses impacted by COVID-19 for May and June and, retroactively, April.
- The program applies to business tenants with rent under $50k who have temporarily ceased operations or who have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.
- The program will provide forgivable loans to commercial property owners to enable them to lower the rent of tenants. The Federal and Provincial Government will cover 50% of this reduction and landlords will cover the other 25%.
- Charities and non-profits will also be covered during the program.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Applications for the Wage Subsidy will open on April 27th through the CRA website.
- The subsidy covers 75% of salary up to the first $58,700 earned by an employee to a maximum of $847 a week. It will be paid retroactively to March 15th.
- Businesses who have seen at least a 30% decrease in gross revenue compared to January and February of this year. For March, businesses will need to demonstrate a 15% decrease in gross revenue to be eligible.
- Companies will need to reapply each month to receive the subsidy.
- The subsidy applies to companies of all sizes with employee numbers not an eligibility factor. Not-for-profits/charities are included.
- This system is designed to be flexible as the government recognizes it will be difficult for businesses to show this difference. Further details will be provided in the coming days.
- Businesses will need to attest that they are doing what they can to pay the other 25% of salaries for employees.
- The government has advised that companies should rehire employees if possible.
- Applications can be made through the CRA website, with the portal and fund payments being ready in 3-6 weeks.
- The payout will then be made to a direct deposit system, which is already used by 50% of companies in Canada.
Business Credit Availability Program
The Canadian Government has used the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide $65 billion of additional funding to businesses.
The program includes:
Canada Emergency Business Account
- The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits,
- Revised as of April 16th: To qualify, these organizations need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 and $1.5 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 be available three weeks after March 27, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.
The Business Development Bank (BDC) can assist small businesses and entrepreneurs with these three options. You can either reach them at their financing request page or through their toll-free contact number at 1-877-232-2269 (Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).
The Export Development Canada is designed to assist exporting companies with relief options. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 1-800-229-0575 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, or submit an inquiry online.
The Government of Canada has announced a monthly Canada Emergency Benefit. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. It is a taxable benefit and you must re-apply for it monthly.
The program also applies to self-employed workers, seasonal workers and those who have recently run out of EI. People who make less than $1,000 a month due to reduced work hours will also qualify.
· That provides $2,000 a month, for up to four months, for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
· This program is specifically aimed at workers who would not normally be eligible for EI.
· It covers Canadians who have lost their jobs, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. This also applies to self-employed workers.
Visit the government website to learn more about CERB.
Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments
Businesses, including self-employed individuals, can now defer the following until June 30, 2020:
· Payments of the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST)
· Customs duties owing on their imports.
· The deferral will apply to GST/HST remittances for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods for monthly filers;
· The January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period for quarterly filers;
· For annual filers, the amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and installments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.
· For GST and customs duty payments for imported goods, the deferral will include amounts owing for March, April, and May.
· The 2020 tax deadline has been extended to June 1st, 2020.
· Payment deadline for those who owe taxes has been deferred until after August 31, 2020.
The Government of Canada has launched a dedicated page for Canadian businesses to provide them with the information and resources to navigate the challenges of COVID19 which can be accessed here.
April 1, 2020
The Government of Ontario has released their 2020 Action Plan responding to COVID-19. Some of these benefits include:
· Setting electricity prices for small business time-of-use customers at the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days.
· Cutting taxes for employers through a temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.
· Introduction of the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit, a new corporate income tax which will support regions lagging in employment growth.
· Providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
· Deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days. This will allow municipalities flexibility to provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses.
Read more here.
Ontario Together Fund
The Ontario government is launching a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment.
For further information, visit the Ontario Together portal.
An Employer's Guide to COVID-19 & The Workplace
COVID-19 is forcing many Ontario businesses to consider work-from-home strategies, paid and unpaid time off for their employees, and even short term closures. As an employer, what do you need to know about COVID-19, and what are your responsibilities for keeping your workplace safe and your employees healthy?
Our advocacy partner, Minken Employment Lawyers, is making their report, an Employer’s Guide to Covid-19 & the Workplace available. Click the link to download it.
SE Telecom Assistance:
Chamber member SE Telecom is offering free disaster relief by providing their Clear Clouds business phone system to local businesses with free service until July 1, 2020, with no upfront cost or commitment. See the Details Here
Topping Up EI Benefits
Looking to top up EI for your employees? This guide from Chaggares & Bonhomme Chartered Professional Accountants explains how to do it. Access it HERE