COVID-19: Economic relief measures announced to date

Across Canada, governments are announcing measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19. We will track them here.

We will update this page on a regular basis. The information below is current as of April 2, 2020.

For the latest information, please visit our COVID-19 hub including our Tax summary - Relief Measures under Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and our Municipal Tax Measures Summary in the McCarthy Tétrault Covid-19 Hub

To discuss how you or your organization might benefit from one of these programs, or if you have questions about the impact of COVID-19 on your business, please contact your McCarthy Tétrault trusted advisor or one of the authors.

Canada

The federal government has announced the following economic relief measures and passed, on March 25, 2020, Bill C-13, An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 to implement the Economic Response Plan measures. For more information on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, announced on March 18, 2020, please visit the Department of Finance Canada’s website, here.

Export Development Canada (EDC)

Canada Account business support

  • The Minister of Finance will now be able to determine the limit of the Canada Account in order to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. The Canada Account is used to support exporters when necessary and in the national interest. Exporters can receive support through loans, guarantees or insurance policies.
  • Announced on March 18, 2020. EDC’s Coronavirus Campaign website may be found here. To contact EDC directly, call 1-800-229-0575 or e-mail [email protected].

Business Credit Availability Program

  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses. It will provide more than $10 billion in support.
  • The program is a collaboration between EDC, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), and private sector lenders. The goal is to provide credit solutions for individual businesses in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, and tourism.
  • Announced on March 13, 2020. EDC’s Coronavirus Campaign website may be found here, and details of the BCAP are here. To contact EDC directly, call 1-800-229-0575 or e-mail [email protected].

Loan guarantee for small and medium enterprises

  • EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the impact of COVID-19 up to $6.25 million. For export sector and domestic companies, the program cap will be a total of $20 billion.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada news release of March 27, 2020.

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • The government announced a $25 billion program that will provide interest-free loans of 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. The program will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with EDC.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada news release of March 27, 2020.

Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)

  • OSFI announced in a press release on March 13, 2020, that it has taken a number of actions to build resilience of federally regulated financial institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. These measures include:
  • lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of Risk Weighted Assets, effective immediately;
  • suspending consultation on the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages; and
  • reviewing its supervisory and regulatory priorities to align with current conditions.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Helping Businesses Keep Their Workers Wage Subsidy

  • On March 18, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced a “Helping Businesses Keep Their Workers Wage Subsidy”. This is targeted at small businesses, non-profits, and charities. This program is designed to support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs.
  • On March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-13, An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 (“Bill C-13”) to implement the response plan measures.
  • Framework legislation enacted as part of Bill C-13 already provides a federal payroll deduction rebate for remuneration and eligible employer pays between March 18, 2020 and June 20, 2020.
  • On March 27, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the wage subsidy for eligible employers will be increased from 10% to 75% of employee remuneration for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Businesses will need to prove that they have lost at least 30% of their revenue compared to this time last year. A new application portal will be launched soon, and funds can be expected within about six weeks.
  • The Department of Finance has further indicated that associated Canadian-controlled private corporations would not be required to share the maximum subsidy of $25,000 per employer. Additionally, since the subsidy operates by allowing an eligible employer to reduce their payroll remittances, the Department of Finance suggested that the if the amount of the subsidy exceeded an eligible employer’s payroll remittances for the applicable period, the employer would be allowed to continue to reduce remittances beyond June 20, 2020, or request the unclaimed amount be paid out to the eligible employer or credited against the eligible employer’s 2021 payroll remittances.
  • Eligible employers include non-profit organizations, corporations eligible for the small business deduction (i.e. Canadian-controlled private corporations) and registered charities.
  • For more information, see the temporary wage subsidy for employers frequently asked questions For more information on the announced increase in the subsidy, see the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news update of April 01, 2020.

Flexibility for businesses in respect of paying and filing taxes

  • As announced on March 18, 2020, the federal government’s COVID-19 Response Plan contains measures that will allow businesses to defer the payment of any income tax that becomes owing between March 18, 2020, and August 31, 2020, until September 1, 2020. Interest and penalties will not apply or be computed to these unpaid tax balances during this period.
  • This measure will apply to both monthly instalments and year-end tax balances due under Part I of the Income Tax Act (Canada).
  • The deadlines to file certain categories of tax and information returns have been extended:
  • trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, may defer filing T3 returns until May 1, 2020;
  • partnerships and their members may defer filing T5013 returns until May 1, 2020; and
  • the deadline to file NR4 information returns has been extended to May 1, 2020.
  • Administrative tax actions required of taxpayers by the CRA due after March 18, 2020, can be deferred until June 1, 2020. Such actions include the filing of returns, elections, designations, and information requests.
  • The CRA has also issued the following relief measures:
  • Audits: the CRA will temporarily suspend audit interactions with taxpayers and their representatives. The CRA will also refrain from initiating any post-assessment GST/HST or income tax audits with small or medium-sized businesses for the next four weeks.
  • Collections: No collection activities will be initiated on new debts until further notice, and the CRA undertakes to make flexible payment arrangements available.
  • Objections: Objections related to Canadians’ entitlement to benefits and credits have been identified as a critical service which will continue to be delivered during COVID-19 times of hardship and therefore, there should be no delays associated with the processing of these objections. The deadline to make any objection request has been extended to June 30, 2020.
  • Appeals: All TCC sittings scheduled between March 30, 2020, and May 1, 2020, are cancelled. Canadian Pension Plan and insurability issues under the Employment Insurance Act will only be progressed where such appeals related to cases where EI benefits are pending. These cases will be considered on a priority basis.
  • Appeals of CPP/EI: Appeals in respect of decisions made by the CRA on pensionability issues under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and insurability issues under the Employment Insurance Act (EI Act), will only be progressed where such appeals related to cases where EI benefits are pending. These cases will be considered on a priority basis. Other appeals will be continued when normal service resumes but neither the CRA nor the Minister of National Revenue have indicated when this is expected to occur.
  • Requirement to pay (RTP): Banks and employers do not need to comply or remit on existing RTPs.
  • Delays: Once the crisis has subsided, there will be a significant backlog for the CRA to deal with, and considerable delays for the foreseeable future.
  • For more information, see the Department of Finance Canada’s press release of March 18, 2020.

Deferral of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittance and customs duty payments

  • On March 27, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it would defer to June 30, the due dates of the GST/HST collected by the following persons (including self-employed individuals registered for GST/HST purposes) and for the following periods:
  • Monthly filers for GST/HST collected for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods;
  • Quarterly filers for the GST/HST collected for the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period; and
  • Annual filers, for GST/HST returns or instalments are due in March, April or May 2020, for GST/HST collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and for instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.
  • In a commercial goods importation context, payments owing for customs duties and GST at a rate of 5% on imports are generally due before the first day of the month following the month in which the statements of accounts are issued to the importers of commercial goods. The Government of Canada has also announced, on March 27, 2020, that payment deadlines for statements of accounts for March, April, and May are deferred to June 30, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Department of Finance Canada’s news update of March 27, 2020.

Extending the Work-Sharing program

  • The Work-Sharing program is provided for workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. The federal government is extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 to 76 weeks.
  • In addition, eligibility requirements have been eased and the application process has been streamlined.

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit

  • This benefit replaces the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit that were announced by the Department of Finance Canada’s press release of March 18, 2020. From now on, the federal government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months. The benefit will be available to the following individuals:
  • workers who do not have access to income support and who must stop working due to COVID-19;
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures;
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19;
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because their employer has asked them not to come to work since there is not sufficient work;
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
  • Workers who qualify for Employment Insurance and are already receiving its benefits will continue to receive them and should not apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. However, those whose Employment Insurance benefits end before October 3, 2020, can apply once their benefits cease if they are still unable to receive income due to COVID-19. Those who have already applied for Employment Insurance, but their claim has not been processed, do not need to reapply. Workers who are eligible for normal course Employment Insurance benefits can still access those benefits if they are still unemployed after the four-month period covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds

  • The federal government will reduce required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, to provide flexibility to annuitants who might otherwise be forced to liquidate investments to meet minimum RRIF withdrawal requirements.
  • The Response Plan announced on March 18, 2020, also notes that similar rules will apply to individuals who are receiving variable benefit payments under defined contribution registered pension plans.

