From: McMillan Vantage
Date: March 27, 2020
Re: COVID 19 – Government Relief Efforts To Date
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
March 27, 2020: Amendments to the Temporary Wage Subsidy
March 27, 2020: Additional supports for Canadian businesses
- Canada Emergency Business Account: program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses.
o Loans will be up to $40,000, to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced
o To qualify, organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.
o Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000)
- Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program to help small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements ($40 billion):
o $20 billion to Export Development Canada for a New Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Enterprises
o $20 billion to Business Development Bank of Canada for a New Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises
This $40 billion is on top of the $10 billion given to EDC and BDC through the Business Credit Availability Program
- GST/HST payments deferred: businesses, including self-employed individuals, will be allowed to defer all GST/HST payments until June
- Deferral of Customs Duty and Sales Tax for Importers: payment deadlines for statements of accounts of March, April, and May are being deferred to June 30, 2020
- CRA deferrals: see here for a full list
March 27, 2020: Government clarifies tax details of Canada Emergency Response Benefit
March 26, 2020: Government announces more details on the Indigenous Community Support Fund
- The Indigenous Community Support Fund will be distributed as follows:
o $215 million for First Nations: allocated to each First Nation based on population, remoteness and community well-being
o $45 million for Inuit, which will flow to each of the four land claims organizations through an allocation determined by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and regional Inuit land claims organizations
o $30 million for Métis Nation communities, which will flow through each of the Governing Members
o $15 million for regional and urban Indigenous organizations supporting their members living away from their communities and to regional organizations such as Friendship Centres and the Métis Settlements General Council of Alberta
March 25, 2020: Parliament passes Ottawa’s $107B COVID-19 aid package
- The act legislates many of the previously announced economic relief measures, such as the increase to the Canada Childcare Benefit, the deferral of income tax, and the increase to the GST credit
- The emergency insurance benefits found in the legislation represent a significant departure from what were initially announced on March 18
- The Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit have been collapsed into one benefit: the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):
o Amount: $2,000 a month for 4 months
o Eligibility: CERB would cover Canadians (wage earners, contract workers, and self-employed individuals) who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school closures; it also covers workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, and business owners who have no further business and have laid off employees.
o Note to employers: Workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, qualify for the CERB. This means employers need not lay-off workers for workers to access CERB.
o The government hopes an online platform will be open by April 6. Applicants can apply with a back date until last day of work.
- This new benefit structure raises the amount pledged for individuals from $27 billion to $52 billion
- PM Trudeau announces that he is still looking at more direct help for businesses
March 25, 2020: Government takes action to support publishing and news sector
March 25, 2020: Joint statement affirming commitment to maintaining supply chain connectivity
- Canada, along with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand, and Singapore, committed to facilitating the cross-border movement of goods, services, and people by maintaining open and connected supply chains throughout the pandemic
- The government affirmed the importance of refraining from the imposition of export controls or tariffs and non-tariff barriers and of removing any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, at this time
- Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2020/03/statement-on-joint-international-effort-to-ensure-supply-chain-connectivity-amid-covid-19-pandemic.html
March 25, 2020: Help for Canadian oil patch forthcoming
March 25, 2020: Export Development Canada provides more details on its portion of the Business Credit Availability Program
- As of March 24, Export Development Canada (EDC) is offering banks a guarantee on loans made to Canadian exporting companies. EDC will offer guarantees on loans of up to $5 million, with the idea that companies will be able to access more cash immediately. Companies are encouraged to contact their financial institutions for more information on the program.
- EDC is also set to support its credit insurance customers, offering to cover losses from goods that have shipped even if the buyer has not accepted the goods, and waiving the typical 60-day waiting period for this claim.
March 23, 2020: Prime Minister announces support for farmers and agri-food businesses under Canada’s response to COVID-19
- Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time.
- All eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30 will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan (represents $173 million in deferred loans). Applicable farmers who still have interest-free loans outstanding will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $100,000 interest-free portion for 2020-2021, as long as their total APP advances remain under the $1 million cap.
- Source: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/23/prime-minister-announces-support-farmers-and-agri-food-businesses
March 23, 2020: $192 million for a new COVID-19 stream of SIF
- The federal government has committed $192 million to new projects that will be prioritized under the new Strategic Innovation Fund COVID-19 stream.
March 22, 2020: PM Trudeau says emergency economic measures will be adopted Tuesday, “only a very first step”
- A small number of MPs will be called back to the House of Commons on Tuesday at noon to adopt emergency economic measures announced earlier this week by the federal government
- PM Trudeau referred to the $82 billion relief package as “only a very first step”.
March 20, 2020: Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19
- Plan introduces new measures to directly support businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19. These products could include critical health and safety supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, and disease tracking technology.
- The plan is to mobilize federal innovation programs in order to support promising projects. Funds will be deployed on an accelerated basis with increased flexibility. This is meant to make it easier and faster to deploy resources to domestic manufacturers and businesses.
