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We will be updating and adding resources daily.
- GI Educational Resources
- Daily Updates from GI
- Public Health Notice Regarding COVID-19
- COVID-19 Federal Assistance Programs
- Additional Resources to consider
- Provincial updates
May 20th - CECRA and LEEFF Updates
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to:
- reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants
- meet operating expenses on commercial properties
Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020
Details at link below:
Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility
The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) is now open and taking in applications. The program aims to support Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing.
Details at link below:
May 19 -WAGE SUBSIDY EXTENDED & EXPANDED; CEBA EXPANSION
CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY EXTENDED & EXPANDED
The government announced the expansion and extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). This is good news for some manufacturers that were originally excluded from the CEWS or for those who will continue to need it past June. Here are the details:
- The end-date of the CEWS will be extended from June 6, 2020 to August 29, 2020. They are considering relaxing the 30% revenue decline threshold to account for future increases in business activity
- CEWS eligibility was also expanded. Changes were made to the rules around partnerships, business mergers/amalgamations, tax-exempt trusts, and seasonal employees. Full details here.
These changes will involve regulatory and legislative amendments.
CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT (CEBA) EXPANSION
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses.
The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.
To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:
- a business operating account at a participating financial institution
- a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
- eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come. The government will continue to work on solutions to help business owners and entrepreneurs who operate through their personal bank account, as opposed to a business account, or have yet to file a tax return, such as newly created businesses.
May 13: Objective Opinion from Business Development Bank of Canada
What’s the situation in Canada? Various governments have begun to announce their plans to ease containment measures. This list is as of May 8 2020.
Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia—These four provinces were still close to their infection peaks when they made announcements about the gradual resumption of activity.
In Alberta, activity related to agriculture and the oil and gas industry never ceased. Some retailers will be allowed to reopen on May 14 (clothing, furnitures, bookstores). Theatres, recreation centres and gyms will remain closed. Schools will not open before the fall.
In Ontario, the province proposed to restart the economy in three phases, two to four weeks apart. In each phase, more and more sectors will be able to resume operations. However, the initiation of the next stage will require a reduction in the spread of the disease and the province is not ruling out retightening measures, if necessary. The economic sectors affected by this roadmap will be identified in the near future. Ontario schools could reopen in early June.
In Quebec, residential construction and mining activity resumed in April. Retailers with outdoor access reopened on May 4 (May 25 for hard-hit greater Montreal). Some manufacturing companies (by number of employees) and all construction businesses resumed operations on May 11. Various suppliers to these sectors were also able to return to work.
Elementary schools and daycare centres in Quebec were reopened on May 11 (May 25 in greater Montreal, if the situation permits). However, parents were free to decide whether to send their children to school. High schools, colleges and universities will remain closed until September.
In Nova Scotia, construction activity continued this spring, but non-essential services remain closed. Some outdoor activities have been authorized starting on May 1.
British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba—Infection rates peaked in these three provinces a few weeks ago when the easing announcements were made.
British Columbia had its first positive cases at the end of January and its infection rate reached a plateau by the end of March. Nevertheless, only essential services were in operation in early May. Starting in mid-May, health services and some retailers could resume their activites if they follow the appropriate precautions.
Saskatchewan unveiled a five-phase restart plan. The first phase involves mainly outdoor activities and the work of health care professionals. The second phase, scheduled for May 19, includes retail stores. The third phase would see restaurants and fitness facilities reopen. Arenas, swimming pools and playgrounds could reopen in phase four. Finally, the last phase would see a lifting of restrictions on the size of public gatherings. There are no dates for the phases and the relaxation of measures will depend on the evolution of virus’s spread.
In Manitoba, the reopening of non-essential businesses will occur in several stages: As of May 4, hair salons were allowed to reopen, as were retail stores that met certain safety standards. Other services could resume at the earliest on 1 June.
New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador—These three Atlantic provinces had reported less than one case per million people in the last week.
New Brunswick residents will move through a four-colour process of gradual reopening: Red, orange, yellow and green. Outdoor activities were first allowed with business reopening to be announced later. The reopening of daycares, offices and restaurants are expected in the coming weeks.
