Just like the federal and provincial governments, municipal governments also have a crucial role to play in helping your business survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Municipalities can—and should—put in place relief measures to support you, your employees and your business.
CFIB is fighting for support for your business from all levels of government. Our recommendations are directly based on feedback gathered from our members via regular surveys. Here’s what we’re telling municipal governments in Quebec they can do to help—and here’s what they’ve done so far.
Quebec specific recommendations for municipalities
We are asking municipalities in Quebec to:
- Provide commercial property owners with a property tax holiday for a minimum of three months, or at least waive all interest and penalties for unpaid property tax bills for a minimum of three months.
- Waive all interest and penalties for unpaid water and utility billing for a minimum period of 90 days.
- Delay any planned tax increases.
- Do not introduce any new bylaws or regulations, other than those needed to address COVID-19.
- Accelerate approval for construction projects and home renovations to keep people working.
- Pay money owing to my business quickly (tax credits, contracts with government, etc.).
- Cease routine audits.
- Urge landlords to provide accommodation and leniency to commercial tenants for delayed rental payments.
- Introduce a Noise By-law exemption to allow for 24-hour service delivery.
Which municipalities have put in place relief measures already?
Here’s what municipalities across Quebec have done so far to help small business.
In Coaticook, you now have new deadlines for paying your property taxes, which have been extended:
- From May 31 to July 15.
- From July 31 to September 15.
- From September 30 to November 15.
In addition, as of March 23, you do not have to pay interest on unpaid electricity bills.
There will also be no power interruptions on April 1 for people who have not paid their previous bills.
In Drummondville, you now have until May 20 to pay your first 2020
If Gatineau’s City Council passes its resolution this week, you could have until August 31 to pay your tax bills that were due on June 30.
On March 24, the City of Granby announced a series of measures.
You now have:
- until June 22 to pay your tax bills that were due on April 22.
- until August 20 to pay your tax bills that were due on June 22.
- until September 21 to pay your tax bills that were due on August 20.
- until October 19 to pay your tax bills that were due on September 21.
- until November 18 to pay your tax bills that were due on October 19.
Moreover, from March 24 until June 21, the City of Granby will apply a 0% annual interest rate on unpaid tax bills, land transfer rights, etc.
You will also have until June 22 to pay additional tax bills that were due between March 24 and June 21. This does not include land transfer rights and water bills.
Furthermore, from March 24 until June 21, you will not have to pay the $5 administrative fees for online payments to municipal court.
In Lac-Mégantic, you still need to pay your tax bill by the due date, but the City will not charge interest prior to May 31.
If Laval's City Council passes its resolution on April 7, you will have until September 1 to pay your tax bills.
In the City of L’Ancienne-Lorette, you now have new deadlines for paying your property taxes, which have been extended:
- From May 7 to August 7.
- From July 16 to September 16.
- From September 24 to November 2.
In addition, if you have submitted post-dated cheques for the next three tax payments, these cheques will be cashed on the new due dates.
With respect to scheduled electronic payments, it is your responsibility to reschedule their due dates.
- Interest on late payments of municipal taxes is suspended until May 31.
- The City intends to expedite payment of suppliers’ invoices.
- The City intends to encourage local purchasing for all orders of $100,000 or less.
- A three-month moratorium is in effect vis-à-vis repayment of loans made by Développement économique Lévis for companies wishing to take advantage of this opportunity.
- The Guichet unique sur la main-d’œuvre [one-stop workforce services] has become the “Guichet entraide entreprises” [one-stop business assistance services], providing support focused exclusively on helping businesses in the context of the pandemic.
- The area’s 4,500 businesses will be contacted in order to monitor and survey their situation.
In Longueuil, you now have:
- Until May 6 to make your second municipal tax bill payment.
- Until July 6 to make your third payment.
- Until September 8 to make your fourth payment.
In addition, the City of Longueuil has announced that it will follow up as required to ensure that all post-dated cheques received can be cashed one month later than the due date. On the other hand, if you want to defer an automatic payment, you need to make the necessary adjustments online on your financial institution's website.
- Owners and businesses will have three additional months to pay their tax bills that are due on June 1. The new deadline is September 1.
