A FRAMEWORK FOR REOPENING OUR PROVINCE
Ontario’s first stage of reopening the province will start on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will include the following:
- several retail services
- seasonal businesses
- recreational activities for individual competitors
- pet care services
- indoor and outdoor household services that follow public health guidelines
- resuming certain health and medical services
SUPPORTING BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYEES
CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY (CEWS):
Covering 75% of employees’ wages on the first $58,700 earned, for qualifying businesses and organizations. This subsidy will be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and will apply for 3 months.
Businesses now have more flexibility in terms of which monthly figures they compare to.
- One option is the change in an eligible employer’s monthly revenues, year-over-year, for the calendar month in which the period began. For example, comparing March 2020 to March 2019.
- The second option is to compare revenue using an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
Employers can select either approach when first applying to the CEWS but are required to use the same approach for the duration of the program.
There are 3 periods of eligibility, and the first one is March 15 to April 11. For this first period, the required reduction in revenue is now 15%, and for subsequent periods is 30%.
Once an employer is found eligible for a specific period, the employer automatically qualifies for the next period.
The subsidy is retroactive to March 15, 2020 and will last for 12 weeks, until June 6.
- Maximum benefit of $847 per employee/week.
- Employers are encouraged to contribute the other 25% of employees’ wages if they are able.
NOTE: Eligible employers would be able to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy by applying through a Canada Revenue Agency online portal. More details regarding how to apply for the program will come as soon as the details are finalized.
Eligible employers will be able to apply through their Canada Revenue Agency ‘My Business’ account or through a separate online portal. Applications will open on Monday, April 27, 2020. Please contact the CRA’s business telephone line, 1-800-959-5525 if you require assistance.
To help determine the required figures for your applications, as well as estimate the amount of your business’ wage subsidy, please visit the CRA’s wage subsidy calculator.
TEMPORARY BUSINESS WAGE SUBSIDY:
Employers who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may be eligible for this program.
- Eligible employers will receive a subsidy equal to 10% of wages, for the period from March 18 to before June 20, 2020.
- Maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
Employers will continue deducting income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, and Employment Insurance (EI) premiums from salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration paid to employees.
The subsidy is calculated when you remit these amounts to the CRA.
Once you have calculated your subsidy, you can reduce your current payroll remittance of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that you send to the CRA by the amount of the subsidy.
Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the Government of Canada is introducing temporary special measures to the Work-Sharing Program:
- Extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
- Mandatory cooling off period has been waived for employers who have already used the Work-Sharing program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement.
- Reduce the previous requirements for a Recovery Plan to a single line of text in the application form.
- Reduce the requirement and expand eligibility to employers affected by accepting business who have been in business for only 1 year rather than 2, and eliminate the burden of having to provide sales/production figures at the same time.
- Expand eligibility for staff who are essential to recovery, Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and non-for-profit organization employers.
ONTARIO-CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE:
The Government of Ontario is partnering with the Government of Canada to provide more than $900 million of urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak through the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). This program will lower rental costs for eligible small business tenants by 75% for April, May, and June 2020.
The provincial and federal governments will provide forgivable loans equivalent to 50% of the payable rent to eligible property owners. Of the remaining rental cost, 25% will be covered by the tenant and 25% will be covered by the landlord.
To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75%. The loan would also be contingent on the signing of a rent forgiveness agreement between impacted tenants and landlords, which would include a moratorium on evictions for three months.
The OCECRA will be administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and will be available until September 30, 2020. Support will be retroactive to April 1, covering April, May and June 2020.
An eligible small business tenant is one that:
- Pays monthly rent not exceeding $50,000 in gross rent payments; and is,
- A non-essential small business that has temporarily closed, or who is experiencing a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues (determined by comparing revenues in April, May or June to the same month in 2019 or alternatively compared to average revenues for January and February 2020).
Not-for-profit organizations and charitable entities will also be considered for the program.
CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB):
CERB is a benefit of up to $2,000 per month for up to 4 months. You’re eligible if you are:
- Sick, or directed to quarantine/self-isolate, but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits;
- Taking care of a family member with COVID-19
- EI-eligible or non EI-eligible working parent who must stay at home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures.
- People making $1000 or less per month
- Seasonal workers
- Those who have exhausted their EI Benefits since January 1st, 2020
Online portal is now open. Sign up for MY ACCOUNT through the CRA website – enter required information for direct deposit. This will speed up your application process.
Application dates are split up by birth-months as outlined below:
- January – March: APPLY ON MONDAYS
- April – June: APPLY ON TUESDAYS
- July-September: APPLY ON WEDNESDAY
- October-December: APPLY ON THURSDAY
- ANYONE CAN APPLY ON FRIDAYS, SATURDAY AND SUNDAYS
You can apply for the CERB through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), not both.
The Benefit is available for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.
The Government of Ontario has launched a new website intended to harness the resources and innovation of Ontario’s business community to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new $50 million Ontario Together Fund will support the development of essential equipment and supplies.
- Please click the button above if your business or organization can provide medical products such as ventilators, swabs, masks, and eye protection, or to submit any other ideas, products, or services that could help Ontarians.
If you need any help making an online submission, please call 1-888-777-0554.
- Once you submit you will get a reference number – please contact my office with this reference number and we will assist you.
