We know that this is a difficult time, full of uncertainty. The information you need to run your business changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep track and make sense of it all.
In order to relieve some of the pressure on small businesses such as yours, we are gathering all the information you need about government services and supports in Newfoundland and Labrador and putting it in this one location. We will continue working with governments to ensure additional relief measures become available for your business as the situation evolves.
Please check back regularly. We will update this page as more information becomes available.
Want to know what your municipality is doing to help businesses? We've got all the information on our municipal breakdown.
Re-opening the Economy
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has released a plan to re-open the economy. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business pushed for the release of a plan, so you could make crucial decisions affecting your business.
Government Employer Resources
The provincial government has released guidance for sector-specific businesses as well as public health posters that may be appropriate for your business:
On May 1, the provincial government established a Business Response Team to support businesses as they prepare to re-open. Businesses who have questions will be able to email [email protected] or call 1-833-771-0696.
The government will implement its plan based on five alert levels. Newfoundland and Labrador is currently at Level 2.
Businesses deemed to be low-risk are allowed to open. Those businesses include professional services (like accounting, law, and financial services firms), gardening centres, and animal daycares. Recreational businesses (e.g. gyms, dance studios), retail stores not offering essential services, and in-dining restaurants remain closed.
Retails stores offering non-essential services and personal services (e.g. spas, tattooing and tanning salons) can open with restrictions or guidelines. Restaurants can re-open at reduced occupancy. Recreational businesses (e.g. gyms, dance studios) and bars, lounges, and cinemas remain closed.
Gyms and fitness facilities are permitted to open, with restrictions. Bars and lounges are permitted to open with reduced occupancy.
Businesses are open, but have to operate according to the public health measures still in effect.
Alert Level 2 - June 25, 2020
Gyms and fitness facilities can open with restrictions, and indoor pools can reopen however there may be restrictions. Bars and lounges are permitted to open with reduced occupancy, as are indoor entertainment facilities such as bingo halls and cinemas.
Remember to follow the Public Health guidance:
- Staying informed and being prepared to follow public health advice.
- Practicing good hygiene (wash your hands, avoid touching your face, cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue).
- Maintaining a physical distance of at least 2 arm lengths.
- Use a non-medical or cloth mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.
- Staying at home and away from others when you are sick, unless it is to get medical attention.
- Wearing a non-medical or cloth mask if you have symptoms when going out to access health care services.
- Working from home, where possible.
- Continuing to shop online and using curbside pickup, where possible.
- Limiting non-essential travel in and outside of the province.
- Keeping a log of when you go out in public and your interactions with others.
COVID-19 Work Safe Course
WorkplaceNL and SkillsPass have created a COVID-19 Work Safe online course for employers and employees. The course reviews:
- Where and how COVID-19 can be spread at work
- Best practices for reducing the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
- Physical distancing
- Personal hygiene
- The physical environment
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Mandatory mask order
As of August 24, 2020, non-medical masks are mandatory in most public indoor spaces.
What are the places where masks will be mandatory?
- public transit (buses, taxis, car services, public areas of ferries, etc.);
- a retail business;
- a service company;
- a professional’s private office, where physical distancing cannot be maintained or physical barriers are not in place;
- common areas of an office building (e.g. lobby, elevators, reception areas, conference rooms, washrooms, breakrooms);
- common areas of apartment buildings/condominiums (e.g lobby, elevators, hallways)
- a place where municipal or government services are offered;
- a personal care business (e.g., hair salons, tattoo shops, tanning salons) (see exemptions for treatments below);
- an animal daycare or grooming business;
- a shopping mall or community market;
- a place of worship;
- a funeral home;
- a theatre or performing arts venue;
- a movie cinema;
- an indoor entertainment business (see exemptions for physical activity below);
- a rental room, community centre, or other venue used to host distanced gatherings;
- a sports-related clubhouse;
- a community museum or historic site;
- a bingo hall;
- a fitness centre, dance studio or yoga studio (see exemptions for physical activity below);
- an arena (see exemptions for physical activity below);
- a place where sports or recreational activities are practiced (see exemptions for physical activity below);
- a restaurant or lounge;
- a common area, including an elevator, of a tourist accommodation establishment (e.g. hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, rental cabins or cottages); and
- a post-secondary educational institution (including colleges, universities and trades schools).
For more information, please see the government COVID website.
Small Business Assistance Program
Applications are now open for the Small Business Assistance Program and will be accepted until December 15, 2020, or until funds are exhausted.
The one-time, non-repayable contribution will be distributed to eligible businesses based on the number of employees:
- 1-20 employees: $5,000
- 21 – 50 employees: $7,500
- 51-99 employees: $10,000
As part of the application, businesses will need to provide:
- 2019 business/organization and financial information pertaining to gross sales and number of employees;
- 2020 financial information pertaining to estimated losses to date, additional costs for health and safety protocols and/or business adaptations and forecasted losses to December 31, 2020;
- details of any other COVID-19 support funding applied for or received;
- details regarding a reasonable plan to continue operations in 2020 and/or 2021; and
- CRA Business Number if applicable.
Note: accommodations, restaurants, bars, and other tourism businesses, must apply for the Tourism and Hospitality Support Program.
More information can be found in the Eligibility Guidelines.
Tourism and Hospitality Support
The Tourism and Hospitality Support Program will provide a one-time grant of either $5000 or $10,000, depending on gross sales.
Workers' Compensation Support
WorkplaceNL provided employers with a workers' compensation premium payment deferral until August 31, 2020 with no interest or penalties. Employers must settle, or arrange payment for outstanding balances by September 30, 2020.
Clearance letters will continue to be provided during the payment deferral period to allow contractors that meet certain reporting criteria to continue to bid on work and operate.
The interest-free payment plan is extended beyond 2020 to March 31, 2021 to allow employers more flexibility to pay.
Safety training certificates are extended to August 31, 2020 for confined space entry, fall protection, mine rescue, power line hazards, traffic control person, first aid and OHS committee members.
Trainers and training providers have new guidelines from WorkplaceNL for in-class instruction for certification safety training during COVID-19.
WorkplaceNL is offering reduced services at this time, but is prepared to help with any questions business owners may have.
Employers are able to revise their payroll estimates at any time by e-mailing the revised estimate to [email protected] so the assessment can be recalculated.
For more detailed information, please visit the Newfoundland and Labrador COVID-19 information page on the WorkplaceNL website.
WorkplaceNL offers regular webinars on a variety of occupational health and safety topics. All webinars run from 10am to 11.30am (unless otherwise indicated on the registration page).
October 20 - Creating a Harassment Prevention Plan
October 22 - 2020 Fall Protection Series: Fall Protection Planning (part 3 of 3)
October 26 - Preventing Stress and Burnout in the Workplace
October 27 - Integrating Psychological Health and Safety into your OHS program
October 28 - Ask the Experts - Supporting Workers' Mental Health
Support for Liquor Licensees
On May 1, the provincial government and Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation announced initiatives to support liquor licensees during the pandemic. Specific supports include:
- Temporary direct sale of alcohol with takeout/curbside pick-up and delivery orders
- Brewers, wineries and distilleries can offer home delivery
- Liquor licence fees are waived for the 2020-21 fiscal year (a refund will be provided for those fees already paid)
- A 5 per cent wholesale pricing discount for licensees on wine, spirits and ready to drink beverages
- An increase in product commission discounts for non-NLC distributed products to 55 per cent for those producing 1000 HL or less
- Ferment-on premises operations can temporarily bottle customers' beverages
For further information, please refer to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador press release.
Other Supports for Business
Business Tech Solutions Program
Businesses will be able to apply for funding towards purchasing digital solutions, and also access expertise to help with creating effective, efficient online sales systems to generate new revenue streams.
The program will be administered through the NL Association of Technology and Innovation (NATI), and will launch the week of October 26, 2020. Please visit NATI's website for more information.
The government announced a one-time credit on electricity bills as early as July as a result of fuel savings at the Holyrood Thermal Generating Facility. The Public Utilities Board will determine the details of the credit, including the amount and timing, and it will apply to Island customers only.
The government is providing $2.5 million to waive interest on overdue accounts for residential and general service (commercial) customers in the province. It will be for a period of 15 months beginning on June 1, 2020.
More information on both initiatives available here.
Red Tape Reduction
The government has launched a red tape reduction portal for businesses to suggest opportunities to ease regulatory pressures. The questionnaire will be open until December 31, 2020.
Businesses are eligible to have a portion of vehicle registration fees for vehicles registered to the business refunded, if they are not in use.
Commercial vehicles of 4,500 kilograms or greater are not required to have their safety inspection completed while they are not operational.
Filings and Remittances
Deferral of requirement for businesses to file yearly returns under Companies and Deeds Online (CADO) and remittance of the accompanying filing fee.
Provincial business tax payments, like the Health and Post-secondary Education Tax and the Retail Sales Tax on insurance premiums, were deferred until August 20, 2020. Additional details are available here.
Compensation is available to private sector employees who had staff self-isolate due to COVID-19 travel restrictions; the self-employed are included. The compensation is related to federal funding, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. There are criteria applied to the provincial funding.
The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation has announced a number of business supports:
- Loan payments on business loans administered by the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation are deferred by six months.
- The hiring eligibility for commercial Research and Development will be temporarily increased between April 1 and September 30.
- Contribution levels have been temporarily increased (up to 75 per cent) for eligible project applications under Research and Development commercial and business development support.
Supports for Aboriginal Businesses
The Ulnooweg Development Group has been providing loans and business support to Aboriginal businesses in Atlantic Canada since 1986. The group has announced two measures to help support Aboriginal businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic:
- payment deferrals and interest relief on loans between April 1 and June 30, 2020, and
- Emergency Loan Program - up to $40,000 to help meet immediate operating cash flow needs.
Information on the support is available on the Ulnooweg site.
When a co-worker tests positive for COVID-19 or is ordered to self-isolate
When there is a case of COVID-19, Public Health will complete contact tracing; this involves finding and informing people that an infected person has been in contact, so they can get counselling, testing, and treatment (if necessary).
Public Health will advise whether self-isolation or self-monitoring is needed. If Public Health determines a business may be at risk, they will notify the employer and provide advice on appropriate follow-up.
Note: The Personal Health Information Act will prevent Public Health from releasing the patient's name to the employer.
Mental Health Resources
With Canada firmly in the grip of COVID-19, it is anything but business as usual. Many businesses are closing their doors and laying off staff, others have employees refusing to come to work. We are all stressed and everyone is worried about their health and financial well-being. Amidst this turbulence, you as a business leader are scrambling to keep your business afloat while leading your staff through these uncertain times.
Here are links to resources you can access if you’re feeling overwhelmed:
Newfoundland and Labrador
Mental health and addictions
Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-737-4668 or (709) 737-4668
Mental Health and Addictions Systems Navigator: 1-877-999-7589 or (709) 752-3916
CHANNAL Peer Support Warm Line: 1-855-753-2560 or (709) 753-2560
- Government of Canada
- Mental health and wellness
- Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support
- COVID-19 Information Line 1 833 784 4397
- Mental Health Commission of Canada
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- Morneau Shepell – CFIB’s partner
What is CFIB doing?
CFIB’s legislative team in Newfoundland and Labrador are working to ensure the provincial government knows what your business needs. We recognize the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador does not have the fiscal means to provide substantial financial support. However, there are low-cost or no-cost options available to it that can help business owners. The following has been asked of the provincial government:
- Create a web portal for red tape reduction ideas;
- Allow alcohol to be sold with restaurant take-out and delivery orders and craft breweries to deliver;
- Protect businesses from eviction by landlords;
- Introduce a three-month small business rent guarantee program;
- Implement a small business loan guarantee program with the credit unions;
- Make changes to the legislated provisions to temporary lay-offs;
- Extend operating permit and licence renewals for six months;
- Work with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Power to provide electricity cost relief.
In the past, we have also asked the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to do the following:
- Provide a direct wage subsidy to supplement the federal wage subsidy;
- Pause tax filings and payments for Harmonized Sales Tax, Health and Post-secondary Education Tax, etc.;
- Provide a six-month extension of permits and licences set to expire by March 31, 2020;
- Freeze all audits across the provincial government;
- Ensure there is no requirement under provincial labour standards to give or pay notice for temporary layoffs; and
- Create a Joint Red Tape Reduction Committee with the goal of streamlining government processes and reducing the amount of required paperwork for government licence and permit approvals.
FAQ on COVID-19
We’re dedicated to supporting your business through this difficult time by compiling answers to the most common COVID-19 questions and keeping you up to date on the latest relief measures from the federal government. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.