Increasing the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program

  • Families will receive an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-2020.
  • This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment on May 20, 2020. Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply.
  • For more information, and to apply for the Canada Child Benefit, see the CRA’s “Canada child benefit” website.

Special GST/HST credit payment

  • A one-time special payment through the GST/HST credit is available for low- and modest-income families.
  • The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
  • This payment will be made in early May. There is no need to apply for this payment, eligible people will receive it automatically.

Flexibility for taxpayers

  • The CRA will defer the filing due date for 2019 tax returns until June 1, 2020, for individuals, and until May 1, 2020, for trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019.
  • Any income tax that becomes owing by the taxpayers between March 18, 2020, and August 31, 2020, under Part I of the Income Tax Act (ITA) will be deferred until September 1, 2020.
  • Taxpayers who are unable to file a return or make a payment by the new deadline as a result of COVID-19 can request the cancellation of penalty and interest charged to their account.
  • Additionally, unless otherwise noted by the CRA, administrative income tax actions required of taxpayers by the CRA due after March 18, 2020 can be deferred until June 1, 2020. Such actions include the filing of:
    • returns;
    • elections;
    • designations; and
    • information requests.
  • To reduce the administrative burdens, the CRA will recognize electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the ITA on a temporary basis.
  • For more information, see the Department of Finance Canada’s press release of March 18, 2020.

Support for students

  • The Government of Canada is placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. During this period, no payment will be required and interest will not accrue.

Support for vulnerable populations

  • The federal government will provide:
  • $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund;
  • $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative;
  • $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres.

Flexibility for registered charities

  • The filing deadline for all charities with a Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, due between March 18, 2020 and December 31, 2020 is postponed to December 31, 2020.

Tax Court of Canada

  • The Tax Court of Canada has cancelled all sittings and conference calls scheduled between March 16, 2020, and May 1, 2020, inclusively. The Court will reassess on April 14, 2020. The Registry will contact affected parties directly. The Registry offices of the Tax Court of Canada are closed for all other business until further notice.
  • For more information, see the Tax Court of Canada notice to the public and the profession of March 23, 2020.

Canadian Sales Taxes (GST/HST/QST, and PST of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba)

  • The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec have yet to announce relief measures from a sales tax perspective for GST/HST/QST for registrants who are directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that every person who is registered for GST/HST/QST purposes must act with diligence in filing their sales tax returns, and meet any applicable deadlines despite the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Each of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan have announced certain relief measures with respect to PST in the respective provinces. Please see the detailed discussion below for additional information on specific PST measures.

Canada Border Services Agency

  • Customs Notice 20-08 provides information on the relief of duty and taxes for goods required for an emergency (as defined in the Goods for Emergency Use Remission Order (C.R.C., c. 768)) (the “Order”) and imported by or on behalf of federal, provincial or municipal entities, as well as by or on behalf of members of first response organizations, such as police, fire, and local civil defence groups including medical response teams. Other parties are not eligible for this relief. As these goods are required on site quickly, the CBSA will endeavour to expedite the clearance when possible.
  • As a result, this notice is likely to have limited impact for non-government entities, including most private importers, unless they have registered to import goods required for an emergency on behalf of federal, provincial, or municipal entities (such as masks, personal protective equipment, ventilators, hand-sanitizing gel, etc.) To apply for relief of duty and taxes, the importer must fill out a Form B3-3 and enter special authorization code “73-2529” in field 26 and “9993” in field 28. No security deposit will be collected.
  • Customs Notice 20-09, issued March 18, 2020: effective immediately, the usual 90 day period for submitting corrections following a CBSA trade compliance verification where errors were found has been extended by 30 days (for a total of 120 days). No end date for this measures has been announced and it is likely that it will continue for the duration of the emergency.
  • Customs Notice 20-11, issued March 27, 2020: for the extension of timeframes for the payment of customs duties and GST. As of now, the all payments due to the CBSA (including customs duties and GST on regular imports, re-assessments, penalties, etc.) are extended to June 30, 2020. This also includes charges on the statement of account of March due on April 1, 2020. Importers are still obligated to submit accounting declarations for imported goods released on minimum documentation within prescribed timeframes.
  • Customs Notice 20-10, issued March 29, 2020: for transactions released by the CBSA from March 11, 2020 to May 14, 2020, importers will received a 45-business-day grace period for late accounting penalties. Importers will not need to submit individual applications to have late accounting penalties waived for this period. The grace period is subject to review as matters evolve, and an update will be posted if it is extended.

Indigenous Services Canada

  • Indigenous Services Canada announced on March 30, 2020, that it is providing $2.6 million in federal funding to support indigenous communities going on the land in small groups to promote physical distancing.
  • For more information, see the Indigenous Services Canada news release of March 30, 2020.

Sector-specific programs

  • Agriculture: On March 23, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has received an enhancement to its capital base that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity. Initially, the focus will be on assisting the industry in addressing cash flow challenges so that businesses can remain focused on business-critical functions. The FCC is asking existing customers who have financial concerns to contact the organization to discuss alternatives. For more information, see the FCC news release of March 23, 2020. To contact the FCC Customer Service Centre, call 1-888-332-3301.
  • Air Transportation: The government is waiving ground lease rents from March 2020 through to December 2020 for the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to the federal government. The government will provide comparable treatment for PortsToronto, which operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. For more information, see the Department of Finance Canada news release of March 30, 2020.
  • Financial Institutions: The Bank of Canada has announced the following interventions, which are effective immediately:
    • Providing liquidity on a daily basis to participating financial institutions in the payments systems operated by Payments Canada under its Standing Liquidity Facility (SLF). Loans made by the Bank of Canada must be fully collateralized.
  • Allowing Large Value Transfer System (LVTS) participants to assign 100 per cent of their non-mortgage loan portfolio (NMLP) as pledged collateral for the SLF, giving institutions greater flexibility in managing their collateral.
  • On March 16, 2020, the Bank of Canada announced that it is broadening eligible collateral for its term repo facility to include the full range of collateral eligible under the Standing Liquidity Facility, as well as own-name covered bonds. This change was effective immediately. For more information, see the Bank of Canada’s Market Notices of March 16 and March 18, 2020.
  • On March 18, 2020, the Bank of Canada announced: a switch buyback operation on Thursday, March 19th in the 10-year sector, a switch buyback operation on Monday, March 23rd in the 5-year sector, a switch buyback operation on Wednesday, March 25th in the 30-year sector. For more information, see the Bank of Canada’s Market Notice of March 18, 2020.
  • Beginning on March 23, 2020, the Bank of Canada will conduct secondary market purchases of one-month Bankers’ Acceptances issued and guaranteed by any Canadian bank of sufficiently high quality. For more information, see the Bank of Canada’s Market Notice of March 18, 2020, or the BAPF Operational Details.
  • The Co-Lending Program will bring the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to small and medium enterprises for their operational cash flow requirements. The eligible businesses to the Co-Lending Program may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million. For more information, see the Government of Canada news release of March 27, 2020.
  • On March 27, 2020, the Bank of Canada cut its key interest target by half a percentage point to 0.25% in an unscheduled rate announcement. For more information, see the Bank of Canada’s key interest rate
  • Mortgage lending: The following measures have been announced:
  • Under the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP), the government will purchase up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), an increase of $100 billion from the $50 billion announced on March 16, 2020. This will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, so they can continue to lend to Canadian consumers and businesses. In addition, the CMHC is also expanding the issuance of Canada Mortgage Bonds to a total annual issuance amount of up to $60 billion. For more information, see CMHC’s press release of March 26, 2020. Details for the Purchase Operations are available here.
  • Canada’s mortgage insurers are permitting lenders to defer up to six months of mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Deferred payments are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage. For more information, see the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) “What to do if you are facing financial hardship” page.

