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 Manitoba they can do to help—and here’s what they’ve done so far.
Manitoba-specific recommendations for municipalities
We are asking municipalities in Manitoba 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 (e.g. City of Winnipeg is waiving penalties for unpaid property and business taxes for up to three months following their due date.)
- Waive all interest and penalties for unpaid water and utility billing for a minimum period of 90 days.
- Delay any planned tax and fee 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 Bylaw exemption to allow for 24-hour service delivery.
Which Manitoba municipalities have put in place relief measures already?
Here’s what municipalities across Manitoba have done so far to help small business:
Brandon City Council passed new measures in an effort to help ease the financial burden on city residents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The measures include:
- delaying the municipal property tax payment date past the current June 30 deadline; to July 31st (Note: The deadline will likely be pushed back further into September to align with the province);
- changing the city’s tax instalment plan to make it more flexible; and
- waiving some fees for not paying taxes on time.
The tax instalment plan, which lets residents pay their property tax bill in monthly deposits from their bank accounts rather than all at once, was also changed. Rather than paying the exact same amount through direct deposits each month, residents are now able to work with the City to find a plan that works best for them.
The city will work with people to make sure they can pay their taxes in full by Dec. 31, 2020.
The 1.25 per cent monthly fee on not paying property taxes has also been waived until October for individual residents.
For more information please see the City of Brandon's website.
Property taxes & Business taxes
In support of property and business owners who may need temporary relief during the COVID-19 crisis, City has approved options to defer tax payments without penalty.
For those who need it, the City is waiving penalties for unpaid property and business taxes for up to three months following their due date.
- Property taxes are due on June 30, 2020 (fees waived until September 30, 2020)
- Business taxes are due on May 29, 2020 (fees waived until August 31, 2020)
For those who are able to meet the property and business tax due dates, the City strongly encourages you to do so.
Taxes owing from previous years are not eligible for waived fees and will continue to be charged monthly penalties at 2.5% on the outstanding amount.
For more information please see the City of Winnipeg's website.
Property taxes and utility payments:
The City has made significant changes to its Financial Plan which have resulted in a zero tax property tax increase for its residents, and our businesses in 2020.
The City has announced one time relief to those who cannot pay their April water bill on time, and the August 31st tax bill on time. For those who find it impossible to meet those deadlines, the City is offering a 60 day extension for those payments without interest or penalties.
At a special meeting called to address the pending water billing period, Selkirk Council decided to issue quarter one utility bills May 15, one month later than the scheduled April 15 date.
Council also doubled the payment deadline so that citizens will have two months to make their payment. That means the deadline for quarter one utility bills is July 15.
For more information, please visit the City of Selkirk's website.
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 Manitoba government. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.