UPDATES:

October 05:

Mandatory Vaccination for Federally Regulated Transportation Sector

Vaccine requirements for employees in the federally regulated transportation sector

Today, the federal announced that as of October 30, employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors will be required to establish vaccination policies for their organizations. Specifically, the vaccination requirement will apply to:

  • Airlines and airports, and other organizations who have employees who enter restricted areas of airports, such as concession and hospitality workers
  • Federally regulated railways, and their rail crew and track employees
  • Marine operators with Canadian vessels that operate with 12 or more crew

Vaccine requirements for travellers in the federally regulated transportation sector

Effective October 30, air passengers departing from Canadian airports, travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, and travellers on non-essential passenger vessels on voyages of 24 hours or more, such as cruise ships, will need to be vaccinated.

Effective October 30, travellers will need to be fully vaccinated in order to board. Specifically, the vaccination requirement will apply to all travellers 12 years of age and older who are:

  • Air passengers flying on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from airports in Canada
  • Rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains
  • Marine passengers on non-essential passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, on voyages of 24 hours or more

For travellers who are in the process of being vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they will be able to travel if they can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel. By November 30, all travellers must be fully vaccinated, with very limited exceptions to address specific situations such as emergency travel, and those medically unable to be vaccinated.

In the air sector, individuals—either travellers or employees—could be fined up to $5,000 per violation under the Aeronautics Act, and operators could be fined up to $25,000 per violation.

Read the complete announcement from the federal government here.

August 13:

On July 30, the Government of Canada announced an extension to the following benefits and supports for individuals and businesses:

  • Extension of the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until October 23, 2021, and increase to the rate of support employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29 and September 25, 2021.
  • Extension of the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) until October 23, 2021.
  • Increase to the maximum number of weeks available for the CRB, by an additional 4 weeks, to a total of 54 weeks, at a rate of $300 per week, and ensuring it is available to  those who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits.

In addition, the government is proposing to offer businesses greater flexibility when calculating the revenue decline used to determine eligibility for the wage and rent subsidy programs and the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program. The government is also releasing draft legislation that provides further clarity on previously announced changes to the wage subsidy for furloughed employees.

Read about the previously announced changes here. Read more about the extension and these proposed changes to COVID-19 business supports here

Read more about this announcement here.

August 10:

Today, the federal government announced the creation of Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, better known as FedNor.

FedNor, which previously operated as an initiative of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, will now function as a standalone agency for economic development in Northern Ontario, similar to its counterparts that exist across the country. FedNor is now one of Canada’s seven Regional Development Agencies and will be better positioned to respond to Northern Ontario’s needs with an array of strategic and well-funded programming.

Since its inception in 1987, FedNor has invested more than $1.4 billion to support over 7,500 projects, which helped create and maintain more than 87,500 jobs in municipalities and First Nation communities across Northern Ontario.

Learn more about FedNor here. Read more about today’s announcement here

August 5:

Today, the federal government announced an investment of more than $2.4 million through FedNor to support four strategic projects to maximize economic opportunities and create jobs in official-language minority communities (OLMCs).

The investments announced today will support Place des Arts, the Conseil de la CoopérationVoilà Community Help, as well as the Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario. The projects funded are expected to support more than 52 businesses, create or maintain up to 149 jobs, and maximize opportunities for development and growth in Northern Ontario.

Read more about this announcement here.

July 13:

Government Invests to Help Accelerate Innovation in Canada’s Mining Industry. Read more here.

The Government of Canada of $40 million in a $112.4-million project of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation Inc. (CEMI). This investment supports the creation of the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network, a pan-Canadian initiative bringing together stakeholders from a wide range of fields to accelerate the development and commercialization of innovative technologies to make the mining sector more productive and sustainable.

MICA will be headquartered in Sudbury, Ontario, and will operate across Canada through the following main partners: the Bradshaw Research Initiative for Minerals and Mining, InnoTech Alberta, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, MaRS, Le Groupe MISA and the College of the North Atlantic. MICA is an ecosystem initiative designed to modernize mining and improve its productivity and environmental performance, strengthen the Canadian mineral supply chain, and increase the domestic and export sales of Canadian innovators. By accelerating the development and commercialization of innovative autonomous and clean technologies in the mining sector, the initiative is expected to extend the operational lives of existing mines and reduce the time it takes to bring new mineral deposits into production.

July 12:

FedNor is now accepting applications from eligible Northern Ontario applicants for Tourism Relief Fund.

The TRF is designed to help tourism businesses and organizations adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth. With a national budget of $500 million over two years, including $50 million specifically dedicated to Indigenous tourism initiatives and $15 million for national initiatives, this fund will position Canada to be a destination of choice when domestic and international travel is once again safe. In Northern Ontario, FedNor is investing $25.3 million over the next two years through the new program.

Eligible applicants include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations such as tourism associations, as well as band councils or other Indigenous organizations and cooperatives. To be considered eligible for this fund, applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be a key supplier or operator in the visitor experience;
  • Be part of a defined tourism cluster or a tourism dependent community, including supporting downtown cores; or
  • Provide an anchor product or service in a tourism destination.

Eligible activities for the Tourism Relief Fund projects will focus on:

  • Product development: For example, projects that enhance tourism experiences; help tourism businesses adapt to the “new normal,” to modernize their offerings; and, encourage the adoption of more environmentally sustainable and inclusive practices.
  • Destination development: For example, projects that position communities to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities through strategic planning for medium- to long-term investments, as well as supporting destination development prospects in line with objectives set out in the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.

Contributions to businesses will be either:

  • non-repayable contributions up to $100,000 for up to 50 percent of eligible costs; or
  • fully repayable contributions up to $500,000 for up to 75 percent of eligible costs.

Please note that not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous entities (not generating profits) will be eligible for non-repayable contributions. Project contribution amounts would not exceed $500,000 and the actual contribution amount will be based on the minimum amount required to carry out the project.

For complete details on eligibility, and to apply for funding, visit FedNor’s Tourism Relief Fund webpage or contact your local FedNor Initiatives Officer today!

