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 May 26, 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.

Use the links below to navigate the document:

 

Table of contents:

 

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.

 

General relief measures

International income tax

  • On May 20, 2020, the Canada Revenue Agency issued guidance on international income tax issues (e.g. income tax residency, carrying on business in Canada / permanent establishment, cross-border employment income, etc.) raised by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Several countries have implemented travel restrictions in response to COVID-19, which can lead to potential tax issues in Canada. The CRA has therefore issued guidance which will apply from March 16, 2020, to June 29, 2020. For example:
  • Income tax residency: For corporations, certain tax treaties decide the issue of dual residency, taking into account, among other things, where the corporation’s affairs are actually managed. If the directors are present in Canada because of travel restrictions and must attend board meetings in Canada due to those restrictions, the CRA will not consider this alone to be sufficient for the corporation to become resident in Canada. Residency status for a corporation involving a country with which Canada did not sign a treaty, will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The CRA may conclude that a corporation is resident in Canada if the central management and control takes place in Canada, even if meetings of the board of directors occur elsewhere. This approach may also be adopted for commercial trusts and entities incorporated in foreign jurisdictions.
  • Carrying on business in Canada/permanent establishment: Non-residents must pay tax on income from a business carried on in Canada. In general, a resident of a country with which Canada has a tax treaty is only liable to pay tax in Canada if the person’s activities meet the definition of a permanent establishment in the treaty. When the employees of a non-resident entity are required to perform their duties in Canada due to travel restrictions, the CRA will not consider this alone to be sufficient to create a permanent establishment in Canada.

Where a non-resident is resident in a country with which Canada does not have a tax treaty, that non-resident must file a return if it carries on business in Canada. If the non-resident can demonstrate to the CRA that it carried on a business in Canada solely because of the travel restrictions, the CRA will consider administrative flexibility on a case-by-case basis.

  • Cross-border employment income: To determine if an individual meets the 183-day presence requirement under a tax treaty’s permanent establishment provision, the CRA will exclude any day of physical presence in Canada that is solely due to travel restrictions. Where a resident of the United States is present in Canada and performs employment duties in Canada only because of travel restrictions, the days during which the U.S. resident performs those duties will not be counted for the purposes of calculating the 183-day requirement under the Canada-United States Tax Treaty.

The CRA will take this approach when applying this test under other Canadian tax treaties.

Relief measures for businesses

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program

  • The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA) will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants by at least 75% and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months. Tenants will still be responsible for up to 25% of the rent.
  • Application documents are now available, and the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25.
  • For more information, see the Prime Minister of Canada’s news releases of April 24, 2020 and May 20, 2020.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Loans

  • 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.
  • To qualify, small businesses will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 and $1,5 million in total payroll in 2019, and operating as of March 1, 2020. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). If the loan is not repaid by then, the remaining balance will be converted to a three-year term loan at 5 per cent interest.
  • On May 19, 2020, the Government of Canada expanded the eligibility criteria in order to ensure farmers without payroll can now access the CEBA. Applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will now qualify under the CEBA if they have a business operating account at a participating financial institution, have a CRA business number, have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and have non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million.
  • This program is now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada news release of March 27, 2020.

Canadian Federal Wage Subsidies

For detailed information about this program, see our tax group’s “explainer”, here. On April 21, 2020, the CRA provided general guidance concerning the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and a calculator for determining the subsidy amount for qualifying entities. The general guidance can be found here, and the calculator can be found here. On April 27, 2020, the application for the CEWS was posted here. On May 15 2020, the Government of Canada announced that the CEWS will be extended by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020, and that regulatory changes have been made to extend eligibility of the CEWS to additional categories of employers. The press release and backgrounder can be found here.

75% wage subsidy

  • On April 11, 2020, the Bill C-14, which proposed a few improvements to the CEWS, received Royal Assent. Briefly, the CEWS represents a government subsidy paid to eligible employers experiencing a 15% decrease in revenues in March, 2020 and 30% decrease in April and May, 2020. On May 15, 2020, the government also indicated that it “will consult with key business and labour representatives over the next month on potential adjustments to the program to incent jobs and growth, including the 30% revenue decline threshold”.
  • The CEWS provides a payment of up to 75% of the eligible remuneration normally paid by an eligible employer to eligible employees between March 15, 2020, and August 29, 2020 which is the greater of:
    • 75% of remuneration paid, up to a maximum of $847 per week; or
    • The amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week or 75% of the employee’s “pre-crisis weekly remuneration” (based on the average weekly remuneration paid to a given employee between January 1 and March 15, 2020 inclusively, excluding any seven-day periods in respect of which the employee did not receive remuneration), whichever is less.

Essentially, the CEWS caps out for employees with annual salary remuneration above $58,700

  • Eligible employers include individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships that are up to 50% owned by non-eligible members, non‑profit organizations and registered charities.
  • There is no overall limit on the CEWS amount an eligible employer can claim, but employers must meet the revenue decrease criteria for each eligible period by comparing monthly 2020 revenue to corresponding monthly 2019 revenue or by comparing with an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020. Once an employer is found eligible for a specific period, he will automatically qualify for the next period of the program. The non-profit organizations and registered charities are allowed to choose whether or not to include government assistance in revenues for the purpose of applying the revenue decline test, provided that the same approach is maintained throughout the program period. The employers are allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting or cash accounting, provided that the same accounting method is used throughout the program period.
  • Additionally, the government is expanding the CEWS by providing an additional amount to wholly compensate employers for their contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.
  • More information on the particularities surrounding the CEWS (e.g. “eligible period”, calculation of the revenue decrease, notion of “eligible remuneration”, reduction of the eligible amount to be received in case an amount is already received under the 10% wage subsidy, etc.), can be found under the Canadian Federal Wage Subsidies - Hub in the McCarthy Tétrault Covid-19 Hub.
  • Applications are now open online through the CRA website. Eligible employers can apply for the CEWS through the CRA’s My Business Account portal or a web-based application. Employers must keep records demonstrating their reduced revenues and remuneration paid to employees. On April 21, 2020 the Government of Canada launched a CEWS calculator for employers.
  • For more information on the announced increase in the subsidy, see the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy update.

10% wage subsidy

  • On March 18, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced a “Helping Businesses Keep Their Workers Wage Subsidy” as part of the Economic Response Plan. 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 provides a federal payroll deduction rebate which is expected to be 10% of remuneration paid by “Eligible employer” to eligible employees between March 18, 2020 and June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 per employee and to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer. Assistance received under the wage subsidy reduces the amount of remuneration expenses eligible for other federal tax credits calculated on the same remuneration.
  • Eligible employers include individuals, non-profits, charities, Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs) having a business limit in the last taxation year greater than nil (i.e. eligible for the small business deduction), and partnerships, all of the members of which are comprised of the foregoing persons, and must:
    • have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA as of March 18, 2020; and
    • pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to at least one individual employed in Canada during the applicable period.
  • CCPCs are eligible for the small business deduction if the combined taxable capital employed in Canada of the CCPC and any associated corporations is under $15 million. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s website.
  • The Department of Finance has further indicated that associated CCPCs 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.
  • For more information, see the temporary wage subsidy for employers frequently asked questions

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

  • On May 11, 2020, the Prime Minister of Canada announced the LEEFF to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers.
  • The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible.
  • Companies seeking support from the LEEFF must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities.
  • To qualify for LEEFF support, eligible businesses must be seeking financing of about $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings.
  • The LEEFF is administered by the Canada Development Investment Corporation.
  • For more information, see the Prime Minister’s news release of May 11, 2020 and see our detailed publication on the LEEFF here. Additional information on the application process is available on the CDEV website.

Support for debtors

  • Due to concerns about debtors defaulting on their proposals, the CRA is offering a waiver of the default pursuant to section 62.1 of the BIA and is granting a deferral of payments up to September 1, 2020.
  • For consumer proposals under the BIA, the CRA is offering to accept an amended proposal which calls for a deferral of payments up to September 1, 2020.
  • New measures for consumer proposals have been introduced in all provinces. As a result of these orders, debtors who have submitted consumer proposals will be able to “skip” three additional payments between March 13, 2020, and December 31, 2020, without defaulting on their proposal.
  • This relief is available to taxpayers and Licensed Insolvency Trustees in circumstances where the CRA is the majority creditor and the debtor is facing financial hardship.
  • For more information, see the CRA’s news release of April 23, 2020.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

  • The RRRF will devote up to $962 million to help more small businesses and organizations in sectors that are key to their regions and to local economies. The funding will be provided through the six regional development agencies (RDA) covering every region of Canada. Businesses interested in receiving support can apply, starting on May 13, 2020, for the RRRF through their local RDA.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 13, 2020.

Business Credit Availability Program

  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses. The Government of Canada defines small businesses as companies having less than 99 employees and medium-sized businesses as companies with between 100 and 499 employees. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s website. The BCAP will provide more than $10 billion in support.
  • The program is a collaboration between Export Development Canada, 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.
  • On April 17, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that the BCAP will be expanded to support medium-sized businesses with larger financing needs, beginning with companies in Canada’s energy sector.
  • On May 11, 2020, the Prime Minister of Canada announced the expansion of the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs.
  • The program is expanded to include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada's “Business Credit Availability Program” website, and the Prime Minister’s news release of May 11, 2020.

Flexibility and support for registered charities and non-profits

  • The Government of Canada, along with the United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the Community Foundations of Canada, announced a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund for charities and non-profits that are helping vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19. These organizations will be able to apply for funding to support a variety of activities. Eligibility criteria and how to apply will be posted on the respective websites of United Way Centraide Canada, Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 16, 2020.
  • 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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s “Charities and giving” webpage.

Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)

  • The Government of Canada will provide $675 million to support the work of the RDAs and the businesses and workers they support. With this funding, RDAs will be able to provide equivalent bridge financing support to businesses that are unable to access the government’s support measures. The RDAs also fund the Community Futures Network, which support rural businesses and communities, and the government is providing an additional $287 million to the RDAs especially for them.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 2020.

Relief for federally regulated pension plan sponsors

  • The Finance Minister announced on April 15, 2020, that some federally regulated pension plan sponsors are facing significant financial constraints, and the government will provide immediate, temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated defined benefit pension plans.
  • For more information, see the government of Canada’s news release of April 15, 2020.

Business Development Canada Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises

  • The purpose of this program is to provide term loans for operating and liquidity to businesses that were financially viable and generating income prior to the COVID pandemic. The program has three components:
    • loans of up to $312,500 to businesses with revenues of less than $1 million;
    • loans up to $3.125 million for businesses with revenues between $1 million and $50 million;
    • loans up to $6.25 million for businesses with revenues over $50 million.
  • Interest will not accrue for the first 12 months of the loan and the loan will be repayable over 10 years. The financial institutions will be releasing additional information in the coming days.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada's “Business Credit Availability Program” website.

