This spring, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions have swept across Canada, leaving businesses struggling to make sense of the coronavirus economic impact. For many, it’s a significant financial threat.
“As a seasonal business, we are challenged with the potential of losing revenue for a complete year (season) coupled with the possibility of having to refund membership dues that were pre-paid as the end of last year,” says Kim Bailey of Lynbrook Family Golf Centre in Amaranth, Ontario. When fully operational, the golf centre employs 13 full-and-part-time staff. “Our industry has been deemed as non-essential and has been subsequently closed before our season even starts.”
The good news is that help is available for proactive Canadian businesses. The federal government has quickly introduced a new economic plan to help assist business owners. However, it can be tricky to figure out if your business qualifies and which program could best suit your needs.
Learn about Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan and the latest business benefits in Canada so you can take action now to make the right decisions for your business during these turbulent times.
Canadian Government Joins Others to Offer Economic Relief Plan
Over the past weeks, governments worldwide have announced economic relief plans to help their small businesses. Last month, countries including Chile, the Czech Republic, and the UK announced delayed due dates for tax payments. This month Australia introduced a wage subsidy program and Ireland announced a small business subsidy plan to compensate employers whose businesses have been impacted by the pandemic.
The Government of Canada was an early advocate of national economic responses, announcing plans to roll out economic benefits totaling $107 billion for Canadian businesses and citizens on March 25, 2020. These measures include tax relief through delays in corporate and personal tax filings, programs for credit access and credit payment relief, plus wage subsidy programs to support small business owners.
Government Support for Your Business
Government action in response to the pandemic issue has resulted in several new business benefit programs that offer personal financial support and small business support to Canadians.
It’s important to understand that this new economic plan to assist business is continually evolving. Here’s a quick overview of the current programs.
To Prevent Layoffs
Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidies (CEWS) - cover as much as 75% of an employee’s wage up to $847 per week until August 29, 2020.
Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy – It is a three month- measure that allows qualified employers with an existing business number and payroll program account to reduce payroll deductions submitted to Canada Revenue Agency.
Work Sharing Program - maximum duration extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
Canada Summer Jobs Program - increased wage subsidy for private and public sector employers to receive up to 100% of the provincial/territorial maximum hourly wage for the employee. Employment end date extended to February 28, 2021, and now to include part-time workers.
Deferred business income tax - tax amounts owing from between March 18, 2020, and September 2020 are deferred until after August 31, 2020
Deferred Sales Remittance Tax and Customs Duty Payments - businesses and self-employed individuals can defer GST until June 30, 2020
Business Credit Access
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) – To provide 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.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) - interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to cover operating costs during periods of reduced revenue for businesses with between $20,000 and $1.5 million on their payroll. “The CEBA was quickly communicated to our business, via our bank,” says Bailey. “The application was very easy to understand and outlined if we were eligible and how to apply. Very seamless.”
Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) - loans/forgivable loans to property owners to lower or forego rents of small business tenants for April, May and June
Rural business credit access - $287 million access to capital for rural businesses available through Community Futures Network and accessed through Regional Development Agencies
Early-stage/innovative business assistance - $250M available through Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) for businesses that don’t qualify for other forms of COVID-19 assistance
Business credit assistance for young entrepreneurs - $20.1M available through FuturPreneur Canada as payment relief
During these unprecedented times, the Canadian government has taken significant and decisive actions to help businesses. The federal government continues to make changes in response to the evolving financial repercussions of the pandemic. As a Canadian small business owner, it’s important to stay up-to-date on new developments with these business support programs so that you and your employees don’t miss out on these important benefits.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.