July 8:

Applications Open for Stream 1 of the Canada Digital Adoption Program. Read more here.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced the launch of a call for applications for the Canada Digital Adoption Program’s (CDAP) first stream, Grow Your Business Online. Announced in Budget 2021, the CDAP is an investment of $4 billion and will be comprised of two streams, with stream 2, Boost Your Business Tech, also including $2.6 billion in zero-interest loans to help Canadian businesses adopt new technologies.

June 3:

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) for small businesses in Northern Ontario that have sustained COVID-related losses since April 1, 2020, or if they anticipate losses up until September 30, 2021, has been extended to June 30, 2021.

Applications will be received and processed until the Fund has been fully committed.

For more information on how to apply, visit FedNor website.

May 28:

Increase To Number of Weeks For the Canada Recovery Benefits and Employment Insurance Regular Benefits. Read more here.

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation and regulatory amendments to increase the number of weeks of benefits available under the Canada Recovery Benefits and Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits. Bill C-24, the proposed legislation, received Royal Assent on March 17, 2021.

As of March 17, 2021, the following changes have come into effect:

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

In addition to increasing the maximum number of weeks available to workers under the EI program, self-employed workers who have opted-in to the EI program to access special benefits, are able to use a 2020 earnings threshold of $5,000, compared to the previous threshold of $7,555. This change is retroactive to claims established as of January 3, 2021, and apply until September 25, 2021.

April 22:

Government of Canada bans flight from India and Pakistan. Read more here.

Effective today, the federal government has banned flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days. The following measures are in effect:

  • Transport Canada has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to suspend all commercial and private passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days, effective 23:30 EDT April 22, 2021.
  • The Minister of Transport will amend the Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID-19, which means for passengers who depart India or Pakistan to Canada after 23:30 EDT April 22, 2021, via an indirect route, they will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.
  • These measures will help manage the elevated risk of imported cases of COVID-19 and variants of concern into Canada during a time of increasing pressure on our health care system.

These requirements include mandatory submission of contact, travel and quarantine information via ArriveCAN, pre-departure (air) or pre-arrival (land) testing, on-arrival testing and again later during 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

The Government of Canada also put in place more stringent criteria for suitable quarantine plans and a mandatory hotel stopover for travellers arriving by air while they await the results of their on-arrival test before completing the rest of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

March 3:

Federal Government Announces Wage and Rent Subsidy Amounts to Remain Unchanged Through to June. Read more here.

The federal government is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) from March 14 to June 5 at current levels of support. The CEWS will continue up to 75 percent of payroll costs for business where as the CERS will continue to cover up to 65 percent of rental costs for eligible businesses. Lockdown Support would remain at 25 percent and continue to be provided in addition to the rent subsidy, providing eligible hard hit businesses with rent support of up to 90 percent.

National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) Issues New Guidance to Stretch Interval Between COVID-19 Vaccine Does by up to Four Months. Read more here.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has issued new guidance advising that the maximum interval between the first and second does of all three approved COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca should be increased to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated.

February 19:

Government of Canada Proposes Increase to Number of Weeks for Recovery Benefits and EI Regular Benefits. Read more here.

The federal government announced today its intent to introduce regulatory and legislative 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 would:

  • 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.

To ensure employees in the federally regulated private sector can access the proposed additional weeks of CRCB and CRSB without the risk of losing their jobs, the maximum length of the leave related to COVID-19 under the Canada Labour Code would also be extended. Provincial and territorial governments will determine whether they need to amend their job-protected leaves in order to facilitate employees’ access to the proposed additional weeks of CRSB and CRCB benefits.

February 12:

Government of Canada expands restrictions to international travel by land and air. Read more here.

On February 12, 2021 the federal government made the following announcements:

For travellers arriving to Canada by land, as of February 15, 2021, all travellers, with some exceptions, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival. In addition, as of February 22, 2021, travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

All travellers arriving to Canada by air, as of February 22, 2021, with some exceptions, will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period. With limited exceptions, air travellers, will also be required to reserve, prior to departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. Travellers will be able to book their government-authorized stay starting February 18, 2021. These new measures are in addition to existing mandatory pre-boarding and health requirements for air travellers.

At the same time on February 22, 2021, all travellers, whether arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight.

To help plan your air travel, access the infographic by Public Health Agency of Canada here.

February 9:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced today that from February 15 all non-essential travellers entering Canada through the land border will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arrival. Travellers will need to show a 72-hour PCR test similar to air travel. The Prime Minister said border officers can’t legally deny entry to Canadians, but those who show up without proof of a test could face fines of up to $3,000. The testing requirement is in addition to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for returning non-essential travellers.

February 2:

New support to produce COVID-19 vaccines and treatments in Canada. Read more here.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that the federal government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Novavax to pursue the production of its COVID-19 vaccine at the National Research Council of Canada’s Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Montréal.

The Prime Minister also announced investments to support vaccine, therapeutic, and biomanufacturing projects in Canada. These include:

  • Up to $25.1 million to Precision NanoSystems Incorporated (PNI), a Vancouver-based biotechnology company, to expand Canada’s ability to produce ribonucleic acid vaccines and future genetic medicines in Canada. PNI will build a $50.2 million biomanufacturing centre to produce vaccines and therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of diseases such as infectious diseases, rare diseases, cancer and other areas of unmet need.
  • Up to $14 million to Edesa Biotech Inc. (Edesa), a biopharmaceutical company based in Markham, Ontario, to advance work on a monoclonal antibody therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is the leading cause of COVID-19 deaths. Edesa’s $18.7 million project has received Health Canada approval to conduct its phase 2 clinical trials, and has begun administering its treatment to clinical trial participants in Canada.

January 26:

On January 26, the federal government announced the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP). The HASCAP will provide financial support to businesses that have been most affected by the pandemic.

Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. The HASCAP is available to businesses across the country, in all sectors, that have been hit hard by the pandemic, including restaurants, businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and those that rely on in-person service.

To be eligible for HASCAP, businesses need to show a year-over-year revenue decline of at least 50% in three months, within the eight months prior to their application. They must also be able to show their financial institutions that they have previously applied for either the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy. Eligible businesses can start applying as early as February 1 at principal financial institutions and more widely by February 15.

Read more about the HASCAP here.