Export Development Canada Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (“SMEs”)

  • 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 with 80% guaranteed by EDC. For export sector and domestic companies, the program cap will be a total of $20 billion. This money is to be used for operational expenses only. Statistics Canada defines SMEs as Enterprises with 1-499 employees. For more information about the thresholds, see the 2017 Statistics Canada survey here.
  • This program is now available through various financial institutions and credit unions.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada's “Business Credit Availability Program” website.

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.

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’s notice to the public and the profession of March 23, 2020.

Canada Account business support

  • The Minister of Finance will now be able to raise 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.
  • The Canada Account is adminstered by Export Development Canada.
  • 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].

Canada Revenue Agency 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;
    • the deadline to file NR4 information returns has been extended to May 1, 2020; and
    • the filing of information returns under Part XVIII and Part XIX of the Income Tax Act may be deferred until September 1, 2020. No interest or penalty will be assessed during this period and no penalty will apply for failure to obtain a self-certification on financial accounts opened before January 1, 2021.
  • 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. However, as indicated by CRA, interaction with taxpayers will only be limited to the cases where the legal deadline to reassess a tax return is approaching, and in cases of high risk GST/HST refund claims that require some contact before they can be paid out. While the Government of Canada defines a “small business” as businesses having less than 100 employees and a “medium-sized business” as having between 100-499 employees, the CRA has not yet provided further guidance on the definition of “small or medium sized businesses” in the context of this specific announcement.
    • 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 July 3, 2020, are cancelled. The Court will reassess on or before May 27, 2020. The Registry will contact affected parties directly. The Registry offices of the TCC are closed for all other business until further notice. Also, the period beginning March 16, 2020 and ending on the day that is 60 days after the Court and its offices reopen will be excluded from the computation of time under the TCC’s rules and from any Order or Direction of the Court. For more information, see the TCC’s Notice to the Public and the Profession, dated April 17, 2020.
    • 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. The court will treat all notices of appeal filed during the court’s closure, and for 60 days thereafter, as including a request to extend the filing deadline due to an inability to file based on exceptional grounds due to the pandemic and the closure of the Court Registry.
    • Requirement to pay (RTP): Banks and employers do not need to comply or remit on existing RTPs.
    • Requests for information (“RFI”): Taxpayers who have received a request for information may wait until further notice before providing this information.
    • Transfer pricing documentation: Requests for contemporaneous documents issued before April 1, 2020, with a deadline of March 18, 2020, or later, are deemed to be cancelled. These requests will be re-issued at a later date and the requested documents must be submitted within three months of the re-issued request.
    • Scientific research and experimental development (“SR&ED”): New reviews or audits are not being undertaken at this time. Ongoing exams and audits will be finalized as soon as possible to help businesses get their credits faster. Applications approved during the current period may be subject to review or audit at a later date to confirm eligibility.
    • Film and media tax credits: The Canadian film or video production tax credit program will not undertake any new audits. Ongoing audits will be completed as soon as possible to help businesses receive their credits faster. Applications approved during the current period may be subject to review or audit later. Additional information can be found here.
    • 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.

Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)

  • The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (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.

Sector-specific relief measures for businesses

  • 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’s news release of March 23, 2020. To contact the FCC Customer Service Centre, call 1-888-332-3301.
  • On April 13, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a $50 million program to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 13, 2020.
  • On April 14, 2020, the Government of Canada provided $20 million to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to safeguard Canada’s food supply by supporting critical food inspection services. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 14, 2020.
  • On April 17, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that the AgriStability enrollment deadline for the 2020 program year has been extended without penalty, from April 30th to July 3, 2020. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 2020.
  • On April 25, 2020, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canada Coast Guard announced a $62.5 million Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund for new assistance to the fish and seafood processing sector. The new Fund will help businesses access short-term financing for maintenance and inventory costs, support for complying with new health and safety measures, and other expenses. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 27, 2020.
  • On May 5, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a series of programs to benefit the agricultural sector, including:
    • a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment, adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19;
    • a national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for livestock management programs to help beef and pork producers, processors, farmers and ranchers;
    • the Surplus Food Purchase Program, with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians;
    • working with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50% to 75% through AgriStability, a program to support producers who face significant revenue declines; and
    • working with provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector.
    • For more information on these programs , see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 5, 2020.
  • On May 14, 2020, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food on behalf of Farm Credit Canada announced the launch of a $100 million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund. The Fund is set up to support a wide range of enterprises in the agri-business and agri-food sector. To qualify, companies need to demonstrate an impact from an unexpected business disruption. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 14, 2020.
  • On May 26, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an investment of up to $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program. The funding will create up to 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture industry. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 26, 2020.
  • 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’s news release of March 30, 2020.
  • Northern Air Carriers: The Government of Canada is working with the governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut to support critical air services to ensure the continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s support for industries
  • Broadcasters: The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will not request payment for Part I licence fees for the 2020-21 fiscal year, and the Government of Canada will provide the CRTC with an equivalent amount to support CRTC’s operations. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s support for industries
  • Tourism Operators: The Government of Canada is working with tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas to defer payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation without interest until September 1, 2020. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s support for industries
  • 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.
    • LVTS participants who do not use their NMLP will be able to hold up to 100% of their pledged collateral for the SLF in securities that are currently subject to concentration limits. For more information, see the Bank of Canada’s Market Notice of March 18, 2020, or the COVID-19: Actions to Support the Economy and Financial System.
    • The Bank of Canada has also lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 basis points to 0,25% (from 0,75%), effective March 27, 2020. For more information, see the Bank of Canada’s Market Notice of March 18, 2020, or the COVID-19: Actions to Support the Economy and Financial System.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Cultural, heritage and sport organizations: The COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations will provide $500 million, administered by Canadian Heritage via contribution agreements, to help address the financial needs of affected organizations in the cultural, heritage and sport sectors. The funds were made available to partner organizations on May 8, 2020 to be distributed as quickly as possible using existing channels. For more information about the specific distribution of funding, see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 8, 2020.
  • Entrepreneurs, innovators and pre-revenue firms: The Government of Canada is injecting $20.1 million to support ongoing lending to young entrepreneurs through Futurpreneur Canada. The government is also investing $250 million through the Industrial Research Assistance Program to help innovative firms. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 2020.
  • Energy: The government will devote more than $2 billion to create and protect jobs and important environmental benefits. This funding is expected to retain and create approximately 10,000 well-paying jobs in Canada’s energy sector. The government will also make available new tailored credit solutions for small and medium-sized companies of the energy sector. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 2020.
  • Orphan and inactive oil and gas wells: The Government of Canada will provide funding to sustain jobs in the energy sector, including:
    • up to $1 billion to the Government of Alberta; $400 million to the Government of Saskatchewan; and $120 million to the Government of British Columbia for cleaning up orphan and inactive old and gas wells; and
    • a $200 million loan to the Alberta Orphan Wells Association (OWA) for cleaning up orphan oil and gas wells and well sites across Alberta.
    • Applications for the B.C. Dormant Sites Reclamation Program will be accepted beginning May 25.

For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 2020. For detailed information about this program, see our energy law group’s publication, here.

  • Greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector: The Government of Canada will provide funding to Natural Resources Canada over two years for up to $750 million. The funds are aimed to help create a new repayable loan program to work with conventional and offshore oil and gas companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emission. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 2020. For detailed information about this program, see our energy law group’s publication, here.
  • Medical supplies: The Government of Canada announced on May 6, 2020, that it is waiving tariffs on certain medical goods to reduce the costs of imported personal protective equipment for Canadian businesses. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 6, 2020.

Relief measures for individuals

On May 22, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a “Find financial help during COVID-19” tool on its website to help individuals identify the relief programs that are available to them.

Additional support for indigenous people living in urban centres and off reserve

  • On May 21, 2020, the Prime Minister of Canada announced $75 million in new funding for Indigenous organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off reserve.
  • The program is intended to support the critical needs of Indigenous populations during this crisis.
  • For more information, see the Prime Minister of Canada’s news release of May 21, 2020.

Benefits payments

  • The benefit payments with respect to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit and/or the Canada child benefit (CCB) will continue for an additional three months.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news update of May 15, 2020.

Additional supports for Canadian seniors

  • On May 12, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a series of additional measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security. The measures include:
    • $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Seniors eligible for both programs receive a total of $500;
    • an expansion to the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects for seniors; and
    • a temporary extension of GIS and allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.
  • For more information, see the Prime Minister of Canada’s news release of May 12, 2020.

Support for students and recent graduates impacted by COVID-19

  • 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. For more information, see the Government of Canada’s “Support for Individuals” webpage.
  • Temporary changes are being made to the Canada Summer Jobs program, including:
    • an increased wage subsidy, so employers can receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
    • extending the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
    • adapting projects and job activities; and
    • hiring staff on a part-time basis.

For more information, see the Government of Canada’s “Support for Individuals” webpage.

  • Expanding Student Financial Assistance for Fall 2020: The government proposed to change the Canada Student Loan Program’s eligibility requirements in 2020-21 to allow more students to qualify for supports and be eligible for greater amounts.
  • Proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit: For post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for the CERB or for EI, the government will launch the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) on May 15, 2020. The CESB will provide $1,250 per month to eligible students from May through August 2020. The amount of $1,750 will be provided to students with dependents and permanent disabilities. The CESB is administered by the CRA. For more information on the eligibility criteria, see here.
  • Canada Student Service Grants: The government will launch the new Canada Student Service Grant which will provide up to $5,000 to support student's post-secondary education costs in the fall. The existing Canada Student Grants will be doubled for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and for part-time students up to $3,600. More details will be posted on a new “I Want to Help” platform.
  • Support for specific groups: The Government of Canada will providing educational support funding for specific groups, including:
    • providing $291.6 million to support up to 40,000 student researchers and post-doctoral fellows through the federal granting councils. Funding would support a one-semester extension for eligible students whose research scholarships or fellowships end between March and August 2020 and who intend to continue their students. It also would provide a 3-month extension in funding for holders of federal research grants to support eligible trainees and staff;
    • providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21 to increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education;
    • removing the restriction that allows international students to work only a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided that the student is working in an essential service or function;
    • additional support for the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, Support for Student Learning Program, and the Canada Service Corps.
  • For more information, please see the Government of Canada’s press release of April 23, 2020.

A new wage boost for essential workers

  • The Government of Canada announced on April 15, 2020 that it will be working with provinces to top-up the salary for essential workers earning less than $2,500 per month.
  • The Prime Minister confirmed on May 7, 2020 that the Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers are eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news releases of April 15, 2020 and May 7, 2020.