Ontario

Ontario has declared a provincial state of emergency under the province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. For more information about this legislation and the government’s powers under it, see our “explainer”, here.

On March 17, 2020, the provincial Cabinet promulgated three Orders in Council. These closed certain establishments and prohibited gatherings of greater than 50 people. On March 25th, the Ontario Minister of Finance announced Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. The programs outlined in this action plan are included below.

COVID-19 contingency fund

  • The Minister of Finance announced on March 25, 2020 that the provincial government is committing to a dedicated $1.0 billion COVID-19 contingency fund for emerging needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of March 25, 2020.

Health sector relief

  • The Minister of Finance announced on March 25, 2020 that the provincial government is investing $935 million for the hospital sector. This includes $594 million to address capacity issues, as well as $341 million for an additional 1,000 acute care and 500 critical care beds.
  • The Minister of Finance also announced increased public health funding by $160 million to support COVID-19 monitoring, surveillance, and laboratory and home testing, while also investing in virtual care and Telehealth Ontario.
  • The province is investing $243 million to increase surge capacity in the long-term care sector, fund 24/7 screening, send more staffing to support infection control, and provide supplies and equipment.
  • The province is investing $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to front-line staff.
  • A new website, Ontario Together, has been established to help the government and manufacturing sector partner to redirect resources towards the production of essential equipment such as ventilators, masks, and swabs.
  • The Minister of Government and Consumer Services announced on March 28, 2020, that it is proclaiming the Supply Chain Management Act, which will allow the Ministry to centrally manage public sector supply chains and collect key data on inventory and demand for crucial supplies.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news releases of March 25 and March 28, 2020.

Support for individual and jobs

  • The Minister of Finance also announced that the Government of Ontario is providing $3.7 billion for individuals and job protection. This includes:
  • a one-time payment help families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government of Ontario will provide a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools;
  • doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months;
  • support more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers, by providing approximately $5.6 billion for electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21. See the “electricity rate relief” section below for details;
  • cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption;
  • providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment;
  • emergency child care options to support parents working on the front lines;
  • expanding access to Ontario Works to help more people meet basic needs such as food and rent;
  • enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social service organizations;
  • providing six months of OSAP loan and interest accrual relief for students;
  • proposing a new Corporate income tax credit, the “Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit”, to help try to support employment growth;
  • providing an additional $26 million to indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency financial assistance and health care;
  • upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards is deferred by 90 days.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of March 25, 2020.

Supporting businesses to improve cash flow

  • The Minister of Finance announced on March 25, 2020, that the Government of Ontario will be making available $6 billion by providing the following relief measures:
  • five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make tax payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
  • Over $1.8 billion will be made available to businesses by deferring by 90 days the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property.
  • $1.9 billion will be devoted to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.
  • The Employer Health Tax exemption will be increased to cut taxes by $355 million for approximately 57,000 employers.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of March 25, 2020.

New legislation protecting workers

  • Ontario recalled its provincial legislature on March 19, 2020. The legislature unanimously passed the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 to provide “job-protected leave” to workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The legislation provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or employees that need to be away from work to care for children or relatives.
  • The legislation is retroactive to January 25, 2020. The legislation is clear that employees cannot be required to show sick notes.
  • Note that “emergency leave” is already available to many Ontario workers under s. 50.1 of the Employment Standards Act. For more information, see our blog post, here.
  • For more information about the legislation, seethe Government of Ontario’s news release of March 19, 2020.

New legislation ensuring delivery of goods

  • On March 19th, the legislature also passed the Municipal Emergency Act, 2020, ensuring that delivery of goods to Ontario’s businesses and consumers is not impacted by municipal noise by-laws.
  • The legislation also gives municipalities the ability to fully conduct Council, local board and committee meetings electronically in emergencies.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of March 19, 2020.

Front-line justice services

  • On March 19th, the Ontario Attorney General announced that Ontario courts and tribunals are limiting in-person proceedings and making use of audio and video conferencing to hear priority matters remotely.
  • Critical matters such as criminal and child protection proceedings are prioritized.
  • All in-person proceedings are postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date, including:
  • the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, Landlord and Tenant Board, and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario;
  • the Superior Court of Justice, except for urgent matters;
  • the Small Claims Court;
  • all Provincial Offences Act hearings; and
  • the Court of Appeal, except for urgent appeals.
  • For more information, see the Ministry of the Attorney General news release of March 19, 2020.

Municipal measures

  • On March 20, 2020, the Mayor of Toronto announced municipal tax relief measures. These measures provide businesses and property owners with a 60-day grace period on their City of Toronto property tax, Toronto Water, and Solid Waste bill payments, as of March 16, 2020. Additionally, late payment penalties on business properties will be waived for 60 days, starting on March 16, 2020.
  • For property owners on the 11-instalment pre-authorized payment plan, Interim 2020 instalment due dates will be extended by 60 days. Late payment penalties for residential properties will be waived for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020.
  • For more information, see the City of Toronto website.

$200 million social services relief funding

  • The province will be providing municipalities and organizations that administer social services with $200 million in relief funding to support them in their response to COVID-19. The funding will help municipalities and social service providers continue to deliver critical services and promote social distancing and self-isolation.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of March 23, 2020.

Specifics of electricity rate relief to families and small businesses

  • The Government of Ontario is providing immediate electricity rate relief for families, small businesses and farms paying time-of-use (TOU) rates.
  • The Government of Ontario is working to suspend TOU electricity rates for a 45-day period, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour.
  • The discount is applied automatically to electricity bills and is effective immediately.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of March 24, 2020.

Québec

Québec declared a public health emergency on March 13, 2020, and has issued a number of instructions and directives that can be found on the government’s website. The government’s business-focused initiatives are outlined below.

Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT COVID-19)

  • Announced on March 17, 2020, this program grants a lump sum of $573 per week to an eligible person, for a period of 14 days of isolation. If justified, the coverage period could be extended to a maximum of 28 days.
  • Beginning on March 19, 2020, workers could apply to PATT COVID-19 if they were (or are) in isolation because they had contracted the virus or are showing symptoms, had been in contact with an infected person or had returned from abroad.
  • Workers are not eligible if:
  • they are being compensated by their employer;
  • they have private insurance;
  • they are covered by another government program, including federal employment insurance.
  • For more information, seethe Government of Québec’s “PATT COVID-19” website.Applications can be made here.