January 21:

The Government of Canada is making available an additional $500 million in support from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) for small businesses suffering from COVID-related losses. At the same time, the Government has committed to making at least 25% of those funds available to the struggling tourism sector.

This expanded RRRF funding is similar to that offered under additional support through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). It is intended for businesses that do not qualify for CEBA funding.

Learn more and apply on the FedNor website.

Or, if you have questions, please contact FedNor.

December 15:

Canada Revenue Agency introduces process for claiming home office expenses for Canadians working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

On December 15, the Canada Revenue Agency announced that it has made the home office expenses deduction available to more Canadians, and simplified the way employees can claim these expenses on their personal income tax return for the 2020 tax year.

Employees who worked from home more than 50% of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 will now be eligible to claim the home office expenses deduction for 2020. The use of a shorter qualifying period will ensure that more employees can claim the deduction than would otherwise have been possible under longstanding practice.

A new temporary flat rate method will allow eligible employees to claim a deduction of $2 for each day they worked at home in that period, plus any other days they worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 up to a maximum of $400. Under this new method, employees will not have to get Form T2200 or Form T2200S completed and signed by their employer.

To simplify the process for employees choosing the detailed method, the CRA launched today simplified forms (Form T2200S and Form T777S) and a calculator designed specifically to assist with the calculation of eligible home office expenses.

Find out more details about this tax deducation here.

December 10:

On August 14th 2020, Minister Mendicino announced the Government’s intention to implement special measures for refugee claimants working in health care during the pandemic. Two temporary public policies have since been developed – one for refugees living in Canada outside Québec, and the other for refugee claimants residing in Québec. To apply, applicants residing across Canada (outside Québec) must submit an application for permanent residence to IRCC. The department will assess eligibility and ensure that admissibility requirements are met. Applicants may then be granted permanent residence.

For more information regarding this announcement, please visit here.

December 9:

Health Canada approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Read more here.

Health Canada regulators have given the green light to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, a key step toward launching the biggest inoculation program in Canada’s history. The department announced the approval Wednesday. Public health and government officials will hold a briefing to discuss details of the vaccine rollout plan at 1 p.m. ET in Ottawa.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that several hundred thousand doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be available in Canada before the end of the year — shots primarily earmarked for long-term care home residents and the staff working there.

November 30:

On November 30, the federal government released the Fall Economic Statement 2020. As announced on October 9, the government confirmed that the Canada Emergency Business Account would be expanded to allow qualifying businesses to access an additional $20,000 in interest-free loans, of which $10,000 are forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022. The deadline to apply for a CEBA loan has been extended to March 31, 2021.

Learn more about CEBA here.

Read the Fall Economic Statement here.

November 23:

Applications for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Open Today.

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, CERS, which replaces the federal government’s Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, will provide up to 90 per cent rent support for qualifying businesses. Under the new program, organizations that have seen a decline of 70 per cent or more in their revenues because of the pandemic are eligible for a 65 per cent rent subsidy.

Read more about CERS here.

Learn more about the application process here.

November 10:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an investment of $1.75 billion to help connect Canadians to high-speed Internet across the country, grow businesses, and create jobs. This investment will connect 98 per cent of Canadians across the country to high-speed Internet by 2026, with the goal of connecting all Canadians by 2030.

Announced originally in Budget 2019 as $1 billion, today’s additional funding of $750 million for the Universal Broadband Fund will help advance projects with partners, like the Canada Infrastructure Bank, to connect Canadian households and businesses in underserved communities over the next six years. This includes a $150 million Rapid Response Stream with an accelerated application process to allow shovel-ready projects to get started right away.

Read more here.

November 2:

Today the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, introduced Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), which would implement new, targeted support to help hard-hit businesses. The previously announced business supports include:

  • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which would provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. The government is proposing to allow claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ended October 24, 2020.
  • The new Lockdown Support, which would provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this would mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.
  • The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire their workers. The wage subsidy would remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

Read more here.

As part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, a temporary measure has been put in place to now allow employers to receive an increased wage subsidy of 75% of the cost of wages (up to $7500) per placement. Also, students will be able to work from home. These measures will be in effect until March 31, 2021.

The Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) to Canada’s manufacturing and related sectors. EMC is working in partnership with the SWPP team to achieve Canada’s Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Strategy, which is meant to drive systemic change in the skills development system by EMC working with post-secondary institution partners to effectively align ‘work-ready’ skills of students with the skills required by Canada’s manufacturers. WIL refers to a continuum of student learning opportunities ranging from structured work experience to instances where an employer engages directly with a post-secondary education institution to address a particular challenge. It can include internships, co-op placements, mentorship programs or applied research projects to solve particular problems.

Read more here.

October 29:

Insurers stepping up to help small businesses in Ontario. Read more here.

To help struggling small businesses in Ontario secure insurance amidst the economic challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has created, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is announcing the launch of a new Business Insurance Action Team (BIAT). BIAT will help to find viable insurance solutions for as many small businesses in Ontario’s hospitality sector as possible.

The BIAT will launch in November and will initially focus on Ontario-based small businesses in the hospitality sector, including restaurants and bars that have been impacted by COVID-19 and are currently experiencing challenges securing insurance.

October 26:

Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland announced that as early as October 26, 2020, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account. Read more here.

October 20:

#CanadaUnited 

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced an investment of $12 million to support the Canada United campaign. Created and launched by RBC, Canada United is a national movement to support local businesses in communities across the country.

Grants up to $5,000 are available to small businesses so they can cover the costs of physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements. The grant can also be used to help firms enhance their e-commerce capabilities so they can do more business online.

The new application window for the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund will open on Monday, October 26, 2020. Canadian small business can learn more and apply for the grant online through Go Canada United.

October 9:

Applications are now open for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. The programs, both part of the package replacing the CERB, may now be applied for. Applications for both programs are available through the Canada Revenue Agency. Applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit will be available starting October 12. CRA’s new CRSB, CRCB and CRB web pages provide extensive information about these benefits including eligibility requirements, how to apply and eligibility period dates.

Today, the Government of Canada has announced their intention to introduce new, targeted supports to help hard-hit businesses and other organizations experiencing a drop in revenue.