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • 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, which will be accessible online through CRA’s My Account or over the phone by automated service starting April 6, 2020. Canadians will begin to receive CERB payments by direct deposit within 3 to 5 days of application or within 10 days by mail, and it is paid every four weeks. The benefit will be available to individuals who:
    • reside in Canada and are at least 15 years old;
    • have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
    • who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
    • who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
  • On April 15, 2020, the government announced broader access to the CERB to help more Canadians benefit from the CERB and changed the eligibility rules to:
    • allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB;
    • extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak; and
    • extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
  • In a guidance published on April 21, 2020, the CRA stated that where an employer rehires an individual who received or continues to receive the CERB during an eligibility period that overlaps with any period during which the employer claims the CEWS in respect of the rehired individual, such individual may have to repay some or all of the CERB.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s “Support for Individuals” webpage. Applications are open and eligible individuals can apply here.

Support for food banks and local food organizations

  • The Prime Minister announced an investment of $100 million to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Government of Canada will provide funding national, regional, and local organization across Canada that are able to reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity.
  • For more information, including examples of supported organizations, see the Prime Minister of Canada’s news release of April 3, 2020.

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’s news release of March 30, 2020.

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.

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
    • responses to information requests.
  • This extension does not apply to prescribed forms, receipts or documents, or prescribed information, that must be filed with the Minister on or after the day specified, in respect of the form, receipt, document or information, in subsection 37(11) or paragraph (m) of the definition “investment tax credit” in subsection 127(9) of the ITA. As well, payroll deductions and related activities (except those relating to the reduction of remittances in respect of the temporary wage subsidy) must continue to be performed on time.
  • To reduce the administrative burdens, the CRA will recognize electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the ITA on a temporary basis.
  • Free tax clinics will be held virtually on an interim basis to assist those who depend on this service while respecting physical distance guidelines. Clinics will have greater flexibility to receive and authenticate documents in various ways, including using video communication.
  • Taxpayers may deduct home office expenses under certain conditions. Additional information regarding this deduction can be found in our publication “Home Office Expenses incurred during COVID-19: Can an Employee Deduct Them?
  • For more information, see the Department of Finance Canada’s press release of March 18, 2020.

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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s “Registered Retirement Income Funds” page.

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.
  • For more information on eligibility for this payment, see the Government of Canada’s GST/HST credit eligibility

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.
  • The CCB will also be increased in July for the 2020-2021 benefit year. The maximum monthly benefit will increase to $6,765 per child under the age of six and to $5,708 per child aged 6 to 17.
  • For more information, and to apply for the Canada Child Benefit, see the CRA’s “Canada child benefit” website.

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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s “Support for Individuals” webpage.

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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s “Support to Businesses” webpage. Applications can be made here.

 

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.

 

General relief measures

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.

Relief for northern Ontario property taxpayers

  • The Minister of Finance announced on April 6, 2020, that the Ontario government is deferring the payment of property taxes for 90 days for people and businesses in parts of Northern Ontario located outside of municipal boundaries.
  • Taxpayers in unincorporated areas have an extra 90 days to pay each of their four 2020 Provincial Land Tax installments without incurring interest or penalties.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of April 6, 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.
  • On May 6, 2020, the original 45-day period was extended for an additional 24 days (until May 31, 2020).
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of May 6, 2020.

Relief measures for businesses

Support for agri-food sector

  • The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.5 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The program will:
    • connect workers with available jobs in the agri-food sector.
    • allow eligible organizations to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marking presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive to those needing immediate solutions.
    • allow eligible organizations to apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects.
  • On May 8, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $2.25 million to implement COVID-19 health and safety measures in meat processing plants to better protect employees. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is now accepting applications.
  • On May 14, 2020, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced an additional $2.25 million to help farmers better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of food products. Funding will be used to purchase personal protective equipment, enhance cleaning and disinfection, and redesign workstations.The OMAFRA is now accepting applications.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news releases of April 17, 2020, April 24, 2020, May 8, 2020, and May 14, 2020.

Municipal Repairs

  • On May 11, 2020, the Government of Ontario announced the 2020-21 Connecting Links program, providing a $30 million investment in the transportation system.
  • The funding will support three bridge repairs, 10 resurfacing projects, seven reconstruction projects, and four detailed design projects.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of May 11, 2020.

Protections for forestry jobs & worker safety

  • The Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry announced on May 7, 2020 that the government is making $3.5 million available to help put protective measures in place for workers who plant trees this season.
  • The funding is intended to help expand existing facilities and modify operations to ensure the safety of tree planters.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of May 7, 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. On April 22, 2020, the Premier announced that this funding would be used to assist long-term care homes, increase testing, and set up a Response Team, among other interventions. For more information, and a more detailed account of how the funding is being distributed, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of April 22, 2020.
  • 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. Ontario Together provided $850,000 to Virox Technologies Inc. on May 6, 2020 for production of disinfectants and to create jobs.
  • 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, March 28, April 22, and May 6, 2020.

Support for industrial and commercial electricity consumers

  • The Government of Ontario announced on May 1, 2020 that it is taking steps to defer a portion of Global Adjustment charges for industrial and commercial electricity consumers.
  • This initiative is intended to provide immediate financial support for more than 50,000 companies through immediate temporary relief on their monthly electricity bills.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of May 4, 2020.

Urgent relief for small businesses and landlords

  • The Government of Ontario announced on April 24, 2020 that it is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (OCECRA) will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants by at least 75% and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 2020. For detailed information about this program, see also our real estate group’s publication, here.

Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee

  • On April 9, 2020, the Premier announced that the Government of Ontario has launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. The committee will focus on economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
  • For more information, and to see the membership of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of April 9, 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.
  • The Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit provides a 10% refundable tax credit for capital investments in regional development. This tax credit can be claimed upon completing the annual tax return. More information on eligible corporations, spending requirements and eligible regions is available here.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of March 25, 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.

Relief measures for individuals

Support for apprentices

  • On May 22, 2020, the Government of Ontario announced an “Ontario Tool Grant” to help new eligible apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers. The funding amounts will be distributed as follows:
  • $1,000 for those in motive power sector trades,
  • $600 for those in construction and industrial sector trades, and
  • $400 for those in service sector trades.
  • To be eligible for the grant, apprentices must have completed level 1 training on or after April 1, 2020, have an active registered training agreement, and have been registered as an apprentice for at least 12 months.
  • The Government of Ontario is also forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers through the Loan for Tools Program.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of May 22, 2020.

Support for individuals and jobs

  • The Minister of Finance announced that the Government of Ontario is providing $3.7 billion for individuals and job protection. This includes:
    • a one-time payment to 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 up to 21 years of age, including children enrolled in private schools. Families must complete this application to access financial support;
    • doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months;
    • supporting 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. Eligibility and application information is available on the Ontario Energy Board webpage;
    • 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;
    • deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days.
    • postponing the planned property tax reassessment for 2021.
    • eliminating penalties and interest to businesses who miss filing or remittance deadlines for various provincially administered taxes for five months starting April 1, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news releases of March 25, 2020, April 6, 2020, and April 24, 2020.

Support to drivers

  • On April 16, 2020, the Government of Ontario amended a regulation under the Insurance Act. As a result, auto insurance companies can provide temporary insurance premium rebates to drivers during the pandemic.
  • For more information, see the Government of Ontario’s news release of April 16, 2020.

$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.

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’s website.

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, 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’s news release of March 19, 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 economic relief initiatives are outlined below.

General relief measures

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.

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).

Relief measures for businesses

Support for science and technology projects

  • The Government of Québec will invest more than $10 million, through the Programme innovation, the Programme de soutien aux organismes de recherche et d'innovation and the Fonds de recherche du Québec, to support scientific and technological projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s news release of May 12, 2020.

Credit on employers contribution to the health services fund

  • Employers who can benefit from the CEWS and maintain an establishment in Quebec will receive a credit on their contribution to the Health Services Fund for a period of up to twelve weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The amount of the credit is equal to the total amount of the employer’s contribution to the Health Services Fund in respect to wages paid to employees on paid leave due to COVID-19. The qualifying periods for the credit mirror the CEWS qualifying periods:
    • March 15, 2020, to April 11, 2020;
    • April 12, 2020, to May 9, 2020;
    • May 10, 2020, to June 6, 2020.
  • The application for credit must be submitted to Revenu Québec when the employer submits the Summary of Source Deductions and Employer Contributions for 2020 (RLZ-1.S and RLZ-1.ST), for the 2020 year. As of May 1, 2020, an employer can reduce the amount of its periodic payment to Revenu Québec for its Health Services Fund contribution, which is attributable to a specified wage that it has paid, allocated, granted or awarded prior to the time of the periodic payment and which has not reduced another periodic payment.
  • For more information, see Finances Québec’s news release of April 30, 2020.

Urgent relief for small businesses and landlords

  • The Government of Québec announced on April 24, 2020, that it is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA) will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will provide owners with repayable loans covering up to 50% of the rent for three months (April, May and June). Upon receipt of this loan, owners will have to lower or cancel the rents for their tenants for these months. In order to be eligible for the program, the owners' eligible tenants affected by the situation must be small businesses that have temporarily ceased operations or experienced a decline of at least 70% in their revenues compared to revenues prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the monthly rent of these small businesses must not exceed $50 000. The Québec government will contribute to this initiative by covering 25% of its costs and the small businesses will be responsible for the 25% remaining of the rent in the CECRA program.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s news release of April 24, 2020. For detailed information about this program, also see our real estate group’s publication, here.

New programs 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 businesses’ working capital to help them continue operations. Most industries are eligible for this emergency program, with these exceptions. Eligible businesses are those that find themselves in a precarious situation and temporary difficulty as a result of COVID-19 and who demonstrate that they are likely to be profitable after the crisis. Businesses must show that their cash flow issues are temporary and that the liquidity shortage stems from:
    • a problem involving the supply of raw materials or products (goods or services);
    • an inability, or a substantially decreased ability, to deliver goods, products or services.
  • 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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s “Financial assistance for Québec businesses website (in French only). Investissement Québec is currently evaluating requests for financial assistance. To make a request, visit Investissement Québec’s website (in French only).
  • 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.
  • The Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale is proposing a temporary web platform enabling businesses offering essential services or commercial activities to publish job offers that quickly reach workers looking for a job.
  • For more information, or to post a job offer, see the Government of Quebec news release of April 22, 2020.

Regional essential air services assistance program

  • On April 10, 2020, the government of Québec announced a progr
  • am to support carriers so that they can provide essential air services to remote and isolated regions of Quebec until June 30, 2020.
  • Eligible carriers are Quebec-owned carriers offering scheduled commercial air services to isolated regions of Quebec and carriers licensed by the Canadian Transportation Agency to operate scheduled flights. Only a few air services are eligible, namely those whose final destination is an isolated region. The following expenses are eligible for financial assistance: operating costs, administrative costs, aircraft cleaning and disinfection costs, costs related to measures put in place to screen passengers for COVID-19.

For more information, see the Government of Québec’s website (in French only).

Programme actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi (PACME)

  • The PACME offers direct financial support to promote training, to implement good human resources management practices and to optimize the operation of businesses and the labour market.
  • In order to be eligible for the program, the business’s usual activities must have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through a suspension, decrease, increase or diversification of activity. This program has two components, one for businesses and one for collective promoters. Eligible activities under the program relate to training and human resources management.

