What You Need To Know About The Current COVID-19 Resources Available In Canada.

(April 17, 2020 )

As you may know, in response to the disruptions caused by COVID-19  in Canada various levels of Government, Federal & Provincial including the BOC (Bank of Canada) have announced initiatives to help mitigate any negative affects .  The following summary includes all announcements up to April 14, 2020.  

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS: 

CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY (CEWS)

On April 11, 2020, the federal government passed legislation enacting an emergency wage subsidy of up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses. The CEWS is designed to discourage businesses from laying off employees in response to COVID-19. If eligible, businesses would qualify for the CEWS for up to 12 weeks from March 15 to June 6, 2020. The program is being implemented through technical changes to the Income Tax Act. Businesses looking to determine their eligibility for the CEWS should consult with their tax and accounting advisors.

How to Apply

Eligible employers will be able to apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency's My Business Account portal. Employers will need to keep records demonstrating their reduction in revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available shortly. 
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/wage-subsidy.html

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

The CEWS does not replace the Temporary Wage Subsidy, a three-month initiative that provides eligible employers with 10 per cent of the remuneration that it pays from March 18 to June 19, 2020, up to a maximum of C$25,000 per employer.

Individuals, partnerships, non-profits, registered charities and Canadian-controlled private corporations that are eligible for the small business deduction may be eligible for the Temporary Wage Subsidy. To be eligible, such employers must have an existing business number and payroll program with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as of March 18, 2020 and pay salary, wages, bonuses or other remuneration to an employee who is employed in Canada.

Eligible employers do not need to apply for the Temporary Wage Subsidy. It is calculated when an eligible employer remits required deductions to the CRA.

BUSINESS CREDIT AVAILABILITY PROGRAM (BCAP)

On March 13, 2020, the federal government announced the new BCAP. BCAP will support access to financing for Canadian businesses across all sectors and in all regions. The federal government will provide more than C$65-billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). 
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/programs/financial-sector-policy/business-credit-availability-program.html

Eligibility

Any credit-worthy business with a viable business model whose activities fall within either the BDC or EDC mandate is eligible for BCAP.

How to Apply

The financial institutions with whom businesses have a pre-existing relationship are best situated to assess and deal with a client’s specific needs and requests. If a client’s needs exceed the level of support that the financial institution can provide, the financial institution will work alongside the BDC or EDC to access additional resources made available by the federal government.

CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT (CEBA)

On April 9, 2020, banks officially opened applications for the CEBA. The C$25-billion program, implemented by the EDC, will provide eligible small businesses and not-for-profits with interest-free loans of up to C$40,000. The Canada Emergency Business Account will help cover operating costs at a time where revenues have been temporarily reduced due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. The CEBA is intended to ensure that small businesses can access the capital they need during these tough economic times.

Eligibility

Small businesses and not-for-profits need to demonstrate that they paid between C$50,000 to C$1-million in total payroll in 2019 (shown on their T4 summary).

How to Apply

To apply for the CEBA, small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution.

BDC CAPITAL BRIDGE FINANCING PROGRAM

BDC Capital, BDC’s investment arm, has launched the BDC Capital Bridge Financing Program. Where a current financing round is being raised through qualified existing and/or new investors into eligible start-ups, BDC will match the financing round with a convertible note.

Eligibility

To be eligible, companies must be Canadian, backed by a qualified venture capital firm, have raised at least C$500,000 in external capital before applying for the program and be specifically impacted by COVID-19. Any matching investment by BDC Capital will be further subject to, notably, satisfactory due diligence review by BDC, agreement on terms of the investment and approval by a BDC investment committee.

This is not limited to BDC’s portfolio. All companies that meet the criteria are eligible to apply. Interested companies should speak to their lead investor for details.  The details of which venture capital firms will be eligible or how firms will be selected has not been released at this time. However, venture capital firms looking to participate can contact BDC Capital to discuss their eligibility.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTAL DEVELOPMENT (SR&ED) PROGRAM

The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program uses tax incentives to encourage Canadian businesses to conduct research and development in Canada. On March 18, 2020, the CRA announced a suspension of non-critical functions, including most business auditing, for four weeks as part of its operational response to COVID-19. We understand that the CRA has since expanded its list of critical operations and is working to bring its auditors online to work from home for an indeterminate time. As a result, businesses scheduled to be audited during the audit suspension may experience delays in receiving money from the SR&ED Program, as recent reports have suggested. These likely delays could intensify the economic impacts of COVID-19. Businesses should prepare for such delays and make use of other government supports, if possible, or have contingency plans in place.

CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)

In the event your employees or contractors have stopped working because of COVID-19 and do not qualify for traditional benefits (i.e., Employment Insurance), the CERB program may provide them with temporary income support of C$500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

Eligibility

The benefit will be available to workers:
·        Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old
·        Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
·        Who had income of at least C$5,000 in 2019 or the 12 months prior to the date of their application
·        Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period, and who, for subsequent benefit periods, expect to have no employment or self-employment income

How to Apply

Eligible contractors or self-employed individuals can apply  
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

WORK-SHARING

Work-Sharing (WS) is a program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in an employer’s business activity beyond its control. Employees, employers and Service Canada enter into a three-way agreement where Service Canada pays employment insurance to employees that agree to work reduced hours during a temporary decrease in an employer’s business beyond the employer’s control. 
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing.html

Effective March 15, 2020, the federal government introduced (Temporary Special Measures), which extend the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, ease eligibility requirements and streamline the application process. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing/temporary-measures-forestry-sector.html

Eligibility

Employers

To be eligible, employers must satisfy the following requirements:
·        Be a year-round business in Canada for at least one year
·        Be a private business, publicly held company or non-for-profit organization
·        Have at least two employees in a WS unit

Employers are not eligible for WS if the reduction in business activities is due to:
·        A labour dispute
·        A seasonal shortage of work
·        A pre-existing and/or recurring production slowdown
·        A recent increase in the size of the workforce

Employees

To be eligible, employees must:
·        Be year-round, permanent, full-time or part-time employees needed to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business (your "core staff")
·        Be eligible to receive EI benefits
·        Agree to reduce their normal working hours by the same percentage and share the available work

The following employees are not eligible for WS:
·        Seasonal employees and students hired for the summer or a coop term
·        Employees hired on a casual or on-call basis or through a temporary help agency
·        Employees who hold more than 40 per cent of the voting shares in the business

Under the Temporary Special Measures, employees who are needed to help generate work and/or are essential to the recovery of the businesses (i.e., senior management, executive-level marketing/sales agents, technical employees engaged in product development, etc.) will be eligible for WS.

How to Apply

Employers need to submit two forms 10 calendar days prior to the requested Work Sharing start date: 

The COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program

The COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program is designed to provide small and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 staff) with financial support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). The financial support provided from the NRC IRAP is intended to allow eligible businesses to refine and sell a product or solution that is designed to meet a COVID-19 related need.

Over the next few weeks, the NRC IRAP will partner with Innovative Solutions Canada to launch calls for proposals to address challenges, fund development of solutions, and buy successful products and services that are needed to address COVID-19.

Small and medium-sized businesses with promising technology designed to meet a COVID-19 need can register their technology or product 
https://nrc.canada.ca/en/support-technology-innovation/covid-19-national-research-council-industrial-research-assistance-program"**

**The source for the above information is from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.  For further information contact us and we will be happy to put you in touch with one of their Vancouver office team members.   

NOTE:  the coverage of CERB has been expanded to include people working less than 10 hours per week, among other things 

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS: 

RENTAL SUBSIDY:
More details were announced for the Temporary Rental Supplement.  Applications opened on Thursday, April 9, 2020.  The supplement will be distributed on a per household basis that will provide $300 per month for households who are eligible and with no dependents and $500 per month for eligible households with dependents.  To qualify the following criteria must be met: 
·       receiving or eligible for EI, the CERB program or experiencing a 25% reduction in monthly income due to COVID-19
·       2019 household income of less than $74,150 for those with no dependents & $113,040 for those with dependents
·       30% or more of current or reduced gross month income being spent on rent
·       receiving no other rent subsidy from any level of Government

The subsidy is available for April, May & June 2020 including those who have already paid their April rent.   
For further information:

B.C. VIRTUAL MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES:
To assist those who may be struggling to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 the Provincial Government has arranged for services to be provided in partnership with Foundry Youth Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the BC Psychology Association.  The Province is set aside $5 million for this program.  
For further information: 

MUNCIPALITY SUPPORT:
The City of Vancouver has asked the Provincial Government for $200 million dollars for emergency funding.  As of April 16, 2020 the BC Government made the following announcement:

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS:
The big five banks (TD Canada Trust, RBC, BMO, CIBC, and Scotiabank) will reduce credit card interest rates by approximately 50% for those who apply for CERB.  It most cases it will bring down the effective interest rate to 10.99% from 19.99% for cardholders.  

CANADIAN BUSINESS RELIANCE NETWORK: 
A partnership between the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Government of Canada has been put in place in order to provide Canadian businesses with tools and resources to help them mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19.   




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The information set out herein (the “Information”) (6 pages) is intended for informational purposes only.  While deemed to be from reliable sources the information has not been verified and we do not represent, warrant or guarantee the accuracy, correctness and completeness And we do not assume any responsibility or liability of any kind in connection with the information and the recipient’s reliance upon the information. The recipient of the information should take steps as the recipient may deem necessary to verify the information prior to placing any reliance upon the information. This document and information is not intended to create or cause a breach of an existing Agency relationship.