Flexibility measures for individuals and businesses

  • The deadline for individuals for filing provincial income tax returns for the 2019 taxation year is postponed to June 1, 2020, from April 30, 2020.
  • The deadline for filing an income tax return for the 2019 taxation year of an individual who died in that year, but before December 1, 2019, is postponed to June 1, 2020.
  • The deadline for filing an income tax return for individuals who carried on a business in 2019, or whose spouse carried on business, remains June 15, 2020.
  • The deadline to make instalment payments for the 2020 taxation year is postponed to September 1, 2020.
  • The deadline to pay any Québec Pension Plan, Québec Parental Insurance Plan, Health Service Fund, and Québec drug insurance plan contributions for the 2019 taxation year is postponed to September 1, 2020.
  • The minimum withdrawal by annuitants from their registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) is reduced by 25% for 2020.
  • Requests or renewals of advanced payments from the tax credit for home-support services for seniors that would otherwise be filed between March 17, 2020, and June 1, 2020, are granted an extra four months from the renewal date to make the request. Current payments are maintained in the meantime.
  • Deadlines to submit renewal requests to the Housing Allowance Program are extended by 2 months but in no case later than December 1, 2020.
  • The deadline for businesses to pay tax instalments and the balance of tax otherwise due between March 18, 2020, and September 1, 2020, is suspended until September 1, 2020.
  • The deadline for trusts other than a testamentary trust subject to progressive rate taxation, but including Specified Investment Flow-Through Trusts (SIFT), to file income tax returns is extended from March 30, 2020, to May 1, 2020.
  • The deadline for filing the tax return of a testamentary trust subject to progressive rate taxation whose taxation year ends in 2019, and whose filing due date would otherwise be after March 16, 2020, is postponed to May 1, 2020.
  • The deadline for a trust (other than a SIFT) to pay any balance of tax otherwise due no later than March 30, 2020, for the 2019 taxation year will be postponed to September 1, 2020.
  • The payment of tax instalments and the balance of tax otherwise due by SIFTs between March 17, 2020, and September 1, 2020, will be postponed to September 1, 2020.
  • Extension for the filing of a Partnership Information Return (form TP-600-V) for 2019:
  • Partnerships that had to file a Partnership Information Return (form TP-600-V) for 2019 by March 31, 2020, now have until May 1, 2020, to file the return if all members of the partnership are individuals.
  • Partnership all the members of which are corporations, the return must be filed within five months of the end of the fiscal year. Where the deadline would otherwise fall between March 16, 2020, and May 1, 2020, the date is postponed to May 1, 2020.
  • In any other situation, the 2019 return must be filed by May 1, 2020, or the last day of the fifth month following the end of the fiscal year, whichever comes first. But if the last day of the fifth month is after March 16, 2020, the deadline for filing is May 1, 2020.
  • The payment of tax instalments and the balance of tax otherwise due by specified investment flow-through partnerships between March 17, 2020, and September 1, 2020, will be postponed to September 1, 2020(Note that the March 19 press release applies the September 1 deadline to “businesses”, which we interpret to include partnerships; in the alternative, the due date is August 31, 2020).
  • On March 27, 2020, the Government of Quebec announced that it would allow registrants to defer until June 30, 2020, the filing of QST returns and corresponding QST payments, where appropriate, for all QST returns that must be filed between March 27, 2020 and June 1, 2020, without interest or penalties. This measure is in line with the GST/HST measure announced by the Government of Canada.
  • The Government of Quebec has also announced, on March 27, 2020, that it will accelerate the processing of requests for tax credits intended for businesses and tax refunds.
  • A registered charity whose Information Return for Registered Charities and Other Donees (form TP-985.22) is due between March 17, 2020, and December 30, 2020, may file by December 31, 2020.
  • To limit in-person contact, Revenu Québec will allow tax preparers to use an electronic signature on certain forms. The forms in question are form TP-1000.TE-V (for individuals) and form CO-1000.TE (for corporations).
  • Revenu Québec has also issued the following relief measures:
  • Audit and collections: Audits and collection activities are being limited. Concerning collection measures, Revenu Québec has indicated that it will be amenable, on a case-by-case basis, to extending payment agreements.
  • Objection: Deadlines for the filing of an objection to certain reassessment is extended to June 30, 2020 where the expiration of the 90-day period otherwise applicable falls between March 13, 2020 and June 29, 2020.
  • Appeals: Deadlines are suspended from March 15, 2020, until the end of the COVID state of emergency. This applies to the following procedural matters:
  • Appeals of assessment brought to the Court of Quebec;
  • Summary appeals to the Small Claims Division of the Court of Quebec;
  • Requests for review of a decision of the Minister of Revenue refusing to extend the time for filing an objection;
  • Requests to extend the time to file an appeal or a summary appeal. 
  • Revenu Québec is also postponing administrative tax filing deadlines (other than returns with specific postponement dates listed above) that fall between March 17, 2020, and May 31, 2020, to June 1, 2020, which include corporate income statement, Quebec tax laws or regulations election such as a rollover (except QST choices that are harmonized with GST), tax credit application (12 month deadline), request for reimbursement of fuel taxes, response to requests for information from Revenu Québec, etc.
  • The deadline to remit any unclaimed property to the Minister of Revenue, which corresponds to the end of the first quarter following the end of the fiscal year in which the property has become unreported, is postponed to August 31, 2020. No late payment interest or penalties in respect of property which has become unclaimed during a fiscal year ending between December 17, 2019, and May 30, 2020, will accrue as long as the property is remitted to Revenu Québec before September 1, 2020. The 10-year limitation period for remitting amounts less than $500 to the Minister of Finance is suspended until the expiration of the COVID state of emergency.
  • For more information, see the Minister of Finance’s press releases from March 18th and March 19th and the Ministry of Finance’s Bulletins 2020-3, 2020-4 and 2020-5.

Municipal measures

  • Announced on March 19, 2020, by the Mayor of Montréal, the owners of residential and commercial properties will have an extra month to make their second instalment of property taxes so that the deadline is postponed from June 1, 2020, to July 2, 2020. Also, effective March 19, 2020, private and social economy businesses who have received a loan through the PME MTL fund, Fonds Locaux de Solidarité, and Fonds de commercialisation des innovations will benefit from an automatic, six-month moratorium on capital and interest. The City will pay the interest during this period. In addition to measures taken by provincial and federal government, the City of Montréal is placing $5 million in an assistance fund for businesses to support targeted industries such as commerce, social economy and arts/creative industries.
  • For more information, see the City of Montréal’s press release of March 21, 2020.
  • Announced on March 20, 2020, for Québec City businesses and individuals:
  • the May 4, 2020, municipal tax payment has been postponed to August 4, 2020;
  • the July 3, 2020, municipal tax payment has been postponed to September 3, 2020; and
  • the September 3, 2020, municipal tax payment has been postponed to November 3, 2020.
  • Québec City will process all cheques on the appropriate date and for taxpayers who have agreed to pre-authorized payments over 12 months with interest, the City will hold to the agreed direct debit and will adjust the costs downward for the last payment in February 2021.
  • For more information, see Québec City’s press release of March 20, 2020.
  • For more information regarding other municipal measures, see the press releases of the City of Laval, Longueuil and Lévis (in French only).

Student loans repayment deferral

  • The Government of Québec announced that it is postponing the student loan debt repayments. According to this measure, individuals who have loan debt repayment will not have to make any payment during the next six-months.
  • Interest will not accrue during this period. Furthermore, students do not need to apply for the repayment deferral. This measure automatically applies to all Aide financière aux études

Programmes to help businesses

  • The Government of Québec announced the Programme d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises (PACTE). The government is committing at least $2.5 billion to help companies overcome liquidity issues connected to the pandemic. This program is intended to support business’ working capital to help them continue operations. All industries will be eligible for this emergency program. Businesses will have to demonstrate that they are likely to be profitable after the crisis. The financial assistance is a minimum amount of $50,000, provided in the form of a loan guarantee, but may also take the form of a loan.
  • The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) announced on March 30, 2020, a $4-billion fund to support the specific liquidity needs of Québec companies temporarily impacted by COVID-19. Companies do not have to be in the CDPQ’s portfolio to be eligible for funding, but have to meet certain criteria, including having been profitable before the COVID-19 crisis, having a promising growth outlook in their sector and seeking financing of over $5 million. The CDPQ also announced a donation of $300,000, to support the organizations that directly address the basic needs of the most vulnerable people.
  • For more information, see the CDPQ’s news release of March 30, 2020. The application can be filled here.

Loans and loan guarantees

  • In order to support businesses affected by the impacts of COVID-19, flexibility for outstanding loans and loan guarantees are being put in place by the Fonds local d’investissement (“FLI”).
  • A three-month moratorium has been put in place for the repayment (principal and interest) of loans already granted through the FLI. Interest accrued during this period will be added to the loan balance. This measure is in addition to the moratorium already in place under most investment policies in effect, which can be as long as twelve months.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s “Ministère de l’Économie website (in French only).

Hydro-Québec measures

  • On March 22, 2020, Hydro-Québec announced that, starting March 23, 2020, it will suspend the application of charges for unpaid invoices for all its customers (individuals and businesses) until further notice. Customers who expect to have difficulties paying their bill are invited to make a payment arrangement with Hydro-Québec.
  • For more information, see Hydro-Québec’s website. The payment arrangement can be here.

