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Government Funding Update for Businesses - COVID-19

There have been a series of updates from the Federal Government aimed at supporting small and medium sized businesses as we continue to navigate through the pandemic. We are keeping a close eye on the details and will continue to keep you posted.

Highlights of the news:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

  • Details have been released about the increased 75% wage subsidy

  • The wage subsidy is available for a 12 week period from March 15-June 6.

  • The subsidy would cover 75 per cent of an employee’s wages for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 per cent in March (NEW!), and 30 per cent in April and May.

  • Reference periods to calculate loss of revenue are either month over month compared to the same time in 2019; or can compare each claiming period against the average of January and February of 2020.

  • For those companies experiencing a decrease in revenues of the above, the government will cover up to 75 per cent of a salary on the first $58,700, which could mean payments of up to $847 a week.


Temporary Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program

  • Employers can receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.

  • End dates for a summer job under this program can be extended to February 28, 2021.

  • Project and Job activities can be adapted, and employees can be hired on a part-time basis.

  • Currently applicable to employers who applied before February 28, 2020; we will keep you posted if applications are opened back up again.

Changes to Employment Standards

  • Increased maximum time for temporary layoffs in Alberta from 60 days to 120 days (NEW!) – this means that employers have a longer period of time before enacting a mandatory termination. This change applies to any layoffs on or after March 17, 2020.

  • Employers do not have to provide ‘group’ termination notice for groups of 50 or more; individual termination requirements are still in place.


Canada Emergency Business Account

  • Guaranteed bank loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses that will be interest free in the first year; and under certain circumstances up to $10,000 could be forgiven if paid back before the end of 2022.

  • Business can now apply through most financial institutions.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Provincial Support


ATB small business customers

  • Can apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months.

  • Access additional working capital for ATB customers.

Deferral programs 

  • Alberta corporate income tax balances and instalment payments due between March 18th and August 31st are deferred until August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations.

  • Education property taxes.

  • WCB Alberta premium payments. - For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 – saving businesses $350 million. - Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due. - Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

    • Utility payments.

  • Duties and taxes owed on imports.

  • More info:


Tax Relief for Businesses – the following provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced:

  • Deferred Tax Payments for Businesses.

  • Delayed PST Budget 2020 Tax Changes.

    • Delayed Carbon Tax Increase. - Carbon tax rates will remain at their current levels until further notice. The tax measure announced in Budget 2020 aligning the carbon tax rates with the federal carbon pricing backstop is also postponed until further notice.

    • Reduced School Tax Rates for Businesses. - School tax rates for commercial properties (Classes 4, 5 and 6) will be reduced by 50% for the 2020 tax year.

    • More info:


Tax Relief for Businesses – the following provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced:

  • Provincial tax deferrals on the Employer Health Tax (EHT), Tobacco Tax, Fuel Tax, Beer Tax and Mining Tax and other provincially-administered taxes until August 31, 2020 with no interest or penalty. - Providing a five-month interest and penalty-free period to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes, providing $6 billion in relief to help support Ontario businesses when they need it the most.

  • WSIB premium deferrals until August 31, 2020 with no interest or penalty. - Providing up to $1.9 billion in financial relief by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.

  • Business Education Property Tax deferrals for one payment quarter (90 days after June). - Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days. This will provide municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses while ensuring school boards receive their funding.

  • Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption threshold increased to $1-million for the next year. - Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.

  • Property tax reassessments being conducted this year for the 2021 tax year have been postponed.

  • Provincial Land Tax Payments are deferred from their next due date for 90 days without interest or penalty.

As always please reach out if you need any help or resources. Our team has been working on identifying grants and government programs that might be helpful as we prepare for recovery after the pandemic is over. If you’d like to connect, we will be pleased to help you look at these and other recovery planning.

We’re all in this together!


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