The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our economy in many ways as companies and organizations are being ordered to close or reduce their operations to protect public health and prevent further spread of the virus.
All levels of government are working extremely hard to activate public resources to support businesses and organizations in these extraordinary times. Keep reading to learn more about the initiatives that are underway.
If you are an individual that needs financial support, or an employer that wants to advise your employees about supports that are available, please read Financial Supports for People Impacted by COVID-19.
For Self-Employed workers:
If you or a child or adult that you care for is required to self-isolate due to COVID-19:
- If you registered for access to EI special benefits for self-employed people, you may be eligible for EI sickness and caregiving benefits if your registration was confirmed 12 months ago or longer.
- If you have no other source of pay or compensation, the Government of Alberta is providing a one-time Emergency Isolation Support benefit of $1,146 to bridge the gap before other federal supports are available in April. You will need an Alberta driver’s license or ID to apply. Confirm that you are eligible and apply online by visiting https://emergencyisolationsupport.alberta.ca/
If you are not working for any of the following reasons, you can receive the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit:
- You have had to stop working and must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- You earn wages through self-employment, including contract work and are otherwise not eligible for Employment Insurance.
This taxable benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to 4 months and will be available starting in April. Get ready to apply by creating a CRA My Account today.
Preventing or reducing layoffs:
- If reducing the working hours of your EI-eligible employees will help to avoid layoffs, consider the Work Sharing Program. This program provides Employment Insurance benefits to employees that agree to make a formal Work Sharing agreement to reduce their hours due to circumstances beyond your control.
- If your business or organization has lost revenue, a new Temporary Wage Subsidy is available to help prevent or reduce layoffs. Employers eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities could access up to $1,375 per employee over a three-month period to a maximum total $25,000 per employer.
Deferring payments to manage cash-flow:
- Canada Revenue Agency will allow businesses to defer paying your corporate income tax balances and installment payments until after August 31, 2020.
- The Government of Alberta announced that it will freeze education tax rates at last year’s rate and allow business to defer payment for six months.
- All businesses will be able to defer payment of 2020 WCB premiums until 2021. Rebates will be available to companies that have already made their 2020 payment, and in 2021, the provincial government will cover 50% of the payment amount for small and medium-sized businesses.
- The Government of Alberta is working with utilities service providers to offer a 90-day deferral on electricity and natural gas bill payments for your farm, or small commercial enterprise. (Also available to residential customers).
- The City of Calgary will provide customers with the option to defer payments of their utility bill for up to three months for water, waste and recycling services
- Canada’s 6 largest banks, along with Alberta Treasury Branch, and local credit unions will provide flexible options for small business customers to manage financial disruptions to your business. Contact your financial institution for more information.
Public procurement opportunities to protect Canada’s health care workers:
The Government of Canada has introduced the Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19. This initiative will direct resources to business that can scale up production or redeploy equipment, facilities, or workers to manufacture the personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, surgical gowns, ventilators etc.)
- Effective immediately, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) are ready to provide more than $10 Billion to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses. Through the Business Credit Availability Program, they will target support towards small and medium enterprises.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business offers a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers for small business owners including:
- Business is slow and I don’t have enough work for my employees. What can I do about this?
- How do I complete a Record of Employment when I need to lay off employees.
- My employee is quarantined, will they be eligible for EI?
- Am I obligated to put preventive measures in place?
- My employee is invoking their “right to refuse” unsafe work – what do I do?
- My employee just came back from a region with coronavirus. What should I do?
Business Link pooled a list of resources for small businesses affect by COVID-19 covering topics like:
- Pandemic Preparedness for Business
- EI and sickness benefits
- COVID-19 and Business Insurance: How coverage is triggered
- COVID-19 Tips for Small Business
Calgary Chamber of Commerce
#Here4YYC is a daily webinar series with resources, information, and support to help business owners navigate the challenges and uncertainty of these times.