Federal Government announces increased support for small businesses facing impacts of COVID-19

The Federal Government provided further details today regarding their economic support for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

This announcement is part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which already commits $107 billion in support to Canadians.

To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada will:

  • Implement a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses on the first $58,700 earned, for up to 3 months. This is retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses keep and return workers to the payroll. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020. Eligibility criteria includes:
    • Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.
    • Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.
    • For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.
    • An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.

Eligible employers would be able to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy by applying through a Canada Revenue Agency online portal. More details regarding how to apply for the program will follow. Those organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may continue to qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

  • Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses and will help businesses continue to pay employees and bills. This will also help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
  • Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate.
  • Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program which will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank. This guarantes loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.

OSPE will continue to monitor the situation and inform our members of current developments. OSPE has also been working with its industry and government partners to continue evaluating how COVID-19 will impact the engineering community and will keep working towards finding solutions that will mitigate the health and economic impact.

For more on COVID-19 and its affect on engineering in Ontario, visit our COVID-19 news page

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