• Business Supports Available - Updated March 23rd - Posted March 24th

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    March 24, 2020

    BUSINESS SUPPORT 

    Presented by your local and provincial BC Chambers
    Version 2. Updated March 23, 2020 at 3 pm PST 

    Access to Capital

    The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) allows the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support. 

    Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has resources available including: 

    1. Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online in as little 48 hours from time of approval.

    2. Working capital loan: Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations.

    3. Purchase Order Financing: Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with very flexible terms. 

    4. BDC’s Advisory Services experts are offering tools and support to review your financial management and operations

    Capital for Exporters through Export Development Canada

    EDC stands ready to support Canadian exporters impacted by COVID-19. The best first step is to call EDC to start the process today 1-800-229-0575.

    Farm Credit Canada 

    FCC lending capacity has been increased by $5B to alleviate industry financial pressure. FCC provides loans and services for primary producers, food operations and agribusinesses.  

    • FCCis prepared to assist - speak to your local FCC contact through their Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 or visit their online service portal to work with FCC.  

    Regional Development Agencies – Western Economic Diversification Canada  

    If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, the RDAs could assist you with: 

    • Access to federal funding to help you stay in business. 
    • Advice and pathfinding services to other federal programs and services available. 

    If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization and have received RDA funding and COVID-19 is affecting your operations: 

    • You may be eligible to receive additional funding and/or flexible arrangements. 
    • Further support will be determined on a case-by-case basis as the situation evolves. 

    The best way to contact the Western Economic Diversification Canada for support is to call them at: 1-888-338-WEST (9378) 

    Taxation Relief for Businesses

    The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020:

    The payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today (March 18, 2020) and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.

    Work Sharing Program

    The Work Sharing Program is to help eligible employers to retain skilled employees and workers to remain employed. Measures taken during COVID-19 will:

    • Extend the Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks
    • Wave the mandatory waiting period between agreements
    • Ease the recovery plan requirements

    Access the Work-Sharing page to learn more about the program and its requirements.

    Access the Work-Sharing temporary special measures page to find out if you are eligible for temporary special measures.

    Wage Subsidy

    To support businesses and help prevent layoffs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

    • Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.
    • To review how the federal government support plan for Canadians and for further details on wage subsidies and emergency support for employeesplease click here.
    • For more information on eligibility and how to take advantage of the wage subsidy check these Frequently Asked Questions.

    Provincial support for Businesses 

    The provincial government announced a $5 billion (additional funding) support package for businesses and individuals: this is the first step as the government acknowledges they will have to be “nimble and flexible” as they respond to the impacts of COVID-19. The package will see $2.8 B People and Services $2.2B Business and Economic Recovery.  

    *Provincial Aid was announced March 23rd, 2020. Details for how to access services will be provided once they become available*  

    Tax Remittance Deferrals  

    The provincial government is extending tax filing and payment deadlines to September 30th, 2020 to help businesses through this crisis. The deferred taxes will include:  

    • Employee Health Tax (EHT)  
    • Motor Fuel Taxes 
    • Carbon Tax 
    • The scheduled increase of carbon tax has been canceled  
    • Provincial Sales Tax (PST) 
    • Municipal & Regional District Tax 
    • Tobacco Tax 

    Property Tax Relief 

    Business and light and major industrial property classes will see a 50% cut to provincial school tax, which should result in $500 million in immediate relief for business.   

    • The expectation is business will benefit directly (if they own their own property) or this relief will flow through commercial landlords immediately passing savings on to tenants in triple-net leases 

    Additional Provincial Measures  

    • Canceling of the scheduled increase of Carbon Tax  
    • Deferral of PST charges to e-commerce and sweetened beverages (to be reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020)  
    • $1.5B for economic recovery 
    • The longer-term recovery plan will dedicate funding to those businesses that are particularly hard-hit during this pandemic.  

    Resources for Workers

    Employment Insurance

    Several measures are being taken by Employment and Social Development Canada:(ESDC) to assist employees who have been laid off or are unable to work due to quarantine. These measures include, waiving the one-week waiting period for and priority application processing for related claims. To learn more go to EI sickness benefits.

    Emergency Care Benefit (Expected in April, Requires Royal Assent)

    The Emergency Care Benefit will be providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

    Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020 and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. There will be three channels to apply for the Benefit:

    1. By accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
    2. By accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
    3. By calling a toll-free number equipped with an automated application process (this number should be available closer to the rollout of this program).

    Emergency Support (Available April, Requires Royal Assent)

    For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID's impact, the Government is: Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. More details for how to access this program should be available closer to its rollout in April.

    Enhanced Canada Child Benefit (Available early May, requires Royal Assent)

    For those that are eligible for the Child Tax benefit, there will be an additional $300 per child available on top of what is already received.

    GST Credit (Available early May, requires Royal Assent)

    For individuals that are eligible for GST Credits The credits available will be increased up to $400 for single adults and $600 for couples (more details will be available closer to the rollout date).

    Tax Filing Relief

    In order to provide greater flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts. 

    • For individuals, the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.

    Provincial Support for Workers 

    *Aid was announced March 23rd, 2020. Details for how to access services will be provided once they become available*  

    Emergency Benefit  

    This is a 1-time $1000 tax-free payment for any British Columbian whose income is impacted by COVID-19. Eligible individuals include those that receive federal EI or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit -- linked to the federal governments new EI rules in response to the pandemic. 

    Boosting the Climate Action Tax Credit 

    Eligible families of four will receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment. This will help complement federal income supports for those struggling with job loss reduced income or increased costs. 

    Support for Renters and Homeowners 

    The provincial government, working with banks and credit unions, will ensure mortgage deferral options are available as well as enhanced support for rentals via Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER) and Rental Assistance Program (RAP). 

    Additional Provincial Measures 

    • Deferral of student loans for 6 months 
    • ICBC & BC Hydro will provide deferral options and crisis assistance funding available for impacted individuals 

    General Information

    B2B Support – Private & Crown Corporations

    BC Hydro

    The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Customers are encouraged to call BC Hydro's customer team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to discuss bill payment options. 

    Fortis BC

    FortisBC will be waiving late payment fees and ensuring no customer is disconnected from the energy they need for financial reasons. They will also be available to help their customers with flexible payment options. To learn more about what FortisBC is doing visit their COVID-19 page or call Fortis at 1-866-436-7847 for electricity and 1-888-224-2710 for natural gas.

    Vancity Credit Union

    Vancity Credit Union is helping their customers through this difficult time by offering to:

    • Provide emergency working capital
    • Buy back foreign currency at the same rate it was sold (for customers impacted by travel disruption)
    • Waiving INTERAC e-Transfer and ATM fees until April 30th

    Learn more about what they are doing on their website here.

    Hootsuite

    Hootsuite is offering free access (until July 1st, 2020) to their Professional Plan to help small businesses and non-profits stay connected to their customers and audiences. To learn more or signup visit their website here.

    Uber Eats

    The company has created a support package to promote "contactless" delivery from local restaurants, which includes waiving delivery fees, and a daily payout option to assist restaurants with cash flow. 

    Other Support

    For information on other supports please visit the Government of Canada website.

    Other resources that are being built are but not limited to: support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres including on reserve, support for people experiencing homelessness (through Reaching Home), Canada Student Loan payments, support for Indigenous Communities, and Lower Registered Retirement Income Fund Minimum Withdrawal Amounts.