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UPDATED: A summary of supports available to your business to help you through the COVID-19 situation

March 27, 2020 | Written By: Kieran Hanley

The spread of and response to COVID-19 has created an unprecedented situation for business. Over the past number of days we have heard about efforts from government(s) and their agencies to provide assistance, but it can be a challenge to wade through all of the information that is out there.

We’ve done our best to summarize succinctly the supports that you can access. We’ll keep this list updated as new information comes in. As always, please do not hesitate to contact NEIA’s staff with any questions that you may have or if you need to find the appropriate contact.

Supports For Your Business

  • Wage Subsidy – a 75% subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Eligibility criteria will include the impact of COVID-19 on sales. More info coming early next week.

  • CRA Tax Deferral – the Canada Revenue Agency is deferring your tax payments until August 31, 2020 to help with your cash flow. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. More info.

  • HST Tax Deferral – businesses, including self-employed individuals, can defer all GST/HST payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. More info coming early next week.

  • Municipal Tax Deferral – some Municipalities are deferring the payment of commercial and business taxes. Consult your local municipality’s website for information that pertains most to you.

  • Workplace NL – WorkplaceNL is deferring the collection of assessment payments from employers until June 30, 2020, and waiving interest charges or penalties. More info.

  • Wage Subsidy – immediate relief for small businesses with a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. More info.

  • Work Sharing – WS provides income support to employees eligible for EI benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. The maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements had been increased from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. More info.

  • Access to Credit – Various important initiatives have been announced, including:

    Canada Emergency Business Account – more info coming early next week.

    • Funding to eligible financial institutions so that they can provide interest-free loans in the form of lines of credit of up to $40,000 to businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million. A quarter of this loan (up top $10,000) is eligible for complete forgiveness.

    Business Development Bank of CanadaMore info

    • SMEs can get support through a new Co-Lending Program that will bring the BDC together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to these businesses for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million, 80 per cent of which would be provided by BDC, with the remaining 20% by a financial institution.
    • Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to 6 months for qualifying businesses
    • Postponement of payments for up to 6 months, free of charge, for existing clients with total loan commitment of $1 million or less
    • Reduced rates on new eligible loans

    Export Development CanadaMore info

    • Providing guarantees to financial institutions so that they can issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized businesses. These loans will be 80 per cent guaranteed by Export Development Canada, to be repaid within one year.

    Unless you are an existing client (in which case you can contact your account manager), businesses seeking these supports should first contact their financial institutions for an assessment of their situation. Financial institutions, who have made a commitment to work with SMEs on a case-by-case basis through this crisis, will refer to EDC and BDC their existing clients whose needs extend beyond what is available through the private sector alone.

  • Deferral on Loan Payments – ACOA is applying a deferral of three months on all payments (and related interest charges) as of April 1, 2020, and will work with clients in the coming months to amend repayment schedules. TCII has also announced an automatic deferral of loan payments to all clients with business loans under the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation (IBIC) for a period of three months.

  • Further Access to Supports – SMEs that need pressing assistance are encouraged to contact ACOA who can assist with accessing federal funding to help you stay in business. More info.

Support For Your Employees

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit – The federal government is providing a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

    • workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
    • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
    • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
    • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
    • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
      Application details will be available beginning the first week of April.

    Application details will be available beginning the first week of April.

  • Other Supports – The Government of Canada is actioning a wide variety of supports to assist individuals in making it through this crisis with their finances intact. Click here for information.

Supports For the Self Employed

  • Emergency Care Benefit – The federal government will provide up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks, providing income support to:

    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Other Resources

  • Government of Canada funding tool – Quickly identify funding that is of interest to your business (including special COVID-19 crisis measures using this online too. More info.

  • Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – keep a close eye to this page for the latest official updates on programs and supports from the federal government. More info.

  • Business continuity plan and templates for entrepreneurs – Having a business continuity plan helps ensure that your business has the resources and information needed to deal with an emergency. Exploring these templates (courtesy of BDC) can help you understand where your pain points may be in the weeks and months ahead. More info.
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