How To Access COVID-19 Support
This page will summarize how to access the benefits designed to help you and your business through the financial difficulties caused by COVID-19. It will be updated as more announcements are made. Where possible, links will be provided to further information and resources. We encourage you to visit the Federal and Alberta links for a full list of benefits.
Whether you’re an individual or a business or both, if you expect any financial hardship from COVID-19, we strongly encourage you to take action now. It’s easier to get concessions from your financial institution, landlord, utility company and suppliers if you engage with them early in the process.
If you’re not sure how bad it will get, a good place to start is by preparing a detailed analysis of your current cost structure along with a cash flow forecast that incorporates sensitivity analysis. That may sound like it only applies to businesses, but a simplified version can help individuals too.
If you have any questions or need help with anything, please contact us. That’s what we’re here for!
COVID-19 Financial & Tax Support for Individuals
- Personalized list of support – Answer some questions and get a list of benefits and support tailored to you. Check back from time to time as more benefits are added.
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ($2,000 a month for up to 6 months)
NEW – The CERB has been extended from 16 weeks to 24 weeks.
The government has also introduced draft legislation with strict penalties for inappropriate CERB claims. After applying, benefits should arrive in 3-5 days by direct deposit or in 10 days by cheque through the mail. If you plan to apply for this benefit, the government has recommended you sign up for My Account through CRA and direct deposit to receive the benefit as soon as possible.
The CERB is available to owners that have paid themselves with dividends. See these FAQs for more details.
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) ($1,250 for each 4-week period or $2,000 if you have dependents or a disability) – Support for students that do not qualify for CERB or EI. Follow the link to see if you are eligible, how much you can get, and how to apply. Applications begin on Friday, May 15. The program is set to run from May to August 2020.
- One-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS); no need to apply.
- Increased Canada Child Benefit “CCB” (extra $300 per child = approx. $550 for the average family in May) – Automatic; no need to apply if you already receive the CCB.
- Increased GST credit (average of approx. $400 for single individuals and $600 for couples; one-time special payment starting April 9) – Automatic; no need to apply.
- A reminder to file your 2019 personal tax return if you are expecting a refund or expect to qualify for the CCB or GST credit… don’t wait until June 1 to file!
- Emergency Isolation Support (one-time payment of $1,146) – This program is now closed.
Defer payments such as:
- Utilities – Call your utility provider
- Canada Student Loans and Alberta Student Loans – Six months beginning March 30, no need to apply.
- Loans and mortgages – Call your financial institution
COVID-19 Financial & Tax Support for Businesses
- Personalized list of support – Fill in a story about your business for a personalized list of support. You can save the results, return at any time and sign up for e-mail updates as new announcements are made.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – Effective Mar 15/20, any business or non-profit organization that experienced a decrease in revenue of at least 30% (15% for March) will qualify for a wage subsidy of 75% of the first $58,700 of each employee’s annual salary, which is a maximum of $847 per week per employee.There are two choices most businesses can make and they must apply the same method each month:
1) calculate the decrease in revenue by comparing to the same month last year (e.g. March 2020 vs. March 2019) or to an average of January and February 2020
2) account for revenue on a cash or accrual basis. Any business that qualifies in one period will automatically qualify in the next period of the program.
Applications can be made through CRA’s My Business Account or Represent a Client. CRA has launched an online calculator that you can use to preview your wage subsidy. Note that this is separate from determining if you are eligible for CEWS.
NEW – The CEWS has been extended to December 2020. The 30% decrease in revenue will apply for June as well. More details to follow on any adjustments to the program for July through December. CRA has made a list of FAQs available here.
- Temporary Wage Subsidy – Subsidy of 10% of remuneration paid between Mar 18/20 and Jun 20/20 up to $1,375 per employee and a maximum of $25,000 per employer. If you have a payroll provider, see if they have a solution. Otherwise, here is a free Excel template and instructions on YouTube from Tax Templates Inc.
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) – Provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits. There are two ways to qualify: 1) organizations that paid between $20,000 and $1,500,000 in total payroll in 2019 and 2) organizations with less than $20,000 in 2019 and eligible estimated non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1,500,000 in 2020 (e.g. rent, property taxes, utilities and insurance).The expanded criteria make CEBA available to more businesses including businesses that pay dividends, sole proprietors and businesses that rely on contractors. Repaying the loan by December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). Contact your financial institution to apply for these loans. NEW – Applications based on the expanded criteria are now open.
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) – At a very high level, this program is run by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the smaller loans are like CEBA for those that did not qualify for CEBA (e.g. businesses that do not have revenue yet). Loans of up to $40,000 with loan forgiveness of 25% if repaid by December 31, 2022. There are also interest-free loans of over $40,000 available with no scheduled repayments until after December 31, 2022, but 100% of the loan must be repaid. Click the link and read through the eligibility criteria if you need funds, but have been unsuccessful thus far.
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) – The government announced some details for rent relief. The program will lower rent by 75% for businesses that have rent less than $50,000 per month and have either temporarily ceased operations or experienced at least a 70% decrease in revenue. Applications began on May 25 to lower rent for April, May and June.
- GST/HST deferral – Certain payments have been deferred until June 30. Click on the link to read the details as the specifics vary based on your reporting period.
- Work-Sharing program – An EI program that helps to avoid layoffs; must be submitted 30 days before the requested start.
- Note that only income tax and GST/HST payments are deferred. Businesses must still make their scheduled payroll remittances.
- NEW – Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant – Provides up to $5,000 in funding for organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations and had a revenue reduction of 50% in April or May. Funding is 15% of pre-COVID-19 revenue up to $5,000. Organizations can apply for each location/chapter/branch they operate.See the details in the pdf located here and a list of COVID-19 public health orders here.
Applications for Calgary start on Thursday, July 2 and are made through My Alberta Digital ID so sign-up for that ASAP if you will qualify for this program.
- WCB premium payment deferral (pdf) – 2020 premiums deferred to 2021 at which time small and medium-sized private employers will have 50% of their 2020 premiums waived. If you have already made payments towards 2020 premiums, they will be refunded automatically.
- Education property tax deferral – The increase from Budget 2020 was reversed and collection will be deferred for 6 months. Commercial landlords have been encouraged to pass savings on to tenants.
- If you have tough decisions surrounding employees, speak to your employment lawyer first. There are new rules around job-protected leave related to COVID-19 as well as possible implications around restricting travel, notification of possible exposure, privacy rights, occupational health and safety, human rights and so on.
Defer payments such as:
- Utilities – Call your utility provider
- Loans and lines of credit (or access additional working capital) – Call your financial institution