Measures for employers

  • The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST) announced that employers have until August 31, 2020, to pay their Statement of Account related to their CNESST contribution. In addition, no penalty or interest will be charged during this period.
  • For more information, see the CNESST’s news release (in French only).

Parental leave for healthcare workers

  • On March 28, 2020, the Government of Québec announced that an accommodation is available for healthcare system workers who wish to interrupt or postpone their parental leave (i.e. beneficiaries receiving parental benefits, paternity benefits and adoption benefits). In order to do so, these workers will have six additional months to draw their Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits.

Tourism Development Strategy Support Program

  • The Government of Québec announced that businesses that have received a confirmation of financial assistance under the Tourism Development Strategy Support Program will benefit from a postponement of the start or end date of the work. The deadline for businesses that must complete the financial setup of projects within a prescribed period is also postponed.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s assisting the tourism industry Businesses must send an email to the tourism development advisor in their region in order to benefit from this measure.

Alberta

Alberta declared a provincial public health emergency on March 17, 2020, under the province’s Public Health Act. For more information about this legislation and the government’s powers under it, see our “explainer”, here.

The provincial government has announced a number of emergency support programs. The business-focused initiatives are outlined below, and the Alberta Government “COVID-19 Employer Fact Sheet” is linked here.

Emergency Isolation Support Program

  • Under the Emergency Isolation Support Program (EISP), announced on March 18, 2020, Albertans will receive a $1,146 payment for self-isolation. This is similar to the PATT COVID-19 program initiated by the government of Quebec, discussed above.
  • Working Alberta adults can apply for EISP if they have experienced total or significant loss of income and are not receiving compensation from any other source because they:
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • are caring for a dependent who is self-isolating; or
  • have otherwise been directed by health authorities to self-isolate.
  • People are not eligible for the program if they:
  • were not working immediately before advised to self-isolate;
  • can work from home;
  • are not experiencing a significant loss of income as a result of self-isolation;
  • are currently collecting other forms of income support or employer benefits while self-isolated, such as workplace sick leave benefits and federal employment insurance (EI) benefits;
  • are staying home to care for a dependent who is home for a reason other than self-isolation; or
  • reside outside of Alberta.
  • EISP will be distributed in one payment instalment and will bridge the gap until federal emergency payments begin in April.
  • EISP is available online. Albertans must sign into the MyAlberta Emergency Isolation Support system using a verified MyAlberta Digital ID (MADI) account to complete the application. An Alberta driver’s licence or ID card number is required to create a MADI account.

Utility payment deferral

  • Residential, farm and small commercial customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days, regardless of their service provider to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider. The payment deferral is also available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19.

Student loans repayment deferral

  • The Government of Alberta announced on March 17, 2020, that it is implementing a six-month, interest free moratorium on Alberta student loan payments.
  • Interest will not accrue during this period. Furthermore, students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
  • Students may, however, decide to continue to make payments during this period if they choose. This will not affect their eligibility to receive the benefit.

Banks and credit unions

  • Effective immediately, Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB Financial) customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB Financial loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for up to six months.
  • Credit union members will have access to a broad range of programs and solutions designed to facilitate loan payments and short-term cash flow. In order to take advantage of this measure, credit union members need to contact their credit union to work out a plan, which will be tailored to each member’s personal situation.

Corporate income tax changes

  • The Alberta government announced on March 18, 2020, that corporate income tax balances and instalment payments coming due between March 18 until August 31, 2020 will be deferred until August 31, 2020. This measure will allow employers to increase their access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts, and continue operations.
  • Although penalties and interest are waived for this period of time, businesses must continue to file their Alberta corporate tax returns as required. Also, the deferral does not apply in respect of tax balances or instalment payments made prior to March 18, 2020.
  • The Alberta Tax and Revenue Administration (“TRA”) also announced that it will modify its corporate income tax audit and collection practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has not yet provided specific details on the proposed modifications.
  • The Alberta government announced on March 27, 2020, that hotels and other lodging providers can delay paying the tourism levy until August 31, 2020, for amounts that become due to the government on or between March 27 and August 31, 2020.

WCB premium payment deferral

  • Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) premium payments until 2021. For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 and large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due. Employers who have already paid the WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s “COVID-19 support for employers and employees” website.

Job-protected leave

  • The Government of Alberta announced on March 18, 2020, that it will amend the Employment Standards Code to allow full- and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave. To be eligible, the claimant employee:
  • must either be required to self-isolate or caring for a child or dependent adult who is required to self-isolate;
  • does not require a medical note; and
  • does not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days.
  • This measure covers the 14-day self-isolation period recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer. This leave may be extended by Albert’s chief medical officer.
  • For more detailed information, please see this blog from our Calgary Labour and Employment group.

Relief for the energy sector

  • On March 20, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced the following initiatives to provide economic relief to Alberta’s energy industry:
  • $113 million in industry relief to fund the Alberta Energy Regulator; and
  • a $100 million loan extended to the Orphan Well Association to create up to 500 direct and indirect jobs through reclamation efforts, decommissioning about 1,000 wells, and starting more than 1,000 environmental assessments.
  • For more detailed information, please see the Government of Alberta’s press release of March 20, 2020.

Establishing an Economic Recovery Council

  • The Premier of Alberta has appointed an Economic Recovery Council to provide insight and expert advice on protecting jobs during the economic crisis, as well as strategies for long term recovery from the crisis.
  • For more detailed information and a list of Council members, please see the Government of Alberta’s press release of March 20, 2020.

Education property tax freeze

  • Residential education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level, reversing the 3.4% increase that had been added in the 2020 budget.
  • Moreover, collection of non-residential education property tax will be deferred for six months.

Protections for tenants

  • On March 27, 2020, new ministerial orders under the Residential Tenancies Act and the Mobiles Homes Sites Tenancies Act provide the following supports for Alberta tenants:
  • tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1;
  • rents will not increase while Alberta’s state of public health emergency remains in effect;
  • late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months; and
  • landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while the state of public health emergency is in effect.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of March 27, 2020.

British Columbia

British Columbia (“B.C.”) declared a provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Program Act on March 18, 2020. For more information about this legislation and the government’s powers under it, see our “explainer”, here. The government is expected to roll out additional economic measures in the coming days.

New Economic Recovery Task Force

  • A new economic recovery task force will bring together leaders from business, labour, First Nations, and not-for-profits to help ensure the Province’s economic response to COVID-19 is effective and responsive to the needs of British Columbians.
  • The purpose of the task force is to ensure the benefits of provincial programs reach their intended targets, to discuss ways to ensure that the best possible information is available to workers and member organizations, to explore issues around the designation of essential and critical services, and to discuss long-term economic recovery following COVID-19.
  • For more information, and to see the appointees to the task force, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of April 2, 2020.

Changes to the Employment Standards Act

  • On March 17, 2020, the Premier of British Columbia announced that the government is looking to amend B.C.’s employment standards act to enable greater worker support.

Specific relief to agricultural sector

  • On March 22, 2020, the Minister of Agriculture announced that they are working with the Federal Government to insure seasonal labour can still enter Canada to support the agriculture industry.
  • In addition, the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) is helping member markets move to an online model to continue providing customers with locally grown and prepared food products. The B.C. government is providing $55,000 to the BCAFM to cover fees for individual farmers markets to join the online platform and set up their digital markets.
  • For more information, please see the Minister of Agriculture’s press release of March 27, 2020. Information about active online farmers’ markets can be found here.

B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers

  • The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers program provides a one-time $1,000 payment to people who lost income because of COVID-19.
  • Residents of B.C. who receive federal Employment Insurance or the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (replacing the federal Emergency Care Benefit and the federal Emergency Support Benefit) are eligible or, if the workers are not eligible for these benefits, based on certain criteria such as lay-offs, self-employment, voluntary quarantine, etc.
  • Applications will open in April 2020, and the one-time payment will be made in May 2020.

