April 16, 2020by Israel Foulon LLP
Since our April 9, 2020 E-Bulletin, the federal and provincial governments have made several more important announcements:
- The federal government has introduced a Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”) program to help small businesses cover their rent for April, May, and June 2020. The assistance is being rolled out in collaboration with the provinces and territories. The program will provide loans, including some forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who are then to either lower or forgo the rent for small businesses during these months. Further details are expected in the coming days and weeks.
- The federal government has announced that Canadians earning less than $1,000 a month will now be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”). Previously, individuals had to be without income for 14 days within a qualifying period. Eligibility for the CERB will also be extended to seasonal workers and other unemployed workers who have run out of their EI benefits and can’t find a job. The changes are retroactive to March 15. The requirement that applicants earn at least $5,000 in income in the previous 12 months or in 2019 still remains. The government has received six million applications for federal income support through the CERB since March 15, 2020.
- The federal government is loosening the criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (“CEBA”). Companies who paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible to receive a $40,000 loan. Previously, only companies with $50,000 to $1 million in 2019 payroll would qualify. The CEBA will continue to be interest-free until December 31, 2022, with $10,000 being forgiven if the loan is paid before this date. Beginning on January 1, 2023, interest will accrue on the balance of the 3 year term loan at a rate of 5% per annum. To date, more than 195,000 CEBA loans have been approved, costing $7.5 billion.
- The federal government has announced they are working with the provinces and territories to top up wages for essential workers earning under $2,500 a month, including those in long-term care facilities.
- The provincial government has announced that schools will not reopen on May 4, 2020.
Given the exceptional and unprecedented situation, we expect further developments in the coming days.
Israel Foulon’s Response to COVID-19
Israel Foulon is assessing the situation as it evolves, and is taking all necessary precautions within its workplace. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and for the health of our team and clients, absent extraordinary circumstances we are working remotely until further notice whenever possible. However, please be aware that our offices remain open and are fully functioning. In the circumstances, we encourage our clients to contact us by phone and email to the extent possible. Voicemail messages left at our office phone numbers are immediately forwarded via email. All messages will be promptly responded to. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our clients and would be more than happy to assist you with concerns regarding COVID- 19 or any other employment or labour matters.