Prince Edward Island reduced its restrictions on May 1. The lobster fishery was scheduled to resume in mid-May. Access to the province remained limited for non-residents.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, with the exception of retail and restaurants, there were no mandatory closures of businesses that maintained adequate sanitary measures. The provincial government was aiming to lift the first restrictions on May 11
Read more here:
May 11: Extension of CEWS and Support for Medium and Large Business
On Friday, the Prime Minister announced that the federal government will be extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy beyond June, because it’ll become even more crucial as stores and businesses begin to open. More details on this to come later this week.
It was also announces that Minister Bains will be leading a new Industry Strategy Council. Chaired by Monique Leroux, this Council will take a deeper dive into how the pandemic is affecting specific sectors, and how to best support them.
Today, Prime Minister Trudeau announced support for medium and large business having difficulties staying afloat through the pandemic.
As part of this the government is expanding the Business Credit Availability Program, put in place to keep small businesses solvent, to mid-sized companies, and Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada will work with private-sector lenders to free up access to tens of millions of dollars in capital, Trudeau said.
In addition, the Prime Minister announced the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), the plan will allow big companies to access additional liquidity to keep their operations going, retain workers on payroll, and avoid bankruptcy. The funds will come in the form of bridge financing provided by the federal government, where private institutions can not help and will come with a series of special terms and conditions, including a commitment providing a strong environmental plan. Further information can be found at:https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/05/11/prime-minister-announces-additional-support-businesses-help-save
May 7: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Updated Links
New information is available on the CECRA at these links:
CMHC – COVID–19: CECRA for Small Businesses / SCHL – COVID-19 : AUCLC destinée aux petites entreprises
We will continue to monitor this and many other issues surrounding COVID-19 and will try to keep you as informed as we possibly can.
April 30: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Update
On Friday, the Government of Canada announced additional details on theCanada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance(CECRA) for small businesses, which will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been most affected by COVID-19.
Today, more details on the program are now available**\ from CMHC**.
CECRA will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June. In this way, CECRA will provide relief for small businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in gross rent that have either been forced to close due to the pandemic or have had their revenues severely impacted by at least 70 per cent. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will administer the program on behalf the Government of Canada and our provincial and territorial partners.
April 29: Planning for Recovery
The tone of announcement from all levels of government definitely changed this week. Although there have been announcement regarding programs to assist students through the summer and there are still lots of unanswered question regarding commercial rent support, the discussion has shifted to recovery and opening the economy, which is currently in an "induced coma".
There is debate as to the details and how fast some provinces are moving on reopening the economy, particularly Quebec, however there has been a response from pretty much every province and the federal government to pressures to start at least talking about plans for getting past the pandemic.
Links to various responses are listed below:
- First Ministers’ statement on shared public health approach to support restarting the economy
- Reopening Ontario after COVID-19
- Quebec: Pandémie de la COVID-19 - Réouverture graduelle des écoles et des services de garde : le mot d'ordre sera la prudence
- Manitoba premier announces plan to reopen the province beginning next week
- Coronavirus: A closer look at Alberta’s relaunch strategy
- ’Rebooting B.C.’ means carefully reopening business
- Province Announces Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan
- New Brunswick: No new cases of COVID-19; helping businesses with reopening planning
- Renew PEI Together
- Premier says reopening plan coming Thursday, as N.L. reports zero new COVID-19 cases
- Yukon officials eye plan to reopen, but won't set a date yet
- Nothing new from either Nova Scotia or Nunavut.
Meanwhile the Canadian Business Resilience Network has provided the following from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce:
CANADIAN CHAMBER IDENTIFIES FIVE KEYS TO REOPENING THE ECONOMY
On a slightly different note, Canada Life has developed a website to help with business and individuals cope with mental illness during and after the pandemic: Introducing the new Workplace Strategies for Mental Health
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced on Friday that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
The government is also providing further details on the program:
- The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent 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 eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months 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 per cent 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 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
WHERE TO START:
To get the help you need:
- *Visit our government’s COVID-19* Economic Response Plan website for information about supporting your employees and your business. It is constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves. Remember that there are other programs, such as the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy and the Emergency Wage Subsidy (applications accepted starting today) that your company may be able to take advantage of the weather the pandemic.
- Contact your local financial institution.Since we know most small businesses have a relationship with their local financial institution already, we’ve worked with the financial sector to increase their lending capability to support you in in this challenging time. They are a good first place to start for help.