- Activities include:
o Re-tooling the manufacturing lines of existing Canadian businesses or rapidly scaling up the production of others that already produce these products.
o Refocusing Canada’s existing industrial and innovation programs, by adding to their mandate a requirement that they prioritize the fight against COVID-19. This includes:
the Strategic Innovation Fund to deliver direct support to Canadian companies and research institutions for large-scale projects
National Research Council of Canada to expedite research and development with small and medium-sized enterprises
Innovation Superclusters to tap into a national network of 1,800 members, and Innovative Solutions Canada to help companies commercialize products more quickly
Innovative Solutions Canada will help Canadian companies commercialize faster
o Delivering direct support to key Canadian companies that are working on large-scale and later-stage research and development projects aimed, in the immediate term, at producing countermeasures to COVID-19.
o Challenging innovative companies to develop research-based solutions, technologies, and products that can address a variety of COVID-19 issues.
o Sourcing equipment needed to support Canada’s response to COVID-19 here in Canada.
March 20, 2020: Canada provides update on exemptions to travel restrictions to protect Canadians and support the economy
- To safeguard the continuity of trade, commerce, health and food security for all Canadians, temporary foreign workers in agriculture, agri-food, seafood processing and other key industries will be allowed to travel to Canada under exemptions being put in place to the air travel restrictions that took effect on March 18.
- Exemptions to the air travel restrictions will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home, and travel by these individuals will be considered essential travel for land border restrictions. Exemptions include:
o Seasonal agricultural works, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers
o International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit on March 18, 2020
o Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before March 16, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada
Exemptions are expected to be in place early next week
March 19, 2020: Potential oil and gas sector bailout reported
March 18, 2020: $82 Billion Rescue Fund
o Emergency Care Benefit: up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave ($10 billion)
For: Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits; Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits; Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
Self-employed workers, part-time workers, entrepreneurs and gig employees will be eligible.
Application for benefits will be available in April 2020.
o Emergency Support Benefit: to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment ($5 billion).
o Childcare Benefit temporarily boosted for families with children by $300 per child ($2 billion).
o GST credit: provide additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest. incomes with a special top-up payment ($300/adult; $150/child) under the GST credit ($5.5 billion).
o Extend the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1 and allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.
o Provide increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments for up to 6 months on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers who may be experiencing financial difficulties.
o Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
o Seniors: Reduce minimum withdrawals from RRIFs by 25% for 2020.
o Students: Implement a six-month, interest-free, moratorium on Canada Student Loan payments
o New distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities ($305 million).
o Vulnerable people: support women and children fleeing violence by funding women’s shelters and sexual assault centres ($50 million); fund the Reaching Home program to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness ($157.5 million).
o Allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020
o Augment credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada
o Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances [sector specific, to be looked at in coming days]
o Wage subsidy: provide eligible small businesses a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer
Qualifying employers include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, not-for-profit organizations and charities.
Businesses can benefit immediately by reducing remittances of income tax withheld on employees’ remuneration.
March 16, 2020: Revised Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP)
Under this program, BDC and EDC will enhance their cooperation with private sector lenders to coordinate financing and credit insurance solutions for Canadian businesses. This will allow BDC and EDC to provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses. Any creditworthy Canadian business seeking financing to support its operations and maintain jobs may apply. Canadian companies should first contact their financial institution account manager to determine how the Business Credit Availability Program applies to their situation. In some cases, they will be referred to the BDC or EDC. Companies may also contact the BDC or EDC directly if they already have an established business relationship with these organizations.
- Small Business Loan (BDC): Up to $100,000 can be obtained online. This allows quick access to funds at an affordable interest rate. Capital payments can be postponed for the first 6 months and loans can be repaid over 5 years.
o Eligible if: Financing needs do not exceed $100,000; Business has been generating revenues for at least 24 months; Good credit history; Operating a Canadian company and have reached the age of majority.
- Working capital loan (BDC): Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations. This will allow flexible repayment terms to protect cash flow, limit personal risk, and provide peace of mind with stable terms and conditions.
- Purchase Order Financing (BDC): Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with very flexible terms. This provides businesses with maximum PO financing, flexible terms tailored to PO terms and conditions, and a relationship of trust between clients and suppliers.
- Export Development Canada: During these challenging times, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with federal partners and other Canadian financial institutions to help minimize impacts of COVID-19 on businesses, and they are working to quickly provide Canadian exporters access to needed capital.
- Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/programs/financial-sector-policy/business-credit-availability-program.html
March 11, 2020: $1 Billion COVID-19 Response Fund
- Waives, for a minimum of six months, the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance sickness benefits. for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate – in effect as of March 15 Support for employers and workers through the Work-Sharing program ($12 million) by doubling the length of time employers and their employees can use work-sharing from 38 to 76 weeks (for workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of an employer)
- $275 million for additional research, such as vaccine development $200 million for federal medical supplies, supports for Indigenous communities and education efforts. $500 million for provinces and territories to fund critical health care system needs and to support mitigation efforts, including access to testing, equipment and enhanced surveillance and monitoring. $50 million for the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 communications and public education efforts.
- $100 million to support federal public health measures such as enhanced surveillance and increased testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory. An additional $50 million to help vulnerable countries prepare for and respond to the virus, supporting efforts of the World Health Organization and other partners
- Source: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/11/prime-minister-outlines-canadas-covid-19-response
March 27, 2020: Ontario Centres for Excellence launches its COVID-19 Collaboration Platform
- The Ontario Centres of Excellence, together with MaRS Discovery District, Invest Ottawa, Communitech, and the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association, has created a collaboration platform aimed to identify technologies, businesses, and experts from across the province that could help fill the current product and service gaps related to COVID-19.
