Find details on the latest COVID-19 supports available for businesses and individuals here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

COVID-19 Benefits and Services

 
  Last Updated:

We have compiled a list of the main COVID-19 benefits and services being provided by the Federal government and government of British Columbia. Please note that the below information is a summary and is not exhaustive.  Changes to these benefits and services are occurring regularly so check back often for the latest updates.

 

 
 

Looking for more information on how these supports and benefits apply to you or your business? Please contact your Clearline representative or email us at we_are@clearlinecpa.ca

 

For a complete list of the Federal government COVID-19 benefits and services, please click here.

 

For a complete list of the government of British Columbia’s COVID-19 benefits and services, please click here.


 
 
 
 
 
 

For Businesses

A 75% wage subsidy, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The CEWS provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 24 weeks, retroactive from March 15 to August 29, 2020.

Please note that significant changes were announced for the CEWS program on July 17.  The following summary has not yet been updated for these changes.  For information on the recently announced changes please see our blog on the the Update to the CEWS Program.

 

Eligible Employers

Eligible Employers (“Employers”) include:

  • Corporations (any size – private or public), except non-taxable corporations and public sector entities
  • Individuals
  • Partnerships (consisting of eligible members)
  • Non-Profits, Registered Charities, and Labour Organizations
  • Indigenous government-owned businesses
  • Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations
  • Registered journalism organizations
  • Non-public educational and training institutions

 

Subsidy Amount

The Subsidy amount for an employee receiving Eligible Remuneration paid between March 15th and August 29th, 2020 will be the greater of:

  • 75% of the remuneration paid (up to a maximum of $847 per week); or
  • The remuneration paid or 75% of the pre-crisis weekly remuneration, whichever is lower (up to a maximum of $847 per week). This is to take into consideration that previously laid-off employees may be hired back but potentially at a lower remuneration amount.

 

For employees that do not deal at arm’s length with their Employers (i.e. shareholders and family members), the subsidy is limited to eligible remuneration paid in the pre-crisis period and is only available to those employed prior to March 15, 2020. This prevents shareholders and family members from being added to payroll that may have previously been compensated by dividends. 

 

Eligible Remuneration includes salaries, wages, and some taxable benefits. It does not include severance pay, stock option benefits, and benefits for the personal use of a company vehicle. 

 

Companies formed by amalgamations or windups will be permitted to calculate their benchmark revenue based on their combined revenues.

 

Any amounts that have been claimed under the Temporary 10% Subsidy will reduce the amounts of the CEWS subsidy payment. An Employer is not allowed to “double dip” between the two subsidies. 

 

Eligible Periods

The Eligible Period is the months of March, April, May, June, July and August. There must be a decrease in gross revenues of 15% for March and a decrease of 30% for April and May (We are awaiting the announcements on the months of June, July and August) as compared to the prior reference period. 

 

The prior reference period is either the same month of the previous year OR the average of the January and February 2020. 

 

Also, if you are eligible for a specific period, the Employer automatically qualifies for the next period. For example, if your revenues decreased in March by 15%, then you are automatically eligible to claim the subsidy for April as well. 

 

Below is a summary table.

 

 

Calculating Revenue

Revenue for the purposes of the subsidy would be calculated using the normal accounting method, excluding revenues from extra-ordinary items. Employees have the option of accounting for their revenue on the accrual method or cash method, but not a combination of them. Once the accounting method has been selected, it must be used for the entire duration of the program. 

 

Registered charities and non-profit organizations can choose to include or exclude revenue from government sources as part of their calculation. The same approach must then be used for the entire duration of the program. 

 

Revenue excludes amounts from non-arm’s length transactions where a company is selling to a related company. 

 

Affiliated corporations can test their decrease in gross revenues on a company-to-company basis or elect to compute their decrease in revenue on a consolidated basis. 

 

Refund of Payroll Contributions

Employers that are eligible for the CEWS will be eligible for a 100% refund of certain employer portions of the Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan. The portion refunded is where the employee is paid for a specific week but does not perform any work for the employer that week. This is in addition to the maximum benefit of $847 per week. Employers would be required to collect and remit for EI and CPPs as normal, but would receive a refund as part of the CEWS. 

 

Application Process

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will start taking applications for the CEWS on Monday, April 27, 2020.  This will be for Period 1, for payroll paid between March 15th and April 11th, 2020.
There are three ways to apply:
  1. Using My Business Account
  2. Online application forms (to be developed by the CRA)
  3. Through “Represent a Client” (for firms such as Clearline CPA)
The CRA expects that payments by direct deposit will start on May 5th. Cheques are expected to be mailed shortly thereafter.

