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COVID-19 Canadian Support Programs To-Date

Good Morning,

We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during these difficult times. With all of the changes going on it can be difficult to stay abreast of the latest information. To help you figure out what you should be applying for we have provided a summary below of the programs currently available from the Provincial and Federal Governments. If you have any more questions about any of the information below, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Support for Individuals

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The CERB is a $2,000 per 4-week period payment that is available to individuals who are not eligible for EI. It has been expanded to include individuals who are still working during the shutdown and now allows you to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.

There has also been an announcement of a new top-up of salary for essential workers involved in certain sectors including hospitals, nursing homes, and food and retail supply chains and who are earning less than $2,500 a month. This measure is expected to be carried out by the provincial governments in the next little while.

The conditions to qualify are:

• Residents in Canada, who are at least 15 years old
• Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020
• Who had employment and/or self employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
• And, who have not quit their job voluntarily

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.

When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.

To apply:

The application itself can be done on your CRA My Account or via an automated telephone service [1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041]. Whether you are eligible for EI or not, the application site currently handles both these claims.

After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get a cheque in the mail in about 10 business days. If your situation continues, you can re-apply for a payment for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods). Please note that you must reapply after each 4-week period.

To find out if you are eligible and whether you should apply for CERB with Service Canada or the Canadian Revenue Agency, click this link and answer the questions at the bottom of the page:

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

For more information and answers to commonly asked questions, click this link:

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

GST/HST Credit
If you currently receive this credit, payments starting April 9, 2020 will increase based on the following:

The maximum amounts for the 2019-2020 benefit year will increase from
• $443 to $886 if you’re single
• $580 to $1,160 if you’re married or living common-law
• $153 to $306 for each child under the age of 19 (excluding the first eligible child of a single parent)
• $290 to $580 for the first eligible child of a single parent.

You can get more information on the GST/HST Credit by following this link: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/covid-19-gsthstc-increase.html

Support for Students and Recent Graduates

The Government of Canada is developing a number of programs to help students concerned about finding summer employment, saving for tuition and securing meaningful employment post graduation.

Expanded Student and Youth Programming
• “I Want to Help” Platform will provide information about available service opportunities and ways to pursue service positions.
• Additional funding for youth employment skills training; wage subsidies; work placement programs; research scholarships; etc.

Enhanced Financial Assistance for Fall 2020
• Proposed changes to the Canada Student Loan Program’s eligibility requirements in 2020-21 will allow more students to qualify for supports and be eligible for greater amounts, including doubling the non-repayable Canada Student Grants.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
• A new grant is being developed to support post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for CERB or EI.
• The CESB would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities.
• The CESB will be delivered by CRA and more details will follow.

Canada Student Service Grant
• To encourage students to participate in the COVID-19 response, the government will launch a new national service initiative and provide support through a new Canada Student Service Grant which will provide up to $5,000 to support student’s post-secondary education costs in the fall.
• More details will be made available on the I Want to Help platform over the coming weeks.

International students
• The Government of Canada will remove the restriction that allows international students to work only a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

For more information on these and other programs designed to help students and recent graduates please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/support-for-students-and-recent-graduates-impacted-by-covid-19.html

Support for Families with Children

Canada Child Benefit
If you currently receive the Canada Child Benefit, the amount is expected to be increased by $300 per child on the May 2020 payment.

Ontario – Support for Families
There is a $200 per child ages 0-12 (disabled – $250 ages 0-21) payment towards the cost of home-schooling children while daycares and schools are closed. Anyone with a child that was in a daycare centre or school can apply. Please make sure you receive a confirmation email as I have heard the page can be fairly buggy.

https://www.iaccess.gov.on.ca/ParentAppWeb/parentapp/index.xhtml

Support for Businesses

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – 75% Wage Subsidy
This is a 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to three months. The program is expected to run for a 12-week period, retroactive from March 15 to June 6, 2020. However, additional support may be added later, given that it is unclear how long the COVID-19 crisis will last. We will monitor updates closely and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

The latest information on both eligibility and subsidy amounts is outlined below:

Eligibility

• Businesses now only have to demonstrate a 15% drop in revenues in March 2020. The drop for April and May 2020 remains 30%. In order to remain eligible, you must pay the salary or wages to your employees, and, if your application is accepted you will be repaid through this subsidy program at a later date. Therefore, you will need to keep records demonstrating your reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees.
• You can now choose to apply the percentage drop calculation to either the same month in the prior year (i.e. March 2020 vs March 2019) or against the average of revenues in January and February 2020. Which ever method you choose must be consistent for the duration of this program.
• You can also choose to apply the cash method of accounting instead of the normal accrual method. This is implemented to help address businesses with large amounts of unpaid invoices due to Covid-19.

Subsidy

• The amount is calculated as either 75% of the employee’s current pay or 75% of their pre-crisis pay, whichever is greater and up to a maximum of $847 per week. This means that you can pay the employee a reduced salary and claim up to 100% of their salaries under this grant. This is by design as the government’s objective is to have businesses rehire employees even if they are not able to work during this time.
• There is also a 75% of pay subsidy for new employees brought on since March 15th.
• Owner’s and non-arm’s length employees are eligible; however, their subsidy amounts are limited to 75% of the average weekly payroll payments they received from Jan 1 to March 15, 2020 up to $847 per week. In other words, an owner who did not take payroll payments in that time, or who received dividends instead is not eligible.
• If a business is retaining or re-hiring an employee even though the employee is not working, they are also eligible to receive a subsidy of the Employer portion of EI and CPP paid. This is announced to support businesses re-hiring employees who have been laid off while there is no work for them or while they have to stay home to take care of family members etc.

Application

• Applications are open as of April 27, 2020 and can be done through your My Business Account with CRA. Payments are expected in the first week of May

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator
• If you would like some assistance determining if you qualify for CEWS and getting a rough idea of how much you could receive per employee, this CEWS calculator can help: https://www.preetbanerjee.com/cews
• You can watch this YouTube video to see how it works.

For more information on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (including how to apply), please visit the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/wage-subsidy.html

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
The terms of this loan have been updated to include businesses with total payrolls of $20,000 to $1,500,000 in 2019. This is a line of credit type account and the application for it is currently available for up to $40,000 of financing. This will carry no interest until December 31, 2022 and if 75% of the loan is repaid by that date the remaining 25% will be eligible for complete forgiveness. Applications for this loan are done through the financial institution where you have your business accounts.

The Government of Canada has also added broad terms to the permitted spending of these funds, including non-deferrable operating expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities, property taxes and regular debt payments. Usage is not permitted for refinancing debt, paying dividends or increasing management compensation.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
A new program is being developed for small businesses which will consists of loans and forgivable loans to commercial property owners who in turn forgo rent from small businesses for the months of April, May and June. The details are still being worked out; however, the program is expected to lower rent by 75 per cent for affected small businesses. Essentially, the federal and provincial governments will work together to cover 50% of eligible small business rents during the stated time period and landlords and tenants will be responsible for 25% each.

In order to qualify small business tenants must be paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. The new program is expected to be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenant’s payable for the months of April and May, retroactively.

Things are still changing fast and there is a lot of confusion about these programs as they roll out. If you have any questions or are not sure how to handle any of the items above, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Yours truly,

CPA Plus

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