COVID-19: Update on Support Measures

As the various COVID-19 support measures are put in place, the different levels of government are continuously assessing where gaps may exist, and how best to address them. As such, updates continue to happen on an ongoing basis. Below is a summary of recent updates to some of the COVID-19 support measures.
 
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

  • This is the interest free loan program (of up to $40,000) previously announced by the federal government.
  • Repaying the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).
  • NEW: Where initially the eligibility required that payroll in 2019 be between $50,000 – $1 million, this was expanded to payroll between $20,000 – $1 million.
  • This loan should be available through your bank or credit union.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

  • The federal government announced yesterday that they intend to introduce a program for small businesses that will effectively provide loans/forgivable loans to commercial property owners who will in turn lower or forgo the commercial rent for small businesses for April, May and June. More details to follow in an upcoming announcement.

BC Provincial Initiatives to Support Businesses

  • The Government of BC has further reduced the school property tax rate for commercial properties (property classes 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8), in order to achieve a 25% reduction in commercial property taxes. The intent is to have these savings passed on to commercial tenants in triple-net leases.
  • The date that late payment penalties apply for commercial property taxes will be postponed to October 1, 2020. The intent here is to provide businesses with more time to pay their reduced property tax without penalty. 
  • Small businesses that have needed to close during this time may be eligible to apply to BC Hydro to have electricity use charges waved for up to 3 months.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

  • Eligibility is based on the following:
    • Mar 15 – Apr 11 Claiming Period
      • March revenue reduced by 15%
    • Apr 12 – May 9 Claiming Period
      • April revenue reduced by 30%
    • May 10 – Jun 6 Claiming Period
      • May revenue reduced by 30%
  • The revenue test can be done by comparing these months to the same respective months in 2019, OR the average of January and February revenues for 2020.
  • If an employer qualifies for one period of the CEWS, they will automatically qualify for the next period.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • Announcement yesterday that people can earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extending this benefit to seasonal and other workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find work because of COVID-19.
  • An important detail about the CERB that is important to note. This is a taxable benefit, and taxes are not being deducted at the time of payment. Therefore, it would be prudent planning for anyone currently receiving this benefit to anticipate the fact that this will have an impact on your 2020 personal tax return next year.

Finally, we will be working on compiling some of the innovative and constructive ideas that we’ve been hearing about how some businesses are navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, and some steps that you can take for your business moving forward. If you have any ideas that you think would be helpful to share, please reply to this email and we would love to hear from you.

 The information contained in this communication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity.  Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.  No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.