    The reimbursement of eligible expenses for business training projects may reach the following thresholds:
    • 100% of expenses of $100,000 or less;
    • 50% of expenses between $100,000 and $500,000.

The reimbursement of salaries may reach the following thresholds:

  • 25% of the payroll of workers in training (maximum eligible wage of $25 per hour), if the company receives the 75% emergency wage subsidy from Canada (see above for more details);
  • 90% of the payroll of workers in training, if the firm receives the temporary 10% wage subsidy from Canada (see above for more details);100% of the wages of the workers in training, if the firm does not receive the federal wage subsidy.
  • Reimbursement of up to 100% of training expenses, related costs and costs related to human resources management activities, according to applicable scales (e.g. professional fees).
  • The businesses’ projects are accepted until September 30, 2020, or until the $100 million budget is used.
  • On May 15, 2020, the government announced an increase of $50 million to the PACME’s budget.
  • For more information on PACME program, see this blog post (French version here) of April 7,2020 from the McCarthy Tétrault labour and employment group.

Le Panier Bleu

  • On April 5, 2020, the Government of Québec announced a new initiative to stimulate the sales of Québec’s businesses named Le Panier Bleu. Le Panier Bleu is intended to be a directory of local merchants throughout the province who, during the crisis, are maintaining their sales activities. A search engine will be added to allow consumers to locate products sold and simplify local purchasing.
  • For more information, see Le Panier Bleu’s website (in French only).

Tax flexibility measures for businesses

  • 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 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. No late filing penalties will apply to income tax returns filed on or before 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 Québec 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 Québec 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 Québec;
    • Summary appeals to the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec;
    • 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. 
    • Collection: Revenu Québec granted a release of garnishments on current bank accounts for tax debt. On March 17, 2020, Revenu Québec ceased sending employers income seizure by garnishment notices and formal requests to pay as part of its tax debt collection. Effective April 17, 2020, existing garnishments and requests to pay are suspended until further notice. As a result, employers do not have to withhold or remit these amounts unless otherwise instructed. This temporary suspension does not apply to garnishments for support payments.
  • 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, mining tax return, Québec 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.
  • 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, 2020-5 and 2020-6.

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).

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 six-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).

Loan repayments to the Fiancière Agricole du Québec

  • The Financière Agricole du Québec allows clients to request a six-month moratorium on loan repayments.
  • For more information, see the Financière Agricole du Québec’s website.

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.

Help for small and medium-sized businesses

  • The Government of Québec has created the program Aide d’urgence aux petites et moyennes entreprises. This program, which will be administered by the Regional County Municipality (also known as ‘’RCM’’), is in fact financial assistance of up to $50,000 and is intended to offset the cash shortfall that some small and medium-sized companies are facing in these times of uncertainty. To be eligible, a company must, among other things, be able to demonstrate that it has had to cease its activities or is about to cease its activities because of COVID-19 and has been in business for at least a year. In addition, the company, regardless of its field of activity and legal status (cooperative, NPO), must not be currently in legal proceedings under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act or the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
  • For more information, please see the Government of Québec’s website (in French only).

Relief measures for individuals

Work from home expenses

  • According to Revenue Quebec, employees can deduct employment expenses related to working from home as long as their employer does not reimburse them. These expenses include supplies such as paper, pencils and ink cartridges; internet fees, provided they are billed according to use; and expenses relating to a home office space where employment activities are carried out more than 50% of the time, including heating, electricity, cleaning products, lighting accessories and minor repairs. An employee who is a tenant can deduct a reasonable part of their rent related to the home office space. However, an employee who is an owner cannot deduct an amount for the rental value of the home workspace. Employees can deduct these employment expenses in their 2020 income tax returns by filing form TP-59-V (Employment Expenses of Salaried Employees and Employees Who Earn Commissions) or a detailed statement of expenses as well as form TP-64.3 (General Employment Conditions) completed by the employer.
  • Revenu Québec commented that, in the context of COVID-19, where supporting documentation is provided, the total or partial reimbursement of a maximum amount of $500 intended to offset the cost of acquiring personal computer equipment or office equipment required for working from home is not a taxable benefit for the employee.

Support for consumer organizations

  • L'Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) announced significant enhancements to its support for a variety of front-line organizations that assist consumers, including seniors. The financial support offered to 37 associations by the AMF now stands at $830,000 for 2020-2021.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s news release of May 11, 2020.

Support for domestic violence shelters

  • In response to COVID-19 creating unprecedented challenges for victims of sexual and domestic violence, the government of Canada has paid more than $6.4 million directly to the government of Québec to support women’s shelters and support agencies for victims of sexual and domestic violence in Québec.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 4, 2020.

Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW)

  • On April 3, 2020, the Government of Québec announced the IPREW which is a new financial assistance program for individuals working essential jobs during the COVID-19 intended to make up the difference between the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (as described above) and an eligible individual's wages The program provides $100 for each week of qualifying work beginning March 15, 2020, and extending for a maximum of 16 weeks. To be eligible under the program, individuals must:
    • work part-time or full-time in one of the essential service during the program period;
    • receive gross wages of $550 or less per week;
    • have an annual employment income of at least $5,000 and a total annual income of no more than $28,600;
    • be at least 15 years old; and
    • have been resident in Québec on December 31, 2019, and plan to reside in Québec throughout 2020.
  • For more information, see Revenu Québec’s website. Eligible workers can apply for the program online beginning on May 19, 2020.

Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT COVID-19)

  • Announced on March 17, 2020, this program granted 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. The workers could apply to the PATT COVID-19 if they were in isolation because they had contracted the virus or were showing symptoms, were in contact with an infected person or returned from abroad.
  • On April 8, 2020, the Government of Québec announced that the PATT would end at 4:00 p.m. on April 10. Applications submitted before then will be processed as normal.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s “PATT COVID-19” website.

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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s Parental Insurance Plan

Tax flexibility measures for individuals

  • 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 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.
  • 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).
  • 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. The following activities related to processing new unclaimed property are temporarily suspended until the health emergency is lifted: processing unclaimed property, maintaining the register of unclaimed property, searching for rights-holders and liquidating unclaimed successions already entrusted to Revenu Québec, as well as 10-year limit for recovering amounts less than $500 from the Minister of Finance.
  • On April 9, 2020, the government announced a measure to extend to July 31, 2020, the deadline for filing the return for the tax on lodging for the first calendar quarter of 2020, otherwise due by April 30, 2020, as well as the related remittance.
  • As of April 20, 2020, no measures have been announced regarding other taxes such as:
    • the tax on alcoholic beverages;
    • the tax on insurance premiums;
    • the specific duty on new tires;
    • the municipal tax for 9-1-1 services;
    • the fuel tax; and
    • the tobacco tax.
  • As of May 2020, payments of the solidarity tax credit will not be used to repay debts. However, this measure does not apply to support debts. The end date of this temporary measure will be determined in the coming months.
  • Taxpayers who are unable to file their 2019 income tax return before the June 1, 2020, deadline will continue to receive the solidarity tax credit until September 2020, unless Revenu Québec determines that they are no longer entitled to them. The credit will be determined based on the 2018 income tax return and the information in Revenu Québec's files.
  • The Tax Assistance Service Volunteer Program provides free virtual and telephone assistance with filing income tax returns. An easing of administrative regulations will allow volunteers get required authorizations from taxpayers more easily and keep taxpayer information secure while limiting physical contact.
  • 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, 2020-5 and 2020-6.

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
  • For more information, see the Government of Québec’s “Repayment of a student loan web page.

 

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.

 

General relief measures

Utility repayment deferral

  • On May 5, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced that the Utility Payment Deferral Program Act will be introduced on May 6.
  • Residential, farm, and small commercial customers can defer bill payments for electricity and natural gas until June 18.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 5, 2020.

Relief measures for businesses

Support for senior housing facilities projects

  • The Government of Alberta is providing $26 million to support 82 new capital maintenance and renewal projects for senior housing facilities.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 26, 2020.

Tax support for tourism industry

  • On May 19, 2020, the Alberta Tax and Revenue Administration issued a notice that temporary accommodation providers in Alberta may retain all tourism levy collected from persons paying the tourism levy on accommodation purchased between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

Funding for front-line non-profits

  • The Government of Alberta announced on May 12, 2020, that the money from the Community Initiatives Program Project-based Grant will be reallocated to the Community Initiatives Program Operating Grant in order to help front-line charities and non-profits during the COVID-19 epidemic.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 12, 2020.

Employee training supports for agri-business

  • On May 8, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Agriculture Training Support Program to help employers in the food supply chain provide necessary training to new domestic employees.
  • The program will provide up to $5 million in support to farmers, agri-business and food processors to support training for as many as 2,500 new jobs in Alberta.
  • The program is intended to offset costs for COVID-19 safety and training. The maximum contribution under the program is $2,000 per new employee, up to a maximum of $50,000 per employer.

For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of May 8, 2020.

Supports for farmers and ranchers

  • On May 7, 2020, the government of Alberta introduced a new fed cattle set-aside program to compensate beef producers forced to hold on to cattle due to reduced processing capacity.
  • The interim payments under Agristability will also be increased from 50% to 75% for the hog sector.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 7, 2020.

 Relief for the child care sector

  • On May 6, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced up to $17.8 million in grants to child care centres and approved family day home agencies. Funds will be released in three phases.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 6, 2020.

Oil-field Site Rehabilitation Program

  • The Site Rehabilitation Program will provide grants to oil field service contractors to perform well, pipeline, and oil and gas closure and reclamation work. The program has up to $1 billion in funding available from the federal government for eligible reclamation projects.
  • Applications open on May 1, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s Site Rehabilitation Program

Extensions for indigenous communities

  • The Alberta government is extending consultation deadlines on natural resource development projects by up to 10 days for Level 1 and 2 consultations, and 15 days for Level 3 consultations.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of April 20, 2020.

Relief for continuing care facilities

  • The Government of Alberta announced funding to increase staffing of health-care aides in continuing care facilities, including:
    • increased health-care aide staffing levels;
    • a wage top-up of an additional $2 per hour for health-care aides; and
    • up to 1,000 paid student practicum positions to fast-track certification.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of April 20, 2020.

Relief for forest companies affected by COVID-19

  • The Government of Alberta announced on April 4, 2020, a deferral of six months for timber dues to help forest companies continue operating and retain staff during this pandemic.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of April 4, 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.

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.

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 and 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. Penalties and interest will not apply to deferred remittances. However, tax returns must continue to be filed in accordance with the legislation, and establishments must continue to collect the tourism levy from guests. Alberta will waive any late-filing penalties between March 27, 2020, and August 31, 2020, if all of the returns and respective remittances are received by August 31, 2020.
  • Hotels and other lodging providers will be able to keep the amounts of tourism levy collected between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. For amounts that became due to the government on or after March 27, 2020, but are not eligible for this additional assistance, hotels and other lodging providers may defer payment of the tourism levy until August 31, 2020. However, the government still expects returns to be filed as required by legislation. Late-filing penalties will not be applied between March 27, 2020 and August 31, 2020 if returns and payments are made on or before August 31, 2020. Hotels and other lodging providers must continue to collect the tourism levy from guests staying at their properties during this period.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s “COVID-19 support for employers and employees” website.

