Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. During this extraordinary time, the Government of Canada is taking strong action to help Canadian businesses as COVID-19 is affecting them, their employees and their families.
The Government and public health officials are urging all Canadians to:
- stay home unless it is absolutely essential to go out
- practice social distancing and good hygiene
For businesses, this means:
- facilitating flexible and remote work arrangements
- preparing your workplace for COVID-19
- understanding how to keep your employees safe
Four key considerations for businesses
1. Support for employees
No Canadian should have to worry about losing their job, paying their rent or putting food on the table because of COVID-19. That’s why the Government is:
- enhancing the Work-Sharing program to support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business
- waiving the one-week waiting period and the requirement for a medical certificate for employment insurance (EI) sickness benefits to provide immediate support for workers in quarantine
- temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments to ensure working families have enough money to support their kids
- introducing an Emergency Support Benefit to provide support to workers facing unemployment who are not eligible for EI
- extending the tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020
- and much more
2. Support for businesses
Canada’s strong fiscal position means we are well positioned to respond to challenges such as COVID-19.
Canada’s coordinated approach to supporting the economy and the financial sector includes the Governor of the Bank of Canada cutting the interest rate to 0.75% and the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announcing an additional $300 billion in lending capacity by the major banks.
No employer should feel like they have to lay off a worker in the face of COVID-19. To further support businesses and their employees, the Government has announced:
- a new Business Credit Availability Program to make more than $10 billion available to Canadian businesses in financing and credit insurance solutions through:
- Export Development Canada (EDC)
- the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
- the Canada Revenue Agency will defer tax payments until August 31, 2020, to help businesses with cash flow
- immediate relief for small businesses with a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer
- a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks for self-employed people and others who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits
- increased credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada
Assistance for tourism operators, small businesses or organizations
If you are a tourism operator, a small business or an organization affected by COVID-19 and need pressing assistance, the regional development agencies (RDAs) could assist you with access to federal funding and services.
It is also vital for Canadian businesses to have contingency plans in place to manage potential financial risk. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has developed a comprehensive preparedness guide for businesses in the face of COVID-19.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is also providing information to help businesses through these difficult times.
3. Business travel and events
The Government is advising Canadians to:
- avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice
- if outside of Canada, return home and self-isolate for 14 days
- To help bring Canadians home, the Government has created the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad.
- When it comes to business conferences and events, the Government is advising against gatherings of over 50 people.
4. Business in international markets
Canada and the United States are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across our border. Essential travel will continue unimpeded to preserve supply chains between both countries and ensure that food, fuel and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border.
The Trade Commissioner Service has experts in 160 cities worldwide who can provide small businesses with market-specific insights and guidance to help you mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, as well as access to funding to help you in global markets.
Are you a business that can supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19? Let us know.
Are you looking for information on government supports at your fingertips? Download the Canada Business App today.
For more information visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/maintaingrowimprovebusiness/resources-for-canadian-businesses.html