Businesses- There is help for you

With daily updates from both the Canadian Government and the British Columbia Government, the information can become overwhelming. In order to help reduce the overload/saturation of information we have complied a list of some of the current available resources available to businesses impacted by COVID-19 as of April 24, 2020.

In order to protect jobs, the Canadian Government has implemented the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”). The CEWS covers 75% of an employee’s wage, up to $847 per week, for employers of any size and sector who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March and 30% in April and May. The CEWS will be in place for 12 weeks from March 15 to June 6, 2020. Further, employers who are eligible for the CEWS are also entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan.
Application for the CEWS open April 27, 2020.

In the event your business does not qualify for the CEWS, it is possible you may be eligible for the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy (the “TWS”). The TWS allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency for a three-month period from March 18, 2020 to before June 20, 2020. An eligible employer is:

• a(n):
o individual (excluding trusts);
o partnership, whose members consist of exclusively individuals (excluding trusts),
registered charities, or Canadian-controlled private corporations eligible for the
small business deduction;
o non-profit organization;
o registered charity; or
o Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation) eligible
for the small business deduction;
• have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and
• pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.

The Canadian Government is also extending the Work Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. The Canadian Government describes the Work-Sharing program as “a program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. The program provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada”.

For businesses related to agriculture, agri-food, aquaculture and fisheries, the Canadian Government has committed to providing $50 million to helping farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employees to put in measures to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation periods for workers arriving from abroad. Further, the Canadian Government is providing $1,500 to employers for each temporary foreign worker. This support is conditional on employers not being in violation of the mandatory isolation. The Canadian Government is also granting an exemption from the travel restriction to Canada for temporary foreign workers, provided that they follow the 14-day isolation protocol. The Canadian Government has also provided an additional $5 billion from Farm Credit Canada to be used in lending to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.

In addition, the Canadian and British Columbian Governments provide the following programs to help protect BC farmers’ and rancher’s incomes.
• Agriculture Income Protection (AgriStability);
• Agricultural Income & Savings Account (AgriInvest); and
• Production Insurance.

There are a number of other programs and assistance available to businesses that are not mentioned in this article. For full details and for other resources available, visit:
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html and
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support.