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-sized businesses (defined as businesses with $10 million or less in insurable earnings for 2020), the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021. 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.

Funding for charities and nonprofits

  • On March 17, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced $30 million additional emergency funding to charities, non-profits and civil society organizations. Applications for this funding are now closed, and the government is assessing how to most effectively use the funds.

For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of March 17, 2020.

Relief measures for individuals

Job creation measures

  • On April 9, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced a $2 billion investment in job creation in response to the COVID-19 recession. For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of April 9, 2020.
  • On May 5, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced a highway safety initiative focused on road, bridge, and pothole repair as part of this investment. These repairs are expected to create 600 jobs. For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 5, 2020.
  • On May 6, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced $2.5 million in spending to upgrade the Lac La Biche provincial building. This project will provide about 14 construction-related jobs for Albertans. For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 6, 2020.
  • On May 10, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced $426 million in capital maintenance and renewal funding to accelerate repairs and improvements that will support 3,200 jobs. The Government is also investing $60 million province-wide for pothole repairs and other critical safety-related activities, which will support another 360 jobs. For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 10, 2020.
  • On May 20, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced $250 million in infrastructure investments in schools. The work is expected to create about 3,750 jobs. For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 20, 2020.
  • On May 20, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced that the twinning of Ray Gibbon Drive in St. Albert is underway, which will support more than 150 jobs for Albertans. For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 20, 2020.

Support for vulnerable seniors

  • The Government of Alberta announced an investment of $170 million to help keep residents and staff in long-term care facilities, designated supportive living facilities, and seniors lodges safe from COVID-19. The funding is retroactive to March 15, 2020 and a total of $14.2 million is to be allocated per month.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of May 19, 2020.

Financial support for homeless shelters

  • Homeless shelters and community organizations have received financial support to open 14 new shelter facilities to meet physical distancing requirements and are now focusing their efforts on re-housing to take people out of the shelter system. More than 400 people have been housed since the beginning of this crisis.
  • For more information see the Government of Alberta’s news release of April 27, 2020.

Increased supports for Alberta caregivers

  • The Government of Alberta announced that $3 million will be provided to Caregivers Alberta to support them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of April 14, 2020.

Food bank funding

  • The Government of Alberta announced on April 10, 2020, an investment of $5 million to support food banks and community organizations in their food supply efforts. This investment is in addition to the following funds that have been provided :
    • on April 3, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $100 million to improve access to food for vulnerable Albertans;
    • on April 2, Alberta Education announced nine not-for-profit organizations would receive $3 million to provide additional food assistance to vulnerable K-12 students and their families.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s news release of April 10, 2020.

Emergency Isolation Support Program

  • Under the Emergency Isolation Support Program (EISP), announced on March 18, 2020, Albertans could receive a $1,146 payment for self-isolation. This is similar to the PATT COVID-19 program initiated by the government of Québec, discussed above.
  • However, on April 6, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced that the Emergency Isolation Support program is closed. The government states that over 79,596 eligible Albertans received a payment under the EISP since the launch of the program, for a total of approximately $91.7 million.

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.

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 either required to self-isolate or affected by school and daycare closures;
    • 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.
  • The maximum time for a temporary layoff has been increased from 60 days to 120 days.
  • For more detailed information, please see this blog from our Calgary Labour and Employment group.

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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s “COVID-19 Info for Albertans” website.

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.
  • For more information see the Government of Alberta’s “COVID-19 supports for Albertans” website.

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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Alberta’s “COVID-19 support for employers and employees” website.

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.

Relief measures for businesses

Support for tourism marketing organizations

  • The Government of British Columbia announced a $10-million grant to support the tourism marketing organizations that promote tourism to their regions. Fifty-nine B.C. community destinations marketing not-for-profit organizations will benefit from the funding in order to retain crucial staff positions and offset fixed expenses from May to October 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of May 25, 2020.

Support for northern communities

  • On May 11, 2020, the Province of British Columbia announced a total investment of $75 million in Northern B.C. communities through two programs:
    • the 2020 Northern Capital and Planning Grant provides $50 million directly to local governments to help address their infrastructure needs, and
    • another $25 million will be available to communities as they prepare for major economic development through the B.C. Northern Healthy Communities Fund. This will be administrated through the Northern Development Initiative Trust, and will be available to local governments, First Nations and non-profits in the region. It is intended to support local delivery of critical services such as health care, housing, and child care.

For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of May 11, 2020.

Support for liquor licencees

  • The Government of British Columbia has temporarily deferred liquor licence renewal fees for licencees experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of May 1, 2020.

Support for family caregivers

  • On April 26, 2020, the Government of British Columbia announced that it is doubling this year’s funding for Family Caregivers of British Columbia to $1 million, helping support both caregivers and seniors.
  • Family Caregivers of BC is a non-profit organization that supports people that are caring for elderly loved ones, family or friends.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of April 26, 2020.

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 (including self-assessing PST registrants), 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.
  • In an April 1, 2020, Tax Notice, revised on April 22, 2020, the Government of British Columbia announced changes to its sales tax. PST registrants must continue to include sales tax on invoices and collect from customers. Registrants may temporarily close their PST accounts if business operations have ceased. To close a PST account, registrants must submit a closure request online via eTaxBC, or submit a Request to Close Provincial Sales Tax Account (FIN 357)
  • The deadline for filing a logging tax return is June 1, 2020, for returns that were due between March 18, 2020, and May 31, 2020.
  • Taxpayers do not have to pay Exit Tax to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, effective May 4, 2020, if the vehicle was purchased before May 4, 2020, and if the prorate licence is cancelled and replaced with a licence for use solely within British Columbia between March 11, 2020, and September 30, 2020.
  • The Government of British Columbia originally announced a 50% reduction in school tax rates for commercial properties (Classes 4, 5 and 6) for the 2020 tax year. On April 16, 2020, the province announced an additional reduction to an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses. The date on which late payment penalties will apply for commercial buildings (Classes 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) is postponed to October 1, 2020.
  • In July 2020, an additional one-time payment will be made on top of the regular climate action tax credit. As announced by the Government of Canada, benefit payments will continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 income tax returns on time and this applies to the enhanced B.C. climate action tax credit payment for July 2020.
  • On April 22, 2020, the government announced that PST registrants now have the option to temporarily close their PST account if they are stopping business operations. Additionally, the payments and returns can be deferred until September 30, 2020, for those who are required to self-assess PST.
  • WorkSafeBC is postponing the payment deadline for the first quarter of 2020 to June 30, 2020 for employers who report payroll and make payments on a quarterly basis. Employers who report payroll on an annual basis have until March of 2021 to report their 2020 payroll or pay their 2020 premiums.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s “Provincial Tax Changes” webpage.

Emergency funding distributed through Community Living BC (“CLBC”)

  • As part of the BC Government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan, up to $35.6 million will be available over three months from CLBC to support service providers to continue delivering residential services.
  • CLBC service providers who provide residential services can request funding to address overtime costs or staffing shortages, and to access additional supplies for delivering disability-related supports. Individuals living independently with developmental disabilities and residential services managed through individualized funding will also be able to access emergency funding.

For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of April 22, 2020.

B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service

  • The Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness announced on April 16, 2020, that it is setting up a one-stop resource for questions about supports available to British Columbia businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The resource can be accessed by calling 1 833 254-4357, emailing [email protected], or using the chat feature on https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia news release of April 16, 2020.

Property tax bill

  • The Minister of Finance announced on April 16, 2020, that the Province is providing enhanced relief for businesses by reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%, along with new measures to support local governments facing temporary revenue shortfalls as a result of COVID-19.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia news release of April 16, 2020.

Support for commercial truck drivers

  • The government is funding the installation of portable toilets at several commercial vehicle pull-outs, inspection stations and chain-up locations throughout the province. The rest areas are also open during the pandemic and the Ministry of Transportation is making sure they are clean, sanitary and well supplied. Moreover, the government has created a new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit to assist with coordinating the distribution of goods and services and launched the COVID-19 Supply Hub, an online platform to coordinate, find and speed up the delivery of medical supplies and personal protective equipment for provincial health authorities to support front-line health workers.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia news release of April 8, 2020.

Greenhouse carbon tax relief

  • Commercial producers in B.C. who grow vegetables, ornamental flowers and plants, forest seedlings and nursery plants are eligible to apply for carbon tax relief grants for the 2020 production year, until May 1, 2020, if they:
    • had sales exceeding $20,000 in 2019;
    • used natural gas or propane to heat their greenhouses or produce carbon dioxide; and
    • had a production area greater than 455 square metres.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of April 6, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Relief measures for individuals

Funding to improve rural internet connectivity

  • On April 24, 2020, the Government of British Columbia announced a $50 million program to provide faster internet access to rural, remote, and indigenous communities in British Columbia.

For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news release of April 27, 2020.

Emergency Relief Support Fund

  • The B.C. government announced on April 8, 2020, that it is providing an Emergency Relief Support Fund for families of children with special needs.
  • The fund will provide a direct payment of $225 per month to eligible families over the next three months.
  • Families are encouraged to reach out to their CYSN worker to see how they can benefit from emergency help.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia news release of April 8, 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 monthly assistance payments.
  • Individuals on income assistance 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.
  • On May 20, 2020, the Government of British Columbia announced a partnership to build 40 urgently needed supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna.
  • For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s news releases of April 2, 2020 and May 20, 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 monthly 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.
  • For more information, please see the Government of British Columbia’s “Financial Supports in Response to COVID-19” website and the news release of April 1, 2020.

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) has been announced by the government. The program will provide $300 per month for eligible households with no dependents and $500 per month for eligible households with dependents. The TRS is available on a per-household basis to those who meet the following criteria:
    • receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or experiencing a 25% reduction in monthly employment income as a result of COVID-19;
    • 2019 household income of less than $74,150 for households with no dependents and $113,040 for households with dependents;
    • paying more than 30% of current/reduced gross monthly income towards rent; and
    • not receiving any other rent subsidy from any level of government.
  • The TRS is available for April, May and June 2020. Eligible renters that have already paid their April rent can apply to receive the rental supplement for this month. The TRS will be paid directly to landlords.
  • For more information, please see the Government of British Columbia’s “Financial Supports in Response to COVID-19” website and the Government of British Columbia’s news release of April 1, 2020, and news release of April 9, 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. The tax credit will be paid automatically through the CRA.
  • For more information, please see the Government of British Columbia’s “Financial Supports in Response to COVID-19” website.

