Weekly Update – 24 February 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Update with news related to Covid-19.

Canada-US Border Closed to Non-essential Travel Until at Least March 21

The border between Canada and the United States will remain closed to non-essential travel for at least until March 21, exactly one year after the border was first shut down to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The border has remained open for essential travel throughout the pandemic to avoid disruptions in the flow of food, medical supplies, and other crucial goods between Canada and the US.

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions Provides $520,000 Support For Technological Innovation

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced financial support totalling $520,000 for MECANIUM. This will enable the organization to strengthen its technology transfer capabilities by acquiring digital equipment and advanced software that will be made available to Chaudière-Appalaches manufacturing businesses.

These SMEs make use of their services to develop new Industry 4.0-inspired production processes.

Government Extends Access to COVID-19 Benefits

The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced the federal government’s intent to introduce amendments to increase the number of weeks of benefits available for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits.

The proposed changes include:

  • increase the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) by 12 weeks extending the maximum duration of the benefits through regulation from 26 weeks to up to 38 weeks;
  • increase the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) through regulation from the current 2 weeks to 4 weeks; and
  • increase the number of weeks of EI regular benefits available by up to 24 weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks through legislation, for claims that are made between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

More information can be found here.

HASCAP Loan Applications Now Open

New loan applications from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) have opened starting February 1.

Loans start at between $25,000 and $1 million for a single business depending on the size of the operation, and run up to $6.25 million for companies with multiple locations like a chain of hotels or restaurants. Interest rates are set at 4% across the board, terms will be up to 10 years, with up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan.

To be eligible, companies will have to show a year-over-year revenue drop of at least 50% over three months, not necessarily consecutive, in the eight months before the application.

Further details can be found here.

Government Expands Canada Emergency Business Account Loans

Starting December, eligible businesses facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 can access a second CEBA loan of up to $20,000 – on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses. Half of this additional financing, up to $10,000, will be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.

Applications for CEBA have been extended to March 31, 2021. More information can be found here. Alternatively, if you have any questions or require assistance, simply drop us a message.

Government Support for Businesses

The federal government continues to enact measures to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic. Here are the available assistance you can take advantage of:

Wage Subsidies

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is intended to help businesses cover a portion of wages and keep employees on payroll. It continues until June 2021.
  • The work-sharing program allows employees whose hours got reduced by an average of 10% to 60% to claim employment insurance for lost wages. This has been extended to 76 weeks from 38.

Rent Relief

  • The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides rent and mortgage assistance until June 2021. Businesses can make claims retroactively for the period of Sept. 27 to Oct. 24, 2020.

Business Loans

  • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) offers government-guaranteed bank loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses. The deadline for the application has been extended to March 31, 2021.
  • For mid-sized companies, the Business Development Bank of Canada’s mid-market financing program provides commercial loans between $12.5 million and $60 million.

5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Business Finances On Track

Small steps can lead to a tremendous ripple effect on your business. Here are some simple things you can do to better manage your finances.

  • Record all transactions, whether big or small. Expense tracking technologies can help you avoid errant spending.
  • Make it a habit to keep your business and personal expenses separate.
  • Reconcile what you know from your books with what your business bank accounts reflect. Do this financial reality check on a regular basis.
  • Create a budget for new projects you’re planning to define its relative value from other projects and the ongoing expenses within your business.
  • Work closely with your bookkeeper/accountant. Communicate regularly and ensure that important messages don’t get lost in the cracks.

Accounting and bookkeeping are integral aspects of business growth. However, many business owners loathe these tasks. If you need expert assistance for the finance-side of your business, get in touch with us today.

Get in touch

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

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