In Canada, over 500,000 employees have already applied for employment insurance due to the spread of the coronavirus, which has already forced many businesses to close down. More layoffs are anticipated as non-essential businesses are sidelined in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
As more provinces declare a state of emergency and more and more non-essential businesses are forced to close, many business owners in Canada want to know what they can do to weather the storm and keep their business intact until the pandemic is over.
The federal government has already announced several special measures to support businesses, particularly those that have been forced to close entirely.
Self employed? See our guide for self employed workers affected by Coronavirus.
Federal Government Funding:
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy:
To help retain workers on their payroll, the Government of Canada has announced that it will provide a 75% wage subsidy to employers. The subsidy will last for 12 weeks and is backdated to March 15, 2020. Individuals, corporations, partnerships, non-profits, and registered charities are all eligible. In order to qualify, employers must be able to demonstrate a 30% drop in revenue due to COVID-19.
Business Credit Availability Program:
The Federal Government recently announced the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) in response to the economic impact of COVID-19. The program has three parts, all of which can be accessed by businesses to provide much-need financial relief. Payments from these programs will begin on April 17th, but you can contact your business's financial institution for more information and an official application.
The programs is administered by Economic Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada, who are working directly with financial institutions.
The three options in the BCAP are:
Canada Emergency Business Account. The federal government will now offer loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses. These loans are guaranteed and will be interest-free for the first year as a way of helping business owners. If the right conditions are met, up to $10,000 of the loan may be forgivable.
Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Economic Development Canada is working with a number of financial institutions to create new credit and cash-flow options for small and medium-sized enterprises across Canada. Loans up to $6.25M will be available.
Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. The Business Development Bank of Canada is working with Canadian financial institutions to co-lend term loans that will allow SMEs to meet their operational cash-flow needs.
Deferring Tax Debt:
The federal government recently announced that the tax payment deadline for self-employed individuals and businesses has been moved to August 31, 2020. The additional payment time should help some small business owners to defer their tax burden.
In addition, if your business has a debt with a banking institution, you should contact your banking representative to explore refinancing or loan deferral options.
Depending on what province your business is located in, your business may be able to access emergency funding or tax relief. Some of the provinces and territories have yet to announce any business relief measures as federal funding is considered to be the first option.
- The Government of Alberta has deferred all corporate income tax balances and installment payments until August 31, 2020.
- In Alberta, residents, agricultural businesses, and small businesses can defer their electricity and natural gas bill payments for 90 days.
- ATB Financial and credit unions across Alberta have announced that they will make it easier for small businesses to access short term loans with low-interest rates.
- The Government of Ontario is allowing all businesses with workplace insurance through the Workplace Insurance Safety Board to defer payments on their premiums for six months. Outstanding payments will not accrue interest and qualifying businesses do not need to opt-in order to defer their premium payments.
- All provincial tax on Employer Health, Tobacco, Fuel, Beer and Mining has been deferred until August 31, 2020, with no interest or penalties.
- Provincial land tax payments are deferred for a period of 90 days.
- Property tax reassessments have been postponed.
- All electricity is priced at "low peak" rates.
- Deferral of health tax payments for businesses with payroll of $500,000 or more until September 30, 2020.
- PST tax filing deadline extended to September 30, 2020.
- Business with light and major property classes will have their school tax cut by 50%.
- PST remittance deferral for three months and a suspension of any audits currently in progress.
- No notice or pay in lieu of notice required for employee layoffs due to public emergency.
- A Business Response Team has been created to provide advice and resources to struggling businesses in Saskatchewan.
- No interest or late payments charged on Worker's Compensation Board 2020 premiums.
- Emergency loans of up to $50,000 for businesses in Quebec.
- Collaborative program to help businesses adapt to new work scenarios like a distributed workforce. Expenses are refundable up to $100,000.
- Tax owed to Revenue Quebec has been deferred to September 1, 2020.
- No charges from Hydro Quebec for unpaid commercial bills and no cut-offs for failure to pay.
- Commercial property tax late fees will be waived for businesses facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
- Landlords will not be permitted to evict commercial tenants for a failure to pay their lease until May 31, 2020.
- All Worker's Compensation Board premium payments have been deferred for three months.
- NBPower small business customers can defer their bill payments for up to 90 days.
- Interest on government loans can be deferred on a case-by-case basis.
- The Government of New Brunswick will provide operating loans of up to $200,000 with no interest or payments for the first 12 months.
Prince Edward Island.
- Property tax payments are deferred until December 31, 2020.
- Landlords who defer payments from their commercial tenants may be eligible for up to $50,000 in financial assistance if the deferred debt can't be paid back by the tenant.
- Worker's Compensation Board premium payments have been deferred until June 30, 2020.
- Small businesses can receive up to $100,000 in provincial loans through the Emergency Working Capital Financing program.
- COVID-19 Business Adaptation Program to help businesses cover the cost of hiring consultants to help them adapt to the situation.
Newfoundland & Labrador.
- Payments on loans administered by the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation have been deferred for three months.
- Worker's Compensation Board payment premiums have been deferred until June 30, 2020.
- Paid sick leave rebate for employers to cover up to 14 days of wages per employee.
Bank of Montreal Financial Relief for Businesses:
BMO Financial Group is rolling out customized loan and credit products for businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. With BMO, businesses will now be able to defer payments on lines of credit and loans for up to 6 months. New working capital loans will also be made available.
In addition, BMO is now offering one-on-one advice to business owners.
National Business Resources:
- Government of Canada.
- Business Development Bank of Canada.
- Office of The Prime Minister of Canada.
- Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses.
- Canada Revenue Agency.
Business Resources by Province/Territory:
Prince Edward Island.
Newfoundland & Labrador.