New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy – direct to tenants, up to 65%

The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which would provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy would be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020.

A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25 per cent for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy. This follows a commitment in the Speech from the Throne to provide direct financial support to businesses temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision.

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides a subsidy for eligible fixed property expenses, including rent and interest on commercial mortgages. Program parameters announced today apply until December 19, 2020 with future parameters in 2021 to be adapted and targeted as needed.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – stay at current rate of up to 65% thru to December

The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire their workers. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

Expanded Canada Emergency Business Account – additional $20,000 available

An expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which would enable businesses, and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans—and that continue to be seriously impacted by the pandemic—to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Additionally, the application deadline for CEBA is being extended to December 31, 2020. Further details, including the launch date and application process will be announced in the coming days. An attestation of the impact of COVID-19 on the business will be required to access the additional financing.

The additional CEBA loan would effectively increase CEBA loans to $60,000 from $40,000 for eligible businesses, of which a total of $20,000 would be forgiven if the balance of the loan is repaid before December 31, 2022.

October 7:

Applications are now open for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. The programs, both part of the package replacing the CERB, may now be applied for. Applications for both programs are available through the Canada Revenue Agency. Applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit will be available starting October 12. CRA’s new CRSB, CRCB and CRB web pages provide extensive information about these benefits including eligibility requirements, how to apply and eligibility period dates.

Find out more information about the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit here.

Find out more information about the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit here.

October 2:

Today, the federal government announced a further investment of $600 million in the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. Canada’s Regional Development Agencies deliver the RRRF in their regions. In Northern Ontario, FedNor administers the RRRF. Read more here.

September 23:

Today, Governor General Julie Payette delivered the government’s Speech from the Throne. The Speech introduces the government’s direction and goals, and outlines how it will work to achieve them. The Speech noted four key priorities for the federal government:

  • tackling the COVID-19 crisis;
  • helping people and business through the crisis;
  • building a stronger, more resilient Canada; and
  • standing up for who we are as Canadians.

Watch the Speech from the Throne here.

Read the Canadian Chamber’s response here.

Read the Ontario Chamber’s response here.

September 8:

Today the Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will be extended for the month of September. The government also announced this will be the final extension for the CECRA program. Read more here.

August 31:

Today, the federal government announced that that the application deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is extended from August 31 to October 31, 2020. Further details on these changes will be released in coming days, including a new business account opening process through which qualifying businesses will be able to apply. The government also announced that the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is extended to June 2021.

Read more here.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that agreements in principle have been reached with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax to procure millions of doses of experimental COVID‑19 vaccines. These agreements add to those already reached with Pfizer and Moderna, which were made following the recommendations of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.

Read more here.

August 20:

The federal government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by one more month and revamping the employment insurance program. CERB will now be in place until Sept. 27, extending the program from six months to 28 weeks. A second new benefit will provide 10 days of paid sick leave to any worker in Canada who falls ill or has to self-isolate due to COVID-19. That will provide $500 a week, and a claimant can’t claim this benefit and another sick leave payment at the same time. A third benefit will support Canadians who must stay home to care for a child under 12 or another dependent because their school, daycare or other day program facility is shut down due to COVID.

Read media coverage here.

August 18:

After Bill Morneau’s resignation as Minister of Finance on August 17, today the Prime Minister announced a Cabinet shuffle: Chrystia Freeland becomes the Minister of Finance, and remains Deputy Prime Minister; and Dominic LeBlanc becomes Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and remains President of the Queen’s Privy Council.

The Prime Minister also asked the Governor General to prorogue Parliament. The government intends to deliver a Speech from the Throne on September 23, 2020. Read more here.

August 17:

Today, the Minister of National Revenue, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, announced that the Canada Revenue Agency has opened applications for Period 5 – the first period of the enhanced CEWS program. Program changes for Periods 5-9 include:

  • The extension of the CEWS, including redesigned program details, until November 21, 2020.
  • Increased eligibility, meaning that all eligible employers who’ve experienced a revenue drop can now qualify for a base subsidy. The subsidy amount is based on the revenue drop.
  • Employers who are especially hard-hit can qualify for a top-up of up to 25%.
  • Provide certainty for employers that have already made business decisions for July and August, by ensuring they will not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules.

Period five is the first of the periods that are a part of the new enhanced CEWS. Eligible employers can apply through their My Business Account or the CRA’s web form application. Read more here.

August 11:

Government Of Canada Sets National Temporary Minimum Unemployment Rate For EI Benefits Calculations. Read more here.

As the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is set to wind down at the end of August, the federal government has temporarily adjusted the Employment Insurance (EI) program’s unemployment rate to 13.1%, which will be applied nationally (except for in areas where the actual rate is higher). This temporary measure will set a uniform eligibility requirement for EI regular benefits, provide a minimum entitlement of 26 weeks of benefits and set the number of best weeks of earnings used in the calculation of the weekly benefit rate at 14.

July 31:

Ontario and Canada Launch a Mobile App to Help Notify Canadians of COVID-19 Exposure. Read more here.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, today announced that COVID Alert, a new national mobile app, is now available to Canadians for free download. The app, first developed in Ontario, helps notify users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Use of COVID Alert is voluntary, and serves as another tool to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Once the app is fully functioning in their province or territory, users who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a one-time key from their health authority that they can enter into the app. When the key is entered, COVID Alert will notify other users who may have come in close contact with that person for at least 15 minutes in the past 14 days, so they can contact their local public health authority for guidance.

How It Works:

  • The app uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones.
  • Every day, it checks a list of random codes from people who tell the app they tested positive.
  • If you’ve been near one of those codes in the past 14 days, you’ll get a notification.

Download the app, COVID Alert, here.

Today the Government of Canada announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program is being extended by one month to cover August rents. All provinces and territories are continuing to participate in the program. Read more here.

Today, the Prime Minister announced that a plan will be released in August to transfer Canadians still claiming the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to the federal Employment Insurance program. Earlier this summer, CERB was extended from 16 weeks to 24 weeks. Individuals who are not eligible for Employment Insurance, such as contract workers, will be transferred to a parallel benefit program similar to Employment Insurance.