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.
  • The government announced on April 23, 2020, that an application portal for the benefit will be opened on May 1, 2020. To be eligible, people must:
    • have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15, 2020;
    • meet the eligibility requirements for the CERB;
    • have been approved for the CERB;
    • be at least 15 years old on the date of application;
    • have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return; and
    • not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance.
  • For more information, please see the Government of British Columbia’s “Financial Supports in Response to COVID-19” website. Applications are available here.

Changes to the Employment Standards Act

  • The BC legislature passed two changes to the Employment Standards Act on March 23, 2020.
  • The changes allow workers to take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19.
  • Workers can take this leave for as long as the circumstances that require them to be away from work apply.
  • C. also implemented a permanent change to provide up to three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury.
  • For more information, see the CBC news release of March 23, 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.

General relief measures

$7.5 billion stimulus package

  • On May 6, 2020, the Premier of Saskatchewan announced a $7.5 billion capital plan, which is a $2 billion increase over previously planned capital investments.
  • The package will balance the need for smaller, short term projects with longer-term projects that leverage multiple sectors over the next several years.
  • As part of the package, the Government of Saskatchewan is investing $300 million in new highways projects.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s news releases of May 6 and May 13, 2020.

 

Relief measures for businesses

Support for agricultural sector

  • The Government of Saskatchewan announced that they are working with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) in order to lift spring road bans and allow heavier trucks to deliver priority goods.
  • The government also announced that the enrollment deadline for the 2020 AgriStability program year has been extended without penalty to July 3, 2020. On April 24, 2020, the government announced that the 2020 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage will be increased from 50% to 75% for Saskatchewan producers. For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s news release of April 17, 2020.
  • On May 14, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced $10 million in additional funding to help livestock producers manage the impacts of COVID-19 related market disruptions.
  • $5 million of the funding is for Saskatchewan’s share of the costs associated with the national AgriRecovery set-aside program, and $5 million is to partially offset higher premium costs under the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program. For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s news release of May 14, 2020.

Emergency support program for Saskatchewan small businesses

  • The Government of Saskatchewan announced a $50 million program to provide financial support to small and medium-sized businesses that have had to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP). The SSBEP provides a grant paid based on 15 per cent of a business’ monthly sales revenue, to a maximum of $5,000. To be eligible for the SSBEP, businesses must:
    • have been fully operational on February 29, 2020;
    • have ceased or curtailed operations as a result of the COVID-19 public health order;
    • have less than 500 employees; and
    • commit to reopen business operations following the cancellation of the COVID-19 public health order.
  • It is also planned that the government request the federal government to exempt the SSBEP from business income for tax purposes.
  • On May 1, 2020, the government announced $1 million in funding to support a province-wide marketing campaign. The marketing campaign is aimed at encouraging Saskatchewan residents to support local businesses and their employees.
  • On May 8, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that the SSBEP program will be extended through the month of May for businesses that are required to remain closed or substantially curtail operations after May 19, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s news releases of April 9, May 1, and May 8, 2020.

Support for oil industry

  • The Government of Saskatchewan is implementing relief measures for the provincial oil and gas sector, these measures are:
    • extending a series of filing and other deadlines that do not impact health or environmental safety and apply to routine reporting activities;
    • extending by one year mineral rights, scheduled to expire in 2020, including rights granted under the terms of an oil and gas lease, exploration license or permit; and
    • reducing the industry portion of the Oil and Gas Administrative Levy by 50 per cent this fiscal year and delaying the invoicing of the remaining balance until October 1, 2020, a relief of $11.4 million to address immediate liquidity challenges.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s news release of April 14, 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.

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].

Penalty and interest waiver for businesses

  • Businesses directly impacted by COVID-19 that are unable to submit their PST returns and remit it by due date due to cash flow concerns will be relieved from penalty and interest charges, for the following reporting periods:
  • Monthly filers may defer payment of amounts due for February, March and April 2020 reporting periods to July 31, 2020.
  • Quarterly filers may defer payment of amounts due for the January 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020 reporting period to July 31, 2020.
  • Despite this relief, the Government of Saskatchewan encourages taxpayers to file their tax returns each month/quarter (with or without payment) if they are able to do so.
  • Businesses will not be required to submit a request for relief from penalty and interest charges for these returns. However, full payment or a payment arrangement must be in place by July 31, 2020 in order to qualify for the automatic deferral and waiver of penalty and interest. Such payment arrangements may be made by submitting a request electronically through the Saskatchewan eTax Service (SETS) located at saskatchewan.ca, or by email ([email protected]) or at the following address: Ministry of Finance (Revenue Division), PO Box 200, Regina, SK, S4P 2Z6.
  • In addition, at time of publication, relief is not provided in relation to other types of taxes.
  • Audit programs and compliance activities have been suspended.
  • The Saskatchewan Worker’s Compensation Board is waiving penalties for late payment of premiums from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, and is forgiving interest and penalties for late payments applied in the month of March 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s information notice and press release of March 20, 2020.

Relief measures for individuals

New inactive well program

  • On May 22, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that it is launching a new Accelerated Site Closure Program (ASCP) for the reclamation of inactive oil and gas wells and facilities. The program is meant to generate jobs to help Saskatchewan people get back to work.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s news release of May 22, 2020.

Temporary Wage Supplement

  • On April 30, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a temporary wage supplement for lower income essential workers. The new wage supplement consists of a $400 per month benefit for up to 16 weeks (March 15 to July 4) for each eligible worker. To be eligible, workers must earn less than $2,500 per month and work in:
    • senior-care facilities, including private care homes and home care;
    • licenced childcare facilities;
    • group homes run by community-based organizations; or
    • emergency shelters and transition shelters.

For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s news release of April 30, 2020. The application process will be outlined in the coming days.

Emergency aid for Saskatchewan post-secondary students

  • On April 9, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a $1.5 million investment in emergency financial aid available to help at-risk post-secondary students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those with limited financial resources and whose studies and employment have been disrupted. Both domestic and international students in need are eligible for a one-time emergency bursary. The bursaries for students will be available from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020. The details regarding eligibility requirements and applications will be available to students through their post-secondary educational institution within the next week to ten days.
  • For more information, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s news release of April 9, 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.

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. Applications are available on the Self-Isolation Support Program webpage.

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.

 

Manitoba

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

Relief measures for businesses

Building Sustainable Communities program

  • The Building Sustainable Communities program will provide grants to non-profit and charitable organizations, municipalities, and Northern Affairs community councils to finance their community development projects. The maximum contribution from the government is up to 50% of total eligible project costs to a maximum grant of $75,000.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of May 20, 2020.

Infrastructure package to help restart Manitoba recovery

  • The Government of Manitoba announced on May 7, 2020 that it is increasing infrastructure investments by an additional $500 million as part of an economic stimulus package to help restart Manitoba’s economy.
  • The Manitoba Restart Program will include new water and sewage projects, road and highway resurfacing and repairs, bridge repairs, municipal infrastructure priorities, and potential new cost-sharing construction projects.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of May 7, 2020.

Support for small and medium-sized businesses

  • The Government of Manitoba is providing $120 million to support Manitoba’s small and medium-sized businesses through the Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP). The MGPP is aimed at helping businesses in Manitoba who do not qualify for the federal government COVID-19 relief programs. The government will advance to each eligible business the non-interest bearing forgivable MGPP loan of $6,000. The loan will be forgiven on Dec. 31, 2020 if the recipient attests that he has not received any major non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports. Otherwise, the loan will be added to the recipient’s 2020 tax bill. In order to be eligible for the MGPP funding, a business must:
    • have been operational on March 20, 2020;
    • have temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order and have been harmed by it;
    • be registered and in good standing with the Manitoba Business and Corporate Registry;
    • have not qualified for federal government COVID-19 grant support; and
    • have an email address and a bank account.
  • For more information, please see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 22, 2020. Applications can be made here.

Workers Compensation Board surplus

  • The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba is returning a $37 million surplus to provide financial relief to eligible employers.
  • To be eligible to receive the surplus, employers must have fulfilled their payroll reporting responsibilities for 2019 and paid a WCB premium in 2019. Employers can still report their 2019 payroll to receive the surplus distribution.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 21, 2020.

$1,3 billion to support COVID-19 fight

  • On April 15, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced releasing up to $1 billion to support the government’s ongoing actions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic which is requested to be allocated as follows:
    • $500 million for the Health Services Insurance Fund;
    • $400 million for the internal service adjustments appropriations of government; and
    • $100 million for emergency expenditures.
  • On April 17, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced an investment of an additional $300 million to ensure the government can respond quickly to front-line health-care needs and protect vulnerable Manitobans.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 15, 2020.

$5-million fund for research projects related to COVID-19

  • The Government of Manitoba announced a $5-million fund through Research Manitoba to support a clinical trial to determine if a commonly used drug can safely be used as a treatment for COVID-19. Moreover, the fund will also provide support for local researchers to develop solutions to health-care issues. The funds will be distributed as follows:
    • More than $3.5 million to support clinical and applied research including $700,000 for Manitoba’s first COVID-19 clinical trial for a drug.
    • $500,000 invested in partnerships with industry and philanthropic sources supporting existing trials.
    • $1 million invested in COVID-19 innovation projects including looking at the development of diagnostic tools.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 8, 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.

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.
  • The deadline for filing provincial tax returns and paying any amount due is extended to August 31, 2020. The Government of Manitoba is willing to extend this date until October 1, 2020, if the federal government agrees with the measure.
  • 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.

Relief measures for individuals

Support for low-income Manitobans with disabilities

  • The Government of Manitoba is extending $4.6 million in direct and immediate financial support to low-income Manitobans with disabilities thought the Disability Economic Support Program. Each of the Manitobans receiving monthly benefits under the disability category of Employment and Income Assistance will receive $200 in early June.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of May 26, 2020.

$10 million investment in community development projects

  • On May 20, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced that it is providing $10 million to support 344 community development projects throughout the province to increase investment in Manitoba’s community and create jobs.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of May 20, 2020.

Relief for vehicle registration

  • On May 12, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced a $11-million program beginning July 1 that will reduce vehicle registration fees by 10%.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of May 12, 2020

Support for students and post-secondary institutions

  • The Government of Manitoba will match all funds raised by universities and colleges for the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative (MSBI) for the 2020-21 academic year. Approximately $30 million will be provided to students this year through scholarships and bursaries.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of May 6, 2020.

Seniors Economic Recovery Credit

  • The Government of Manitoba is extending $45 million in direct financial support through the Seniors Economic Recovery Credit to support seniors. The credit benefits every Manitoban aged 65 and older with a one-time and refundable tax credit of $200.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of May 5, 2020.