- Organizations working to provide an innovative product, service, or expertise to support Ontario’s COVID-19 response should share their capabilities, barriers, and needs through the collaboration platform.
- OCE will then help connect businesses and tech developers to accelerate the commercialization of in-demand product.
- Companies whose product or service is procurement-ready and meets the requirements of Ontario’s call to action should access the Ontario Together program
- Source: https://oce-ontario.org/programs/covid-19-collaboration-platform
March 26, 2020: Further details on WSIB payment deferrals
- As first announced on March 25, the Ontario Government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief for employers to reduce the financial strain on business brought on by COVID-19. The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.
- All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. They will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit.
- Additionally, the WSIB will cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments. They will not charge penalties during this six-month deferral period. There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments. The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.
- Source: https://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2020/03/ontario-enabling-financial-relief-for-businesses-1.html
March 25, 2020: Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update) released
Double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment to $166 per month for individuals and $332 per month for couples for six months ($75 million)
One-time $200 payment per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, to help families pay for extra costs associated with school and daycare closure
Provide six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for student borrowers
$26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities
$200 million in new funding to provide temporary emergency supports for people in financial need as well as funding to municipalities and other service providers
$1.5 billion increase in electricity cost relief and setting electricity prices for time-of-use customers at the lowest rate
$9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program
Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption
Proposed Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit to help support regions that have been lagging in employment growth
- Measures that will make available up to $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flows, helping protect jobs and household budgets:
o Provide a five-month interest and penalty-free period to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes, providing $6 billion in relief to help support Ontario businesses when they need it the most
o Defer the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days. This will provide municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses while ensuring school boards receive their funding.
o Provide up to $1.9 billion in financial relief by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months
March 25, 2020: Stop the Spread Business Information Line Now Open at 1-888-444-3659
- Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
- Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
March 24, 2020: Ontario Providing Electricity Relief to Families, Small Businesses and Farms During COVID-19
- The Ontario Government is providing immediate electricity rate relief for families, small businesses and farms paying time-of-use (TOU) rates
- For a 45-day period, the government is working to suspend TOU electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour for 24 hours/day, 7 days/week
- The discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills without the need for customers to fill out an application form
- Minister Rickford noted that this $160 million investment equates to monthly savings of $20 for households, $150 for small businesses and over $300 for farms.
March 23, 2020: Ontario provides funding for municipalities, food banks, homeless shelters, and individuals
- The Ontario government is providing $200 million in social services relief funding to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people
- The province will provide municipalities and organizations that administer social services (e.g. shelters, food banks, emergency services, charities, and non-profits) with funding to support them in their response to COVID-19
- Ontario’s municipal service managers will determine local needs and distribute the funding
- The funding will also help individuals who do not qualify for emergency financial supports under federal programs: the government is putting in place an expanded Emergency Assistance program administered through Ontario Works (OW) to cover these individuals’ needs such as food, rent, informal childcare, and transportation.
- Source: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-protecting-the-most-vulnerable-during-covid-19-crisis.html
March 21, 2020: Ontario government launches “Ontario Together”
- The Ontario Government is launching Ontario Together, a new website that will help businesses and their employees work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. This initiative will remove barriers allowing Ontario’s manufacturing sector to redeploy capacity towards the production of essential equipment like ventilators, masks and swabs.
- The program will help identify the province’s supply challenges and solicit ideas and advice from Ontario’s business and manufacturing communities on how the government can work together to meet the need. Through the portal, companies will be able to submit proposals for the government to procure required goods and services and share creative solutions quickly.
- Source: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-urges-business-to-join-the-fight-against-covid-19.html
March 19, 2020: Eviction notices, driver’s licence renewals put on hold
- At a morning press conference, Premier Ford announced he is directing all eviction notices be put on hold. The province is also suspending the need to renew your license and health card. Ford also added that the government is working on “immediate relief measures.”
March 19, 2020: Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies) 2020 and Municipal Emergency Act 2020 pass
- Two pieces of legislation passed with unanimous consent by only 26 MPPs. The number of members participating in this extraordinary session was intentionally kept small in order to practice social distancing and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives. These measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020 (the date the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario).
- The Municipal Emergency Act, 2020 will ensure that for the near future, the delivery of goods to Ontario’s businesses and consumers is not impacted by municipal noise by-laws that may unintentionally be impeding such deliveries when they are most urgently needed. The legislation also gives municipalities the ability to fully conduct Council, local board and committee meetings electronically when faced with local and province-wide emergencies, empowering the government’s municipal partners to respond quickly when in-person meetings cannot be held.
March 17, 2020: State of Emergency declared
- Premier Ford announces a $300 million “first stage” relief package, which will go to funding efforts to fight COVID-19, including 75 more critical care beds, 500 more acute care beds, 75 more COVID-19 response centres and a host of new personal protective equipment and adding 1,000 more nurses and 50 more doctors to cover emergency response.
