New, targeted support to help businesses through pandemic receives Royal Assent

From: Department of Finance Canada

The government is taking targeted action to support Canadians and Canadian businesses, non-profits and charities that continue to face uncertainty and economic challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) received Royal Assent, implementing new, targeted support to help hard-hit businesses. These measures will help businesses get through the second wave of the virus so they can protect jobs, continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery.

The measures adopted as part of Bill C-9 are:

  • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which will provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Claims can be made retroactively to September 27, 2020.
  • The new Lockdown Support, which will provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this will mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.
  • The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which will continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire workers. The wage subsidy will remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

The programs implemented in Bill C-9 will help to ensure that businesses, non-profits and charities get through this crisis, stay solvent, and keep workers on the payroll.

The government also reaffirms its intention to introduce legislation to formalize rent payable as an eligible expense, for purposes of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, as of September 27, 2020. Qualifying organizations will be able to take advantage of the rent subsidy on this basis as soon as the application portal is launched.

Quotes

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Members of Parliament and Senators from all parties for supporting the timely passage of Bill C-9 to ensure workers and employers get the help they need to get them through the winter and the second wave of COVID-19. Canadians know that in times of crisis we must all work together. Our government will keep taking action to protect jobs, support businesses, and keep Canadians safe and healthy.”

The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“Across the country, small businesses are the heart of our communities and have shown incredible resilience throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Today, as Bill C-9 receives Royal Assent, we continue to stand with hard-hit businesses and workers to provide vital support through to June 2021. Our government understands that helping business owners and workers now will ensure that we emerge from these challenging times even stronger.”

The Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Quick facts

  • Over 3.8 million Canadians have had their jobs supported through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, with $48 billion paid out in subsidies as of November 8, 2020.

  • Small- and medium-sized businesses are strongly represented in sectors – like food services (e.g., restaurants), hospitality, tourism, and transportation – which continue to be significantly affected by the virus and the measures taken to contain it.

  • As of November 12, 2020, the Government of Canada has provided over $2 billion in rent support, through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses. Rent assistance has helped over 139,000 small business tenants, supporting 1.25 million jobs in Canada.

  • The new rent subsidy will pick up where the previous program left off, delivering direct, targeted, and accessible rent support to qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19 without the need to work through their landlords. It will provide a subsidy for eligible fixed property expenses, including rent and interest on commercial mortgages. The announced program parameters will apply until December 19, 2020, with future parameters in 2021 to be adapted and targeted as needed.

  • To formalize rent payable as an eligible expense for purposes of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy as of September 27, 2020, the government will introduce legislation in the House of Commons as soon as possible.

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