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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Flexibility measures for individuals and businesses

In the coming days and weeks, we will inform you of the measures affecting individuals and employers which the government authorities implement in line with the Covid-19 pandemic.

March 30 – Federal

The federal government has announced changes to the 75% wage subsidy (initially 10%) for businesses:

  • In addition to SMBs, the wage subsidy will be available to large businesses, non-profit organizations and charitable organizations.
  • Any business that loses at least 30% of its revenues due to the economic impact of the coronavirus will finally be admissible.
    The grant will be retroactive to March 15 and will be in effect for 3 months.
    The detailed terms of application for this subsidy will be unveiled in the next 2 to 3 days.

March 30 – Quebec

  • Quebec announces the closing for all Sundays in April of businesses that provide essential services.
  • Electronic notarized deeds have just been temporarily authorized by the Government of Québec.

March 27 – Quebec

To further support small businesses, the Government of Québec will:

  • Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer Québec Sales Tax (QST) payments until June. The deferral to June of QST payments, as well as customs duties owing on imports, will generally apply to remittances that become due in March, April, and May.

March 27 – Federal

To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada will:

  • Announce a 75 per cent (initially 10 per cent) wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. More details will be shared before the end of the month.
  • Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June. The deferral to June of GST/HST payments, as well as customs duties owing on imports, will generally apply to remittances that become due in March, April, and May.
  • Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
  • Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.

March 25 – Federal

  • On March 18, the federal government announced the implementation of the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. These two benefits meant for employees have been replaced by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

    Canadians who have already completed an application for employment insurance do not have to make another one, since the initial request will be automatically transferred to the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

    To apply for this benefit, workers will be able to access the CERB portal which will be implemented at the beginning of April. Applicants will start to receive their CERB payments within 10 days after making their application. The benefit will be paid every four weeks and will cover the period from March 15, 2020 to October 2, 2020.

    All Canadians who are deprived of an income because of the pandemic and who earned a minimum of $5,000 last year are eligible for this emergency financial assistance.

    To learn more, click this link: Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

March 23 – Federal

  • Specifications concerning the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers announced on March 18:

    Caution: Eligible employers are non-profit organizations, registered charities and
    certain Canadian controlled private corporations which pay remuneration to an employee
    (refer to the section "Which employers are eligible" by clicking the CRA link below). Starting March 18, 2020, until June 20, 2020, eligible employers can reduce the remittances of federal, provincial or territorial income tax from the amount of their subsidy. This measure does not apply to remittances made to the Canada Revenue Agency.

    To learn more, refer to the section Frequently asked questions – Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers.

March 20 – CNESST

  • Employers have until August 31, 2020 to pay the État de compte linked to their CNESST contribution. In addition, no penalty and no interest will be payable during this period.
  • The deadline for sending the la Déclaration des salaires 2019 is extended. Employers have until June 1, 2020 to send it.

March 19 – Quebec

$2.5 billion to help businesses:

  • The government is asking Quebecers to encourage Quebec businesses by buying locally.
  • To harmonize with the measure by the federal government announced on March 18, the deadline for paying a tax balance for individuals and businesses for the 2019 tax year is postponed to September 1.
  • Emergency assistance measures to support businesses offering a loan or a loan guarantee at very low rates. See the eligibility criteria on the Investissement Québec website.

March 18 - Federal

  • The border between Canada and the United States will be closed to tourists, but the closure does not apply to truckers who ship essential goods.
  • Tax holidays to enable individuals and businesses to defer the payment of taxes payable until the end of August.
  • For individuals who lose their job or who have fewer hours of work and are not eligible for employment insurance, the government is introducing the Emergency Support Benefit for up to 14 weeks.
  • For individuals, including self-employed workers, who do not benefit from paid sick leave and who are sick, in quarantine or obligated to stay at home to take care of their children, Ottawa is introducing a new Emergency Care Benefit, which provides up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks.
  • For low or modest income families, the government plans to pay by the beginning of May 2020 a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax Credit ($400 on average).
  • For families with children who may require additional support, Ottawa is going to increase the maximum Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-2020 only, by $300 per child. These families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment.
  • To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of the remuneration paid for a period of three months, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. This measure takes effect immediately. The employers concerned simply reduce their remittance of income tax withheld on their employees' remuneration. More details to come.

March 17 - Quebec

  • The deadline for producing and sending a tax return for individuals is postponed to June 1, 2020.
  • The deadline to pay a balance due for individuals and those who are in business for the 2019 tax year is postponed to July 31, 2020.
  • For citizens who have instalments to pay, the June 15 instalment payment is suspended until July 31. The date and terms of payment of this amount will be announced shortly.
  • For businesses, instalments and tax payments that are due starting today are suspended until July 31.

To learn more, go to the Press releases section of the Revenu Québec website.

March 17 - Federal

  • Tomorrow, the Trudeau government will announce its economic assistance plan for individuals and businesses.

March 16 – Quebec

  • The Quebec government announces that a worker who must self-quarantine, who is not eligible for the federal employment insurance program and who is not covered by a private insurance plan can be compensated by the province. The Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT) will pay an amount of $573 per week.

March 11 – Federal

  • The government abolishes the one-week elimination period which forced employees to wait before receiving health benefits from employment insurance.