July 27:

The CRA is extending the payment due date for current year individual, corporate and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020. The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns.

Read more here.

Today, the changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy proposed by the federal government on July 17 received Royal Assent. Among other things, Bill C-20 extends the CEWS to December 19, introduces a sliding scale and made some eligibility improvements.

More information on CEWS.

More information on Bill C-20.

July 17:

This afternoon the government released details of the proposed CEWS program extension and improvements. Legislative approval is still required, however the draft would:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30% and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30% revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30% revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

Read more here. Read the Canadian Chamber’s reaction here.

July 16:

This afternoon it was announced that the federal, provincial and territorial governments have reached an agreement in which the federal government will provide over $19 billion in funding to help the country’s economic recovery. The funding will target seven key areas:

  • Testing, contact tracing and data management
  • Health care, including mental health and addictions
  • Aiding vulnerable populations, including in nursing homes
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Early learning and child care
  • Municipal budgets, including public transit
  • Paid sick leave

Read more here.

July 14:

Today, Canadian media reported that the federal government will extend the US-Canada border closure for another 30 days. The border has been closed to non-essential traffic since March 21. The border closure is reviewed every month. Read more here.

July 13:

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% subsidy) would be extended until December, 2020. Read media coverage here.

July 8:

Today, the Government of Canada released its economic snapshot – a picture of the federal spending to date this year, amid the pandemic. The snapshot includes a projected deficit this year of $343 billion and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 49.1 percent.

Following the release, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce reiterated the need for a plan to restore private sector growth, starting with a tailored strategy and a timetable for safely reopening that will allow businesses and families alike to plan. Read the Canadian chamber’s full statement here.

July 8:

Today, the Government of Canada released its economic snapshot – a picture of the federal spending to date this year, amid the pandemic. The snapshot includes a projected deficit this year of $343 billion and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 49.1 percent.

Following the release, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce reiterated the need for a plan to restore private sector growth, starting with a tailored strategy and a timetable for safely reopening that will allow businesses and families alike to plan. Read the Canadian chamber’s full statement here.

June 30:

Government Ends GST/HST And Customs Duty Payment Deferrals. Read more here.

The federal government has confirmed it is ending the payment deferrals as planned on June 30, today. Businesses that continue to experience difficulty in remitting GST/HST and customs duty amounts owing can contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to make a request for the cancellation of penalties and interest, and/or for a flexible payment arrangement with the CRA.

June 29:

Today, the federal government announced that it is working with the provinces and territories to extend the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program to July, 2020. The program was initially set to expire at the end of June, 2020. Applications for the CECRA are open through the CMHC. More details on the extension are set to be announced soon.

June 25:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the launch of the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), which will support post-secondary students and recent graduates as they volunteer to serve in their communities’ COVID-19 response and gain valuable experience at the same time. The CSSG will provide these volunteers with a one-time payment of between $1,000 and $5,000 based on the number of hours they serve. To find not-for-profit organizations looking for help during the pandemic, post-secondary students and recent graduates can use the new I Want to Help platform, which also launched today. Read more here.

June 23:

Federal Government Extends Time Periods Given to Employers to Recall Employees Laid Off Due to COVID-19. Read more here.

Prior to these changes, employers could temporarily layoff their employees for up to three months if no notice with a recall date was provided or for a period of up to six months if they provided a notice with an expected recall date before the layoff became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months:

  • For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  • For employees laid off between March 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020 unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights.

June 18:

Today, the Prime Minister announced that the government will be endorsing a digital phone app to assist with tracking COVID-19 cases across the country. The app will launch as a pilot first in Ontario, and will be voluntary to download. To ensure privacy protections, the app will not track location and personal information. Read media coverage here.

June 17:

Today, the Prime Minister said that the Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, will present a fiscal and economic update on July 8. The federal budget, originally scheduled to be released in March, was delayed due to COVID-19. Read more here.

June 16:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks. The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 over a four-week period for eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced, due to COVID-19. The CERB is available to workers who:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19, or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits, or have exhausted their EI regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020
  • had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
  • have not earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income per benefit period while collecting the CERB
  • have not quit their job voluntarily

Read more here.

June 15:

Today, the Prime Minister announced that the federal government intends to extend the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The CERB originally launched in April, and applicants were limited to 16 weeks of subsidies, which ends in early July. The Prime Minister said further details about the extension will be announced in the coming days. Read more here.

KPMG: Employers that experience a 30% decline in revenue in June 2020 will be eligible for the 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy during the related claim period. Following the government’s announcement that the subsidy would be extended to August 29, 2020, the CRA has now confirmed that the subsidy will maintain the 30% revenue drop threshold for the current June 2020 period, which relates to the period from June 7 to July 4, 2020. Read further analysis by KPMG here.

June 9:

Today, the federal government launched a PPE Supply Hub Website. The Supply Hub connects Canadian organizations with federal, provincial, territorial and other resources and information about PPE, including consumer guidance. Buyers will find PPE supplier lists, in addition to guidance to help plan their PPE purchases.

Access the Supply Hub here.

June 5:

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic. Read more here.

This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:

  • $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.
  • $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
  • $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

Combined with the special payments of $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the OAS pension and the additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS, all seniors with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate will receive a total of $600 in special payments. People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically.

Tender Opportunity

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has a requirement for face shields. The face shields must be made in accordance specifications listed in the request for proposal. These items will be delivered to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Firm quantity: five million, plus options. See more here.

June 4:

Roadmap to Recovery

Today, the Canadian chamber released its Roadmap to Recovery, which examines nine key challenges and offers 51 recommendations that can get the economy restarted in a safe manner. The Roadmap to Recovery was developed in partnership with the Canadian Business Resilience Network’s vast network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 100 of Canada’s most important business and industry associations. The full text and recommendations can be found here.

The Roadmap to Recovery is part of the ongoing relief and recovery effort of the Canadian Business Resilience Network. Supported by the Government of Canada and led by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the network is a coordinated, business-led, inclusive campaign to help businesses emerge from this crisis and drive Canada’s economic recovery.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6. Seniors eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, and those also eligible for the GIS will receive an additional $200, for a total of $500. Allowance recipients will also receive $500. Read more here.

