The Government of Canada is taking strong, immediate, and effective action to protect Canadians and businesses from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to prepare them for a strong recovery as the country emerges from the crisis.
Today, the Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance took part in a virtual town hall with business, community and cultural organizations, hosted by Calgary Economic Development.
The Minister discussed the challenges facing these communities and organizations, and underscored how the Government of Canada is supporting them through its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
This is the 20th such outreach event in which Minister Fortier will have participated in the past two months. Her virtual meetings with businesses and other groups have spanned the country.
Some of the key measures in the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan that address the needs of Canadians and businesses during this time of global uncertainty, include:
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers, up to $847 a week.
- The Canada Emergency Business Account, providing interest-free, partially forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
- Expanding the Business Credit Availability Program to mid-sized companies, including oil and gas companies, with larger financing needs by providing loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million.
- The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, which provides bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. The application process for this program began on May 20, 2020.
- The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses, which will provide a forgivable loan to qualifying commercial property owners, who in turn give a rent reduction of at least 75% for April and May (retroactive) and June, to impacted small business tenants who have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. The application process for these loans opened on May 25.
- Allowing businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020, and to defer GST/HST and customs duty payments until June 30, 2020.
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will provide $2,000 monthly for up to four months to eligible workers who have stopped working because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Providing 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 to help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
The government has been working to put in place supports for all Canadians during this difficult time. However, COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on those most vulnerable, creating a greater need for community-based organizations. To help these Canadians, the Government of Canada is providing additional support to charities and non-profit organizations through the $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund.
The impacts of COVID-19 are also being deeply felt within cultural communities. In recognition of this, the government has established the $500 million Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations. This fund will provide additional temporary relief to these organizations by allowing them to maintain jobs and support business continuity.
The government continues to assess and respond to the impacts of COVID-19. It stands ready to take additional actions as needed to stabilize the economy and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
“The government recognizes that businesses, community groups and cultural organizations are being significantly affected by the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this unprecedented time, it is especially important that we listen and respond to their concerns. We will continue to closely monitor the impacts of the pandemic on these communities and organizations, and will do what it takes to support them during this difficult period.”
– Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance
The government has taken many actions to support Canadian businesses through the outbreak of COVID-19, with targeted initiatives that:
- Propose to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until August 29, 2020.
- Expand the Canada Emergency Business Account to include many owner-operated small businesses with payroll lower than $20,000. This extended measure will help small businesses protect the jobs that Canadians rely on.
- Extend eligibility of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to individuals who earn up to $1,000 per month, 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, as well as 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.
- Increase credit available for farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.
- Extend the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program, from 38 weeks to 76 weeks, for workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
The Emergency Community Support Fund will provide funding to national intermediaries with networks across the country, including United Way Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Community Foundations of Canada. These intermediaries will disburse funds to local community-based organizations working with vulnerable populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, members of LGBTQ2 communities, veterans, newcomers, women, children and youth, and members of Indigenous communities and racialized communities, such as Black Canadians.
Registered charities and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.