March 16, 2020: Premier Ford announces changes to budget date, Employment Standards Act
- Fiscal Update: It is announced that the Minister of Finance will release an economic and fiscal update in lieu of a full Budget on March 25.
- Labour Health & Safety: The Premier announced that changes to the Employment Standards Act will be made to introduce new measures for employees unable to work due to COVID-19. The legislation, if passed, would protect individual jobs under the following criteria if: the employee is under medical investigation, supervision, or treatment for COVID-19, in isolation or quarantine, acting in accordance with public health information or direction, employer directs the employee not to work or the employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 (school or day closure).
- The bill would apply retroactively to January 25.
- This would not reinstate paid sick leave, as it should be covered by the federal government’s EI program.
- Employers can’t force employees to provide a physician’s note if they take time off.
March 13, 2020: Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries advisory group
- The Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries has convened a series of advisory groups with leading sector stakeholders in Ontario’s $74-billion heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries to ensure the government is provided with the most up-to date information on economic impacts
March 13, 2020: Cabinet Committee formed
- The Minister of Finance, at the request of Premier Ford, has convened a regular meeting of the ministers who share economic responsibilities. The work of the committee includes reaching out on a daily basis to leaders at businesses big and small, including at financial institutions, as well as unions, to ensure the government has the latest information and that there is an open line of communication as the government works to address COVID-19’s impact on the economy
March 27, 2020: Support for the arts and culture industry
- The Province of British Columbia has developed a $3 million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to be administered by the BC Arts Council
- Operating and eligible project clients will receive a supplement of up to $15,000 in early April to help them pay their bills
- Source: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020TAC0015-000577
March 26, 2020: Support for seniors
- The Province of British Columbia is providing the United Way of the Lower Mainland with $50 million to bolster seniors’ supports at community service agencies throughout BC
- The Province is funding the expansion of bc211, a province wide information and referral services, to match seniors whose support network has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak with volunteers
- Source: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0109-000570
March 25, 2020: Support for renters
- B.C. is suspending evictions and freezing rent increases in an effort to help tenants make ends meet and keep their homes for the duration of the provincial COVID-19 emergency.
- Premier Horgan said the government is also offering a monthly rebate to renters of up to $500 a month, for three months. Renters who have the ability to pay their rent without asking for the $500/month assistance are encouraged to do so. The rental rebate of up to $500 will be paid directly to landlords. An application portal for the rebate is still under development but should be ready “in short order.”
March 23, 2020: B.C. announces economic relief measures
$5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.
o Individuals ($2.8 billion):
Boost income ($1.1 billion):
BC Emergency Benefit for Workers – tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak (i.e. workers who have been laid-off, who are sick or quarantined, parents with sick children, parents who stay at home from work while child care centres and schools are closed, those caring for family members; workers can be EI-eligible and non-EI eligible, such as the self-employed)
B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit – Tax Credit is increased and expanded for July 2020. Eligible families of four will now receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will now receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment.
Essential services ($1.7 billion): investments in housing and shelter supports, income and disability assistance programs and crucial health services, quarantine costs, lab tests, and work underway at the First Nations Health Authority and the United Way’s Better at Home program for seniors
Freezing of BC student loan payments for six months
Ability to defer ICBS and BC Hydro bills
o Business ($2.2 billion):
Deferral of employer health tax payments: businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer these payments until September 30, 2020 (businesses with a payroll under this threshold do not pay this tax)
Extended tax filings: the Province is extending tax filing and payment deadlines for the PST, municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax until September 30, 2020
School tax: businesses and light- and major- industry property classes will see their school tax cut in half
Postponement of the scheduled April 1 increase to the provincial carbon tax, as well as the new PST registration requirements on e-commerce and the implementation of PST on sweetened carbonated drinks, until at least September 30, 2020
The province allocated $1.5 billion to support long-term economic recovery, once the pandemic has passed
- Measures were referred to as a “starting point”. In the longer term, the recovery plan will dedicate funding to “particularly hard-hit” parts of the economy (e.g. tourism, hospitality, culture)
- Provisions for renters are expected to be announced on Wednesday
March 23, 2020: B.C. Legislature Briefly Resumes
- B.C. Legislature is recalled to pass two bills: employment standards legislation to ensure that workers have job-protected leave, and a supplementary spending bill
March 21, 2020: Help is “on the way” for renters – B.C. housing minister
- Finance Minister Carole James will be announcing more details next week for help for renters
- A moratorium on evictors due to non-payment of rent in housing that is managed by B.C. Housing has been introduced. The Housing Minister said work is also being done with social and supportive housing providers to make the sure the same moratorium is in place for any homes receiving funding from B.C. Housing
- Plans are being developed by a provincial working group that’s looking into the needs of people ranging from homeless people on the street to those in encampments, shelters and social housing
March 19, 2020: BC Housing bans evictions
- B.C. Housing is putting in place a temporary moratorium on eviction of tenants in subsidized and affordable housing
March 18, 2020: State of Emergency Declared
- Proclamation ensures federal, provincial and local resources are delivered in a quick, joint, “co-ordinated way” to protect British Columbians during the outbreak.
- Premier announces his government will expand on the federal government’s efforts to offer immediate relief for people and businesses.
