On Friday, March 27, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered some welcome news for SMEs across the country. That news included the following announcements:
- A 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to three months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales and will be shared before the end of the month.
- Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
- The launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
- The launch of the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.
Read full release here
The Federal Government also established the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
- The CERB will cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
- The CERB will apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
- Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, will also qualify for the CERB.
- The portal for accessing the CERB will be available in early April.
- The CERB will be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020; CERB payments will be received within 10 days of application.
More info here
Prime Minister announces support for vulnerable Canadians affected by COVID-19, click here.