Climate action tax credit

  • In July 2020, a one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid for moderate to low-income families. Adults receive up to $218.00, and children receive $64.00.

Funding for housing supports

  • Funding for housing supports is increased to ensure people can maintain their housing in the event of job or income loss. Further, B.C. housing has temporarily suspended evictions of tenants in subsidized and affordable housing due to non-payment of rent.
  • To support renters who are facing a loss of income during the pandemic, a new Temporary Rental Supplement (TRS) will also offer up to $500 a month to help renters pay part of their rent and ensure landlords continue to receive some rental income. More information about this program will be available by mid-April, 2020.

B.C. monthly bills and student loan payments

  • C. Hydro customers can defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty.
  • Targeted bill relief is available to B.C. Hydro customers experiencing job loss, illness or lost wages due to COVID-19. They will receive a credit for three times their average monthy bill over the past year to cover three months of hydro bills.
  • Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months. B.C. Hydro is waiving bills for these customers from April to June 2020.
  • C. Hydro rates will be reduced by 1% on April 1, 2020.
  • Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) customers on a monthly payment plan who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19 may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty.
  • Starting March 30, 2020, B.C. student loan payments are automatically frozen for six months.

Tax relief for businesses

  • The Government of British Columbia is extending filing and payment deadlines until September 30, 2020, for the employer health tax, provincial sales tax, municipal and regional district tax on short-term accommodation, carbon tax, motor fuel tax, and tobacco tax.
  • The following tax changes announced in the February 18, 2020, British Columbia budget are postponed until at least September 30, 2020:
  • eliminating the PST exemption for carbonated beverages that contain sugar, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners.
  • expanded registration requirements for Canadian sellers of goods, along with Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunication services.
  • carbon tax rates will remain at their current levels until further notice.
  • School tax rates for commercial properties are reduced by 50% for the 2020 tax year.
  • In July 2020, an additional one-time payment will be made on top of the regular climate action tax credit.

Support for arts and culture sector

  • On March 27, 2020, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture announced 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.
  • Additionally, starting in April 2020, the BC Arts Council will provide operating clients a 50% advance on 2020-21 funding to help with their cash flow.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of March 27, 2020.

Support for B.C.’s most vulnerable sector

  • People in B.C. currently receiving income assistance or disability assistance can continue to do so while also receiving the new $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) without any reduction to their monthy assistance payments.
  • Individuals on income assitance or disability assistance that are not eligible for the CERB will get an automatic $300 monthly crisis supplement for the next three months. This supplement will also be provided to low-income seniors who receive the B.C. Senior’s Supplement.
  • The Province will also provide all BC Bus Pass Program users receiving income assistance and disability assistance with a $52 Transportation Supplement. This will be included on the next cheque.
  • The Government of British Columbia is also providing a $3-million emergency grant to Food Banks British Columbia who will distribute the money among food banks province wide to support their needs to buy and distribute food, pay employees and cover other costs.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of April 2, 2020.

Relief for sport sector

  • Provincial, disability, and multi-sport organizations will have access to $5 million, which represents 50% of their annual 2020-21 provincial funding allocation, to help with cashflow issues.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of April 1, 2020.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan declared a provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Planning Act on March 18, 2020. For more information about this legislation and the government’s powers under it, see our “explainer”, here. The Government of Saskatchewan has established “Support for Business” and “Support for Workers” pages outlining many available federal and provincial supports.

Penalty and interest waiver for businesses

  • On March 20, 2020, the Premier of Saskatchewan announced a penalty and interest waiver program.
  • Businesses who have cash flow concerns and that are unable to remit their PST will have relief from penalty and interest charges for three months.
  • Businesses directly impacted by COVID-19 and that are unable to file their provincial tax returns by the due date may submit a request for relief from interest or penalties that would otherwise apply to such late filings.
  • Penalty and interest waiver requests can be submitted electronically through the Saskatchewan eTax Service (SETS) located at sets.saskatchewan.ca, by email ([email protected]) or at the following address: Ministry of Finance (Revenue Division), PO Box 200, Regina, SK, S4P 2Z6.
  • Audit programs and compliance activities have been suspended.

Establishing a Business Response Team

  • On March 23, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan launched a Business Response Team to support businesses in the province dealing with the economic challenges resulting from COVID-19.
  • The Business Response Team will be led by the Ministry of Trade and Export Development and will work to identify program supports relevant to particular businesses.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s press release of March 23, 2020. Businesses can contact the Business Response Team directly, call 1-844-800-8688 or e-mail [email protected].

Amendments to the Saskatchewan Employment Act

  • On March 20, 2020, the Saskatchewan Employment Act was amended to introduce a new unpaid public health emergency leave and remove the 13-week employment requirement to access sick leave and the requirement for a doctor’s note to access sick leave.
  • The Employment Standard Regulations have been amended to provide that:
    • businesses will not have to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice when they lay-off staff if it is for a period of 12 weeks or less in a 16-week period.
    • if an employer lays off employees periodically for a total of more than 12 weeks in a 16-week period, the employees are considered to be terminated and are entitled to pay instead of notice.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s press release of March 20, 2020.

Self-Isolation Support Program

  • On March 20, 2020, the Premier of Saskatchewan announced a support plan for employers and employees. The Self-Isolation Support Program will provide $450 per week for a maximum of two weeks (or $900) for residents who are forced to self-isolate. Workers can apply to the program if they were (or are) in isolation because they had contracted the virus or are showing symptoms, had been in contact with an infected person or had returned from abroad.
  • Workers are not eligible if they are being compensated by their employer (including sick leave and vacation leave), they have private insurance, or if they are covered by another government program, including federal employment insurance.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s press release of March 20, 2020.

Crown utility interest deferral

  • The Crown utility interest deferral program waives interest on late crown utility bill payments for up to six months. The program is effective immediately and is available to all crown utility customers.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s press release of March 20, 2020.

Student loans repayment deferral

  • The Government of Saskatchewan announced on March 20, 2020, that it is implementing a six-month, interest free moratorium on Saskatchewan student loan payments.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s press release of March 20, 2020.

Evictions suspended

  • The Government of Saskatchewan announced on March 26, 2020 that the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) is temporarily suspending eviction hearings. The ORT will only conduct eviction hearings for urgent situations.
  • Tenants who are unable to pay their rent during the state of emergency will be expected to pay their rent in full once the state of emergency is over.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan news release of March 26, 2020.

Extension to Saskatchewan Crop Insurance deadline

  • The deadline to apply, reinstate, cancel or make changes to Crop Insurance contracts is extended to April 13, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of March 30, 2020.

Manitoba

Manitoba declared a provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Measures Act on March 20, 2020.

Child care for essential workers

  • On March 20, 2020, The Manitoba government announced the following measures to help provide child care to essential front-line workers:
  • establish a new $18-million grant program to help early childhood educators begin independently offering child-care services at their homes or in the community;
  • continue to provide licensed child-care centres with their full operating grants and subsidies;
  • create a $2 million trust to provide capital gains to child-care providers; and
  • encourage all centres to reimburse prepaid fees to parents for child care they can no longer access at this time.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of March 20, 2020.

Extended tax filing deadlines for businesses

  • On March 22, 2020, the Premier of Manitoba and Minister of Finance announced that the province will extend the April and May filing deadlines for small and medium-sized business with monthly remittances of not more than $10,000. Businesses will have up to two additional months to remit retail sales taxes, and the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy (payroll tax).
  • The Minister of Finance also noted that it will work with businesses regarding flexible repayment options above the $10,000 cap.
  • In person service at the Taxation Division Offices is not available. Services are continuing by telephone and online.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of March 22, 2020.

Postpone eviction hearings and freeze rent increases

  • On March 24, 2020, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced that the Government of Manitoba is postponing eviction hearings and freezing rent increases.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of March 24, 2020.

