Depending on your province, the government may have required you to temporarily shut down your business if they consider you to be a non-essential service. Provincial governments are progressively announcing their plan for reopening business, mostly on a sectoral basis.
If your business is able to keep operating at a distance, through telework, or online commerce you will likely be permitted to continue to stay operational throughout this period.
Fines may be applicable for non-compliance.
The definition of an essential service can vary from one province to another. Please see our online guide to find out if your province has defined essential services.
Unfortunately, this is the case for many businesses. The government has announced a number of measures to help you get through this difficult time. There are also steps you can take to determine your business’ future:
- Review your finances: Look at your revenue vs your expenses – are you able to meet your basic expenses? Speak to your accountant/bookkeeper about your options and whether it makes sense to stay open, pause your business, shut down until an opportunity in the market arises, or close your business.
- Make a Business Continuity Plan: Weathering the storm will be difficult, make sure you have a plan as to how to do it. Restarting a business that has been suspended will take thought and time to bring back to its former level. Are there other options for your business to stay open? Can you find new suppliers? Can you change your business model to continue to serve your clients (i.e. provide delivery of food instead of having sit-in customers)
- Speak to your commercial insurance provider: We have been hearing from you and insurance companies that COVID-19 is very rarely covered. Some insurance companies require that you have physical damage in order to access your Business Interruption insurance, others just do not cover diseases. Because every commercial insurance policy is different, we recommend that you speak with your insurance provider to better understand what coverage is available to you under the terms of your policy. If anything, you should check if any flexibility exists with your insurer and figure out what you may need to know to keep your commercial and personal insurance policies valid for when you are ready to open your business doors again. For more information visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
- The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is implementing a series of consumer relief measures to ease the financial burden on insurance customers. These include immediate auto premium reductions and waiving NSF fees charged by insurers for insufficient funds to cover a customer’s premium. IBC members will also work with small business to help manage costs, exploring flexible payment options for those in a vulnerable position or facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. For more information about business interruption coverage, read IBC’s FAQ. You should review it before calling your insurance provider.
- Communicate with your employees twice a week:
- Let employees know what safety measures/policies you are putting in place to keep them safe.
- Post educational posters and share safety tips.
- Ensure that there is a way for employees to notify you if they are sick whether that be through the health and safety representative/committee or though their manager.
- Talk to employees about their job security/health status/vacation/benefits options.
- Look at your business function and re-evaluate frequently. Cutting back on non-essential projects could save you money or looking at how your business can pivot and adapt to this COVID-19 environment will help your business’ future planning
- CFIB has negotiated CFIB Savings deals for you and your business. They are included in your membership, so we encourage you to take advantage of them.
- Look at your contract or lease to see if there is a clause regarding extreme circumstances.
- If there is nothing in the contract, you can try and negotiate an agreement to reduce or delay your payment.
- Document any negotiations, discussions, agreements and/or payments.
- Look carefully at your finances, so you know exactly what you can afford before you speak with your landlord/a supplier. If they permit you to reduce payments, you want to be sure it is an amount you can comfortably afford.
- Speak with your bank, credit union, BDC, EDC or other loan provider for some relief.
- We have been hearing from you and insurance companies that COVID-19 is rarely covered. Some insurance companies require that you have physical damage in order to access your Business Interruption insurance, others just do not cover diseases. Because every commercial insurance policy is different, we recommend that you speak with your insurance provider to better understand what coverage is available to you under the terms of your policy. If anything, you should check if any flexibility exists with your insurer and figure out what you may need to know in order to keep your commercial and home policies valid for when you are ready to open your business doors again. For more information visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
CFIB continues to work with its trusted partner, PrimaSure to provide low-cost group benefits for business owners and their employees.
To alleviate some of your stress during the crisis, PrimaSure, offered by Nexim Insurance Solutions, has opened its call lines to all business owners with group insurance questions - not just PrimaSure clients.
The below answers mainly pertain to PrimaSure products. For more information, on how your particular contract is affected, contact Nexim by phone at 1 866 693-2342 or email at [email protected].
During a layoff, all benefits are maintained, including disability insurance (if this is a benefit on your plan) for up to 3 or 4 months (depending on your contract), as long as premiums continue to be paid.
Employers have different options to be applied to the entire class of employees which are:
- Maintain all benefits for their employees during layoff;
- Maintain all benefits without disability insurance;
- Terminate all benefits or Suspend the group plan.
- In Quebec, Members whose health coverage has been terminated, must register with the RAMQ in order to have coverage for their medications. Once they have returned to work and are actively back on the group insurance plan they will have to contact the RAMQ to advise they again have access to private medical.
Please call Nexim Canada before making a decision on one of the above options to be properly informed on the forms that must be completed and information that must be submitted to the carrier.
While in the short term it may seem better to terminate the benefits for employees while on layoff, it is important to consider the following points that could affect the decision:
- Should an unfortunate death occur during the layoff, there would have not been active life insurance in place for the participants and their dependents;
- Once a participant has decided to terminate disability benefits during a layoff:
- Should the participant fall ill and are unable to return to work once the layoff has ended, they will not be eligible to make a disability claim if the disability occurred during the time they were not covered; and
- Once returned to work, the pre-existing clauses may once again be applied for the disability benefit.
- All participants who are currently out of the country will be left without coverage for any emergencies that occur;
- All employees who decide to terminate their benefits by their own will risk having to provide proof of good health to re-adhere to the plan once returned to work; and
- If the re-enrolment period for the group is missed, participants may need to provide proof of good health to re-enrol on the plan.
Yes, a group can decide to suspend coverage for all employees (during that period any claims incurred will not be reimbursed including Life) for a period of up to 3 or 4 months depending on their contract. During this period the group would not pay for any premiums.
