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Quebec: COVID-19 relief measures for your business

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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

On March 23, the Quebec government ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses and services, from 12:01 a.m. of March 25 to 12:01 a.m. on April 13, 2020.

On March 30, the government ordered the Sunday closing of all business establishments during the month of April (excluding gas stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, drive-through/take-out orders/restaurant delivery services and online/telephone orders/grocery 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.

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 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
  • 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.

Support for self-employed

Temporary Aid for Workers Program

To help adult workers who must remain in isolation, the Quebec government has implemented the Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT COVID-19). Through this program, you could receive $573 a week if you are in isolation for 14 days because:

  • you have or are showing symptoms of COVID-19
  • you have had contact with an infected person
  • you have just returned from a trip outside Canada.

The program also is for you if you are now – or might be – in isolation and:

  • you do not have private insurance
  • you are not covered by the government programs, particularly Employment Insurance

To apply, click here. You will then be directed to the website of the Red Cross, which administers this financial assistance.

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.
Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT COVID-19)

Any of your employees who are required to isolate might be able to take advantage of the Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT COVID-19). The eligibility requirements for this program are the same as for self-employed workers.

CNESST

The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) 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).

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:

  • 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.