March 17, 2020: Declaration of a Public Health Emergency in B.C.
- Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made that announcement to expand her own powers and the power of the Ministry of Health.
March 17, 2020: An Announcement That the Province is Working on a Stimulus Package
- The province is continuing to work on a stimulus package to help the economy during the pandemic.
- James said there are three streams to their economic plan:
o Making sure services and supports are in place for health and safety;
o Working with the federal government to bring in immediate relief;
o And building B.C.’s plan for economic recovery.
- “The government is advocating for extending the EI program and developing a plan for people who are losing their salaries, for example folks who are self employed and those who work in the hospitality sector”, said James.
March 26, 2020: Alberta government takes $153 million out of its emergency and disaster fund
- The Alberta government has taken $153 million out of its $680 million emergency and disaster fund to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and help hard-hit farmers:
o $33 million to prepare for increased acute care expenses, doctor compensation and other pandemic costs in health
o $45 million to cover the expected costs of emergency isolation payments the government is offering to people who are receiving no pay and unable to work from home
o $74.7 million to the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation to help cover insurance claims and pay income support for producers
March 25, 2020: Alberta opens applications for COVID-19 emergency isolation funding
- Albertans who are self-isolating and unable to work can now apply online for emergency one-time funding from the province. Eligible recipients will receive a one-time payment of $1,146 through an Interac e-Transfer.
- The temporary program is meant to bridge the gap until emergency federal funding comes available
- You are eligible for the emergency isolation support program if you:
o have experienced total or significant loss of income and are not receiving compensation from any other source because you:
have been diagnosed with COVID-19
have been directed by health authorities to self-isolate
are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is in self-isolation
- You are not eligible for this program if you:
o were not working immediately before you were advised to self-isolate
o can work from home
o are not experiencing a significant loss of income as a result of self-isolation
o are currently collecting other forms of income support or employer benefits while self-isolated, such as:
workplace sick leave benefits
federal employment insurance (EI) benefits
o are staying home to care for a dependent who is home for a reason other than self-isolation
o reside outside of Alberta
March 24, 2020: Details on support for vulnerable populations
- The government provided further details on the promised $60 million in funding for social agencies
- Agencies that provide frontline services to vulnerable populations will be able to apply online for provincial grants beginning this week
- The $30 million is half of $60 million being rolled out: $25 million will support homeless populations and $5 million will be allocated to women’s shelters.
- The province is in the process of finalizing guidelines for the funding and both the guidelines and the application will be posted in “the next day or two.”
March 23, 2020: Alberta announces further economic relief measures
- Premier Kenney announced three further economic relief measures:
o An education property tax deferral for businesses for six months
o WCB premiums can be deferred for one year o The government will cover 50% of WCB premiums for small and medium sized businesses in the province
March 20, 2020: Immediate relief for the energy sector
Funding the Alberta Energy Regulator levy for a period of six month: $113 million
Granting extensions for oil and gas tenures: extending the term of mineral agreements expiring in 2020 by one year to provide increased certainty for industry by allowing additional time to raise capital and plan future activities
Extended a loan of $100 million to the Orphan Well Association
March 18, 2020: Changes to Employment Standards Code
- The government formally introduces regulation to change the Employment Standards Code to specify that employers are required to give workers 14 days of unpaid leave if the worker is self-isolating due to COVID-19 [NOTE: this was originally announced as paid leave – now government has shifted to unpaid, and expanded EI program]
March 18, 2020: Economic measures announced
- The Alberta government is promising to help citizens through the economic repercussions of COVID-19 with:
o Cash for those in self-isolation: Albertans in self-isolation due to COVID-19 not receiving Employment Insurance payment will be able to apply online for and receive $572 a week from the emergency isolation support package starting next week. This is meant to act as a backstop until federal payments come in April. Eligibility will be based on the Government of Alberta’s criteria for self-isolation, and include those who are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is in self-isolation. In total, $50 million is set aside for the payments, meaning that more than 43,000 Albertans who are in self-isolation could receive the payment.
o Deferral of electricity and natural gas charges for residential, farm and small commercial customers for up to 90 days with assurance that no one’s utilities will be cut off during this period. Alberta says it has asked municipalities to offer similar protection for water charges.
o Deferral of loans, mortgages: ATB Financial customers will be able to apply for deferrals on their loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for six months.
o Deferral of income tax: the province will be deferring corporate income tax balances and instalment payments between March 19 and Aug. 3
o Student loans: six-month moratorium on government student loans.
- Premier Kenney promised more announcements will be made March 19 and March 20, including details in the future on the “likely most robust counter-cyclical stimulus package in the fiscal history of this province.”
- Any Albertan who has a driver’s licence or car registration that is set to expire will now have until May 15 to renew.
March 17, 2020: State of Emergency declared
- The government announced $60 million in funding to be sent to social agencies and another $30 million devoted to supporting seniors
- Kenney announced more government spending measures to deal with the economic implications of the pandemic will be announced March 18
March 13, 2020: Changes To Labour Laws
- Alberta announces it will change labour laws to provide 14 days of paid leave for full-time and part-time workers who self-isolate due to the novel coronavirus or who are caring for someone affected by it.