June 1:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year to assist municipalities deal with the financial impacts of COVID-19. This means that $2.2 billion in annual federal infrastructure funding for communities will be delivered in one payment in June. Communities have flexibility to use the funding to meet their local needs. Projects could include access to high-speed broadband, improvements to water and road systems, and the building of cycling and walking paths. Read more here.

May 25:

Today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the federal government, launched the Business Resilience Service. The program is run through the chamber’s Canadian Business Resilience Network, in collaboration with EY Canada.

The BRS will provide options for any vulnerable small to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country from professional services firms. The program, delivered to organizations free of charge, will:

  • Provide guidance on program options and eligibility
  • Rapidly direct businesses – including enterprises involving Indigenous peoples, women and diverse groups – to the most appropriate support organizations
  • Help organizations make decisions to support recovery plans
  • Provide real time insights and feedback to policymakers

The BRS program, coordinated by EY, will be provided for four weeks from Monday, May 25, and will involve support from approximately 125 business advisors from across the accounting profession. Organizations can access the BRS seven days a week by calling 1-866-989-1080.

May 21:

Applications for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance open at 8:00 am EST on May 25, 2020.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to:

  • reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants
  • meet operating expenses on commercial properties

Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020.

Read more here.

May 19:

Today the government announced it was expanding the criteria used by businesses in calculating their CEBA eligibility. To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 need:

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution;
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return;
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities and insurance.

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Read more here.

Today it was announced the closure of the Canada-U.S. border would be extended an additional 30 days to June 21. The conditions of the closure remain unchanged, which bans non-essential travel.

May 15:

Today, the federal government announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% subsidy) will be extended to the end of August. The subsidy was initially set to expire at the end of June. The Prime Minister also indicated that changes to the eligibility requirements might be forthcoming. Read more here.

May 13:

Today, the federal government announced the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). Delivered by FedNor and the other Regional Development Agencies across the country, the RRRF is a special fund to support businesses and organizations affected by COVID-19 who are unable to qualify for other assistance.

The RRRF will help to address gaps left by other measures as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and complement those already provided by other levels of government, as well as take into account regional needs and realities. Its immediate, concrete help will be tailored to businesses’ unique needs, relieving pressures and helping them pay employees and cover costs. In the months to come, it will position them to play a meaningful role in our economic recovery.

Regional economy stream in Northern Ontario

FedNor is delivering $24 million of this RRRF investment through its Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. Eligible applicants include businesses (such as incorporated companies, corporations or co-operatives,) Indigenous organizations (like Indigenous/First Nation/Métis Settlement-owned businesses,) as well as various not-for-profit entities. The RRRF will support a variety of costs or activities to help SMEs and not-for-profit organizations stay solvent over a period of six months and/or begin preparing for recovery beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The full details are now available on the FedNor website.

Community Futures stream in Northern Ontario

FedNor is partnering with Northern Ontario’s 24 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) to deliver $25.5 million in RRRF support directly to small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural areas. This includes sole proprietorships or partnerships not covered under the Regional Economy stream. Each CFDC is managing its own application and selection process in accordance with the parameters set out in the RRRF, and will determine ultimate funding recipients in accordance with its own policies and procedures.

To find out more about RRRF funding available through this stream, contact your local CFDC or consult this CFDC directory.

May 12:

Today, the federal government announced a new policy to expedite the process to allow temporary foreign workers to enter the job market. While this policy is in place, a worker who is already in Canada and has secured a new job offer, typically backed by a labour market test, can get approval to start working in their new job, even while their work permit application is being fully processed. This will cut what can often take 10 weeks or more, down to 10 days or less. Read more here.

May 11:

Today, the federal government announced that it will:

  • Establish a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.
  • Use key guiding principles in providing support through the LEEFF, including:
    • Protection of taxpayers and workers: Companies seeking support must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities. Recipients will need to commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions. The LEEFF program will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay. In considering a company’s eligibility to assistance under the LEEFF program, an assessment may be made of its employment, tax, and economic activity in Canada, as well as its international organizational structure and financing arrangements. The program will not be available to companies that have been convicted of tax evasion. In addition, recipient companies would be required to commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.
    • Fairness: To ensure support across the Canadian economy, the financing is intended to be applicable to all eligible sectors in a consistent manner.
    • Timeliness: To ensure timely support, the LEEFF program will apply a standard set of economic terms and conditions.
  • Expand the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million. Through the BCAP, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with private sector lenders to support access to capital for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions.
  • Continue to provide financing to businesses through Farm Credit Canada, the BDC, and EDC, including through the Canada Account.

Read more here.

May 8:

Today, the Prime Minister announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% subsidy) will be extended beyond June. The program was initially scheduled to end on June 6. The government will share more details about the extension next week. Read more here.

April 29:

Today, Statistics Canada released the results of the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC). The CBSC examined issues like the COVID-19’s impact on businesses, how businesses have adapted to the ongoing situation, challenges they continue to face and those they expect as the recovery begins. The survey compiled 13,037 responses and was in market between April 4, 2020 and April 24, 2020.

Select findings include:

How much of a cash buffer did businesses have going into COVID-19

  • 42.2% couldn’t operate longer than 60 days without a source of revenue
  • 51.1% couldn’t operate longer than 90 days without a source of revenue

Extent to which businesses have experienced a decrease in demand

  • 80.9% have experienced a medium to high drop in demand for services or products

Change in business revenue in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019

  • 10.5% experienced an increase in revenue
  • 14.3% saw no change in revenue
  • 17.9% experienced a decrease in revenue of up to 20%
  • 53.5% experienced a decrease in revenue of over 20%

Length of time businesses can remain partially or fully open amid social distancing measures

  • 17.5% say no amount of time amid social distancing
  • 22.2% say they could open for no longer than 3 months amid social distancing
  • 11.9% say they could open between 3 and 6 months amid social distancing
  • Only 32.1% say they could remain open longer than 6 months amid social distancing

Staffing decisions taken as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 38.1% have reduced staff hours or shifts
  • 40.5% have laid off staff

Select findings exploring the resiliency of Canadian businesses include:

  • 17.9% of businesses have altered methods of production
  • 35.4% of businesses have altered products or services offered
  • 45.4% of businesses are using new methods to interact with customers
  • 44.5% of businesses are testing working from home
  • 11.6% of businesses are testing e-commerce
  • 10.6% are trying new staff training
  • 62.3% of businesses say they can return to a state of normal operations within one month of social distancing measures being removed

Read the Canadian chamber’s analysis here.

