Government Assistance Resources
Ensure your business is prepared to access available government resources to mitigate potential financial impacts to your employees and your business.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Resources for Canadian businesses
- Five Steps for government assistance
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses
Business Credit Availability Program
To support businesses, the Federal Government promised to act swiftly to stimulate the economy by strengthening investment in federal lending agencies such as the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.
- Minister of Finance Bill Morneau outlined a coordinated package of measures being taken by financial sector partners to support the functioning of markets and continued access to financing for Canadian businesses.
- The government is establishing a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP). The program will further support financing in the private sector through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). Under this program, BDC and EDC will enhance their cooperation with private sector lenders to coordinate financing and credit insurance solutions for Canadian businesses.
- Small Business Loans and Working Capital Loans
- 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 BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less;
- Reduced rates on new eligible loans;
- To access these loans, click here or here or call 1-877-232-2269
- Purchase order financing to cover up to 90 per cent of purchase order amounts to ease cash flow to suppliers
- BDC Webinar for business, available here
Work Sharing Program Extension
The Federal Government announced the Work-Sharing program is implementing temporary special measures to support employers and employees affected by the downturn in business caused by COVID-19. The new temporary special measures are available to employers impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19. The measures allows for eligible employers to retain skilled employees and workers to remain employed during the temporary downturn in business due to COVID-19. The temporary special measures will:
- extend the Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks, for a total of 76 weeks
- wave the mandatory waiting period between agreements
- ease the recovery plan requirements
- Access the Work-Sharing page to learn more about the program and its requirements.
- Access the Work-Sharing temporary special measures page to find out if you are eligible for temporary special measures.
- For more information on the Work-Sharing Program, call the toll-free number: 1-800-367-5693
- Employers are now requested to submit their applications 10 calendar days prior to the requested start date.
- Prior to COVID-19, employers were requested to send their Work-Sharing application (and supporting documentation) 30 calendar days prior to their requested start date. The streamlined measures undertaken by Service Canada will aim to reduce the processing time to 10 calendar days.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months.
- The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy 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.
- This subsidy continues to exist.
The Federal government announced further, increased wage subsidies. This wage subsidy aims to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis.
Any business, big or small, along with charities and not-for-profit organizations, so long as they are not publicly-funded, and meet the criteria below.
- A 75% wage subsidy is available, up to 3 months. This subsidy will be backdated to March 15th, 2020.
- Companies will need to apply for the subsidy each month.
- This subsidy applies to any business, big or small, including the hospitality sector (bars, restaurants).
- Any one who fraudulently accesses these subsidies will face serious penalties.
- Businesses will apply through the CRA website. The portal will open shortly; the funds will be available in 6 weeks (as of April 1st).
- Companies will be required to show pre-crisis income of an employee. Business will then get 75% of the wages they paid out returned to them through the CRA. Further guidance with respect to how to define pre-crisis weekly remuneration for a given employee will be provided in the coming days.
- The subsidy will cover 75% of a salary on the first $58,700 earned.
- Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker.
- For employers that are eligible for both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the 10 per cent wage subsidy for a period, any benefit from the 10 per cent wage subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period would generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy in that same period.
- To qualify, gross businesses revenues must have decreased by at least 30%, this will be reviewed and verified after the fact
- The number of employees in your organization won’t determine if you qualify
- There would be no overall limit on the subsidy amount that an eligible employer may claim.
- Your business does not need to be open to receive the subsidy
- The remaining 25% of wages is not required to qualify for the subsidy. However, employers will need to attest that they are doing everything they can to pay the remaining 25%of people’s wages.
- This subsidy applies to any business, big or small, including the hospitality sector (bars, restaurants)
- Employers will also be eligible for a subsidy of up to 75 per cent of salaries and wages paid to new employees.
- Eligible remuneration may include salary, wages, and other remuneration. These are amounts for which employers would generally be required to withhold or deduct amounts to remit to the Receiver General on account of the employee’s income tax obligation. However, it does not include severance pay, or items such as stock option benefits or the personal use of a corporate vehicle.
- Revenues will be compared to the respective month from last year (2019) in March, April or May. Details for businesses who do not have revenue data from last year will come soon.
- An employer’s revenue for this purpose would be its revenue from its business carried on in Canada earned from arm’s-length sources.
- Revenue would be calculated using the employer’s normal accounting method, and would exclude revenues from extraordinary items and amounts on account of capital.
- For non-profits and charities, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their specific circumstances.
- The table below outlines each claiming period and the period in which it has a decline in revenue of 30 per cent or more.
Claiming period Reference period for eligibility
March 15 – April 11 March 2020 over March 2019
April 12 – May 9 April 2020 over April 2019
May 10 – June 6 May 2020 over May 2019
- Example: if revenues in March 2020 were down 50 per cent compared to March 2019, the employer would be allowed to claim the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (as calculated above) on remuneration paid between March 15 and April 11, 2020.
How to Apply
- Eligible employers will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal
- Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees.
- The portal will open shortly; the funds will be available in 6 weeks (as of April 1st)
Further details about the application process will be made available shortly.
Canada Emergency Business Account
- The Federal government announced the Canada Emergency Business Account, which will offer government guaranteed loans of up to $40,000 for SME businesses and not-for-profits, which will be interest-free for the first year. Some qualifying businesses will have $10k forgiven in debt.
- To qualify, organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.
- Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).
- This program will roll out in the three weeks after March 27, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.
Deferred Businesses Filing Taxes
- The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses 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 instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
- The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.
- The Liaison Officer service offers help to owners of small businesses to understand their tax obligations. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone and will be customizing information during these challenging times by ensuring small businesses are aware of any changes such as filing and payment deadlines, proactive relief measures, etc.
- There will be five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
- Beginning April 1, 2020, up until August 31, 2020, the Province will not apply any penalty or interest on any late-filed returns or incomplete or late tax payments under select provincially administered taxes, such as the Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gas Tax.
- The Province is deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which will provide municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses.
- The Federal government announced GST and HST taxes and duties on imports deferred will be deferred until June.
City of Hamilton Business Licensing Fees
The City of Hamilton is waiving late fees on business licenses that expire between March 17th and April 6th. After April 6th, the City plans to re-evaluate the late fee extension.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Payment Deferral
The Provincial government is allowing employers to defer payments for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) for up to six months.
- All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package. They will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit.
- Schedule 1 employers with premiums owed to the WSIB will be allowed to defer reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. The deferral will also apply to Schedule 2 businesses that pay WSIB for the cost related to their workplace injury and illness claims.
- In addition, no interest will be accrued on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.
- There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments.
- The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.
Employer Health Tax (EHT) Exemption
The Provincial government is cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.
They are instituting a temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption from $490,000 to $1 million for 2020.