- Premier Jason Kenney says employees will not need doctor notes, nor will they have had to work for 90 days previously to qualify.
- The leave does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors.
March 27, 2020: government announces “top-up” income program
- The Quebec government announced that it would allocate $2.5 billion to support Quebec businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. This emergency aid will be distributed largely though loans and loan guarantees (minimum amount of $50,000) to businesses.
- Additionally, the Quebec government announced that Investissement Quebec (IQ) and the Fonds locaux d’investissement (FLI) would soften the repayment and other financial conditions attached to existing business loans.
March 17, 2020: Tax filing flexibility, additional budgetary credit
- The Quebec government announced that it had amended its 2020-2021 spending budget to include an additional $500 million budgetary credit to cover the cost of the government’s COVID-19 response.
- The Quebec government and Revenu Quebec announced certain tax filing and payment flexibility measures for individuals and businesses.
o For individuals: the deadline for producing and filing income tax returns is postponed to June 1, 2020; the deadline for paying balances owed for business income tax for the 2019 taxation year is postponed to July 31, 2020, and payment of tax instalments due June 15, 2020 is suspended until July 31, 2020.
o For businesses: payment of tax instalments and taxes due as of March 17, 2020 is suspended until July 31, 2020.
o The Quebec government calculates that these measures will allow $ 7,7 billion in liquidity to remain in the Quebec economy for the next three months at least
- Additional measures to be announced in the coming days.
March 16, 2020: Measures for self-isolators not eligible for EI
- The Quebec government announced a new temporary allocation (Programme d’aide temporaire aux travailleurs touchés par le nouveau coronavirus or PATT) for self-employed workers or employees not eligible for Employment Insurance who have had to self-quarantine for fourteen days because:
o (i) they present COVID-19 symptoms or have been diagnosed with the virus, or
o (ii) they have travelled outside of Canada or have been in contact with an at-risk traveller.
- The PATT provides an income replacement allocation of $573 per week for the fourteen-day period, but can be extended for up to a month for individuals whose quarantine has to be extended. For full details, please consult the Quebec government’s webpage.
March 24, 2020: Support for the most vulnerable
- The City of Montreal announced that it has pooled resources with the City’s boroughs to provide more than $1 million in emergency funding to the Centraide group to help community organizations that work with the City’s most vulnerable.
March 19, 2020: Economic relief measures announced
- On March 19, 2020, the City of Montreal announced that it would postpone by a month this year’s second property tax instalment to provide financial relief and liquidity to homeowners and businesses. The new payment deadline will be July 2, 2020.
- The City also unveiled a $5 million emergency fund to support its small- and medium-size businesses. It is said that this fund will focus mainly on providing subsidies to neighbourhood stores, the tourism industry and cultural or artistic businesses.
- The City further announced a six-month freeze on the repayment of loans associated with three of the City’s business incubator funds: the Fonds PME MTL, Fonds locaux de Solidarité and Fonds de commercialisation des innovations. During this period, the city will cover loan interests for an estimated total of $1.3 million, benefiting 700 businesses.
March 27, 2020: The Toronto Community Housing Corporation announces details on flexibility to tenants who have lost employment income
March 20, 2020: Economic Support and Recovery Task Force
- The City has created the Economic Support and Recovery Task Force to identify immediate and longer-term economic recovery strategies for residents and businesses, with a focus on supporting those segments of the economy that are most strongly impacted by COVID-19, such as tourism, hospitality and entertainment
- Immediate measures announced:
o Extend Grace Period:
Individuals: the City will be suspending any pending pre-authorized property tax and utility payments within the next 60-day period, post-dated cheques for upcoming property tax installments will not be cashed until 60 days after the original instalment due date; property tax payments will have a grace period of 60 days; the due date for all utility bills is extended by an additional 60 days
Businesses: the City will provide a grace period for payments and payment penalties for businesses for 60 days (property tax and utility bill)
o Protect Employees: the City will protect City employees from layoffs this month due to the cancellation of City programs
o Establish a Contingency Fund: a substantial contingency fund will be established to support businesses and affected groups, based on consultations to determine need and scale
o Facilitate Access to EI: the City will work with companies and employees to ensure they are fully aware of how to apply for their rights under employment insurance
o Expand the City’s Small Business Advisory Services: these services will be expanded to help businesses as they plan to recover from impacts
o 24-hour Retail Delivery Exemption: all retail businesses are exempt from the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-house deliveries
March 16, 2020: Economic relief measures announced
- Mayor John Tory announces that the City of Toronto will add a 30-day grace period for businesses to pay taxes and other City of Toronto payments. The City will also establish a “substantial contingency fund” to support businesses, expand the city’s small business advisory service, help Torontonians apply for EI, and continue to pay city employees despite the cancellation of programming.
March 25, 2020: City of Ottawa declares state of emergency, announces relief measures
- The Mayor announced the city’s new economic task force will launch an online promotional campaign called “Buy Local” on Thursday, urging residents to support Ottawa business in ways they still can
- Council approved a grace period for payment of interim taxes to Wednesday, April 15. The initial deadline to pay the interim property tax bill, which covers 50 per cent of the entire property tax bill, was Thursday, March 19. Council has also approved the creation of the 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral program for residents and businesses that have an assessed property value of up to $7.5 million. The program extends both the interim property tax deadline and the final property tax deadline to Friday, October 30. Landlords are asked to pass the deferral and grace periods on to their tenants.
