Weekly Update – 31 March 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Update. Read on for the latest news and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Pfizer to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccine Deliveries to Canada

Pfizer has agreed to ramp up its COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Canada and deliver 5 million more doses than previously expected in June. This means 1 million Pfizer vaccine doses will be received each week through the end of May, rising to 2 million per week through the end of June.

Combined with AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines, Canada now expects a total of 44 million doses by the end of June.

Further, Johnson & Johnson will deliver some doses by the end of April, putting the country in a good position to inoculate everyone by the end of the summer.

Government Invests Nearly $5.9 Million to Expand Virtual Healthcare Services in Nova Scotia

The government announced a bilateral agreement with Nova Scotia to support the expansion of its virtual healthcare services through an investment close to $5.9 million.

The focus will be on three key areas:

  • Improving access to e-mental health and addictions supports
  • Online appointment booking for lab tests and diagnostic services
  • Developing a strategy for virtual care focusing on videoconferencing and secure messaging

Government to Unveil First Budget in 2 Years on April 19

The federal government will reveal its first budget in more than two years on April 19. This will be Chrystia Freeland’s first budget as finance minister.

The budget is expected to provide details on government spending amid the pandemic and outline the Liberal’s plan to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the coming years on stimulus for economic recovery.

The government has previously announced that the spending plan will include measures to establish a national child care system, improve skills training, and build a greener economy.

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.

Upcoming Key Dates

Below are the upcoming key payment and filing dates to take note of:

  • Your tax return for 2020 has to be filed on or before 30 April 2021.
  • For self-employed individuals, if you or your spouse or common-law partner carried on a business in 2020, your return for 2020 has to be filed by 15 June 2021. However, if you have a balance owing for 2020, you have to pay it on or before 30 April 2021.

Government Supports Women-led Businesses Across Inuit Nunangat

The government announced $143,000 in top-up funding for Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, a recipient of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, which supports women entrepreneurs.

This additional funding aims to support women-led businesses across Inuit Nunangat, which includes Nunavut, Inuvialuit, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut. Through this funding, a series of professional videos will be created to guide businesswomen on topics such as Facebook marketing, business plan development, online banking, and payment processing. The educational videos will be available in English and Inuktut.

4 Tips to Get Out of Debt

Getting out of debt can be difficult, but there are some strategies that can help you pay it down more easily:

  • Pay more than the minimum payment required– Go through your finances and decide how much extra you can shell out to pay your debt. Paying more than the minimum amount will help you save on interest and pay it completely much faster.
  • Use the debt snowball method– This approach involves paying the minimum amount on all your debts except for the smallest one, which you should pay as much as you can toward. Once you eliminate the smallest one quickly, you’ll move on to the second smallest debt while paying the minimum on the others.
  • Debt refinancing– You’ll save in interest if you refinance your debt to a lower interest rate. Consider refinancing your mortgage, auto loan, or student loan.
  • Commit windfalls to debt– For example, when you get a tax refund or a stimulus check, you can use the money to pay your debt or at least split it 50-50 between debt payment and having fun or saving in your bank account.

Do you want a more personalised debt paydown strategy? Get in touch with us today and let us help you enjoy a debt-free life.

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