 

Subsidy Calculator
The CRA has released both an Excel spreadsheet and an online calculator to assist businesses in calculating the amount of the CEWS that they will be entitled to receive.

 

Compliance

The CRA is allowed to publish the names of any Employers that apply for the subsidy. 

 

Employers are required to keep records to demonstrate their reduction in revenue and the remuneration paid to employees. 

 

Employers will be required to repay amounts received if they do not meet the eligibility requirements. Further, Employers that engage in artificial transactions to reduce revenue will be subject to a penalty of 25% of the subsidy claimed. 

 

 For more information on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/wage-subsidy.html

10% temporary wage subsidy

The Temporary Subsidy exists for those Eligible Employers that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The Temporary Subsidy still exists for those Eligible Employers that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

 

Eligible Employers include:

  • A Canadian-controlled private corporation (CCPC) eligible for the $500,000 small business deduction;
  • Sole proprietorships and Partnerships of either CCPCs or individuals; and
  • A non-profit organization or a registered charity (note: Labour organizations are not included).

 

The amount of the Temporary Subsidy is 10% of remuneration paid from March 18, 2020 to June 20, 2020, subject to maximums of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

 

This Temporary Subsidy only applies to reduce federal or provincial income (except Quebec) tax withholding. It does not apply to reduce CPP and EI premiums.

 

Associated CCPCs are not required to share the maximum Temporary Subsidy of $25,000 per employer. 

 

Please note, an Employer is not allowed to “double dip” between the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Temporary Wage Amount Subsidy. If you claim the Temporary Subsidy, then you must reduce the amount of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy by the amount claimed by this Temporary Subsidy.

 

For more information on the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy, please visit: 

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html

$40,000 Interest-Free Loan, Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits.

 

Loan Details

  • 0% interest until December 31, 2022.
  • No principal payments required until December 31, 2022, however can be voluntarily repaid at any time without fees or penalties.
  • $10,000 loan forgiveness is available if repaid by December 31, 2022.

 

Eligibility

  • Borrower is a Canadian operating business, sole proprietor or non-profit with operations as of March 1, 2020.
  • Borrower’s total employment income (T4) paid in 2019 is between $20,000 and $1,500,000.
  • Borrower has an active business chequing account with their primarily bank or credit union that was opened prior to March 1, 2020.
  • Borrower’s that pay dividends instead that have payroll lower than $20,000 must meet the following criteria:
    • Have a business operating account at a participating financial institution.
    • Have a Canada Revenue Agency business number (GST, Import/Export, or RZ account number) and have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
    • Have eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

 

The following businesses are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account:

  • Government organizations or bodies, or entities owned by a government organization or body.
  • Unions, charitable, religious or fraternal organizations or entities owned by government organizations or bodies. Or if it is, it is a registered T2 or T3010 corporation that generates a portion of its revenue from the sales of goods or services.
  • Entities that are structured as a holding company.
  • Entities owned by individuals holding political office.
  • Entities that promote violence, incite hatred or discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, region, education, age or mental or physical disability.

 

Use of Funds

CEBA funds shall only be used by the Borrower to pay non-deferrable operating expenses of the Borrower including, without limitation, payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax and regularly scheduled debt service.

 

Funds are not be used to fund any payments or expenses such as prepayment/refinancing of existing indebtedness, payments of dividends, distributions and increases in management compensation.

 

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit. The list of eligible expenses does not include dividends/distributions to owners as these would probably be considered deferrable.

 

Application

Small business, sole proprietors and non-profits should apply directly with their bank or credit union.

 

For more information on the Canada Emergency Business Account, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/programs/financial-sector-policy/business-credit-availability-program.html#a1

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

The Federal Government announced the details of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”):

  • Landlords and property owners will be given forgivable loans equal to 50% of the rent for eligible businesses.
  • The Government will forgive these loans if:
    Landlords reduce the monthly rent payable by the tenants by 75% (Government provides for the 50% as loan forgiveness and 25% will be “covered” by the landlord). Tenants will be responsible for the remaining 25%.
    Landlords agree not to evict tenants during this time.
  • CECRA covers the monthly rents for April (retroactive), May, and June, 2020.
  • Rent must be less than $50,000 per month.
  • Eligible businesses include small businesses, non-profits, and charities that have a 70% decrease in “pre-COVID-19” revenues. The revenue decline test appears to be similar to the revenue test in the CEWS.
  • The application process will be administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC). There has been no date announced when applications will commence, but the Government hopes that payments will be available in mid-May to the landlords.

 

Please note, we understand that it will be the responsibility of the landlords to apply for this program. They must agree to forgive 25% of their rent in order to participate and, therefore, we are not certain how many landlords may be willing to participate.