- Residents will also receive some relief on their water bill: The city is providing an interest-free 30-day payment grace period on all unpaid water bills issued before Wednesday, April 1. For water bills issued between April 1 and Oct. 30, the city will grant a 30-day extension on the due date.
March 19, 2020: Deferred utility payments
- The City of Calgary is deferring utility payments for the next three months. The city will still send our water, wastewater, sewer, waste, recycling and composting bills in April, May, and June, but people can choose to pay just part of it, or none at all, without penalty or accrual of interest.
- The City is discussing options for property tax relief with the provincial government
March 26, 2020: Support for residents of the Downtown East Side
- Mayor Stewart announced that the federal government has given the green light for a safe supply of drugs for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents in light of the COVID-19 crisis
- Vancouver also announced that the Coal Harbour and the Roundhouse community centres have been turned into referral-only shelter spaces for DTES residents who cannot safely shelter in place, or should they develop COVID-19 symptoms.
- Seven portable washrooms and 11 handwashing stations have been set up in the DTES, and the city says it has more on the way.
March 20, 2020: Initial plans announced
- The City is currently working on implementing a 60-day grace period for all property tax payments, details to follow
- The City is also establishing an economic recovery task force, which will provide outreach to the business community. Senior finance staff will look at options to assist Vancouver’s local economy with immediate assistance and longer-term recovery.
March 19, 2020: Victoria City Council passes measures to support residents, local business, and the non-profit sector
- Council directed staff to examine all of the City’s fiscal, legislative and legal powers to support small business and jobs, the non-profit sector, arts and culture and the tourism sector in order to sustain the local economy
- Will waive financial penalties for non-payment of municipal utilities fees and taxes
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program: Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where we operate. We’ll share more details as they become available.
- Rogers is waiving data overage fees for home internet usage (March 14-May 31), waiving long distance charges for Rogers home phone consumers for calls to anywhere in Canada (March 16-April 30); offering all Rogers TV and Ignite TV customers free access to some popular channels (March 16-April 30).
- The Government of Canada has collaborated with Rogers, Bell, Telus, Videotron, Freedom Mobile, Eastlink and SaskTel to ensure they will be sending their subscribers currently living or travelling abroad text messages containing consular support information and key contact information.
Software – Remote Working
- Google and Microsoft have announced they are waiving the fees on their team online work platforms (Hangouts and Teams, respectively) to facilitate the wide scale transition into remote working situations, and into online learning for post-secondary institutions
Retail – Accessibility
- Shoppers, Loblaw’s, and Sobeys among other large-scale retailers have announced that they will be holding their first hours of opening for vulnerable populations (including seniors and those who are immunocompromised), while Shoppers and other stores have also moved from offering their seniors’ discount weekly, to daily during this designated hour
- March 20, 2020: Netflix announces a US$100 million global relief fund to support workers in the creative community, including Canada’s. Most of the fund will go toward support for the hardest hit workers on Netflix’s own productions around the world. From the fund, US $15 million will go toward third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where Netflix has a large production base. Those organizations include the Toronto-based AFC ($1 million) and the Fondation des Artistes ($500,000).
- Hockeystick has released a new list of the active equity funders, lenders, and government funders in Canada to address the rising sense of uncertainty in Canada’s tech community due to the COVID-19 outbreak
- Staffy, which is an online marketplace that connects businesses with skilled workers in the hospitality industry, is extending its platform to senior living centres, healthcare organizations, grocery and food distributors, as well as manufacturing, general labour, and delivery organizations
Staffy’s platform allows businesses to find last-minute workers
- Sobeys: The grocery store company has announced the launch of the “Hero Pay Program” for its frontline staff working in stores and distribution centres across Canada. All staff members will receive an additional $50 a week, regardless of the number of hours worked. In addition to the extra $50, staff who have worked more than 20 hours a week will receive an additional $2 premium per hour for all hours over 20 hours.
- Loblaws: the grocery store has temporarily increased compensation for its store and distribution centre colleagues by approximately 15% retroactive to March 8th
- Shopify has added $200 million to Shopify Capital, its fund which supports its merchants with small loans, as a way to support small businesses affected by COVID-19. Shopify Capital is currently only available to Shopify merchants in the United States, but the e-commerce giant noted that it is currently working with governments to make the funds available in more countries as soon as possible
Companies engaging in re-tooling efforts:
- Bauer announced it is repurposing its facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable
- Canada Goose announced it is making gowns & surgical scrubs for frontline healthcare workers; initial goal is to produce 10,000 units which they will start distributing next week
BANKS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
March 27, 2020: Federal bank regulatory agencies announce two actions to support lending to households and businesses
- The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced the following two actions:
o Allowing early adoption of a new methodology on how certain banking organizations are required to measure counterparty credit risk derivatives contracts; and
o Providing an optional extension of the regulatory capital transition for the new credit loss accounting standard.
March 27, 2020: Bank of Canada lowers interest rate to 0.25%, launches two new programs
- The Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 basis points to 0.25 percent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 0.5 percent and the deposit rate is 0.25 percent.
