• Sam Presvelos

Tracking Government Relief for COVID-19

With daily announcements in the news relating to COVID-19, it’s hard to keep track of the relief available for businesses and individuals in Ontario. Below is a summary of the main programs and benefits currently offered by our government, including eligibility criteria and, where available, information on accessing each program or benefit, respectively.

Note: This was last updated March 25, 2020.  

Temporary Wage Subsidy 

What is it?

Three (3) month relief that allows employers to reduce payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”). 

The subsidy is equal to 10% of the payment between March 18, 2020 and June 20, 2020, up to $1,375 per employee and up to a maximum of $25,000 per employer. 

Note: if you receive this subsidy, you must report the total amount as income in the year in which you received the subsidy. The subsidy is calculated when the employer remits these amounts to the CRA.

Who Qualifies?

You must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be a non-profit organization, charity, or Canadian-controlled private corporation;

  • Have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA as of March 18, 2020; and, 

  • Pay salary, wages, bonuses or other remuneration to employee(s). 

How Can I Get It?

Automatically start reducing remittances in the first remittance period that includes remuneration between March 18, 2020June 20, 2020

Business Credit Availability Program (“BCAP”) 

What is it?

Program enabling the Business Development Bank of Canada (“BDC”) and Export Development Canada (“EDC”) to provide over $10 billion support to small and mid-sized businesses, through direct lending and other financial support. 

Who Qualifies?

Credit worthy small and mid-sized businesses. 

How Can I Get It?

If you own and/or operate a business, contact your bank/financial institution to help you apply. Canada’s major banks, including Toronto Dominion Bank (“TD”), Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”), Bank of Montreal (“BMO”), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (“CIBC”) and others can facilitate access to this program. 

Tax Filing Deadline Extension

What is it?

The CRA is allowing businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, payment of any income tax amounts owing from March 2020 and before September 2020. There will be no interest or penalties. 

Additionally, the CRA is temporarily suspending audit interaction with taxpayers and will not contact small or mid-sized businesses to initiate GST/HST assessments or Income tax audits for the next four weeks. 

For individuals, the tax filing due date is deferred until June 1, 2020. Further, taxpayers can defer, until after August 31, 2020, payment of any income tax amounts owing in March 2020 and before September 2020. Again, there will be no interest or penalties. 

Additionally, the CRA is allowing individuals to provide electronic signatures to authorize their accountant, or whoever prepares their taxes, to file their taxes. 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”)

What is it?

Combines and replaces the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. It is a taxable benefit providing $2,000 a month, for up to four (4) months for workers who lose income as a result of COVID-19. Payments will be disbursed from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020

Who Qualifies?

  • Anyone who has lost their job or is sick, quarantined or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19;

  • Working parents who must stay home, without pay, to care for children at home because their children are sick or because of school or daycare closure;

  • Workers who are still employed, but not receiving income because of disruptions to work related to COVID-19; and,

  • Applies to all wage earners, including contract workers and those self-employed.

How Can I Get it?

Access your My Service Canada Account or your CRA Account to apply.  

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