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Quebec: 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. 

List of essential businesses/services

Here is the Quebec government plan to reopen the economy as of May 29:

 Quebec (except for the Greater Montreal)        Greater Montreal
Retail stores with direct exterior access, and their supply chainStarting on May 4Starting on May 25
Manufacturing companies and their supply chain

May 11 – 50 workers + 50% of the number of remaining employees per shift

 

May 25 – no restriction on the number of employees

May 18 – 50 workers + 50% of the number of remaining employees per shift

 

May 25 – no restriction on the number of employees

Construction industry and their supply chainsMay 11May 18
Outdoor recreational sports, leisure and activities carried out individually or in pairs, without physical contactSince May 20Since May 20
Therapeutic care businesses, dental care businesses and pet grooming services Starting June 1Starting June 1
Personal care businesses and beauty sectorStarting June 1Starting June 15
Shopping centresStarting June 1Yet to be announced

Also:

  • Teleworking must continue wherever possible.

In anticipation of the reopening of the economy, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) has prepared a toolkit for employers and workers.

The government intends to announce the second part of its recovery plan at a later date. This part will cover shopping malls, personal care businesses, distribution centres, the cultural sector and the tourism industry.

The order requiring the Sunday closing of all businesses in May will remain in effect (with the exception of service stations, convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants offering drive-through/telephone or delivery services, and grocery stores providing online/telephone/delivery services).

You can consult the government’s list or call 1-855-477-0777 to find out whether your business appears on the list of essential services and commercial activities. If your business is not on the list but you think it should be, you can apply to have it designated as an essential business by filling in an online form. A Quebec government information officer will then contact you.

Please note: All businesses can engage in telecommuting and e-commerce at any time.

Support for businesses

Loan or loan guarantee

To help businesses whose cash flow is affected by the impact of COVID-19, the government has implemented the Emergency Support Plan for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses and the Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE).

The Emergency Support Plan for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses provides emergency funding of less than $50,000, while the emergency funding available under PACTE starts at $50,000.

Both give funding in the form of a loan or a loan guarantee.

Who is eligible for the Emergency Support Plan for SMEs?

  • businesses in all industry sectors;
  • co-ops;
  • non-profit organizations;
  • social economy enterprises engaged in business activities.

To be eligible, a business must:

  • have been operating in Quebec for at least one year;
  • be temporarily closed, likely to close or show warning signs of closure;
  • be in the process of maintaining, consolidating or restarting its activities;
  • have demonstrated a cause-and-effect relationship between its financial or operational difficulties and the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can I apply for the Emergency Support Plan for SMEs?

Contact your RCM, your municipal office or the agency that manages the Local Investment Fund (LIF) in your RCM. You can find a list of these entities on the web page for this program

How can I take advantage of PACTE?

To avail yourself of this program, you must contact your account or project manager directly if you are a client of Investissement Québec. If you are not already a client, you need to get in touch with your financial institution, which will then contact Investissement Québec.

To reach an account or project manager, please use Investissement Québec's online directory. For more information, see the funding details.

Financial assistance for training

The government has launched the Programme actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi (PACME) [collaborative action employment maintenance program]. The objective of this program is to help companies implement such measures as teleworking or to develop the skills of employees who have to stay at home.

Under this program, companies can be reimbursed for 100% of eligible expenses (up to a $100,000 maximum); these include trainers’ fees, equipment purchases and human resources management activities.

Reimbursement calculations will be based on the amount of federal government emergency assistance for which a business is eligible.

Who is eligible?

Businesses and collective promoters; these include:

  • employers;
  • self-employed workers (whether incorporated or not) with employees;
  • employee and employer associations;
  • occupational groups;
  • employer groups;
  • worker groups;
  • collective promoters recognized by the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail [labour market partners board] for the Collective Promoters component of the program:
    • Collective promoters are groups of employers or workers who are able to create employment-related projects and who can supervise or carry out these projects; these groups include the Sectoral Workforce Committees, training mutuals and recognized employer associations, legally established associations of workers, etc.
  • co-ops;
  • social economy enterprises;
  • non-profit and community organizations with an active community presence.

Which expenses are eligible?

  • wages of workers in training (excluding payroll taxes), to a maximum of $25/hour;
  • professional fees of consultants or trainers, to a maximum of $150/hour;
  • indirect expenses for trainers (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.), at actual cost;
  • indirect expenses for workers in training (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.), at actual cost;
  • expenses related to developing, adapting and purchasing instructional and learning materials, at actual cost;
  • expenses for equipment and supplies required to deliver training, at actual cost;
  • expenses for developing and adapting training contents, at actual cost;
  • expenses incurred in transferring classroom-based instruction to online training, at actual cost;
  • registration fees or other fees related to the use of a platform, at actual cost;
  • if applicable, management and administrative expenses (bank fees, equipment, supplies required to carry out activities, etc.) incurred by the delegated organization, up to a maximum of 10 per cent of eligible costs.