- Another useful site that we've discovered is the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare you business in the days and weeks to come.
Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, launched the application process for the CEWS. As of today, employers can apply for the CEWS throughMy Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a Client.
All claims that are approved through the CRA’s automated verification process will be sent for payment on May 5, so that payments being made through direct deposit should begin to appear in employers’ accounts as of May 7. Some applications will require a secondary verification, done manually, and in these cases the CRA may contact employers to verify information. It is expected that these secondary verifications will take no more than 72 hours in the vast majority of cases.
The CRA has again partnered with financial institutions to enroll Canadian employers for direct deposit, and employers can now register business payroll accounts for direct deposit with the CRA through their bank portals.
Signing up for direct deposit will enable employers whose applications are approved to receive their CEWS payments quickly and securely. Employers can sign up for direct deposit with their financial institutions even after applying for the CEWS.
Confirmation from Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) officials occurred today with the following dates for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS):
- CRA portal opens for CEWS applications on April 27, 2020 (Monday)
- CRA will start processing CEWS payments on May 4, 2020 (following Monday)
- CRA anticipates that once processing starts, companies can anticipate receiving funds within days, if those companies are registered for direct deposit.
It is recommended to go to the CRA portal as soon as possible to get set up, use their calculator to estimate what your company would likely receive and, by Monday, review the Questions and Answers (Q&A) that they are in the process of putting together. The best place to start is:
Saskatchewan announces five phase reopening starting May 4th
COVID-19 Update: Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Update
Prime Minister Trudeau announced this morning that a calculator has been developed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to estimate what companies can expect when the CEWS comes into effect.
The Prime Minister also indicated that applications will be accepted starting Monday, April 27, 2020 at the CRA portal that is being setup. He was, however, unable to give a timeline on availability of the funds for the CEWS. Indications are that the funds will start to flow in a week or two.
We note that the CEWS website has an update as of today and does include a calculator:
COVID-19 Update: Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy Update and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced new measures to support Canadian businesses so they can keep their doors open and their employees on the job.
The Government of Canada is:
Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs.
Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.
The government will continue to monitor and respond to the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19, and take additional actions as needed to protect the health and safety of Canadians and stabilize the economy.
Hopefully these changes will allow more companies to take advantage of the wage subsidy, and provide for commercial rent deferral.
COVID-19 Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy Update
From the Hill Times:
According to The Globe and Mail, the feds’ draft bill for the 75 per cent wage subsidy, worth an estimated $71-billion, introduces some flexibility for businesses and charities looking to qualify. Though the requirement to demonstrate a 30 per cent revenue drop is part of the draft bill for April and May, the threshold has been reduced to 15 per cent for those looking to use March as the benchmark.
Also, according to the G&M the draft bill, will under certain conditions, allow companies to use January and February as reference periods when calculating their revenue for the subsidy.
Hopefully these changes will allow more companies to take advantage of the wage subsidy, and keep more people on their payrolls.
April 4, 2020
The online portal to apply for the feds’ Canada Emergency Response Benefit opens today. Since the government has staggered application dates by birth months, those born between January and March are first in line. While the criteria for the CERB stipulates that the beneficiary must be at least 15 years old, some students may find themselves unable to qualify if they haven’t earned at least $5,000 in the past 12 months. It also excludes those who have voluntarily quit their jobs.
As a temporary measure the Ontario government has revised the list of essential businesses. The updated list will direct additional businesses to close and restricts specified businesses to providing services by alternate methods such as curb side pick up and delivery, except in exceptional circumstances. This includes stores that sell hardware products, vehicle parts and supplies, pet and animal supplies, office supplies and computer products and repairs and safety supplies.
Only critical construction projects will continue, including industrial projects such as refineries and petrochemical plants and infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, roads and bridges. New starts in residential projects will stop, while residential construction that is near completion will continue. Business-owners with questions concerning their essential business status are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:30 a.m.― 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m.— 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The updated essential businesses list can be found here.
The updated essential services list for Quebec is here, in French, however English list has yet to be updated.
CTEA will continue to monitor and provide pertinent information for our members.
B.C.'s provincial health officer offered another glimmer of hope Saturday when she announced only 29 new test-confirmed cases, marking the smallest increase for the number of cases province wide last week.