Read Statistics Canada’s analysis here.

April 28:

Today, the Prime Minister released a joint statement by First Ministers for restarting the economy. The federal, provincial, and territorial governments have come together and agreed to a set of common principles for restarting the Canadian economy, based on shared understanding and appreciation of what science and experts are telling us. The statement identifies the criteria and measures that need to be in place in order to begin to take steps to restart the economy:

  • COVID-19 transmission is controlled, so new cases are contained at a level that our health care system can manage.
  • Sufficient public health capacity is in place to test, trace, isolate, and control the spread of the virus.
  • Expanded health care capacity exists to support all needs, including COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
  • Supports are in place for vulnerable groups, communities, and key populations. This includes the protection of seniors, residents of group living facilities, workers in close quarters, homeless people, and Indigenous people and those living in remote locations, health care workers and other essential workers, and inmates.
  • Support and monitoring of workplace protocols are in place to keep Canadians safe at their jobs, and prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.
  • Restrictions on non-essential travel are eased and managed in a coordinated manner.
  • Communities are supported in managing local disease activity, including in child care, schools, and public transportation, and industry and economic sectors are engaged to support the health of Canadians, reduced viral activity, and protection of the economy as it restarts.

Read the full statement by First Ministers here.

Read the Canadian chamber’s five priorities for reopening the economy here.

April 24:

Today, the Prime Minister announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

The government is also providing further details on the program:

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

April 23:

The Canada Revenue Agency will open applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% subsidy) on Monday, April 27. They have prepared a step-by-step guide on how to prepare your application. See the guide here.

  1. Sign up for My Business Account or Represent a Client – Employers will be able to apply through these portals. You can watch this video for instructions on registering for My Business Account.
  2. Register for Direct Deposit for your payroll account (RP) – Employers who are not registered for direct deposit will receive their CEWS payment by cheque and additional time will be required for mail delivery.
  3. Calculate your CEWS eligibility – The CEWS webpage includes a calculator function that guides employers through a step-by-step calculation of the CEWS and enables employers to determine the subsidy amount they can expect to claim based on the information that they enter into the calculator.
  4. If you are expecting a payment of $25 million or more, you will have to get your payment through the large value transfer system (LVTS). To do this, you have to be enrolled in direct deposit on your payroll account and be registered for the LVTS. If you are not already set up for LVTS, begin the registration process.

Today, the Prime Minister announced $1.1 billion for a national medical research strategy to fight COVID-19. The strategy includes three pillars:

  • vaccine development;
  • production of treatments; and
  • tracking the virus.

The government will also establish a COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, mandated to oversee the coordination of country-wide blood test surveys to track the spread of the virus and potential immunity in the Canadian population. Read more here.

April 22:

Today, the Prime Minister announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, along with other measures totaling $9 billion to support Canadian students.

  • The Canada Emergency Student Benefit will provide eligible students with up to $1,250/month from May to August. Students that are caring for a dependent or have a disability are eligible for up to $1,750/month.
  • The CESB is also available to students who have jobs but make less than $1,000/month.
  • Applications and disbursements will be made through the CRA.
  • The previously-announced Canada Emergency Response Benefit subsidy ($2000/month for 4 months) is available to students, but only those who were already working and lost their source of income due to COVID-19.
  • The government also announced programs aimed at creating up to 116,000 student jobs, via job placements and other training opportunities.
  • These programs will require Parliamentary approval.

The government also announced that, effective immediately, it would be lifting restrictions limiting international students to a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they work in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

April 21:

Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% subsidy) will open on April 27.

  • To read more about employer eligibility, click here.
  • To determine which of your employees are covered under the subsidy, click here.
  • To calculate your subsidy amount, click here.

Applications for the subsidy will be made through the CRA’s My Business Account portal. For further details on how to apply, click here.

April 17:

Today, the Government of Canada announced the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). The Fund will help to:

  • mitigate the financial pressure experienced by businesses and organizations to allow them to continue their operations, including paying their employees;
  • support projects by businesses, organizations and communities to prepare now for a successful recovery.

The Fund has two components:

  • $675 million to support regional economies, businesses, organizations and communities in regions all across Canada;
  • $287 million to support the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations, which will specifically target small businesses and rural communities across the country.

This initiative is implemented by the six regional development agencies, and in Northern Ontario, will be administered by FedNor.

April 16:

Today, the Prime Minister announced two major policies:

  • The Canada Emergency Business Account, which provides up to $40,000 interest-free loans to businesses, is expanding eligibility to companies with payrolls between $20,000 and $1.5 million. It was previously $50,000 – $1 million.
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance: aimed at providing assistance to small businesses with their April, May and June rents. More details to follow.

April 15:

Today, the Prime Minister announced that the federal government will be introducing changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). In addition to those who already qualified, the CERB is expanding to include people who:

  • earn up to $1,000 per month;
  • are seasonal workers;
  • have recently had their EI run out.

The changes are retroactive to March 15. For more information about the CERB application process, see here.

April 8:

Today, the Prime Minister announced that the federal government will be introducing changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% subsidy) to expand eligibility for businesses not previously covered.

  • Businesses will now only have to demonstrate a 15 percent drop in revenue, as opposed to the originally announced 30 percent.
  • Businesses can demonstrate the drop in revenue by using January or February 2020 as reference points, as opposed to the originally announced year-to-year reference points. This should expand eligibility to start-ups and businesses who have recently scaled-up.
  • Not-for-profits can include or exclude government funding when calculating revenue losses.

The wage subsidy legislation still needs to be approved by Parliament. The Prime Minister said today that he expects the subsidy to be available in three weeks.

April 6:

The Canadian chamber network has partnered with Statistics Canada to launch a survey of the national business community to collect time-sensitive data about what businesses are going through and how they’re planning for the eventual recovery. Take the survey here.

