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Editorial: Help is on the way

Federal government rolling out support for businesses across Canada


June 12, 2020
By Andrew Snook

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Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. So, when the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic made its way across the globe and into Canada, we needed a quick and powerful response on many fronts.

The Government of Canada’s response was to announce an $82-billion COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which offers
financial support to individuals, families, businesses and some entire sectors. The package featured $55 billion in tax deferrals for businesses and $27 billion in direct aid. In case you’re wondering what $82 billion looks like, it’s more than three per cent of Canada’s GDP.

So, what does this program look like? Well, not surprisingly, it’s extremely vast.

I decided to go online and review some of the supports that the federal government is setting up. Here’s a brief list of a few of the business supports currently in place for you to peruse:

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Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
Found under the heading, “Avoiding layoffs and rehiring employees,” the CEWS is designed to support employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic, and protect the jobs of Canadians. The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee’s wages – up to $847 per week – for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

The program was originally put in place for the 12-week period from March 15 to June 6, 2020, but the Government of Canada recently announced that the program would be extended past June (hard dates were not available as of press time).

Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.

For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for a period, any benefit from the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period will generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

Applications for the CEWS opened on April 27.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
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.

These are only two examples of what is potentially available for businesses in need of assistance during these strange times. More details and support programs are expected to be rolled out federally and provincially. So, if you’re struggling due to this global pandemic, hang in there. More help will be coming.

For now, all we can do is adapt to the new reality as best we can and stay safe out there.

For more details on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, visit: www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html