Orders to support specific groups

  • The Government of Manitoba announced on April 28, 2020, that it is implementing four orders to continue to support particular populations during the COVID-19 crisis:
    • the Youth in Care Provisions Order, which ensures that youth in the Child and Family Services system who turn 18 during the pandemic will continue to be offered ongoing supports;
    • the Student Aid Provisions Order, which allows post-secondary students to remain eligible for aid even if they temporarily stop qualifying during the state of emergency period. This provision lowers the minimum monthly repayment to $0 for the next six months, suspends the obligation for a student to start paying back their loan eight months after they end their studies, prevents borrowers from going into default during the state of emergency period, and extends the maximum term for repayment;
    • the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Credential Provisions Order, which suspends the requirement that a carrier licensed under the agreement must have and display credentials, and the province will not fine licensed carriers if their licensing authority was unable to distribute their credentials; and
    • the Trucking and Transportation Provisions Order, which extends the expiry dates on certain permits, certificates or registrations until July 31. Deadlines to pay IRP registration renewal charges are also extended, along with an extended period between required inspections on vehicles such as busses and commercial carriers. In addition, the regular three-month deadline for new residents and non-residents to replace their out-of-province driving permits with a Manitoba driver’s licence, vehicle registration or insurance is also extended to July 31.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 28, 2020.

Clarification of emergency benefit for Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) clients

  • On April 24, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced that it will be treating the Canada Emergency Response Benefit as earned income under the provincial EIA. This will allow EIA clients to continue to receive benefits and will increase the amount of support available to EIA clients.
  • For more information, see the Province of Manitoba’s news release of April 24, 2020.

Summer Student Recovery Plan

  • The Summer Student Recovery Plan is a new wage subsidy program aimed to support high school and post-secondary students employed in the private and non-profit sectors. The government announced that up to $120 million is available for employers to access a $7 per hour wage subsidy, up to a maximum of $5,000 per student.
  • For more information, please see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 24, 2020.

Relief for public insurance policy holders

  • Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is returning up to $110 million to provide financial relief to its policyholders. The returns take the form of a rebate based on what policyholders paid last year and expected to be around 11 per cent, or between $140 to $160, per average policyholder. The rebate cheque can be expected between the end of May and early June.
  • For more information, please see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 23, 2020.

Paid Administrative Leave for Health-Care Staff

  • The Government of Manitoba will provide health-care staff paid administrative leave for the full 14-day period of asymptomatic self-isolation.
  • Workers that have symptoms during self-isolation will be compensated by sick leave benefits, pursuant to their collective agreement.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 14, 2020.

Unpaid Leave for Employees

  • New legislative provisions will allow employees as much unpaid time off work as needed to:
    • be in isolation or quarantine;
    • obtain medical examination, supervision or treatment;
    • comply with an order made under The Emergency Measures Act or the Public Health Act;
    • provide care or support to a family member as a result of COVID-19; or
    • Comply with travel restrictions.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 14, 2020.

Suspended student loan repayments

  • On April 7, 2020, the Premier announced that the province is suspending repayment of Manitoba Student Aid loans for six months.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of April 7, 2020.

Extended tax filing deadlines for individuals

  • The deadline for filing provincial tax returns and paying any amount due is extended to August 31, 2020. The Government of Manitoba is willing to extend this date until October 1, 2020, if the federal government agrees with this extension.
  • The Government of Manitoba is working with municipal partners to ensure municipalities do not charge interest on provincial education taxes and school division fees. The province is encouraging municipalities to do the same with respect to municipal taxes.

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.

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.

Rent assist for Manitobans not receiving Employment and Income Assistance (EIA)

  • The Government of Manitoba announced a rent assist which is a shelter benefit for low-income Manitobans who rent their own accommodations in the private market. The rent assist will benefit to Manitobans by paying them a benefit based on their income and the cost of rent in the market for their family size.
  • For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s website.

New Brunswick

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

 

Relief measures for businesses

Interest deferral and capital 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. To qualify as a small business, a business must employ 1 to 49 employees and have sales of less than $10 million in the most recent fiscal year.
  • For 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. The application is available on the CDBC website.

Tax measures for businesses

Business property taxes must be paid by May 31, 2020. However, late penalties will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may be waived as a result of undue financial difficulty, including business closure due to COVID-19.

Relief measures for individuals

Support for students

  • On May 6, 2020, the Government of New Brunswick announced an $860,000 investment towards the acquisition of iPads, laptops, and MiFi hubs to support home learning by providing students in need with access to devices and internet services.
  • For more information, see the Government of New Brunswick's news release of May 6, 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.

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.

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. Apply here before April 30, 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’s 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’s news release of March 20, 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.

Relief measures for businesses

Small Business Credit and Support Program

  • On April 24, 2020, the Government of Nova Scotia announced the Small Business Credit and Support Program as a temporary stream for access to credit, cash grants and support delivered through participating credit unions.
  • The program is intended to support small businesses with a payroll of less than $20,000 in the previous fiscal year that have experienced a decline in revenue from sales of at least 15% in March or 30% in April.
  • For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release of April 24, 2020.

Relief for small businesses

  • The Worker Emergency Bridge Fund will also establish a Small Business Impact Grant of 15% of the revenue from sales- either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. This grant can be used for any purpose.
  • For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release of April 2, 2020.

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.

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’s website.

Deferred government 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 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.
  • The materials do not define the maximum size for a “small business”.
  • For more information, see the “Support for individual, families, and businesses” section of the Government of Nova Scotia’s website.

Relief measures for individuals

Bonus for health-care workers

  • On May 7, 2020, the Premier of Nova Scotia announced that it will be using the federal funding for a cash bonus for health-care sector workers.
  • The Essential Health Care Workers Program will see health-care workers receive a bonus of up to $2,000 after a four-month period, beginning March 13. It includes eligible employees at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre and other health services. Employees who volunteered to be redeployed to work at a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak will also receive this benefit.
  • For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release of May 7, 2020.

Relief for prescriptions

  • The Government of Nova Scotia will assume the payment of extra dispensing fees for Pharmacare clients for refills on prescriptions that would usually be filled for longer periods. Additionally, the $5.00 prescription co-pay for clients of the Income Assistance program and the Low Income Pharmacare for Children program is waived.
  • For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release of April 22, 2020.

Support to vulnerable Nova Scotians

  • The Government of Nova Scotia, in partnership with Nova Scotia Power and EfficiencyOne, are redirecting $3 million from the HomeWarming program to fund organizations that deliver prepared meals, operate soup kitchens, help the homeless and provide other services.
  • For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release of April 17, 2020.

Relief for workers

  • A $20 million Worker Emergency Bridge Fund was established to help the self-employed and those laid-off workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance.
  • Government will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • For more information, see the Province of Nova Scotia’s news release of April 2, 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’s news release of March 27, 2020.

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’s website.

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’s website.

Suspended student loan payments

  • The Government will suspend payments on Nova Scotia student loans for six months, until September 30th.
  • For more information, see the “Support for individual, families, and businesses” section of the Government of Nova Scotia’s website.

Prince Edward Island

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

General relief measures

$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. On April 3, 2020 the government announced a $15 million increase to the Emergency Contingency Fund in anticipation of the evolving critical needs of island families, workers, and businesses.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of 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.

Amendments to the Real Property Tax Act regulations

  • The following measures were announced by the Government of Prince Edward Island:
    • Deferring provincial property tax and fee payments until December 31, 2020;
    • Extending property assessment appeal deadlines for assessment year 2020 to December 31, 2020;
    • Providing interest relief for tax year 2020, including all past due amounts
    • Suspending tax sale processes for the remainder of 2020; and
  • Delaying mailing of provincial tax bills for 2020 until June.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of April 3, 2020.

Relief measures for businesses

Support for fisheries

  • The government announced two new programs designed to assist fisheries and aquaculture operators:
    • the Prince Edward Island Fish Emergency Loan Program, a targeted loan portfolio which provide loans up to $25,000 to Islander harvesters at 4% interest over a five-year term;
    • the Interest Relief Program to support fish harvesters with up to 12 months of interest relief and service debt costs on a maximum of $250 million at an average interest rate of 5%.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of May 7, 2020.

Support for agriculture industry

  • On April 9, 2020, the Agriculture and Land Minister announced a new $750,000 COVID-19 Strategic Fund for Agriculture to help commodities and small processors adapt to the pandemic.
  • On May 5, 2020, the Government of PEI announced the Agriculture Labour Support Initiative (ALSI) to allow individuals who are interested in working on a farm to register with WorkPEI and connect with agriculture bsuinesses who have registered their job openings.
  • The Government of PEI also announced an extra incentive for students who choose to work in the PEI agriculture industry this summer. Students returning to post-secondary studies in the fall will receive a $2,000 bursary and students returning to high school will receive a $1,000 bursary from the Farm Team Program.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news releases of April 9, 2020 and May 5, 2020.

Support for tourism industry

  • The Government of Prince Edward Island announced funding of up to $66 million to support the tourism industry. The support includes new financing options, interest relief, and additional funding for marketing.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of April 16, 2020.

Support for trucking industry

  • On April 9, 2020, the Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy announced it would make hotel rooms available for truck drivers so they can practice self-isolation between trips.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of April 9, 2020.

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.

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.

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.
    • The materials do not define the maximum size for a “small business”.
  • For more information and to apply to the program, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s “Emergency Working Capital Financing” website. Online applications can be submitted until April 15, 2020.

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.

 

Financial support for businesses

  • 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, and
    • $4.5 million will be provided to Community Business Development Corporations across the province to deliver financing to small business and entrepreneurs;
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of March 18, 2020.

Relief measures for individuals

Co-Parenting Action Team (CAT)

  • The CAT will offer personalized supports to help parents address co-parenting challenges during COVID-19, including connecting them with appropriate government and community programs and services.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of May 12, 2020.

Support for essential workers

  • On May 7, 2020, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced a wage top-up for certain essential workers that make less than $3,000 per four-week period. They will receive a one-time payment of $1,000 through their employers.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of May 7, 2020.

Support for post-secondary students

  • The government is supporting the creation of 1,000 new job placements for Island high school and post-secondary students through increases to current employment programs and partnerships with community and industry.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s news release of April 14, 2020.

COVID-19 Special Situations Fund

  • The Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy announced a $1,000,000 fund for Islanders who may not qualify for existing support programs.
  • The fund will provide up to $1,000 to Islanders who have experienced urgent income loss as a result of COVID-19 and are not eligible for other federal and provincial funding support. Islanders are to review the various programs available and if they do not qualify they may be eligible for support.
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 release of March 20, 2020.

Support for employees

  • On March 18, 2020, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced 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 release of March 18, 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.
  • For more information, see the Government of Prince Edward Island’s “Emergency Income Relief for the Self-Employed” website.

Newfoundland and Labrador

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

Relief measures for businesses

Support for oil and gas industry

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has asked the Government of Canada to make investments to help their offshore oil and gas industry face the impacts of COVID-19.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of May 26, 2020.

Support for Tourism and Hospitality Industry

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced a $25 million support program for the tourism and hospitality industry. In order to receive the funding, small and medium-sized tourism operators will have to apply for a non-repayable working capital contribution of either $5,000 or $10,000, dependent on gross sales.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of May 25, 2020.

