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COVID-19 programs and relief measures across Canada


April 13, 2020
By Canadian Pizza

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A number of new programs and relief measures have been announced provincially as follows.

Prince Edward Island
The COVID-19 “Business Adaptation Advice Program” provides a non-repayable contribution toward the cost for Prince Edward Island businesses, entrepreneurs, not-for-profit, and non-governmental organizations to hire a professional to provide advice and support to adapt to or recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The P.E.I. finance minister outlined additional financial measures to help Islanders with property tax relief through amendments to the Real Property Tax Act regulations, including:

  • deferring provincial property tax and fee payments until Dec. 31, 2020
  • providing interest relief for tax year 2020, including all past due amounts
  • suspending tax sale processes for the remainder of 2020
  • delaying mailing of provincial tax bills for 2020 until June

Nova Scotia:
Nova Scotia announced new measures to support small businesses:

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  • $20 million Worker Emergency Bridge Fund to help the self-employed and laid-off workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance. Government will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment, to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit
  • $20 million to fund a new program, the Small Business Impact Grant. Eligible small businesses and social enterprises will receive a grant of 15 per cent of their revenue from sales, either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. This flexible, one-time, upfront grant can be used for any purpose necessary

Quebec:
Quebec announced new measures to support Québec businesses affected by COVID-19, including the “Emergency Assistance Program” for small and medium-sized businesses who require working capital of less than $50,000. The initial envelope of $150 million is in addition to the “Temporary Concerted Action Program for Businesses” launched by the Quebec government on March 19. The premier also announced an extension of the “Local Investment Funds” (FLI) until Dec. 31, 2022, and a three-month extension for repayment of loans (principal and interest) granted under the FLI.

The government announced an incentive program to retain essential workers. This program will offer a $100 weekly benefit for low-income earners working full or part-time in essential services, retroactive to March 15, 2020 for a maximum of 16 weeks.

To be eligible to the benefit, applicants must:

  • work in a sector declared essential during the period covered
  • earn a gross salary of $550 a week or less
  • have annual employment earnings of at least $5,000 and total annual income of $28,600 or less, calculated before the benefit

Cooks, cleaners, drivers, cashiers and most restaurant delivery/take-out/drive-thru staff are on the list of essential workers and eligible for the benefit.

Ontario:
The Ontario government announced further business closures on April 3. Takeout and delivery services are still included on the list of essential services.

Manitoba:
Manitoba announced supports for both individuals and businesses. They include:

  • no interest or penalties for overdue payments to Manitoba Hydro, Central Gas, Manitoba Public Insurance, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (restaurant and bars), Workers Compensation Board
  • no disconnection of utilities customers
  • no interest or penalties on provincial education taxes or school division fees
  • PST being removed from insurance payments as of July 1, 2020