Weekly Update – 14 October 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Update. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s new information.

Ontario Continues to Support Restaurants Amid COVID-19

To provide relief for local restaurants and other businesses impacted by the new public health measures, Ontario announced $300 million to help offset fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.

The government is also supporting small business through its Main Street Recovery Plan by:

  • Permanently allowing licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order before the existing regulation expires;
  • Permanently allowing 24/7 deliveries to restaurants;
  • Supporting the distribution of local food and food products by increasing the range of products sold at the Ontario Food Terminal;
  • Ending outdated and duplicative rules so businesses can focus on their work;
  • Modernizing regulations to allow businesses to innovate and meet the challenges of today;
  • Providing mental health supports to business owners and employees who are struggling;
  • Providing $57 million with federal partners through the Digital Main Street program and creating new Digital Main Street squads to help small businesses grow online; and
  • Launching a new portal to assist small businesses to quickly find the support and information they need.

Canada Added 378,000 Jobs in September

Canada added 378,000 new jobs in September, even more than the 246,000 jobs added in August.

This increase means the economy has recovered more than three-quarters of the jobs it lost because of the pandemic. As things are looking bright for Canada, some businesses may still continue to struggle with the impacts of COVID-19.

If you find it challenging to stay afloat, send us a message so we can help you bounce back stronger.

Canada and Ontario Invests Additional $11.6 Million For Ontario Agri-Food Workers

A new agreement between Ontario and the federal government will see Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada invest an additional $11.6 million to help support efforts by Ontario producers to stop the spread of COVID-19 on their farms. This funding is in addition to the commitment in June of up to $15 million to support workplace safety enhancements in the sector through the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program.

Under this expanded program, the amount that can be claimed by farmers for expenses in workplace modifications, PPE, transportation, and temporary housing will double to $15,000. It will also include a new category for small capital projects of up to $100,000 for housing modifications, workplace modifications and equipment to allow for social distancing.

If you need help for your application or any other funding assistance you may be eligible for, feel free to message us so we can guide you.

Ottawa Announces New Rent Relief Program

As a second wave of COVID-19 hits parts of Canada, the federal government will provide targeted aid, including an overhauled rent relief program, which the government said will now allow businesses to apply directly for relief through the Canada Revenue Agency until June 2021.

The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities and non-profits that have suffered revenue drops by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses, until December 19.

The “top-up” emergency rent subsidy of 25%, in addition to the 65% subsidy, will be available to organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order.

If you need assistance for your application or would like to consider other options available to your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Transition from CERB to Employment Insurance Program

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ends when you’ve received 28 weeks of benefits or on October 3, 2020, whichever comes first. For those who applied through the Canada Revenue Agency, the last four-week period for the CERB was August 30, 2020 through September 26, 2020. However, you can still apply for the CERB retroactively through CRA.

If you still need financial assistance after your CERB ends, there are some temporary changes to the Employment Insurance program to help you access such benefits.

These changes, which will be in effect for 1 year, include the following:

  • A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada starting August 9, 2020
  • You only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you’ll receive a one-time credit of: 300 insured hours if you’re applying for regular benefits; 480 insured hours if you’re applying for sickness, maternity, parental or caregiving benefits
  • You’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes, or $300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits but you could receive more
  • If you’re a fisher, they will look at the earnings from your 2018, 2019 and 2020 summer or winter seasons to determine your benefit rate and establish your claim for the same season
  • If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended
  • A medical certificate is not required for EI claims beginning March 15, 2020, or later

Canada Opens Applications for Three New Benefits

The Canadian government has opened the application process for the three new benefits that are intended to help people who lost their income because of COVID-19.
The Canada Revenue Agency has opened the applications on the My Account section of their website for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The Canada Recovery Benefit is for employed and self-employed individuals directly affected by COVID-19 who can’t get Employment Insurance benefits.

If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period. If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is for employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they’re sick, need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

If you’re eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period. If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) is for employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.

If you’re eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period. If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

If you need help with your application, get in touch with us so we can assist you. You may also book a consultation with us so we can explore other financial assistance options you may be eligible for.

10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWS) is a 3-month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions they need to remit to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay from March 18 to June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 for each eligible employee. The maximum total is $25,000 for each eligible employer.

If you need help in applying for this wage subsidy and other types of government assistance you may be eligible for, feel free to drop us a message.

New Canada United Small Business Relief Fund

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund brings together financial institutions and business associations to support small businesses affected by COVID-19.

Starting August 31, the fund provides up to $5,000 in funding toward recovery efforts such as buying personal protective equipment, renovating physical spaces, or developing e-commerce capabilities.

This new funding is being managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network.

Assistance for Businesses in Canada

If you’re wondering what assistance is available to your business, please get in touch with us. We will help you assess based on your current financial situation and business needs.

Digital Main Street Grant

The Digital Main Street Grant is a $2500 grant for small businesses to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. You can read more here or drop us a message if you need assistance in taking advantage of this new grant.

COVID-19’s Potential Impact on GDP

Prior to COVID-19, models of what could happen during a pandemic overstated the possible global death toll, but understated the potential hit to GDP. But as a series in The Economist explains, our current pandemic may have lasting impact.

The impacts of shutting down schools may persist for decades. Governments around the world are issuing debt at levels never before seen to finance support for workers and businesses. The virus continues to spread, but the extent of impact in poorer countries remains largely invisible. Rapid development of vaccines mean that they may be available in 2021, but their safety and efficacy are so far largely unknown. The shift to an online world for retail, work, entertainment, and education will likely influence us for years to come. The question we all have to answer is whether those impacts will result in meaningful changes that help to elevate all or that exacerbate divisions and inequalities.

We sincerely hope for positive changes that help to make this a better world!

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss your next steps for your business.

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