- The Bank of Canada launched the Commercial Paper Purchase Program (CPPP), which will help to alleviate strains in short-term funding markets and thereby preserve a key source of funding for businesses. Details of the program will be available on the Bank’s web site.
- The Bank of Canada announced it will begin acquiring Government of Canada securities in the secondary market to address strains in the Government of Canada debt market and to enhance the effectiveness of all other actions taken so far. Purchases will begin with a minimum of $5 billion per week, across the yield curve. The program will continue until the economic recovery is well underway.
- Source: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2020/03/press-release-2020-03-27/
March 26, 2020: Federal Reserve offers regulatory reporting relief to small financial institutions affected by the coronavirus
- The Federal Reserve announced it will not take action against a financial institution with $5 billion or less in total assets for submitting its March 31, 2020, Consolidated Financial Statements for Bank Holding Companies (FR Y-9C) or Financial Statements of U.S. Nonbank Subsidiaries of U.S. Bank Holding Companies (FR Y-11) after the official filing deadline, as long as the applicable report is submitted within 30 days of the official filing due date.
- This follows a similar announcement made on March 25, 2020, wherein the federal financial institution regulators and state regulators offered similar reporting relief to financial institutions affected by COVID-19 for their March 31, 2020 Reports of Condition and Income (Call Reports)
- Source: https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/bcreg20200326b.htm
March 24, 2020: Bank of Canada announces new program to support provincial funding markets
- The Bank of Canada announced the Provincial Money Market Purchase (PMMP) program to support the liquidity and efficiency of provincial government funding markets.
- The PMMP is an asset purchase facility that will acquire provincially-issued money market securities through the primary issuance market
- Under the PMMP, the Bank will purchase up to 40% of each offering of directly-issued provincial money market securities with terms to maturity of 12 months or less. The 40% limit may be adjusted if market conditions warrant.
- The Bank will make its first purchases under the PMMP on March 25
March 23, 2020: Bank of Canada restates authority to buy company debt
- Governor Stephen Poloz issued a restatement of the Bank of Canada’s policy in the Canada Gazette on March 13 on policies for purchasing securities
- Policy includes the right to buy the debt of companies and municipalities when it is “addressing a situation of financial system stress that could have material macroeconomic consequences.”
March 23, 2020: Federal Reserve announces plan to boost U.S. economy
- On Monday, the US central bank announced unlimited bond-buying, three new credit facilities, and an upcoming Main Street lending program. These three programs will provide up to $300 billion in new financing.
March 20, 2020: Coordinated Central Bank Action to Further Enhance the Provision of U.S. Dollar Liquidity
- The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank are announcing a coordinated action to further enhance the provision of liquidity via the standing U.S. dollar liquidity swap line arrangements. To improve the swap lines’ effectiveness in providing U.S. dollar funding, these central banks have agreed to increase the frequency of 7-day maturity operations from weekly to daily. These daily operations will commence on March 23 and will continue to at least through the end of April.
- The swap lines serve as an important liquidity backstop to ease strains in global funding markets and should help mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses
March 20, 2020: Federal Reserve Board expands its Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility program
- The Federal Reserve Board took further steps to enhance liquidity and functioning of crucial state and municipal money markets
- Through the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston will now be able to make loans available to eligible financial institutions secured by certain high-quality assets purchased from single state and other tax-exempt municipal money market mutual funds
March 18, 2020: Federal Reserve Board establishes a Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF)
- The Federal Reserve Board broadens program of support for the flow of credit to households and businesses by establishing the MMLF
- Through the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston will make loans available to eligible financial institutions secured by high-quality assets purchased by the financial institution from money market mutual funds
- The MMLF will assist money market funds in meeting demands for redemptions by households and other investors, enhancing overall market functioning, and credit provision to the broader economy
March 17, 2020: Commercial Banks Offer Flexible Solutions
- BMO, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank and TD Bank make a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID-19; childcare disruption due to school closures; or those facing illness from COVID-19
- Support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages and the opportunity of relief on other credit products
March 16, 2020: Bank of Canada Takes Further Action
- The Bank of Canada announced that it will broaden eligible collateral for its term repo facility to include the full range of collateral eligible under the Standing Liquidity Facility, with the exception of the non-mortgage loan portfolio. This expansion of eligible collateral will provide support to funding conditions for financial institutions by providing a backstop to regular private funding.
- The Bank also announced that it stands ready, as a proactive measure, to provide support to the Canada Mortgage Bond (CMB) market so that this important funding market continues to function well. This would include, as required, purchases of CMBs in the secondary market.
March 13, 2020: Bank of Canada Cuts Rate, Adjusts Market Liquidity Operations
- Bank of Canada cut the interest rate to 0.75% as a proactive measure in light of the negative shocks to Canada’s economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent sharp drop in oil prices.
- Bank of Canada announced that it will adjust its market liquidity operations to maintain market functioning and credit availability during the current period of uncertainty in which conditions are evolving rapidly.
March 13, 2020: OSFI lowers Domestic Stability Buffer
- The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy.
Government of Canada Resources for Small Business
Shopify Small Business Government Relief Program
Support for Albertans