Today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Government of Canada, launched the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN). The CBRN is a coordinated, business-led, inclusive campaign that will focus on providing businesses the tools they need to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on them, our economy and communities across the country. Its goal is also to help businesses emerge from this crisis and drive Canada’s economic recovery.

The CBRN will:

  • Give tools and supports to businesses in their continuity efforts – from development to implementation.
  • Provide a consistent and reliable flow of accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Work closely with federal government and within the business community to ensure the right supports are in place, and to be a conduit for information from the government to the private sector (and vice versa).
  • Aim to instill confidence in Canadian business and the economy.

The campaign will feature:

  • A standalone website (www.cbrn.ca) that serves as a central hub for credible information, the latest news and insights, tools and resources and as a platform for engaging businesses.
  • Information sharing and awareness building initiatives, including newsletters and webinars.
  • Analysis and reporting on business, industry and economic trends across the country to see what is working and where gaps might exist.

Today, the federal government began accepting applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the temporary income support that provides eligible applicants with up to $2000/month for four months. Due to high expected demand, the government will accept applications for the CERB in a staggered framework based on the birth-month of the applicant. See the schedule below. The application process starts here.

April 4:

Letter From Ministers to Employers – Temporary Foreign Workers – COVID-19. Read the letter here.

April 1:

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced further details about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Read more here. Details:

  • The subsidy will provide a 75 percent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020.
  • Eligible employers would include individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships consisting of eligible employers as well as non‑profit organizations and registered charities.
  • This subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 30 per cent of their revenue. In applying for the subsidy, employers would be required to attest to the decline in revenue. The decline in revenue will be measured against the same months in 2019.

How to Apply:

  • Eligible employers would be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application. Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.

Interaction with 10 percent Temporary Wage Subsidy:

  • 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.

Interaction with Canada Emergency Response Benefit:

  • An employer would not be eligible to claim the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid to an employee in a week that falls within a 4-week period for which the employee is eligible for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.
  • Employers who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would still be able to furlough employees who will receive up to $2,000 a month.

The federal government released further details about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Read more here.

  • If you have lost income because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with temporary income support.
  • The CERB will provide you with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks ($2000/month for four months)
  • The government is targeting April 6, 2020 as the date when they start accepting applications.

How to Apply:

  • Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deliver this benefit jointly. You can apply through one or the other, but not both. If you have already applied for Employment Insurance, you do not need to re-apply.

Eligibility: to be eligible to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from Service Canada, the following must apply:

  • You must reside in Canada
  • You are 15 years of age or older at the time of application
  • You have stopped or will stop working for reasons related to COVID-19, or because you are unable to work due to illness, or because you lost your employment for other reasons beyond your control; and
    • If you are submitting for your first benefit period, that you have stopped or will stop working for at least 14 consecutive days within the 4 week benefit period; or
    • If you are filing for a subsequent benefit period, you did not receive any employment or self employment income for the period for which you previously claimed the benefit and do not expect to receive any employment or self employment income in the 4 week benefit period
  • You have not quit your job voluntarily
  • You are not receiving nor have you applied for the CERB from the Canada Revenue Agency nor are you receiving Employment Insurance benefits for the same benefit period
  • You have earned a minimum of $5,000 in income within the last 12 months or in the 2019 calendar year from one or more of the following sources:
    • Employment income
    • Self-employment income

March 30:

This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced further details about the federal government’s 75 percent wage subsidy:

  • businesses whose revenues have decreased by at least 30 percent because of COVID-19 will be eligible
  • number of employees does not factor into eligibility; both big and small companies will be eligible
  • non-profits and charities will also be eligible.
  • the subsidy will cover the first 75 percent of the first $58,700 of an employee’s paycheck

As of right now, it does not appear there is a subsidy limit per employer. Further details will be shared as they become available.

March 27:

Earlier this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government would be expanding the federal wage subsidy to small businesses to 75 percent, up from the previously announced 10 percent. This subsidy will be back-dated to Sunday, March 15. This is a welcomed and much-needed step from the federal government, and will prove critical to the continued health and survival of Canada’s small businesses.

The Prime Minister also announced the creation of the Canada Emergency Business Account, through which Canadian banks will make available government-guaranteed loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses, which will be interest-free for the first year; up to $10,000 of those loans will be forgivable for eligible businesses. The government also committed to providing an additional $12.5 billion through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank to help cash flows for small businesses.

The Prime Minister also announced that the government is committed to deferring GST and HST remittances and duties on imports/exports until June 2020.

These programs add up to $65 billion in direct supports and $30 billion in deferred taxes. The Prime Minister indicated that further details on the programs will come no later than Monday, March 30.

Earlier in the day, the Bank of Canada announced that it would be lowering the overnight rate to 0.25 percent. Read more here.

March 25:

Minister Patty Hajdu announced today that all international travellers – with the exception of “essential workers” – are now mandated to enter a 14-day quarantine when returning to Canada. The measure goes into effect on midnight March 25. Read media coverage here.

This afternoon, Parliament passed a federal COVID-19 aid package worth $107 billion. Key provisions include the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, under which laid off employees could receive up to $2000 per month for four months. More details to follow. Read media coverage here.

This morning, the House of Commons passed Bill C-13, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, which provides up to $82 billion in funding to help Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis. The bill will go to the Senate later today for approval. Read media coverage here.

March 23:

Top 5 Things SME’s Need to Know. Read more here.

March 18:

The Government of Canada announced significant actions to support businesses through the impact of COVID-19. Read the full Economic Response Plan here.

Actions related to businesses include:

  • The Government will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, and an addition $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals
  • The 2020 tax deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020. The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing after March 18 and before September 2020
  • The Business Credit Availability Program will allow the BDC and the EDC to provide more than $10 billion of additional support targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses
  • The Government is proposing to provide eligible small businesses with a temporary wage subsidy, up to 10 percent of wages, for a period of three months. This subsidy is limited to $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer
  • On March 16, the Government announced that it was launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, which will allow it to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This policy is aimed at providing long-term stability to banks and mortgage lenders and help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses.

Read the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

March 11:

Canada eliminates one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance Benefits for workers quarantined due to COVID-19. Read more.