How do I apply?

Businesses and self-employed workers must contact a Business Counsellor in their region.

Collective promoters must email their subsidy application forms to: [email protected]. You can find more details about this category on the PACME's web page (French only).

 

The program runs until September 30 or until its $100 millions budget runs out.

Deadline Extension for Tax on Lodging

You now have until July 31, instead of April 30, to file and remit the tax on lodging for the first calendar quarter of 2020.

Revenu Québec

To enable you to have more cash in hand, you now have until September 1 to pay any tax balance owing to Revenue Québec or to remit your instalments.

Revenue Québec has also announced that it is suspending tax audits and collection, and will show greater flexibility in respect to payment agreements for tax debts.

Furthermore, you now have until June 30 to make GST/QST and customs duty payments.

Hydro-Québec

On March 22, Hydro-Québec announced that it will stop applying administration charges to unpaid bills for all customers and will not cut off power to anyone for non-payment.

Financière agricole du Québec

La Financière agricole du Québec (FADQ) announced the following support measures:

  • You can quickly receive a $50,000 loan guarantee, free of personal property or real estate property guarantee.
    • This measure is available to all clients who have financing with La FADQ and who are experiencing temporary cash flow issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • You will have a 10-year repayment term and a 12-month capital repayment relief period.
    • To apply, please contact your La FADQ financing advisor.
  • Investment grant payments scheduled for June 1 will be made on May 1 instead.
  • The deadline to apply for and make a contribution payment to the Agristability Program is now July 3, 2020.
  • You can receive an interim payment of 75% of program benefits.
    • To apply, please contact the Financial Information Collection and Processing Team.

FADQ also announced a series of measures, as follows:

  • You can request a six-month moratorium on loan repayments.
  • You will have until May 21, 2020, to join the Crop Insurance Program.
  • Notices of assessment are extended from June 1 to July 1, 2020.
  • You can request interim AgriStability payments in order to receive these payments quickly.
  • No assessment notices will be sent until July 1, 2020, for the Farm Income Stabilization Insurance Program. In addition, final payments for the 2019 insurance year will be made in April in the cattle and pig sectors, and in May in the sheep sector. The second advance for cereal and canola compensation will be paid in April.
CNESST

In anticipation of the reopening of the economy, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) has prepared a toolkit for employers and workers.

It also announced various relief measures for workers; these measures, that came into effect on March 20 and will continue until further notice:

  • You now have until August 31 to pay your CNESST premiums.
  • During this period the CNESST will not apply interests or fees.
  • You will have until June 1 to file your 2019 Wages Return (Déclaration des salaires 2019).
  • The CNESST will tolerate longer delays for filing complaints-related documents.
  • It will only deliver statements of offence for serious incidents, like a serious accident or a death.
  • Judgments will only be enforced in case of “force majeure.”
  • Formal notices will also be sent in case of “force majeure”
Caisse de dépôt

The Caisse de dépôt et  placement du Québec (CDPQ) announced that it is making available approximately $4 billion to support Quebec businesses whose operations are temporarily disrupted by COVID-19.

These funds are intended to meet the particular cash needs of companies that fulfil specific criteria. Under these criteria, a company must:

  • Be seeking financing of over $5 million.
  • Have been profitable before the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Have a promising growth outlook in its industry sector.

To apply for funding, you will need to complete the required form.

Payment Deferral to the Registraire des entreprises

You now have until September 1 to pay your 2020 Annual Registration Fee to the Registraire des entreprises.

Port of Montreal

The Port of Montreal along with transport, logistics and storage activities have been recognized as essential services by the  Government of Quebec and by the Government of Canada. Therefore, these operations are ongoing. 

If you are waiting for goods to transit through the Port of Montreal, contact your logistics partner or, if you have special requirements, CargoM to agree on appropriate measures to receive your orders and in doing so, contribute to the fluidity of the supply chain.

This will also enable you to resume your activities more quickly when the sale of your goods and/or services resumes.

Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux
  • No annual fee notification has been issued since March 18.
    • As a result, no penalties will be imposed on the affected licensees 
    • And no licenses will be cancelled.
  • Any expiring permit, license or authorization will be renewed automatically or will remain in effect. 
  • The normal deadlines have been suspended for:
    • applying for or renewing a permit or license,
    • applying for the renewal of an authorization,
    • paying expenses or fees
    • making representations
  • When the situation returns to normal, the Régie will inform the affected licensees of the procedure they will need to follow with respect to paying or renewing their fees.

