RCC has assembled a chart of COVID-19 relief measures specifically applicable to retailers. The information is broken down by federal programs and for each province and territory.
- Access to direct financial support such as grants and loans
- Supports available specifically for small and medium businesses
- Employee wage subsidies
- Tax deferrals and filing extensions
- Essential service worker top up for employees including which regions retail qualifies
- Support for commercial renters including implications for each region regarding CECRA
- Support available directly to retail employees
Links to Federal support resources:
- Understanding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – Exclusive report for retailers
- Questions and answers on Canada Emergency Response Benefit from the Government of Canada
- What is the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)?
- RCC’s questions and answers on financial relief programs
Support for Retailers:
- Wage Subsidies: Any retailer who has seen at least a 30% decrease in revenue is eligible for a 75% wage subsidy for its employees. The 75% wage subsidy is available regardless of the size of the business or how many people it employs. The subsidy will be on the first $58,700 an employee earns, so up to $847 a week. The program will be available for up to three months and backdated to March 15, 2020. RCC is in discussion with the government on extending the program and will provide further details as they become available.
- Work-Sharing: To help retailers whose sales have slowed reduce staff costs while avoiding layoffs, the government simplified the application to the EI Work-Sharing program and extended the length of a work share agreement to over a year: 76 weeks. Retailers who form a Work-Share agreement with a unit of workers and Service Canada can now reduce hours by 10% – 60% for up to 76 weeks while still keeping those staff. Staff eligible for EI receive EI Work-Sharing benefits during the agreement. Retail franchisees will be treated as stand-alone businesses. To apply, retailers can go to the COVID-19 Work-Share government page.
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): CEBA will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small retailers, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Business owners can apply for CEBA through their banks and credit unions.
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP): This program, which has three components, will provide SME retailers with government-backed credit solutions.
- More time to pay income taxes: Retailers can defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020 without interest or penalties. This relief would apply to due tax balances well as installments.
- Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments: Retailers can defer their GST/HST payments until June 30, 2020 as well as customs duties owing on their imports.
- Employers who rely on experienced temporary workers to ensure Canadians have access to a variety of high quality foods are eligible for $1,500 per foreign worker to help cover the costs of complying with a mandatory two-week quarantine upon their arrival in Canada. Employers must provide accommodation for the employees during self-isolation and pay the workers during the 14-day period. The federal government has said it will work with the provinces and territories to determine how the funding will be delivered.
- For retailers with less than 50 employees who hire students (over the summer and winter) through the CSJ, the Federal government will cover 100% of these students’ wages.
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF): For small and medium sized retailers and other businesses who haven’t met the eligibility requirements for existing COVID-19 government assistance, the government announced further measures to help fill in these gaps. Through the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), nearly $1 billion has been allocated to help these businesses and will be administered through Regional Development Agencies (RDA) and Community Futures Development Corporations. Read RCC’s summary of programs available.
- Large Employers Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF): Relevant for retailers who have annual revenues of $300 million or more and are seeking financing of $60 million or more. This loan program must be repaid. Applications are now being accepted.
Support for employees/individuals:
- The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) the government is open to open will provide $2,000 a month for up to six months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are now open through CRA or Service Canada.
- Changes to Employment Insurance sickness benefits: Employees who are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate are no longer required to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits. The one week waiting period for benefits has been waived.
- Extra time to file income tax returns: Individuals had until June 1, 2020 to file their taxes. Any payments owed have been deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
- Mortgage support: Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Most are allowing deferred payments for up to 6 months. Please contact your mortgage provider for more information.