Waiver of fees for local businesses

  • On May 22, 2020, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the deferral or waiver of a number of fees for local businesses. The specific fees are outlined in detail in the news release.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of May 22, 2020.

Support for local business

  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) will waive liquor license fees for the 2020-21 fiscal year in order to support licensees, including lounges, bars and restaurants.
  • On May 6, 2020, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation announced:
    • an extended deferral of loan payments under the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation’s Business Investment Fund to six months; and
    • a temporary increase in salary support and project contributions for commercial Research and Development projects. This support pertains to applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news releases of May 1, 2020 and May 6, 2020.

Relief for farmers

  • The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is nearly doubling the volume of vegetable transplants available under the Vegetable Transplant Program due to the needs during the COVID-19.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of May 6, 2020.

Compensation for private sector employers with staff that had to self-isolate

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced on April 29, 2020, that it is providing compensation for private sector employers for continuation of pay to employees who were required to self-isolate for 14 days due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions. This includes individuals who are self-employed.
  • This program is meant to compliment the federal CEWS, and the amount of funding under the provincial compensation program will depend on federal funding received.

For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s backgrounder here. Qualifying employers can apply here.

Changes to Credit Union Regulations

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador amended the Credit Union Regulations in order to allow credit unions to avail of the federal CEBA program (see above).
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of April 24, 2020.

Legislative amendments for businesses

  • On March 26, 2020, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced legislative amendments in order to:
  • 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 and tax returns

  • 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.
  • On April 7, 2020, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador issued a Public Advisory extending the following tax return filing deadlines:
    • The deadline to file and pay International Fuel Tax Agreement returns for the first quarter of 2020 (January 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020) ordinarily due on April 30, 2020, from interjurisdictional carriers, under section 8 of the Revenue Administration Regulations, is extended to June 1, 2020.
    • The deadline to file all other tax returns under the Revenue Administration Act and Regulations (except tax returns required from interjurisdictional carriers), which would normally be due between March 20, 2020 and May 31, 2020, is is extended to June 23, 2020, including:
      • Gasoline Tax, Carbon Tax, Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax, Insurance Companies Tax, Mining and Mineral Rights Tax, Tax on Insurance Premiums, Tobacco Tax.
    • Monthly filers have the option to extend the filing and remittance of tax amounts for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods to June 23, 2020.
    • Taxpayers that cannot make payments when due as a result of COVID-19 can submit a written request to the Department of Finance, Tax Administration Division, at [email protected] for a remission of interest and penalties. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
    • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of April 7, 2020.

Relief measures for individuals

Students Supporting Communities Program

  • The program provides a $3,500 grant to organizations in order for them to hire students to help seniors and other vulnerable groups facing social isolation.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of May 15, 2020.

Relief for electricity customers

  • On May 14, 2020, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that residential and general service customers with rates based on Holyrood fuel costs will receive a one-time credit on their electric bills. The amount will vary based on customers’ usage.
  • The government is also providing up to $2.5 million to waive interest on overdue accounts for residential and general service customers throughout the province.
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of May 14, 2020.

Changes to defaulted student loan account collections

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced for individuals with provincial student loans in default and who file income tax returns with the CRA from April 9, 2020, to September 30, 2020, which results in a refund, including GST credits, that the CRA will send these refunds directly to individuals instead of the Provincial Government.
  • The decision is not retroactive and only applies to defaulted student loan borrowers who file their income tax return with CRA on or after April 9, 2020. 
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of April 9, 2020

Legislative amendments for individuals

  • 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 by a leave of absence without pay and job protection where an employee is unable to work;
  • 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;
  • For more information, see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release of March 26, 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.

General relief measures

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.
    • the materials do not specify a maximum size for a “small business”.
  • For more information, see the Government of the Northwest Territories’ news release of March 20, 2020.

Rent Relief

  • On May 11, 2020, the Government of the Northwest Territories announced that the Department of Lands is waiving rent on existing surface leases on public land for the fiscal year of 2020-21.
  • The rent relief is available to all holders of existing recreational, residential, and commercial and mining surface leases. The relief will also apply to easements or licences of occupation.
  • For more information, see the Government of the Northwest Territories news release of May 11, 2020.

Relief measures for businesses

Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Program

  • On May 11, 2020, the Government of the Northwest Territories announced the SEED program is open for applications. The SEED program will provide $4 million in investments in businesses to encourage new, innovative proposals that reflect the realities of the new post-COVID-19 economy.
  • For more information, see the Government of the Northwest Territories news release of May 11, 2020.

Deferral of loan payments

  • The Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment is contributing $86,000 to NWT Community Futures Development Corporations to allow them to defer loan payments for their clients in the same way that the Business Development and Investment Corporation has done.
  • For more information, see the Government of Northwest Territories news release of May 6, 2020

Northern business relief fund

  • The Government of Canada announced on April 17, 2020 that the Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF) will provide short term support for ongoing operational costs to small- and medium-sized territorial businesses impacted by economic disruptions due to COVID-19.
  • The NBRF will provide eligible territorial SMEs with short-term relief in the form of a non-repayable grant ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $100,000.
  • For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release of April 17, 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.
  • For more information, see the resources for businesses page on the Government of Northwest Territories website.

 

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.
  • For more information, see the resources for businesses page on the Government of Northwest Territories website.

Relief measures for individuals

Funding for low wage workers

  • The government will allocate up to $6.2 million to top up wages for workers making less than $18 per hour for a maximum of 16 weeks between April 1 and July 31, 2020. To be eligible, workers have to earn less than $18 per hour and must be over 15 years of age.
  • For more information, see the Government of the Northwest Territories news release of May 11, 2020.

Child care for essential workers

  • On April 24, 2020, the Government of the Northwest Territories announced that it is providing $5.106 million to immediately create four temporary child care initiatives to support parents providing essential services, including:
    • a $1.9 million subsidy to lower child care costs by 33% for parents who are required to physically attend work and who need child care during COVID-19,
    • a $1,000 per month wage top-up for child care staff,
    • $665,000 in additional resources to ensure licensed child care programs receive adequate support for supplies and labour to carry out enhanced cleaning regimens at child care centres.
    • a $1.24 million subsidy to offset a portion of the fixed costs for licensed early learning and child care programs.
  • For more information, see the Government of Northwest Territories media statement of April 25, 2020.

Rent Supplement Program

  • The Rent Supplement Program is enhanced so that the program now includes:
    • a 5-month duration to August 31, 2020;
    • no requirement to take an NWTHC financial counselling course;
    • no requirement to be arrears-free;
    • previous participants; and
    • a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $500/month.
  • For more information, see the Government of Northwest Territories’ news release of April 23, 2020.

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.
  • For more information, see the information for students page on the Government of Northwest Territories website.

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’ news release of March 31, 2020.

 

Nunavut

Relief measures for businesses

Department of Community and Government Services

  • The department of Community and Government services is providing an additional $2 million to municipalities to cover expenses related to COVID-19. The funding will ensure that hamlets are able to provide unforeseen services in response to the pandemic.
  • For more information, see the COVID-19 Department of Community and Government Services update of April 20, 2020.

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.
  • The Small Business Support Program defines a small business as a Nunavut-based business with less than $500,000 in annual gross sales or fewer than 10 employees.
  • 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.

Relief measures for individuals

Department of Education

  • The Department of Education will fund, up to April 21, 2020, parental fees for all licensed child care facilities to ensure staff continue to be paid.
  • For more information, see the COVID-19 Department of Finance Services update of April 15, 2020.

Yukon

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

 

General relief measures

Property tax payments

  • The deadline for property tax payments is postponed from July 2, 2020 to September 2, 2020 for citizens and businesses.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s press release or April 23, 2020.

Relief measures for businesses

Support for employers to hire students for critical and essential services

  • The Government of Yukon is providing $750,000 in order to help employers to create summer employment for students in critical and essential services. Combined with the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program (see below), the funding will provide with up to $20 per hour for each new student position hired, to a maximum of 40 hours per week and 16 weeks of employment.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of May 22, 2020.

Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program

  • The Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program provides temporary financial support. The program is available to businesses, non-government organizations or governments, community societies or associations whose operations have been identified as critical or essential can apply for their eligible workers and employers accessing the Temporary Wage Subsidy. In order to be eligible, a business has to meet at least three of the following criteria:
    • has an office with a physical address in Yukon;
    • is subject to the Yukon Income Tax Act;
    • is registered as per the Business Corporations Act or the Partnership and Business Name Act, where applicable; and
    • has a valid municipal business license, where applicable.

Moreover, a worker must earn less than $20.00 per hour and provide a critical or essential service to be eligible. The program cover a maximum of 16 consecutive weeks between March 15, 2020 and October 3, 2020.

Yukon Business Relief Program

  • On April 9, 2020, the Government of Yukon announced the Yukon Business Relief Program to provide relief to businesses affected by the pandemic. The program takes the form of non-repayable grants to cover specific fixed costs. The program is open to Yukon businesses which have faced a minimum of 30 per cent loss in gross revenue. Eligible businesses will receive between 75 and 100 per cent of their fixed costs (incurred from March 23, 2020, to May 22, 2020) up to a maximum of $30,000 per month if they meet three of the following criteria:
    • have an office with a physical address in Yukon;
    • be subject to the Yukon Income Tax Act;
    • be registered as per the Business Corporations Actor the Partnership and Business Name Act, where applicable; and
    • hold a valid municipal business license, where applicable.
  • Eligible fixed costs include:
    • Commercial rent or lease; water, sewage and waste disposal; electricity and heating fuel; telephone, cable, internet and satellite; software, data services, and subscriptions; business insurance; and pest control.
    • For home-based businesses, business-use-of-home expenses are eligible, equal to the portion of mortgage interest or rent accepted by the CRA as attributable to the operation of the business.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s “Yukon Business Relief Program” website. Applications will be accepted until July 23, 2020.

Support for Yukon’s aviation industry

  • Yukon’s aviation sector will receive $3.56 million in support for the critical and essential routes and the transportation of vital supplies.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of May 4, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Relief measures for individuals

Support for families

  • The Government of Yukon announced that families with children in Kindergarten to Grade 12 are eligible for $250 per student if they have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of May 19, 2020.

Support for tenants

  • On May 11, 2020, the Government of Yukon announced that tenants who are affected by income losses during the COVID-19 pandemic will receive support from the Government of Yukon’s new COVID-19 Rent Assist program.
  • Tenants living in private non-subsidized market rental housing in Yukon who have lost 30% or more of their income due to COVID-19 are eligible for a grant for up to 50% of median market rent from April to June 2020.
  • The grant will be paid directly to landlords on behalf of tenants.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s news release of May 11, 2020.

CERB to be exempted from Yukon Social Assistance

  • Individuals receiving Social Assistance benefits will not experience a reduction if they receive the CERB (see above for more details on the CERB) for the period of April to June 2020.
  • For more information, see the Government of Yukon’s press release or April 27, 2020.

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