The past few weeks have been extremely challenging for all of us. And while we all want to remain optimistic about the future, it is fair to say that we will all need to be patient over the coming weeks to ensure that we can safely move beyond our current circumstances.
I want to acknowledge and applaud the residents of North Vancouver for doing their part to flatten the curve. I want to particularly extend my thanks and the thanks of a very grateful community to essential workers who have been and continue to be on the front lines – keeping North Vancouverites safe and secure.
The Government of Canada and the governments of all provinces and territories have been working hard and working collaboratively to keep Canadians safe, to support workers who have suffered job losses and to assist businesses that have experienced dramatically reduced revenues.
Some of you who run small businesses have asked that we publish a comprehensive listing of programs and services that may be of use to you. This email is intended to provide you with such information.
Certainly to get a good overview, the best place to start would be the Canada.ca website for businesses. This provides a comprehensive list of programs available. It is updated frequently as things evolve.
Programs and updates provided by the government:
With regard to specific programming, since March 18, 2020, the federal government has announced several important programs to support Canadian businesses and organizations impacted by COVID-19.
Key measures have included:
- Implementing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) which will cover 75% of the employees’ wages for employers of all sizes and all sectors – including charities and not-for-profits. This subsidy will provide up to $847 per week, per employee, between March 15th and June 6th.
- Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1 – this deferral allows businesses that owe taxes to delay payment until August 31; no interest will accrue during this period;
- GST/HST payments, along with duties and taxes owed on imports, deferred until June, 2020.
- Providing more than $10 Billion in loans for working capital businesses through the Business Credit Availability Program;
- Having the Superintendent of Financial Institutions change rules regulating Canada’s major banks, to allow them to increase lending capacity by approximately $300 Billion;
- Extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19;
- Providing $287 Million to support rural businesses and communities with much-needed access to capital through the Community Futures Network;
- Providing $250 Million to assist innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access other COVID-19 business supports through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP);
- Temporary changes made to the Canada Summer Jobs program:
- an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
- an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
- allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services;
- allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.
- Committing to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable portions, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo rent from small businesses for the months of April, May, and June, 2020. 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 and is presently under development.
As noted, for a complete list of assistance available for small and medium sized businesses please go to the Canada.ca website.
Ensuring that our small business sector can manage through this very difficult time will be exceedingly important for us to be able to quickly and successfully restart our economy once we are through the worst of the current crisis.
We have collectively made significant progress in addressing the COVID crisis. Our province and our country are now at a critical phase – a phase during which continued commitment to acting to protect our community is required to get us successfully through this crisis as quickly as possible. It is critically important that we all continue to practice appropriate physical distancing and other key measures to keep the virus from spreading.
Please remember however that social distancing does not need to mean social isolation. Reaching out to friends and family on the telephone, staying in-touch via social media, and enjoying quality time with those in your own home, are important ways of taking reasonable measures while maintaining the human connections that are so important for all of us.
If folks have any questions or comments, my office is open for phone calls and e-mail traffic. Please feel very free to contact me and my staff.