- Private and social economy businesses that have loans received through the PME MTL fund, Fonds Locaux de Solidarité and Fonds de commercialisation des innovations will have a six-month moratorium on capital and interest.
- SMEs now have access to a dedicated hotline: 514-394-1793.
- The City has created a $5 million assistance funds to support certain targeted sectors such as the creative and cultural industries, local stores and tourism. It has not yet spelled out what eligible businesses need to do to receive this assistance. CFIB will follow the situation and provide details as they become available.
Québec City announced postponements of the next municipal tax payments, as follows:
- Payments due May 4 are deferred until August 4.
- Payments due July 3 are deferred until September 3.
- Payments due September 3 are deferred until November 3.
The City of Rivière-du-Loup will not charge interest on:
- Municipal taxes due on June 4.
- Transfer taxes (commonly known as “welcome taxes”) due after March 16.
- Additional tax resulting from a property value adjustment due after March 16.
Moreover, the planned fee increases for certain legal procedures will not come into effect this year.
In addition, the City intends to pay suppliers on a more frequent basis until further notice.
In the next few months, the City Council will assess whether it is necessary to maintain these measures beyond July 6.
If you are no longer able to make your pre-authorized payments, please contact the Finance and Treasury Department at 418-867-6711 or [email protected].
Promotion Saguenay could loan you up to $50,000 with no interest through the new Fonds de soutien temporaire aux entreprises/COVID-19.
You would have up to 5 years to pay the loan back with a 6-month moratorium.
To be eligible:
- You must run a cooperative, a private business (excluding those from the financial and real estate sectors) or a social economy enterprise.
- Your organization must have had at least three direct full-time jobs.
- Your financial needs must not exceed $50,000.
- You must present financial statements from the last two years and an up-to-date financial result.
- You must show that you need the financial aid because of effects of COVID-19.
- Your organizations must show long-term viability.
- It must also be part of certain priority sectors.
Self-employed are not eligible for the funds.
To apply, fill out the provided form before September 30.
Thanks to a motion passed on March 24 by city council, you now have:
- Until May 6 to pay your second tax bill of the year.
- Until July 6 to payy your third tax bill of the year.
- Until September 8 to pay your fourth tax bill of the year.
In Saint-Denis-de-Brompton, you now have until May 30, 2020, to pay property taxes due on April 15. This date is subject to review if the situation continues.
On March 24 the City of Saint-Lambert announced a one-month deferral of the next three municipal tax deadlines.
You now have until:
- May 11 to pay your second tax bill for 2020.
- July 13 to pay your third tax bill for 2020.
- September 14 to pay your fourth tax bill for 2020.
Please note: Deadlines will remain the same for mortgagees, i.e., April 14, June 15 and August 17.
In Sherbrooke, deadlines for paying your property taxes have been extended:
- From May 4 to August 4.
- From July 3 to October 5.
- From September 3 to December 3.
In addition, as of March 24 and until further notice, Hydro-Sherbrooke will not charge its customers an administrative fee for unpaid bills or interrupt their electrical service. In the case of equal payments customers, the utility will tolerate more missed payments before client removal.
In Trois-Rivières, you now have until September 8 to make your municipal tax payment that was originally due July 6.
In addition, Innovation et Développement économique Trois-Rivières will implement new financial measures totalling $1.1 million. The specific allocation criteria will be determined over the next few days, but it is already known that, in general, priority will be given to companies that were in a good financial position before the crisis and that have seen a significant impact on their working capital. CFIB will follow the situation and provide further details as they become available.
Moreover, the City of Trois-Rivières has stopped applying interest on accounts receivable such as leases and false alarm charges as of March 20. This freeze does not apply to tax accounts, and you will have to pay any interest due before that date.
In Varennes, you now have:
- 30 more days to pay your property taxes due on March 30, without penalty.
- 30 more days to pay your property taxes due on April 29, without penalty.
In Victoriaville, you now have until September 1, 2020, November 2, 2020, and January 18, 2021, to pay your next three tax bills.
In addition, the City will charge 0 per cent interest on outstanding accounts until August 31.
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 both the federal government and the Quebec government. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.