Deferred payment due dates for corporate income tax, GST/HST and duty

The government has announced a number of changes to business taxes, GST/HST and duty payments.

Businesses can defer the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before October 2020 until September 30, 2020.  This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.  No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.  Corporations that would otherwise have a filing deadline in June, July or August 2020 are now due by September 30, 2020.

 

Businesses, including self-employed individuals, can defer payments of the GST/HST and customs duty until June 30, 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. The deadline to file GST returns has not changed.

 

 

For more information about income tax payment dates, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

 

For more information on the deferral of GST/HST tax remittances, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-gst-hst.html

Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program

The Government announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Businesses can get a 100% subsidy (formerly 50%) of the minimum wage paid for student workers under the Canada Summer Jobs program.  Further, the program will now be extended to February 2021.   The Government is considering on whether the application process will be reopened to allow new employers to apply.  

Provincial services: Tax relief for businesses in B.C.

The Government of B.C. has announced a number of provincial services, including tax payment deferrals, delays and reductions. 

 

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
  • Reduced School Tax for Businesses

 

 

Tax Payments

The BC Government has deferred the following tax payments for business until September 30, 2020:

  • Employer Health Tax
  • PST (including municipal and regional district taxes on accommodations)
  • Motor fuel tax
  • Tobacco tax

 

School Tax

BC’s COVID-19 Action Plan originally announced that the School Property Tax rates for commercial properties (Class 4, 5, and 6) will be reduced by 50% for the 2020 year.  The BC Government announced a further reduction of the School Property Tax and introduced an equivalent for Class 7 and 8 properties.  This will reduce the overall commercial property taxes for most business by up to 25% for the 2020 year.

 

Further, the BC Government postponed the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties for Classes, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9 to October 31, 2020.  This will give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax without penalties.

 

 

For more information on the B.C. provincial tax relief measures for businesses in B.C., please visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/tax-changes/covid-19-tax-changes

For Individuals

Financial support for Canadians, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The CERB provides financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19.

It provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks.

 

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

You did not apply for, nor receive, CERB or EI benefits from Service Canada for the same eligibility period

You have not quit your job voluntarily

You reside in Canada

You are 15 years old or more when you apply

You earned a minimum of $5,000 income in the last 12 months or in 2019 from one or more of the following sources:

employment income

self-employment income

provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave

You can earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.

The CERB has been extended to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.

The CERB has been extended to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

 

Application

There are two ways to apply:

Online with CRA My Account: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html 

Over the phone with an automated phone service: 1-800-959-2019

 

After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get it in about 10 business days.

 

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html 

Deferred personal tax deadlines and payment due dates

The Federal Government announced updates to the tax deadlines for Canadians.

 

The Federal Government announced the following measures in regards to the tax deadlines for Canadians.

The tax filing deadlines have been extended:

  • Personal: extended to June 1, 2020 (previously April 30th), the CRA has also confirmed that they will not apply penalties and interest on personal tax returns filed between June 2, 2020 and September 30, 2020.
  • Trusts: extended to May 1, 2020 (previously March 30th)
  • Corporate: Corporations that would otherwise have a filing deadline in June, July or August 2020 are now due by September 30, 2020.

 

Tax payments and installments have been extended:

  • Personal: extended to September 30, 2020
  • Corporate: extended to September 30, 2020

 

Note: There will be no penalties or interest charged on any payments not made during that period. 

 

If you are a personal tax client, please submit your personal tax information as soon as possible. You can find our 2019 Personal Tax Checklist here. We encourage you to get your information in to us now and choose to interact with our team using our online tools.

Increase to the Canada Child Benefit program

The Government of Canada is providing up to an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This automatic benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May. Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply.

 

For more information on the Canada Child Benefit please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview/canada-child-benefit-apply.html 

B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers

The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.

To be eligible for the BC Emergency Benefit, you must:

  • Been a resident of BC on March 15, 2020
  • Be at least 15 years old on the date you apply
  • Meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
  • Have been approved to receive the CERB (even if you haven’t received the payment)
  • Have filed, or will agree to file, a 2019 BC income tax return
  • Not receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance

 

On-line applications for the one-time payment will begin on May 1st.  Phone applications start on May 4th. 

 

Benefits will only be paid by direct deposit.  

 

For more information on the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, please visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/covid-19-financial-supports/emergency-benefit-workers

Additional Benefits, Supports and Services in B.C.

 

BC Hydro

  • Customers can defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty through the COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program
  • Customers experiencing job loss, illness or lost wages due to COVID-19 can access grants up to $600 to pay their hydro bills through the Customer Crisis Fund

 

ICBC