April 2, 2020
Recently, Google has rolled out an update so you're able to make COVID-19 posts/updates on your Google My Business account to inform people of your business's status.
To make an update, sign into your GMB account, select your location, and go under the "Posts" tab where you will find the option to make a COVID-19 update. https://business.google.com/
April 1, 2020
COVID-19 Update: Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy
Today Finance Minister Bill Morneau added some clarity to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy announced by Prime Minister Trudeau:
- Eligible to companies that have seen a 30% or more drop in revenue due to COVID-19, whether the business is operational or not.
- 75% of first $58,700 of wages, i.e. a maximum $847.00 per employee per week. (Figure appears to be based on ceiling maximum taxable CPP earnings).
- Not-for-profits, charities and large or small business will be eligible.
- 30% drop in revenue will be based upon the revenue seen in March, April and May 2020 versus the revenue seen for the same months in 2019. May be extended as necessary.
- Companies will have to reapply each month.
- Companies are being asked to make every effort to pay the other 25% of the employees' wages.
- CRA website portal for making application for the subsidy will be up in 3 to 6 weeks.
- Funds will be seen in about 6 weeks.
- Plan is to have funds deposited directly from CRA to business' bank accounts once approved.
- More details to follow for companies that have been up and running for less than one year.
- There will be harsh penalties for any "bad actors" who cheat this system.
Official press release here.
March 30, 2020
- Launched Four Pillars for Virtual Contact Sales and Marketing Resource Blog
Today Prime Minister Trudeau added some clarity Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy announced last week for businesses in dealing with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Eligible to companies that have seen a 30% or more drop in revenue due to COVID-19, whether the business is operational or not.
- 75% of first $58,700 of wages, i.e. a maximum $847.00 per week. (Figure appears to be based on ceiling maximum taxable CPP earnings).
- Not-for-profits, charities and large or small business will be eligible.
- Further details will be available from Finance Minister Bill Morneau tomorrow, March 31, 2020.
- When available, details should be accessed from here.
- Manitoba to shut down non-critical services April 1: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-covid-19-update-1.5514801
March 26, 2020
- COVID-19 Update webpage package released to all clients
March 25, 2020
- We recognize many of our clients are on retainers and may have cash flow problems during this difficult time. Now more than ever you will need to continue to communicate to your stakeholders: Customers, Staff, and Suppliers. We are here for you, as such we are offering deferral payment plans, step down of requirements or, in exceptional cases, temporary suspension of contract.
- COVID-19 updates and resources page launched
March 24, 2020
- Launched Five core Requirements Resource Blog
- In Person Meetings suspended
March 23, 2020
- Launched Remote Communications Resource Blog
March 20, 2020
- Committed to creation of emergency fund for our contract designers and developers
March 19, 2020
- All staff working remote
We'd like to remind you that some of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease are
- Washing your hands regularly. Wash your hands after using the restroom, touching your face, eating, drinking, coughing, or sneezing, and at regular intervals throughout the day. Use warm soapy water and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice. Alternatively, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is effective.
- Following proper cough and sneeze hygiene. Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue or your elbow — not your hand — and discard the tissue immediately after
- Staying at home if you are sick.
If you desire additional information pertaining to Novel Coronavirus - COVID-19 – the following websites are good sources to use:
Public Health Agency of Canada
World Health Organization
We are sure that every business is tuned into announcement regarding the programs that the federal government has initiated to assist businesses through the pandemic, however we wanted to put the links to this information out to ensure everyone is aware:
Support to Businesses:
Access to credit
- Establishing a Business Credit Availability Program
- Lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer
- Cutting the interest rate
Supporting financial market liquidity
- Contact your local financial institution. Since we know most small businesses have a relationship with their local financial institution already, we've worked with the financial sector to increase their lending capability to support you in in this challenging time. They are a good first place to start for help.
- Download the Canada Business App to find tailored supports to address your needs in the face of COVID-19.
- Consult the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare you business in the days and weeks to come.
- Consult the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters' Coronavirus Resource website.
Essential services information: https://www.alberta.ca/essential-services.aspx
Website for Business and Workers: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-information-for-businesses-and-workers
Non-essential business and health order: https://www.scribd.com/document/453988306/BG-PHA-COVID-19-PR
Non-essential business and health order: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/health-and-wellness/essential-and-non-essential-services-covid-19
Newfoundland and Labrador