In order to avoid a re-enrollment process, the group would need to reinstate the benefits prior to the maximum layoff period indicated in their contract.
The employees no longer fulfilling the minimum amount of hours to be eligible for the plan will be able to remain active on the plan for the length of the layoff period indicated for their plan, after which they will need to fulfill the minimum hours required to stay active on the plan.
This will depend on your provider and plan – please contact Nexim for more information on your specific plan.
There are postal pharmacies at your disposal that will deliver medication to your door. Pharmacies in your area may also be delivering prescriptions to avoid an overload of people in their establishments. Maintenance drugs can easily be delivered on schedule to your door and can be processed by phone or online.
Carriers are asking for classes within the policies to be dealt with the same way. A decision must be made for the entire class of people. In the situation that only partial staff is laid off, those employees or owners who are still actively working can continue to have access to the Group Insurance Plan as usual.
As businesses close and there is a move to working at home, cyber-security is more important than ever. There have already been reports of malicious emails masquerading as legitimate entities using the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to capture private and personal information.
NOTE: Government will not reach out to you directly by phone or email to offer you relief
When fraudsters pose as a company, brand or e-mail address you recognize, it’s called phishing. A play on the word fish, the perpetrators are fishing for someone to fall for their scam by sending emails (usually with a link to a website) purporting to be from a reputable company. They’re hoping to trick people into giving out personal information or making payments.
- Make sure you have a spam filter on your emails
- Look for tell-tale signs such as typos, grammar errors or poor image quality
- Check the e-mail address – businesses and organizations don’t use hotmail or gmail accounts
- Don’t assume people or businesses are who they say they are
- Don’t give out personal/business information unless you’re absolutely sure of who you are dealing with.
- Trust your instincts – if you’re not comfortable, contact the company directly to find out if the message is legitimate.
Check out this tip sheet from our partner Northbridge Insurance for more help avoiding phishing scams.
Callers will try to trick you into handing over personal information (full name, address, Social Insurance Number, etc.) by posing as a government official. A true government official will be willing to provide you with their name, agent ID number (if applicable), department, the building they are calling from, and will provide you with a phone number that you can call back to reach them. Government agents will also already have your information. Please double check your online portal accounts for any notifications of an audit. We are aware that CRA agents may require a second profile verification call to verify the legitimacy of businesses who have applied to CEWS. If you are unsure of the caller's identity, do not give out any personal information and say that you will call the CRA at another time.
Examples of scam calls include callers pretending to be from CRA either threatening criminal action if a fine isn’t paid or offering relief monies paid by direct deposit. These scammers often try to keep victims on the phones as long as possible with stress tactics and sometimes even pretend to reroute you to a phone line impersonating the local police authority.
Similar to phishing, text scams will try to get you to click a link that will either lead to a malicious website or download malicious content onto your phone. Recent examples include a fake Red Cross text offering free face masks if you just click the link.
Stop and think before you share personal information over the phone or click on COVID-19-related links.
What cyber risks should I be aware of during the pandemic?
Many small businesses are now working remotely for the first time, and if you’re one of them you may be confronted by a host of new cyber risks. CFIB partner Northbridge Insurance can help you protect your business and your employees with free tip sheets and guidelines. Check out the following links to learn:
- Cyber risk prevention tips
- Remote employee risks and how to stay protected
- Best practices for webcams and video conferencing
- If a VPN is right for you
- How to avoid phising scams
The quickest way to access CERB if you can’t do it through the portal would be to call the automated CERB telephone service at either 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 (if you have filed your taxes up to 2018) or at 1-800-959-8281 if you have never filed a tax return.
If you wish to speak with an agent about CERB, you can call CRA at 1-833-966-2099.
If you wish to talk to an agent about the issues with your My Account portal, you can call 1-800-959-8281.
Please note that all CRA numbers are currently experiencing higher than normal call volumes, and therefore wait times to speak with an agent are longer.
If you need help with My Business Account you can call 1-800-959-5525.
Please note that all CRA numbers are currently experiencing higher than normal call volumes, and therefore wait times to speak with an agent are longer.
Arm's-length: Generally, an arm's length employee is any employee who does not own the business (or in the case of a corporation, has a controlling interest in the corporation) and is not a member of the owner’s immediate family.
Non-arm's length (not at arm's length): A non-arm's length employee is someone who owns the business (or in the case of a corporation, has a controlling interest in the corporation) or is part of the owner’s immediate family.
Immediate family can be related by:
- grandparents of spouse,
- parents of a spouse,
- brothers and sister of a spouse,
- children of a spouse,
- spouse of a brother or sister,
- spouse of a child,
- spouse of a grandchild.
- Common-law partnership ;
- treated the same way as legally married spouses.
- adopted children are treated in the same way as blood-related children.
As per the CRA, Employment income is the number that you would find in box 14 of an individual’s T4Slip. This includes:
- Salary, wages (including pay in lieu of termination notice), tips or gratuities, bonuses, vacation pay, employment commissions, gross and insurable earnings of self-employed fishers, and all other remuneration (see Box 14 – Employment income for a detailed list) you paid to employees during the year
- Various taxable benefits or allowances
- Retiring allowances
- Deductions you withheld during the year
- Pension adjustment (PA) amounts for employees who accrued a benefit for the year under your registered pension plan (RPP) or deferred profit sharing plan (DPSP)
For a limited time, the Canadian Payroll Association is allowing non-members to ask their Payroll InfoLine COVID-19 related payroll questions.
Ask you question here.
COVID-19 has put my business into unmanageable debt. What can I do?
If you struggle to pay bills, find that you are evading collection calls, and feel you can no longer make ends meet, it may be time to explore your options.
Alternatives may be:
- Credit counselling
- