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NWT: COVID-19 relief measures for your business

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 Ontario 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. 

Closures

Consult our guide to learn which businesses are currently closed in NWT.

 

NWT Plan to Reopen the Economy

The Government of NWT announced it's plan to reopen the economy in phases, named Emerging Wisely. The NWT entered Phase One of easing public health measures on May 15, 2020. This means NWT residents can enjoy  outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people (so long as physical distance is maintained) and more businesses and organizations can reopen, given a set of new rules. All businesses are subject to a maximum allowance of 10 persons indoors, and 25 persons outdoors - however, any business deemed essential is exempt from this Public Health Order. Click on the drop down below to learn more.

*Please note: additional requirements have not yet been announced. We will continue to update you as more information is available!

Emerging Wisely: 3-Phase Plan to Reopening the Economy

Phase 1: Began May 15, 2020

  • Allowing households to have up to 5 other people over, to a maximum of 10 people total
  • Groups of 25 or less are allowed outdoors
  • Certain businesses allowed to open:
    • Personal services, museums, art galleries, bottle depots, personal training at gyms, and fitness centers allowed to open with capacity and other restrictions in place
    • Tourism operators using their experiences for “staycations” (i.e. only for local residents)
    • Shuttle buses
    • Community gardens, gun ranges, golf courses, beaches, boat launches, baseball and softball, outdoor soccer, outdoor ultimate frisbee, cricket, outdoor summer camps 
    • Park day-use areas and cook shelters, indoor fields and community gyms, and libraries  are still being considered
  • Schools (except colleges, adult learning, and trade schools) may open with capacity and other restrictions in place
  • Specific types of mass gatherings will be allowed with capacity and other restrictions in place. For example: farmer’s markets, some recreational facilities, libraries, golf courses, beaches, boat launches, and playgrounds.

 

For any clarification, please refer to page 4 of the NWT government’s Public Health Order on relaxing phase 1.

 

Phase 2: Mid to late June, 2020

  • Groups of 50 or less allowed outdoors
  • Certain businesses allowed to open
    • Movie theatres, theatres, dine-in restaurants including those with bars (with limited capacity), fitness classes, indoor sports allowed to open
    • Organized outdoor activities allowed. Campground limitations will easy, and government offices may open (to be determined). Pools allowed to open for instructor certification
    • Client restrictions on personal services establishments will be relaxed - additional capacity
  • Public events allowed:
    • community feasts and BBQs
    • outdoor bingo
    • small concerts

 

Phase 3: To be determined

  • No limitations on groups of people outdoors
  • Pools open to the public, gymnastics open, choirs and band classes may begin running
  • Colleges, adult classes and trade schools open

 

All final measures will be lifted once a vaccine for COIVD-19 has been approved and produced. For the full Emerging Wisely Plan, click here.

 

COVID-19 initiatives from the GNWT

The following drop down options contain information on initiatives the government of NWT has taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restrictions on businesses

The NWT government is recommending social distancing of 2 metres to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This suggestion has not just been made to the public, but to businesses as well. 

 

Businesses who must close

  • Tour operators
  • Bottle depots
  • Gyms and fitness centres
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Bars and night clubs
  • Theatres and movie theatres
  • Dine-in portions of restaurants
  • Personal service establishments where physical distancing is not possible, including but not limited to: barber shops, hair salons, tattoo and/or piercing services, spas, nail salons, massage therapists, aestheticians, naturopathic practitioners, acupuncturists, and chiropractic services.

 

Businesses who may remain open

They following businesses may remain open if it can maintain good social distance (i.e. 2 meters distance) and don’t present a high-risk.

  • Takeout, drive-thru or delivery restaurants
  • Corner stores
  • Large retail stores 

 

Essential Business

The following businesses are encouraged to remain open.

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas bars and stations
  • Banks
  • Pharmacies
  • Liquor stores

If you are unsure if your business should remain open, please contact the NWT government at: [email protected] to speak with an Environmental Health Officer. To see the government webpage on business closure orders, click here.

 

Orders for Mines, Oil and Gas

Additional measures were introduced on April 10, 2020 for Mines and Oil and Gas Remote Camps specifically. These orders include:

  • Every worker must practice 14 days of social distancing before returning to the worksite and report any symptoms
  • Companies must establish and ensure compliance with social distancing protocols for all employees at the worksite when they are not working or eating meals
  • Companies are ordered to use the absolute minimum amount of workers to continue operations
  • Mandatory health screening must be done before travelling to site and before work starts every day
  • Companies must complete workplace risk assessment before they travel to the worksite
  • Companies must end the practice of buffet-style catering; establish high-quality disinfection and social distancing for common areas, and put up signs in front of all areas which are closed
Restrictions on public

The government of NWT has put strict orders on gatherings as of April 10, 2020. 

This includes activities such as:

  • House parties
  • Funerals
  • Meetings
  • Feasts
  • Church services
  • Team sports 
Resources for businesses

NWT Wage Top-up Program

The NWT government is allocating up to $6.2 million to temporarily top up wages for workers making less than $18 per hour. Businesses can apply to the temporary funding to increase the wages of their employees for a maximum of 16 weeks between April 1 and July 31. Workers must be over 15 years of age to be eligible. The business will also receive a one-time payment from the GNWT to help cover the administrative costs involved. To apply, you must complete an application and provide eligible employee hours and wages. Once approved, monthly payments will be issued to the employer to cover the cost of the top-up. Download the application by visiting the NWT Wage Top-up Program webpage, here. 

 

Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) program (2020-21)

The NWT government is expanding it's SEED program by investing $4 million to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, once it has subsided. Businesses who are looking to expand or create new employment positions are encouraged to apply. In your application, you must explain how you intend to keep as much of the funding and employment within your local community - priority for funding will be given depending on keeping economic activity local. The intention of this funding is not to cover past losses from COVID-19. Funding ranges from $30,000 to $75,000. For a full list of details, see the SEED program backgrounder here. To apply, you must fill out the Application Form which can be found by clicking here to redirect you to the NWT government website. 

 

Rent Relief for Businesses on Public Land

Existing residential, recreational and commercial and industrial dispositions on public land who have paid rent between April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 will be automatically refunded in effort to provide individuals more cash flow. So long as your account is in good standing, the payment will be refunded to you. For full details of the initiative, see the GNWT News Release, here.

General Resources:

  • Low interest loans to business operators through the Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC). Loans of up to $25,000 are available to NWT businesses at a rate of 1.75%. To see if you are eligible and to apply, click here
  • Clients of the BDIC can also apply to reduce or defer up to three months of loan payments without penalty or additional interest charges. Businesses will be automatically approved and do not require demonstration of financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Requests must be received no later than the 24th day of the month prior to the payment date. For more information, click here.

 

Additional support for aviation

The NWT government has waived landing fees, and is investing nearly $2 million in financial relief to support critical aviation businesses.

 

Funding for Manufacturing of Personal Protective Equipment

The NWT government is accepting applications from businesses and artists interested in manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as other non-medical products that are urgently needed. The NWT Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is offering up to $1,000 for the purchase of raw materials for manufacturing non-medical cloth face masks, and up to $25,000 to purchase raw materials and equipment to manufacture medically certified products. 

Products include:

  • Certified medical face masks
  • Certified face shields
  • Certified hand sanitizer; and
  • Non-medical cloth face masks that can be used by the public

To apply, you must contact the appropriate government representative from your region. Find the appropriate email in the government news release, here. 

Other important information

For all other information business related information from Northwest Territories, please visit the official government website here. 

What is CFIB doing?

While this is a good start, we know there is much more the Yukon government can do to support your business. We are asking the government to: 

  • Do not increase existing taxes or fees (whether currently planned or unplanned) until 2021;
  • Provide a six-month extension of permits and licences that are set to expire during pandemic;
  • Defer for at least three months (without penalty or interest) all tax filings and payments for sales taxes, corporate income taxes, territory payroll taxes, and territory property taxes, among others which are directly under territory control;
  • Provide some additional protection for those businesses worried about not being able to pay rent (especially with the April 1st deadline soon approaching), and ensure no business can be evicted for at least the next 90 days;
  • Look at other ways to support small business such as waiving premiums for employers for WCB until September.Do not increase existing taxes or fees (whether currently planned or unplanned) until 2021;
  • Provide a six-month extension of permits and licences that are set to expire during pandemic;
  • Defer for at least three months (without penalty or interest) all tax filings and payments for sales taxes, corporate income taxes, territory payroll taxes, and territory property taxes, among others which are directly under territory control;
  • Provide some additional protection for those businesses worried about not being able to pay rent (especially with the April 1st deadline soon approaching), and ensure no business can be evicted for at least the next 90 days;
  • Look at other ways to support small business such as waiving premiums for employers for WCB until September.

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.