COVID-19 - Business Support
Town of Fort Erie
The Town of Fort Erie has waived late fees, penalties and charges effective March 23, 2020 until June 30, 2020 for water billings and taxes levied in 2020. Water services shall not be disconnected by the Town of Fort Erie for non-payment of water and wastewater billings until June 30, 2020. Further, no late fees will be imposed on business licenses and payment will be waived for on-street and municipal parking.
Government of Canada
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, this taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). The portal for accessing the CERB is now open. You may apply online with CRA My Account or over the phone with automated phone service. Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. It is encouraged to create a CRA My Account and to elect for direct deposit in order to streamline the process.
Canada Emergency Business Account – This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so that they can provide interest-free loans in the form of lines of credit up to $40,000 to businesses with an annual payroll of between $50,000 and $1 million. The loan is interest-free for the first year. Up to $10,000 of this loan is eligible for complete forgiveness if 75% of the loan is fully repaid on or before December 31, 2022.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – Support for businesses facing revenue losses and to help prevent layoffs. Eligible small and medium-sized businesses can receive support for a period of three months equal to 75% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week. The benefit will be backdated to March 15, 2020. This subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 15% in March 2020 and 30% for the following months. There is no limit on the number of employees per employer. Eligible employers would include individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships consisting of eligible employers as well as non‑profit organizations and registered charities.
Temporary Wage Subsidy – This 10% wage subsidy is a three-month measure from March 18, 2020 that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the CRA. This is a separate program from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy which provides a 75% wage subsidy. You do not need to apply for this 10% subsidy. You will continue deducting income tax, CPP contributions, and EI premiums from salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration paid to your employees, as you currently do. The subsidy is calculated when you remit these amounts to the CRA. Once you have calculated your subsidy, you can reduce your current payroll remittance of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that you send to the CRA by the amount of the subsidy.
Flexibility for Filing Taxes – The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020, and before September 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
GST/HST Payments – The CRA and CBSA are allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of GST/HST, as well as customs duties owning on their imports.
Business Credit Availability Program – Allows the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.
Province of Ontario
List of Essential Workplaces – Following advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, on April 3, 2020, Ontario updated the list of essential businesses that can remain open. The restrictions are aimed at further reducing contact between people and stopping the spread of COVID-19. By 11:59 p.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020, businesses that are not identified on this list must close their physical locations. For questions about what will be open or the impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infections Disease Emergencies) – The Ontario Legislature has passed the Employment Standards Amendment Act to provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away to care for children because of school or daycare closures or to care for other relatives.
Employer Health Tax – The Ontario government is increasing the Employer Health Tax Exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million and a five-month relief period for Ontario businesses who are unable to file or remit their provincial taxes on time due to COVID-19.
WSIB Ontario – All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package. This means that businesses can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. This premium deferral impacts businesses who report and pay monthly, quarterly or annually based on their insurable earnings. Additionally, no interest will accrue on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.
Support for Families – The Government of Ontario has announced the new Support for Families initiative which offers a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 years of age, and $250 for those 0 to 21 years of age with special needs.
Employment & Social Development Canada – Employment insurance sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement for those who are unable to work due to illness or quarantine. The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants.
Work Sharing Program – New temporary special measures are available to employers to retain skilled employees and workers during the temporary downturn in business due to COVID-19.
Temporary Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program – Employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees who hire young people aged 15 to 30 years of age can receive up to 100% of the provincial minimum hourly wage for each employee.
Online Portal to Match Available Health Care Workers with Employers – The new Health Workforce Matching Portal will enable health care providers with a range of experience to join the province's response to COVID-19. Those providers include retired or non-active health care professionals, internationally educated health care professionals, students, and volunteers with health care experience. The portal will efficiently match the availability and skillsets of frontline health care workers to the employers in need of assistance to perform a variety of public health functions, such as case and contact management.
Online Portal for Agri-Food Job Opportunities – The Government of Ontario is launching a new web portal, connecting workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. This new online tool will make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain.
Ontario Works Social Assistance Programs – Employment Ontario providers are continuing to provide services to employers, their employees, and job seekers throughout these unprecedented times. All EO agencies in Niagara are open for virtual business. Services/supports that EO are continuing to provide include:
• Assisting employers struggling with staff shortages – as workforce is depleted due to child care/school closures and sick leave.
• Providing guidance to those workers seeking to file online EI claims.
• Assistance with providing consultation to employee groups being temporarily laid off – seeking basic need supports, mental health services/referrals and the like. All EO agencies are well versed in community supports that employees may need to access during the lay off period.
John Howard Society Niagara Job Gym Welland & Fort Erie
Deanna Villella, Manager
CERF Niagara (Francophone Provider for Niagara Region)
Industry & Supply Chain Resources
Prime Minister announces Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19
MaRS – Global Supply Chain Management During CODI-19: useful resources list
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters – COVID-19 Resources
Business Preparedness Toolkits
Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness for Business
Ontario Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit
World Health Organization – Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
Canadian Federation of Independent Business – Keeping your Employees and Business Safe
Digital Main Street – A free digital “how to” guide to help you grow your online business.
Facebook Grants for Small Business – Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries.
Shopify Academy – Free Shopify training to help you build and grow your business. Topics include starting your online store, promoting it via social media, photography and more.
Google My Business – Guidance on updating information and temporary closures.
Financial Institutions & Mortgages
Announcement from Canada’s “Big Six” Banks – The Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges due to COVID-19.
Insured Mortgage Purchase Program – Purchase of up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers.
Ontario Providing Electricity Relief – The Government of Ontario issued an Emergency Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. As a result, starting on March 24, 2020, residential and small business customers on time-of-use (TOU) pricing will pay 10.1 ¢/kWh no matter what time of day the electricity is consumed. This means that TOU customers will be paying the off-peak price throughout the day as long as the Emergency Order remains in place. The Government has indicated that it intends to keep the 10.1 ¢/kWh pricing in place for 45 days.
The 10.1 ¢/kWh pricing applies automatically – no customer action is required. Some customers may receive a bill before their utility or unit sub-meter provider is able to implement the price change, in which case they will receive a credit on the following bill.
For more information, read the Government’s news release at https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-providing-electricity-relief-to-families-small-businesses-and-farms-during-covid-19.html
Also visit https://.oeb.ca/newsroom/2020/oeb-covid-19-update, for the latest updates from the Ontario Energy Board on measures it's taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pathstone Mental Health – While Pathstone Mental Health Walk-In Clinics are currently closed, if you are in need of mental health support you may contact the 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-800-263-4944.
Ontario Increasing Mental Health Support During COVID-19 – Resources for online and virtual supports.
Status of cases in Niagara Region
For any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Services.
Toll Free: 1-888-270-9151