Temporary exception to employment standards layoff rules

  • On March 27, 2020, the Finance Minister announced that it is adding a temporary exception to the employment standards regulations in order to provide flexibility to employers to recall employees once work picks up again.
  • Any period of layoff occurring after March 1, 2020, will not be counted toward the period after which a temporary layoff would become a permanent termination, requiring employers to provide pay in lieu of notice.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of March 27, 2020.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick declared a provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Measures Act on March 19, 2020.

Relief on co-pay for drug plans

  • Patients with drug coverage under New Brunswick’s public drug plans will only be responsible for the initial co-payment on a prescription fill or refill.
  • For example, a patient with a 90-day prescription made up of three 30-day fills will only have a co-payment for the first 30-day fill payment.
  • For more information, see the Government of New Brunswick news release of March 21, 2020.

Child care for those who lost income and essential workers

  • The Government of New Brunswick has committed to covering the child-care fees of anyone who has lost their income due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Government of New Brunswick will also cover any “double fees” for child care services for essential workers. This includes workers paying to reserve a space at their usual child care facility, but whose child is attending one of the emergency child care facilities.
  • For more information, see the Government of New Brunswick news release of March 20, 2020.

Income support and job protection for workers

  • The Government of New Brunswick announced a $4.5 million investment for workers who have recently become unemployed to bridge the gap between lost employment after March 15 and when the federal benefits take effect. The one-time provincial benefit will be a payment of $900, and will be administered through the Red Cross.
  • The Government of New Brunswick also announced amendments to be made to legislation and regulations to provide job protection for workers who must take a leave of absence due to COVID-19 that will allow an unpaid leave of up to 15 weeks.

 

  • For more information, see the Government of New Brunswick’s news release of March 26, 2020. The benefit will be accessible before the end of March and will end on April 30, 2020.

Elimination of interest

  • The collection of assessment premiums is deferred for three months by WorkSafe NB. The current interest rate is prime plus 3% and the rate will be reduced to 0% to align with the three-month deferral.
  • For more information, see the Government of New Brunswick’s news release of March 26, 2020.

Support for businesses

  • The Government of New Brunswick will defer loan and interest repayments for existing business loans with government departments for up to six months, on a case-by-case basis. Businesses can contact the department that issued the loan in order to do so.
  • The Government of New Brunswick announced that small business owners will be eligible for loans up to $200,000 and will not be required to pay principal on their loan for up to 12 months. For the medium-sized to large employers, the government will provide working capital of more than $200,000 to help managing effects of COVID-19 on their operations.
  • For more information, see the Government of New Brunswick’s news release of March 26, 2020.

Low-income Seniors' Benefit

  • The Government of New Brunswick will provide a $400 benefit to low-income seniors. To qualify, a person must have been a resident of New Brunswick on Dec. 31, 2019, and have received one of the following federal benefits under the Old Age Security Act:
    • guaranteed Income Supplement (65 years or older);
    • allowance for Survivor Program (between 60 and 64 years old);
    • allowance Program (between 60 and 64 years old).
  • The application for the benefit will be available on April 1, 2020, and the application deadline is December 31, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of New Brunswick's news release of March 29, 2020.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has taken a number of measures under the Health Protection Act in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 20, 2020, the province’s chief medical officer of health and Minister of Business jointly announced economic measures to help Nova Scotia businesses and students.

Measures to support vulnerable Nova Scotians

  • Every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50.
  • $1 million to Feed Nova Scotia to purchase food and hire more staff
  • Emergency funding of $230,000 to help vulnerable older adults through Senior Safety Programs and Community Links.
  • For more information, see the “Support for individual, families, and businesses” section of the Government of Nova Scotia website.

Deferred government loan payments, suspended student loan payments, and small business renewal fee payments

  • The Government will defer payments for all government loans and small business fees (including business renewal fees and workers compensation premiums) until June 30th.
  • The Government will suspend payments on Nova Scotia student loans for six months, until September 30th.
  • The Government will defer payments for small business renewal fees, including business registration renewal fees and workers compensation premiums, until June 30th.
  • Small businesses that do business with the government will be paid within five days instead of the standard 30 days.
  • For more information, see the “Support for individual, families, and businesses” section of the Government of Nova Scotia website.

Changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

  • The program is enhanced to make it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000 and for those who might not qualify for a loan, the government will guarantee the first $100,000.
  • For more information, see the “Support for individual, families, and businesses” section of the Government of Nova Scotia website.

Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative

  • To ensure that more Nova Scotians can access the internet to work from home, the government is providing $15 million as an incentive to providers to speed up projects under the Internet for Nova Scotia initiative and complete them as soon as possible.
  • For more information, see the “Support for individual, families, and businesses” section of the Government of Nova Scotia website.

Relief for commercial tenants

  • On March 27, 2020, the Premier announced that the government is encouraging landlords to defer lease payments for the next three months for businesses that had to close directly due to the public health order.
  • Landlords who participate by granting a three month deferral will be able to claim losses of up to $5,000 per month.
  • Landlords are not allowed to change locks or seize property to businesses who cannot pay rent if the business closed directly because of COVID-19 orders.
  • For more information, see the Government of Nova Scotia’s news release of March 27, 2020.

Relief for most vulnerable Nova Scotians

  • On March 27, 2020, the Department of Community Services (DCS) announced that it is partnering with Telus to provide 100 phones and calling plans for most-vulnerable clients who have no other means of communication.
  • The DCS is investing $200,000 to support transition houses as well as other organizations that serve vulnerable women and children.
  • The DCS is investing $55,000 to support 12 community food banks.
  • The DCS is extending the hours of its toll-free line for income assistance supports soon, including weekends.
  • For more information, see the Government of Nova Scotia news release of March 27, 2020.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island declared a state of public health emergency under the Public Health Act on March 16, 2020.

$25 million COVID-19 Emergency Contingency Fund

  • On March 16, 2020, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced the establishment of a $25 million COVID-19 Emergency Contingency Fund to support Island workers and small businesses who are affected by COVID-19.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news releaseof March 16, 2020. The Island businesses can call the phone number 1-866-222-1751 to share the effect COVID-19 has had on their finances.

Support for small businesses and employees

  • On March 18, 2020, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:
    • the scheduled loan payments are deferred for the next 3 months for clients of Finance PEI, Island Investment Development Inc., and the PEI Century Fund;
    • $4.5 million will be provided to Community Business Development Corporations across the province to deliver financing to small business and entrepreneurs; and
    • a temporary allowance of $200 per week for employees that have a significant drop in their working hours.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news releaseof March 18, 2020.

Educational and financial supports for Islanders

  • On March 20, 2020, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:
    • creating a fund of up to $2 million to support early learning centres, maintain child care spaces and ensure parents do not pay fees during the period of closures;
    • deferring repayments for provincial student loans for the next six months; and
    • providing home learning activities for students.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news releaseof March 20, 2020.

Emergency Income Relief for the Self-Employed

  • On March 16, 2020, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced a program for the self-employed individuals that consists of a maximum of $500 per week for the period of March 16 to March 29, 2020. The government notes that this period will be reviewed if necessary. To be illegible to the program, the individuals must have declared business income on their most recent tax return, business income must be their primary source of income, must be able to demonstrate direct financial losses related to COVID-19 isolation measures and don’t receive any other income support.

Worker Assistance Program

  • The Worker Assistance Program is a temporary program aimed at providing financial support to employers to assist their employed workers. The employers eligible will receive a maximum of $250 per week for each employed worker that experienced a reduction of at least 8 hours per week during the two week period March 16-29, 2020. The eligible employers include the registered private sector businesses in Prince Edward Island and they are encouraged to complete one application for the two week period.

