Last updated Tuesday, May 26 at 9:30 a.m.
The Government of Saskatchewan’s Business Response Team is available to assist businesses 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday to Friday:
SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS AND EMPLOYEES – effective immediately
CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT
To support workers the Government of Canada has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months to individuals:
- Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
- Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
- Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
- Who have not quit their job voluntarily.
Eligibility criteria have been changed to:
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
- Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
- Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.
CANADA EMERGENCY STUDENT BENEFIT
The Canada Emergency Student Benefit provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). This benefit would provide $1,250 for each 4-week period for eligible students or $2,000 for each 4-week period for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. This benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
SASKATCHEWAN EMPLOYMENT SUPPLEMENT
The Saskatchewan Employment Supplement (SES) provides assistance to families with lower-incomes who have children. It is a monthly payment that supplements income from a job, farming, self-employment, or from child or spousal support. To be eligible for SES you must:
- Have children under the age of 13 years;
- Receive more than $125 each month from employment, self-employment, farming and/or child or spousal support;
- Reside in Saskatchewan and hold a valid Saskatchewan Health Services card.
SELF-ISOLATION SUPPORT PROGRAM
The Self-Isolation Support Program will provide $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks or $900. The program is targeted at Saskatchewan residents forced to self-isolate that are not covered by recent federally announced employment insurance programs and other supports. The program is designed to ensure that all Saskatchewan residents are covered by either a federal or provincial program to ensure no one is faced with choosing to work instead of protecting their family and community from COVID-19 by self-isolating. This will mostly benefit self-employed residents of Saskatchewan.
City of Saskatoon
The City will continue to bill for utility services as normal. However, to best serve the City’s customers in these extraordinary times, the City has made the following changes to current Utility Services:
- Utility disconnections due to arrears will be suspended until September 30, 2020;
- Late payment charges will be suspended on all utility accounts until September 30, 2020; and
- The City will continue to generate utility bill reminders and other related notices for customers who are in arrears to keep them informed of their current situation.
City of Saskatoon
The City is extending a three-month grace period, allowing taxpayers additional time to pay their 2020 Property Tax amount due. Individuals will not incur any penalties on their 2020 taxes if the property tax payment is made in full before September 30, 2020.
STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT MORATORIUM
A six-month Student Loan Repayment Moratorium has been put in place, mirroring a similar federal provision. This provides individuals with student loans immediate relief.
Canadian Revenue Agency
The tax filing deadline has been extended to June 1, and all taxpayers are allowed to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.
Allowing Canadians with urgent travel needs to obtain Passport Services, if they:
- Have a serious illness, or must tend to the serious illness or death of another individual they have had a relationship with
- Suffer from economic hardships due to loss of job or business (the cost of an airline, bus or train ticket does not constitute economic hardship)
- Must travel for humanitarian grounds, supported by the requesting organization
CANADA STUDENT LOANS
A plan to pause the repayment of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until September 30, 2020, with no accrual interest.
REGISTERED RETIREMENT INCOME FUNDS
A reduction to the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds by 25% for 2020. This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements.
OLD AGE SECURITY AND GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Anyone who receives both the Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement will be eligible for both payments for a total one-time payment of $500. The payments will be applied automatically.
- $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security pension
- $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS – effective immediately
CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would provide a 75% wage subsidy – up to $846 per week – to eligible employers for up to 24 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020. Eligible employers would include individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships consisting of eligible employers as well as non‑profit organizations and registered charities. Employers may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 100 per cent of the first 75 per cent of pre-crisis wages or salaries of existing employees. These employers would be expected where possible to maintain existing employees’ pre-crisis employment earnings. Eligible employers would be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application.
SASKATCHEWAN SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY PAYMENT (SSBEP)
The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment provides a one-time grant for small and medium-sized enterprises directly affected by government public health orders related to COVID-19. Grants will be paid based on 15 per cent of a business’ monthly sales revenue, to a maximum of $5,000. To be eligible for the SSBEP, a business must:
- Have been carrying on business in Saskatchewan on February 29, 2020;
- Have been ordered to temporarily close or curtail operations through a COVID-19 public health order;
- Have less than 500 employees;
- Attest that they:
- have experienced a loss in revenue due to a COVID-19 public health order;
- plan to reopen operations following the cancellation of the COVID-19 public health order; and
- have not received any payments or amounts from any other sources, including insurance, to replace or compensate for the loss of sales revenue other than amounts from other government assistance programs; and
- Apply on or before July 31, 2020.
CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT
Federal Government, Export Development Canada
This $25 billion Canada Emergency Business Account program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). Interested businesses should contact their financial institution for further information and to apply.
REGIONAL RELIEF AND RECOVERY FUND
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is providing nearly $962 million to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access existing support measures.
EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUND FOR CULTURAL, HERITAGE AND SPORT ORGANIZATIONS
The Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations will provide additional temporary relief to support cultural, heritage and sport organizations and help them plan for the future. The Fund will help maintain jobs and support business continuity for organizations whose viability has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SME LOAN AND GUARANTEE PROGRAM
Federal Government – Export Development Canada
The SME Loan and Guarantee Program supports small and medium-sizes enterprises (SMEs) with guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans for financial institutions to extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million. The program cap for this new loan program will be a total of $20 billion for export sector and domestic companies. Businesses should contact their financial institution to determine whether this program is a good fit for their needs.
BDC CO-LENDING PROGRAM
Federal Government – Business Development Bank of Canada
To provide additional liquidity support for Canadian businesses, the Co-Lending Program will bring the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers. Businesses should contact their financial institution to determine whether this program is a good fit for their needs.
BUSINESS CREDIT AVAILABILITY PROGRAM
Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank of Canada
The Business Credit Availability Program will provide $10 billion of additional funding to Canadian businesses facing economic challenges brought on by COVID-19. This program helps Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions gain access to credit through EDC, BDC and private sector lenders. The short-term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada.
Note: Businesses must go to their current bank first, then that bank will refer the business to the BCAP only if the bank is not able to help them. Businesses that are already a BDC client, can contact their Account Manager for information on BCAP.
CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants and meet operating expenses on commercial properties. Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020.
To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the commercial property owner must:
- Own or be the landlord of the commercial real property* which is occupied by one or more impacted small business tenants
- Enter (or have already entered) into a rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May and June 2020, reducing an impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%
- Ensure the rent reduction agreement with impacted tenants includes a moratorium on eviction for the period of April, May and June 2020
- Have declared rental income on your tax return (personal or corporate) for tax years 2018 and/or 2019
LARGE EMPLOYER EMERGENCY FINANCING FACILITY
The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility program will be open to large for-profit businesses – with the exception of those in the financial sector – as well as certain not-for-profit businesses, such as airports, with annual revenues generally in the order of $300 million or higher. To qualify, eligible businesses must be seeking financing of about $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings.
AGRICULTURE SECTOR CREDIT INCREASE
Farm Credit Canada
Farm Credit Canada has received an enhancement to its capital base that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. Effective immediately, FCC has put in place:
- A deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans; or
- A deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD BUSINESS SOLUTIONS FUND
Farm Credit Canada and Forage Capital Partners
The $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund was launched to support proven, viable companies through unexpected business disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is set up to provide companies with the financial stability and flexibility they need to rebuild their business models during challenging times. FCC is the sole investor in the fund and Forage Capital is the fund manager. The fund will focus on agriculture and food industry companies that have suffered a significant disruption to their business model, and will be supported to a maximum of $10 million.
DEFERRAL OF CUSTOMS DUTY AND SALES TAX FOR IMPORTERS
The Customs Act, for which the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is responsible and which is administered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), governs the levying and payment of customs duties in Canada. Under this authority, payment deadlines for statements of accounts for March, April, and May are being deferred to June 30, 2020.
GST/HST REMITTANCE DEFERRAL
The GST/HST applies to sales of most goods and services in Canada and at each stage of the supply chain. Vendors must collect the GST/HST and remit it (net of input tax credits) with their GST/HST return for each reporting period. Vendors with annual sales of more than $6 million remit and report monthly, and those with annual sales of $1.5 million to $6 million are able to remit and report on a quarterly basis (or monthly if they choose to). Small vendors can report annually.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BANK OF CANADA (BDC) RELIEF MEASURES
Business Development Bank of Canada
Effective March 18, 2020, new BDC Relief Measures for qualified businesses include:
- Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to 6 months for qualifying businesses;
- Postponement of payments for up to 6 months, free of charge, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less;
- Reduced rates on new eligible loans;
- Additional details regarding Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) measures, including industry specific support, to be announced in the coming days.
WORK SHARING PROGRAM
The Work Sharing Program is a three-way agreement that can be negotiated between Service Canada, the employer and the employee to provide EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers. Changes to the program are:
- Extension of the maximum duration from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
- The 30 day wait period will be waived for only those who have used the work-sharing program in the past.
Note: Applications take a minimum of 30 days to negotiate. If you do not have 30 days than this program is likely not for you.
TEMPORARY WAGE SUBSIDY
The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Employers do not need to apply for the subsidy. You will continue deducting income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, and Employment Insurance (EI) premiums from salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration paid to your employees, as you currently do. The subsidy is calculated when you remit these amounts to the CRA. For employers that are eligible for both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the 10 per cent wage subsidy for a period, any benefit from the 10 per cent wage subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period would generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy in that same period.
SUPPLEMENTAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT PROGRAM
The purpose of a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program (SUB) plan is to provide supplemental payments to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits during a period of unemployment due to: temporary stoppage of work, training or iIllness, injury or quarantine. Employers use SUB plans to increase the employee’s weekly earnings during periods of unemployment. Payments from registered plans are not deducted from the employee’s EI benefits. Payments under a registered SUB plan are not considered as insurable earnings; therefore, EI premiums are not deducted.
A temporary R&D Funding program aimed at supporting research and innovation for SMEs. For a limited time, Mitacs is increasing their funding for SMEs to 75% of a project’s cost from 50% (some restrictions may apply).
EMERGENCY COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND
United Way Centraide Canada, Canadian Red Cross, and Community Foundations Canada
The Emergency Community Support Fund will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:
- Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
- Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
- Scaling up help lines that provide information and support
- Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
- Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
- Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet
CROWN UTILITY INTEREST DEFERRAL PROGRAMS
The Crown Utility Interest Deferral Program is waving interest on late bill payments for up to six months. The program is available to all crown utility customers.
THREE-MONTH PST REMITTANCE DEFERRAL AND AUDIT SUSPENSION
Saskatchewan businesses who are unable to Remit their PST due to cash flow concerns will have relief from penalty and interest charges. Businesses that are unable to file their provincial tax return(s) by the due date may submit a request for relief from penalty and interest charges on the return(s) affected.
CHANGES TO EMPLOYMENT STANDARD REGULATIONS
In addition to changes made to the Saskatchewan Employment Act that introduced a new unpaid public health emergency leave and removed the 13-week employment requirement to access sick leave and the requirement for a doctor’s note to access sick leave, The Employment Standard Regulations have been amended to:
- Ensure that during a public emergency, businesses will not have to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice when they lay-off staff if it is for a period of 12 weeks or less in a 16-week period.
- If an employer lays off employees periodically for a total of more than 12 weeks in a 16-week period, the employees are considered to be terminated and are entitled to pay instead of notice as outlined in the Act. This will be calculated from the date on which the employee was laid off.
All businesses are able to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any Income Tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 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. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.
GOOGLE ADS CREDIT FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES
Google is giving SMBs worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across the Google Ads platforms. SMBs who have been active advertisers since the beginning of 2019 will see a credit notification appear in their Google Ads account in the coming months.
PST REBATE ON NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION
The PST Rebate on New Home Construction will provide up to 42% of the PST paid on a new house contract up to $350,000 (excluding land) for new homes purchased after March 31, 2020, and before April 1, 2023. This not only helps the construction industry, Saskatchewan’s home builders and associated trades that are important job creators, it helps families afford a newly built home.
ISC SUSPENSION ORDER FOR STRIKE OFF PROVISIONS
Information Services Corporation
The Information Services Corporation (ISC) has Suspended the Strike Off Provisions for non-profit corporations, co-operative and new generation co-operative entities. The suspension is meant to assist organizations that are not in a position to file annual returns and financial statements at the Corporate Registry due to delays in annual meeting caused by the restrictions and recommendations on public gatherings. To further lessen the impact of being unable to file in a timely manner, annual return late filing fees for Not-For-Profit corporations and co-operatives will be suspended.
CALLS FOR A SOLUTION
CALLING ALL SUPPLIERS – HELP CANADA COMBAT COVID-19
The Government of Canada is asking suppliers that have products and services that can support Canada’s response to COVID-19 to consider completing a COVID-19 Products and Services submission form.
COVID-19 CHALLENGES PROCUREMENT PROGRAM (yet to be released)
National Research Council
This program will post COVID-19 related challenges seeking near-to-market solutions from small and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 staff). Financial support is available from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to refine and sell products or solutions to meet a COVID-19 related need.
GUIDES FOR BUSINESS
LABOUR PROGRAM AND FEDERALLY REGULATED WORKPLACES
An online guide for workplaces wanting more information on how to handle the virus in the workplace.
BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN TEMPLATES
Business Development Bank of Canada
Creating and maintaining a business continuity plan helps ensure that businesses have the resources and information needed to deal with an emergency. BDC has developed Business Continuity Plan Templates for businesses to plan for business continuity and mitigate the potential effects of an emergency.
PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS GUIDE
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Preparedness, not panic, is the best way to mitigate the risks posed by a COVID-19 pandemic to the Canadian economy and our citizens. The Pandemic Preparedness Guide includes links to the some of the most relevant and credible information, best practice tools and resources.
INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYERS ON COVID-19
Workers Compensation Board
WCB Information to assist employers in determining their responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most instances of COVID-19 are not work-related and do not need to be reported, however, there are some exceptions.
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