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Covid-19 July 20, 2020 Update

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It has been a couple of months since my last update. There were some major developments (CEWS expansion) last week in government programs announced that I wanted to bring to your attention. If you are a business, whether effected by Covid-19 or not, this is critically important.

Some of this email is repetitive from the past but I think everyone should review it since it may affect you or a family member.

The list of government initiative is extensive. Here is a link to the full list:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

I will touch on a few that affect most of my clients.

Individuals

The CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) is fully operational. While this program will help millions of Canadians it does have criteria. Details are here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

The key points of this program are:

    • $2,000 per four week period. The program was extended to cover up to 24 weeks of benefits.
    • Must be at least 15 years old (so many students will qualify)
    • You must have stopped working or reduced earnings due to Covid-19. It is not available if someone just does not have a job or cannot get a job.
  • Recipients are now allowed to earn $1,000 in each four week eligibility period
  • The $1,000 that is permitted includes employment and self-employment income. Employment income is easy to define. Self-employment “income” is net income after expenses.

 

  • You must have had $5,000 of earned income (employed or self-employed) in 2019 or in the 12 months before you apply.

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) was announced to provide students/recent students with $1,250 or $2,000 of benefits per four week period. Details can be found here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html

This be benefit may apply to post-secondary students (graduated in December 2019 or later or have applied to start before February 1, 2021). If you think this may apply to you please review the details.

There are a number of benefits that apply to seniors, families receiving the Canada Child Benefit or GST credits. Since these are automatic you will received these additional payments without having to apply for them.

Businesses

CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account)

The Canada Emergency Business Account is an interest-free loan of $40,000 for qualifying businesses. Up to $10,000 of that amount will be eligible for complete forgiveness if $30,000 is fully repaid on or before December 31, 2022. This program is now available and you must apply online through your normal business bank. This program is active and many businesses have now received funding. The eligibility has been extended. There are two streams. One related to previous year payroll and another if you have non-deferable expenses. Key requirements for this program are that a business in the payroll stream must have had between $20,000 and $1,500,000 of wages paid to employees in 2019.

The second stream (new) is for any business that has non-deferable expenses of $40,000 or more. Details are available here:

https://ceba-cuec.ca/

CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) – THIS NOW APPLIES TO ALL BUSINESSES THAT HAVE HAD ANY DECREASE IN SALES. PROGRAM IS EXTENED UNTIL DECEMBER 2020. Almost all businesses are now eligible for a wage subsidy.

This program (once legislation is passed) will run from March 15th to December 19, 2020. Prior to July 5th businesses had to see a decrease in revenue of 15% in March or 30% in April, May or June to qualify. This is no longer the case beginning July 5th. Beginning July 5th any decrease in revenue will qualify a business for a wage subsidy. The program is incredibly complex. Details are available here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/07/adapting-the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy-to-protect-jobs-and-promote-growth.html

Key items to be aware of:

  • Wages subsidies are now on a sliding scale based on revenue loss. And the sliding scale changes for each subsidy period.
    • Pre-crisis baseline wages will change making more related party employees eligible and allowing for higher subsidies.
  • Wages subsidies are now a “base” subsidy and a “top-up subsidy. For businesses which suffered revenue reductions of 70% or more the wage subsidy may now be up to 85%.
  • Choices (elections) need to be made to choose how you calculate revenue loss. Choices include period of revenue loss, comparison period of revenue loss, cash or accrual basis of calculations. Some elections can now be changed as of July 5th.

I cannot stress enough. This is an incredibly complex program. In my office we have in place procedures to review revenue calculations and wage costs to make sure clients maximize this program. If we can assist you please contact us.

Temporary Wage Subsidy – 10% Subsidy

For the three months (March 18th to June 20th) there will be a 10% wage subsidy. This is to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per business. There will not be any actual money from the government. Employers will simple reduce withholding tax remittances.

CECRA (Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance)

This program is now fully operational. Businesses will get a rent reduction of 75% for April, May. June and July. To qualify:

  • Revenue must be down 70%
  • Landlord has to agree to a 25% reduction in their rental income.
  • Tenant has to pay 25% of the rent
  • 50% of the rent will be paid by way of a forgivable loan from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
  • The funds from CMHC go directly to the landlord.

I wrote before how this program was not very well designed. And my predictions have shown to be accurate. But it does exist and some business will benefit from it.

Office Procedures

Our office is open for clients that need to drop off paperwork. But we do encourage you to send up information electronically. We have a table at the front door to leave documents. All documents are being “aged” so we will not be handling paperwork immediately after we receive it. We are not meeting anyone and anything we have to return to clients will be mailed or emailed. Staff are back in the office but we are not yet seeing clients.

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