NOT ELIGIBLE FOR ANY FEDERAL BENEFITS?If you are located in Peterborough and/or in the townships of Peterborough County catchment area may include:
- Businesses private and/or for-profit with the potential to grow through innovation.
- Supporting businesses; fourth pillar not-for-profit organizations plus community transition into the new rural economy.
INCOME TAX DEFERRALS
Providing flexibility to businesses who may find it challenging to meet their tax obligations.
- The Federal Government has allowed taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
DEFERRALS FOR PROVINCIALLY ADMINISTERED TAXES:
The Government of Ontario has made the period between April 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020 interest and penalty-free for businesses who are unable to file and make payments on time for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
- This is expected to free up as much as $6 billion in cash flow for approximately 100,000 businesses.
- This measure would complement the federal government’s March 18, 2020 announcement that it would provide relief from interest and penalties from not remitting Corporate Income Tax owing.
Deferring HST payments for small and medium-sized businesses until June, freeing up an additional $30 billion for businesses.
EDUCATION PROPERTY TAX DEFERRALS:
The Government of Ontario is providing municipalities with the option to defer the education property tax payment they make to school boards for 90 days. Reach out to your local municipality to make sure they are taking advantage of this.
- This would defer the June 30th quarterly municipal remittance to school boards which provides municipalities with the flexibility, in turn, to provide over $1.8 billion in property tax deferral to residents and businesses.
TAX CUTS AND CREDITS
Doubling the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption in 2020.
- Through this change, about 57,000 private-sector employers would pay less EHT in 2020, including about 30,000 more who would not pay EHT this year.
- This amounts to a tax cut of $355 million.
REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT:
Taking aim at regional economic disparities through the launch of a proposed new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit.
- Available to eligible businesses that build, renovate or acquire qualifying commercial and industrial buildings in designated regions of the province, saving them up to $45,000.
REDUCING COSTS FOR BUSINESSES
COMMUNITY FUTURES PETERBOROUGH
WORKPLACE SAFETY EXPENSES:
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is allowing employers to defer premium payments for up to six months, providing immediate relief of up to $1.9 billion.
- All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package.
- No interest will be accrued on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.
REDUCED ELECTRICITY COSTS:
The Government of Ontario has frozen electricity prices for eligible customers at the lowest “off peak” rate, 24 hours a day for 45 days.
Providing approximately $5.6 billion in 2020-21 to make electricity prices more affordable for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers.
LOANS AND CREDIT SUPPORT
BUSINESS CREDIT AVAILABILITY PROGRAM (BCAP):
The Government of Canada has established the BCAP to provide $65 billion of additional support to businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
The Business Credit Availability Programs includes the below:
CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT:
Canadian banks will provide loans of up to $40,000, backed by the federal government, to small and medium sized businesses and not-for-profits.
If repaid by December 31, 2022, 25% of the loan will be forgiven, or up to $10,000. If not repaid by this date, the remaining balance will be converted to a three-year term loan at 5 per cent interest.
UPDATE (April 16, 2020): To be eligible, organizations and businesses will need to demonstrate that they paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This is changed from the original requirement of $50,000 to $1 Million payroll.
The Canada Emergency Business Account launched on April 9, 2020. Contact your financial institution directly to apply.
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.
BANK OF CANADA INTEREST RATE REDUCTION:
On March 27th, the Bank of Canada lowered interest rates to 0.25%, down from 0.75% announced on March 13.
FARM CREDIT CANADA (FCC) COVID-19 SUPPORT PROGRAM:
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has put in place:
- a deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans; or
- a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
- access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Québec only)
CANADA'S REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES:
If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, the RDAs could assist you with:
- Access to federal funding to help you stay in business.
- Advice and pathfinding to other available federal programs and services.
LENDING LOOP SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING:
Lending Loop has implemented a temporary hardship program for borrowers that are currently distressed as a result of impacts of COVID-19. This program will allow Lending Loop clients that meet certain criteria to make interest-only payments on their loans for a period of 3 months to accommodate this unexpected event
FACEBOOK SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS PROGRAM:
The Government of Ontario has ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces in Ontario to slow the spread of COVID-19, as recommended by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
- The order will last until May 1st, 2020, and may be extended.
- Designated non-essential businesses are encouraged to find ways to help their employees work from home, if possible.
- If you have questions about what will be open, or the impacts this emergency order may have on your business, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. This line is open 7 days a week from 8:30am to 5pm.
Digital Main Street is a non-profit organization which helps small businesses connect with digital technologies, tools and service providers. These digital resources may be essential to the success of your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digital Main Street can assist you with a wide range of tools and services, including e-commerce platforms, websites, social media, and much more.
They offer an online learning platform, digital resources and workshops, and a Digital Service Squad who will work with your business one-on-one to help meet your digital needs.
There is no cost to join Digital Main Street, and all businesses can receive a free Digital Assessment.
Digital Main Street is supported by companies well versed in digital technologies, including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft and Shopify.
Distantly is an online donation platform that allows people to make direct donations to small businesses in their community, helping cover overhead costs until businesses can re-open.
Overview of the Ontario Action Plan
Government of Ontario’s Economic and Fiscal Update
Government of Canada’s Economic Response to COVID-19
COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for Ontario Businesses, produced by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Pandemic Preparedness for Business toolkit from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce