Support During COVID-19

With the emergence of COVID-19, our primary concern at MRSB is keeping you, your employees and your business and organizations safe. We will continue to provide you with expert advice to guide you through this difficult time. The federal and provincial governments have announced numerous measures for businesses, organizations, individuals, families and workers in an effort to stabilize the economy and provide support for Canadians.

 

To help navigate these measures we have compiled a summary of the latest federal and provincial relief measures announced to date for you and your business and will provide updates in the days and weeks ahead of any new initiatives. This list will be updated daily as changes are announced If you have any questions or need any assistance completing applications please contact our office.

Support for Businesses & Organizations

Employers wanting to avoid layoffs


The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has been extended to June 2021 for eligible employers who had any drop in revenue.

On March 3, 2021, the Government announced proposed details for upcoming CEWS claim periods from March 14 to June 5, 2021 (claim periods 14 to 16):

  • the maximum wage subsidy rate for active employees will remain at 75%
  • the revenue drop will continue to compare your eligible revenue to a time prior to March 2020 (specific comparison months and years are listed for each claim period)
  • you may use a new pre-crisis pay period when calculating an employee’s pre-crisis pay (baseline remuneration) for the new claim periods
  • the maximum subsidy amount for employees on leave with pay will remain at $595

The Work Share Program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. This has been extended from 28 weeks to 76 weeks.




Additional support for employers who have laid off employees


Supplementary Unemployment Benefit Plan (SUB Plan) is a plan established by an employer or group of participating employers to top up employees' employment insurance (EI) benefits during a period of unemployment due to a temporary or indefinite layoff for:

  • health-related benefits
  • maternity, parental, compassionate care, family caregiver leave
  • sickness, accident, or disability
  • temporary stoppage of work
  • training

A SUBP may be registered or unregistered. A SUBP may be registered with:

  • Service Canada, if the plan meets the requirements of article 37 of the Employment Insurance Regulations
  • the minister of national revenue (Canada Revenue Agency), if the plan satisfies the conditions for registration under section 145 of the Income Tax Act.

Registered SUBPs offer certain advantages for the employee and the employer over unregistered plans.

The PEI Employee Gift Card Program is a temporary program put in place to offer a $100 grocery gift value to any employee, living and working on PEI, who has received a lay-off notice as a direct result of the impacts associated with the public health measures between February 28 – March 14, 2021. The application form is to be completed by the employer, who will then distribute the gift card letters to affected employees.

Applications for this program are open until April 15, 2021 and available here.




Accessing credit


The Government of Canada launched the Highly Affected Sector Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) with applications open as of February 1, 2021. These loans are for businesses who have been hardest hit by COVID-19, with loan amounts ranging from $25,000 to $1M at a 4% fixed interest rate, and up to a 10-year repayment term.

Applications are available through your financial institution.

The Small Business Investment Grant helps PEI’s small businesses improve efficiency and innovation by way of a non-repayable financial contribution toward eligible capital asset costs.

Assistance is open to eligible small businesses operating on PEI including:

  • Fishers, farmers, not-for-profit organizations, banks and financial companies, and realty companies (including commercial/residential landlords and developers) are not eligible for assistance

  • The business must have at least one employee (minimum of 560 hours) or the business is the primary source of income for the applicant. (Verification may be requested)

  • A person who has multiple qualifying businesses and/or is a controlling shareholder in multiple qualifying businesses is only eligible to access this program for one business per fiscal year

  • The company is registered to do business federally or provincially

  • An eligible business can only submit one application per year either through this program or Innovation PEI’s Capital Acquisition program

Payment will be based on 15% of the actual eligible cost as determined at the time of your request for reimbursement - resulting in a maximum grant of $3,750.

One application to this program per fiscal year (April 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021) will be accepted regardless of the amount. Requests for payment must be submitted by May 30, 2021. Businesses can include approved multiple capital assets up to a maximum of $25,000.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) originally provided funding to eligible financial institutions to provide interest-free, guaranteed loans up to $40,000 to small businesses who required additional capital, at 0% interest rate. The deadline to apply for the initial $40,000 was December 31, 2020.

As of December 4, 2020, eligible businesses can access a second loan of up to $20,000 on top of the initial $40,00 that was available earlier in 2020.

Companies with payrolls of $20,000 to $1.5M are eligible. Small business owners can apply for support through CEBA through their banks and credit unions.

On March 22, 2021 the Federal Government announced that all applicants now have until June 30, 2021 to apply for a $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion at their financial institution. Details available here.

Emergency Working Capital Fund assists PEI’s small businesses with maintaining normal business operations with a working capital loan. Eligible applicants can apply to 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 (including payroll, rent, utilities, etc.) with principal and interest payments deferred for a minimum of 12 months.

Application forms are available here.

Business Credit Availability Program provides an increase in the credit available to small and medium Canadian businesses through the BDC and EDC. The Program also allows mid-sized companies with larger financing needs to access loans.

Regional Relief & Recovery Fund (RRRF) is funding available through Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC) for those who don’t qualify for CEBA, CEWS or CECRA. Loans of up to $40,000 are available with 0% interest and $10,000 forgivable until March 31, 2021.

Urban Main Street Loan Initiative (UMSLI) is funding through CBDC for businesses located in greater Charlottetown area that have applied for CEBA, CEWS, CECRA and were either ineligible/rejected or they received the relief and are still facing liquidity issues. Loans of up to $40,000 are available to be used to finance the everyday operations of a business such as sales and marketing, product development, wages and other activities for businesses such as retail shops, restaurants, corner stores, etc., and businesses of strategic importance to the community.

The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) will provide 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. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery. Companies must have annual revenues of $300M or higher and seeking financing of $60M or more.




Farming and Agriculture Specific Businesses


COVID-19 Mitigation - Strategic Fund for Agriculture is a program under the Canada Agriculture Partnership to help commodities and small processors adapt to the pandemic. The project is designed to support PEI’s agriculture industry in mitigating impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic which are jeopardizing competitiveness, productivity, and profitability.

Eligible costs include things such as:

  • Activities designed to assist with the marketing, movement and distribution of product
  • Activities designed to offset market access and market loss (e.g., legal or consultant fees to identify or access new markets)
  • Capital expenditures, materials and/or supplies identified as essential to move through the business interruption created by COVID-19
  • Assistance to address marketing challenges by implementing solutions using technology (e.g. secure e-commerce, technology to host remote meetings, etc.)
  • Activities which encourage compliance with recommended CPHO protocols (e.g., adherence to recommended physical distancing, sanitation procedures, etc.)
  • Training on COVID-19 protocols
  • Activities designed to provide mental health support




Tourism Support


Tourism Assistance Loan Program provides assistance loan through Finance PEI of up to $1M at 4% interest available for working capital. Both principal payments on the loan, as well as interest, will be deferred for the first 18 months. Applications are open April 18, 2020 to December 31st, 2021.

Tourism Interest Relief Program provides relief for businesses that have a minimum 30% decrease in tourism related revenues compared to the same month in the prior year or no tourism revenue for the month. The program will not exceed 18 months, and no claims will be processed for months subsequent to September 2021.

Tourism PEI is waiving fees for 2021 season to support tourism operators impacted by COVID-19. These fees include accommodation licensing fees for existing and new applicants, highway signage fees for existing signage holders and Canada Select star rating program fees for the 2021 season. More information available here.




Start-Ups & Young Entrepreneurs


The Government of Canada is increasing funding to two organizations - Futurpreneur Canada, the only national non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to entrepreneurs aged 18-39; and the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), which provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.




Fish and Seafood Processors


The Prince Edward Island Fisheries Emergency Loan Program, a targeted loan portfolio offered by Finance PEI and the PEI Credit Unions, will provide loans up to $25,000 to Islander harvesters at 4% interest over a five-year term. The principal will be deferred for the first 18 months. In addition, the Department of Fisheries and Communities will pay interest on behalf of the borrower for the first 18 months. The Fisheries Interest Relief Program is a ‘term debt’ interest relief program will provide assistance to PEI fish harvesters. This new interest relief program will provide relief for qualified applicants. Additionally, clients that currently have their debt with Finance PEI will be eligible to defer their principal payments for a 12-month period (May 1st, 2020 – April 30th, 2021) upon request.

Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund is intended to help businesses access short-term financing to pay for maintenance and inventory costs; add storage capacity for unsold product; comply with new health and safety measures for workers; support new manufacturing/automated technologies to improve productivity and quality of finished seafood products; and adapt products to respond to changing requirements and new market demands.

Applications are available through ACOA.




Support for Businesses & Organizations


The COVID-19 Operational Support Program for Community Halls will provide grants of up to $2,500 to assist community halls with expenses such as heat, electricity and insurance to ensure they can continue to operate.

Through the division of Rural and Regional Development, the program will fund up to 80 percent of estimated operating expenses from December 2020 to March 2021, to a maximum of $2,500.

Applications are available here. Deadline to apply is March 19, 2021.

The Prince Edward Island Emergency Payment for Workers provides financial support to residents of PEI who have lost their job, have been laid off, loss of their primary source of income, or have seen their hours significantly reduced between February 28, 2021 – March 14, 2021 due to recent public health orders related to COVID-19 announced February 28, 2021. This emergency income program is a one-time lump sum payment of $500. This emergency benefit is taxable income.

Applications are open until April 15, 2021 and available here.




Commercial Leases & Rent


The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) provides direct commercial rent or property expense support to tenants and property owners of qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy supports businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic starting on September 27, 2020 until June 2021.

The subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.





Support for Individuals

Support for Individuals


Employment Insurance (EI) Access – as of September 27, 2020, there are temporary changes to the EI program to help access EI benefits. They are in effect for one year:

  • A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada effective August 9, 2020

  • A minimum of 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits and a one-time credit of:

  • 300 insured hours if you’re applying for regular benefits

  • 480 insured hours if you’re applying for sickness, maternity, parental or caregiving benefits

  • You’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes, or $300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits but you could receive more

  • If you’re a fisher, we’ll look at the earnings from your 2018, 2019 and 2020 summer or winter seasons to determine your benefit rate and establish your claim for the same season

  • If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended

A medical certificate is not required for EI claims beginning March 15, 2020, or later

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they're sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The individual must be unable to work at least 50% of their scheduled work week because they are self isolating or tested positive for COVID-19. The individual would not be eligible for this if applying for EI or other funding benefits

If you're eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a one-week period. If your situation continues past one week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of four week between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they're sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The individual must be unable to work at least 50% of their scheduled work week because of caring for a family member and would not be eligible for this if applying for EI or other funding benefits. If eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period.

If your situation continues past one week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 38 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a two-week period. If your situation continues past two weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) up to maximum of 38 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.





Closed Programs

Closed Programs


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provided a taxable benefit of $2,000 per month. CERB is now closed but continues to accept and process retroactive applications for period 7 (August 30 to September 26, 2020) until December 2, 2020.

The Telework Adaptation Fund provided Prince Edward Island businesses and community organizations assistance toward the cost of activities that enable their employees to work efficiently from home.

The Provincial Business Adaption Advice Program was a non-repayable contribution towards the cost for any PEI businesses and entrepreneurs to hire a professional to provide advice and support to adapt to or recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Workspace Adaption Assistance Fund helped small businesses purchase and install protective measures such as plexiglass dividers or handwashing stations to safeguard employees and customers

Emergency Relief Worker Assistance Program was for private sector businesses or not-for-profit organizations to provide temporary financial support to their employees who have experienced a reduction of at least eight hours per week, as compared to pre-COVID-19 hours, during the four-week period of March 16, 2020 – April 11, 2020.

Support for Essential Workers was a temporary wage top-up program for Island workers employed by any business or organization, including for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing essential services.

Emergency Income Relief Fund was for sole proprietors/partnerships and incorporations that could demonstrate direct financial losses resulting from COVID-19 isolation measures at the time of application.

Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program provided support to small and medium-sized businesses who have closed due to impacts of COVID-19, where landlords can defer rent payments from their commercial tenants for three months, spreading the deferred rent amount over the rest of the lease term.

The AgriInsurance Program offered a 10% discount on the producer’s share of insurance premiums, saving farmers an estimated $3.2 million over two years.

The AgriStability Program package included paying the provincial portion of the costs to increase the coverage level for producers enrolled in the program from 70% to 85%, and removing the reference margin limit which will have a positive impact on the livestock industry.

Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program supported 2020 fishing seasons for eligible self-employed fish harvesters and sharespersons crew who could not access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

Emergency Processing Fund helped food producers’ access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations.

Surplus Food Rescue Program helped redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.

Indigenous Community Support Fund provided new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities.

Income Support Fund was intended to bridge the gap between loss of employment/income for individuals whose employment status was impacted by COVID-19.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provided students with $1,250 per month between May and August for current post-secondary students, those starting post-secondary education in September and students who have graduated since December 2019.

COVID-19 Special Situations Fund provided financial support to Islanders, businesses, community groups and non-government organizations that have experienced urgent income loss as a result of COVID-19 and are not eligible for other federal and provincial funding support.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) – provided loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive) through to September 2020.

Filing deadlines for Corporations or Trusts

T2 Corporation Income Tax Returns: The CRA allowed all businesses to defer T2 corporation income tax returns otherwise due in June, July or August, to September 1, 2020. Any income tax balance due on or after March 18 and before September 1 were due by September 1, 2020.

T3 Trust Income Tax Returns: The deadlines for trust returns that would otherwise be due in June, July or August, were extended to September 1, 2020. Any income tax balance due on or after March 18 and before September 1 were also due by September 1, 2020.

Extended Tax Filing Deadlines

  • Individual’s personal tax filing deadline was extended from April 30, 2020 to June 1, 2020

  • The deadline to pay any balance due for your individual income tax and benefit return for 2019 was extended from April 30, 2020, to September 30, 2020. This means you will not be assessed any penalties or interest if your balance due was paid by September 30, 2020.

  • This applies to tax balances due and instalments under Part I of the Income Tax Act.

  • Interest or penalties will not accumulate on these amounts during this period

Trusts having a taxation year ending December 31, 2019 filing deadline were extended to May 1, 2020





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