Emergency Working Capital Financing

  • The Emergency Working Capital Financing program is a temporary program aimed at providing emergency working capital financing to assist small business to maintain normal business operations during the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. Applicants to the program can receive a working capital loan of up to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4% per annum to be used to assist with fixed operating costs with principal and interest payments deferred for a minimum of 12 months. In order to be eligible, companies must be:
  • existing small businesses (startups not eligible) located and operating in the Province of PEI, that have been generating revenue in PEI;
  • registered to conduct business within the Province of PEI; and
  • in possession of a satisfactory credit rating and must not have any defaulted outstanding debt obligation on file in the Province’s Central Default Registry.

Employee Gift Card Program

  • The Employee Gift Card Program is a temporary program aimed at providing a $100 Sobeys gift value to any employee, living and working on Prince Edward Island, who has received a lay-off notice as a direct result of the impacts associated with COVID-19. The employer is responsible to complete the application form and distribute the gift card letters to affected employees. To be eligible, the employer must:
  • have issued lay-off notice(s) to 1 or more employee(s) as a result of COVID-19, between March 13 and March 31, 2020; and
  • have affected employees with a salary of $25/hour or less.
  • For more information and to apply to the program, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s “Employee Gift Card Program” website.

Broadband Fund for Businesses

  • The Broadband Fund for Businesses is aimed at providing financial assistance to local Prince Edward Island internet service providers (ISPs), communities and businesses for the installation of infrastructure for enhanced broadband services. Applications must be made before starting projects. Expenses incurred before the submission of an application are ineligible. The Fund provides a contribution of up to 50% of the eligible costs of the approved project.
  • For more information and to apply to the program, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s “Broadband Fund for Businesses” website.

Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program

  • The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program for landlords who defer rent payments from their commercial tenants for three months (May to July). The landlords could be eligible for financial assistance if the deferred rent cannot be recovered up to a maximum of $50,000 per landlord and $15,000 per tenant.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of March 30, 2020. Landlords can register for the program by contacting [email protected] by April 15.

Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit

  • The Government of Prince Edward Island announced a $1,000,000 Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit to assist Island households that are currently renting and have seen an unexpected loss of income due to COVID-19.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of March 30, 2020, or call 1-877-368-5770.

Moratorium on evictions

  • The Government of Prince Edward Island announced on April 2, 2020, that eviction orders will not be enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of April 2, 2020.

COVID-19 Income Support Program

  • The new COVID-19 Income Support Program provides a one-time, taxable payment of $750. To qualify, Islanders must:
    • be 18 years of age or older and be a resident of Prince Edward Island as of December 31, 2019;
    • have earned a minimum of $5,000 gross earnings in the last 12 months;
    • lost their primary source of income because of COVID-19 and have no other income; and
    • have applied for federal benefits (e.g. Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit).
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of April 1, 2020.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador declared a public state of emergency on March 18, 2020.

Legislative amendments

  • On March 26, 2020, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced legislative amendments in order to:
  • provide protection for employees from losing their job if they must stop working as a result of COVID-19;
  • ensure tenants of rental properties cannot be evicted if they have lost income resulting from COVID-19 and they are not able to pay rent;
  • introduce $200 million in contingency funding to address the impacts of COVID-19 and reduced oil prices;
  • authorize the temporary variation of deadlines and time periods which an activity needs to be done such as annual reports and audit reviews;
  • authorize additional borrowing capacity to protect against a potential reduction in revenues as a result of COVID-19.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of March 26, 2020.

Deadline extended for fuel tax exemption permits

  • On March 30, 2020, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that the expiry date for fuel tax exemption permits is postponed to June 30, 2020 from March 31, 2020. The fuel tax exemption allows permit holders to purchase tax-exempt marked gasoline and light fuel oil. Consequently, gasoline and carbon retailers are authorized to accept such permits and continue to sell marked diesel and light fuel oil exempt of gasoline and carbon tax to these permit holders up to and including June 30, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of March 30, 2020.

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories declared a territory-wide State of Emergency under the Emergency Management Act on March 24, 2020.

Tax measures

  • On March 20, 2020, the Government of the Northwest Territories (“GNWT”) announced the following tax measures:
  • GNWT has paused most collection efforts to provide small businesses and individuals with access to greater cash flow, including outside collection agency activity, GNWT set-offs on GNWT payments, and GNWT set-offs on Canada Revenue Agency tax refunds; and
  • funding for the normal-course Income Assistance Program has been increased.
  • For more information, see the Government of the Northwest Territories’ news release of March 20, 2020.

Business Development and Investment Corporation (“BDIC”) Support

  • The GNWT is offering low interest loans to business operators through the Business Development and Investment Corporation.
  • Loans are available for up to $25,000 and are being made available to qualified NWT businesses at a rate of 1.75%. Loans will be amortized for up to five years with options for payment deferral.
  • To be eligible, business owners will need to reside in the NWT and will need to demonstrate financial need due to cash flow issues resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Borrowers of the BDIC can apply to reduce or defer up to three months of loan payments without penalty or additional interest charges.

Business and Advisory Council

  • The Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment established a Business Advisory Council to seek and provide insight from the NWT business community and be a resource for economic decision-making relating to COVID-19.

Suspension of student loans

  • The Government of the Northwest Territories announced that the repayment of all GNWT student loans will be suspended until September 30, 2020, with no interest accruing.

Income Assistance Program

  • The Government of the Northwest Territories introduced a one-time emergency allowance for income assistance recipients that will provide $500 to single recipients, and $1,000 to households with two or more people to ensure that they are prepared for a 14 day period of self-isolation. Moreover, the government will exclude “gifts and unearned income” from the calculation of earned income until June 30, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Northwest Territories’s news release of March 31, 2020.

Nunavut

Small Business Support Program

  • The Government of Nunavut Department of Economic Development and Transportation Services is providing immediate short-term relief to Nunavut businesses through its Small Business Support Program. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $5,000 in support.
  • For more information, see the Department of Economic Development and Transportation services update of March 27, 2020.

Department of Finance Services (DFS)

  • The DFS waived the normal 20 and 30-day payment terms to ensure all vendor payments are provided on the next available cheque run.
  • The Government of Nunavut is not pursuing any internal collection activity at this time.
  • For more information, see the COVID-19 Department of Finance Services update of March 25, 2020.

Yukon

The Government of Yukon declared a state of emergency under the Civil Emergency Measures Act on March 27, 2020.

Paid Sick Leave Rebate

  • The Government of Yukon announced a Paid Sick Leave Rebate to pay up to $378.13 per day per employee for ten business days for employees who take sick days or self-isolate. The funding is only accessible once all existing regular paid sick leave for the employee is used. Employers can only access the program once per employee. To be eligible, the employer must have an office with a physical address in Yukon, be subject to the Yukon Income Tax Act, be registered as per the Business Corporations Act or the Partnership and Business Name Act, where applicable, and have a valid municipal business license where applicable.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of March 26, 2020.

Measures for businesses

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) offers two relief programs for businesses experiencing serious adverse financial impacts from COVID-19.

  • First, businesses have the opportunity to revise their annual payroll estimates. Consequently, employers may even be eligible for a refund of their 2020 assessment premiums if they have experienced a significant change in their account.
  • Second, businesses have the opportunity to defer their assessment premiums without penalty or interest charges to a date that is appropriate for an employer’s business situation.
  • For more information, see the YWCHSB’s news release of March 17, 2020.

Tourism industry

  • The Government of Yukon announced a one-time $1 million increase to its Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund (TCMF) to help address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Yukon’s tourism sector.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of March 27, 2020.
  • The Government of Yukon also waved all airport landing, aircraft parking fees and loading fees in Yukon.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of March 26, 2020.

Business Advisory Council

  • The Government of Yukon has established a Business Advisory Council to ensure the needs of Yukon’s business community are heard as the government addresses the economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of March 25, 2020.

Temporary Support for Events Funding Program

  • The Government of Yukon announced on April 1, 2020, the Temporary Support for Events Funding Program which will help businesses recover certain costs from the cancellation of major events of more than 50 people. All eligible Yukon businesses can apply to cover costs related specifically to perishable goods and the cancellation of accommodation and services.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of April 1, 2020.

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