Other measures are in place for meeting permits, liquor licences, bingo, draws, publicity contests, amusement machines, combat sports, horse racing and liquor manufacturer licenses. Click here (French only) for full details.

Tools & Forms

Here's a list of documents that could be useful for your business:

  • Professional Travel Letter: use this template of supporting documentation for an employee travelling from one controlled region to another. Simply replace the text between square brackets with the relevant information for your situation and your business.
  • Best Practices for food establishment: read this Advisory from the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) to find best practices for protecting customers in your establishment.
  • Best health practices when moving: consult this guide published by the Société d'habitation du Québec (Quebec Housing Corporation) for advice on what precautions you should take before, during and after moving.

Support for self-employed

Revenu Québec

To enable you to have more cash in hand, you now have until September 1 to pay any tax balance owing to Revenue Québec or to remit your instalments.

Revenue Québec has also announced that it is suspending tax audits and collection, and will show greater flexibility in respect to payment agreements for tax debts.

Furthermore, you now have until June 30 to make your GST/QST and customs duty payments.

Hydro-Québec

On March 22, Hydro-Québec announced that it will stop applying administration charges to unpaid bills for all customers and will not cut off power to anyone for non-payment.

Support for Individuals

Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers ($400/month)

The Quebec government has introduced the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW) to make up the wage difference between individuals receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and low-income essential workers.

Under the IPREW, eligible workers will receive $100 a week, i.e., $400 a month, over a maximum period of 16 weeks. This benefit will be retroactive to March 15.

The IPREW benefit will be added to the worker’s basic wage and will be taxable. 

Eligible workers can apply beginning May 19 and must follow these steps:

  • Register now for:
    • My account for individuals and
    • online direct deposit. If you are already registered, make sure the banking information on file is up to date.
  • Starting May 19, 2020, use the Apply for the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers online service.

The first payment will be made on May 27, 2020.

To be eligible, you must:

  • work part-time or full-time in one of the essential service sectors during the program period;
  • receive gross wages of $550 or less per week;
  • have an annual employment income of at least $5,000 and a total annual income of no more than $28,600;
  • be at least 15 years old when you apply for assistance under the IPREW;
  • have been resident in Québec on December 31, 2019, and plan to reside in Québec throughout 2020.
CNESST

In anticipation of the reopening of the economy, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) has prepared a toolkit for employers and workers.

It also announced various relief measures for workers; these measures, that came into effect on March 20 and will continue until further notice:

  • There will be no penalty for workers who are unable to attend their treatments.
  • Medical and rehabilitation treatments performed remotely, such as by phone or online, will be reimbursed.
  • The treatment procedure for the Safe Maternity program has been streamlined. A pregnant or breastfeeding worker may now stop working even before seeing her doctor if the risk of COVID‑19 is present, and under certain conditions.

What is CFIB doing?

CFIB has taken quick action to help SMEs cope with COVID-19. We are in regular communication with various media outlets to share the reality that small and medium-sized businesses and self-employed workers are experiencing.

Working collaboratively with governments, we have achieved a number of gains, such as the creation of the Temporary Aid for Workers Program and relief for tax obligations (tax returns, instalments, tax accounts).

As the Government of Quebec lays out its plan for reopening the economy, we are pushing, based on the needs voiced by our members, for:

  • Allowing no contact delivery in Quebec as most Canadian provinces do
  • Clear guidelines about good hygiene practices for employees and clients.
  • Regular assurance from authorities that it is safe to keep business open.
  • Campaigns encouraging consumers to buy at their neighbourhood businesses.
  • Ongoing financial relief from governments and banks.
  • Government to ensure access to PPE.

We continue to call for further assistance from the federal government, the Quebec government and municipalities. For example, we are asking the Quebec government to:

  • Provide SMEs with emergency grants of up to $5000 per month to help pay for rent;
  • Protect commercial tenants from eviction for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Implement financial assistance measures also for self-employed workers;
  • Implement direct financial assistance measures for SMEs; 
  • Temporarily halt QST remittances;
  • Provide wage subsidies to businesses to help them retain their employees.

To learn about the actions we have taken during the crisis, please consult our timeline.

FAQ: Managing COVID-19 in the workplace 

To help you through these difficult times, we've created a Frequently Asked Questions page that answers the most common questions SMEs have about COVID-19. Our FAQ also contains information on the relief measures provided by the federal government and by Quebec municipalities. Visit our Small Business Help Centre to learn more.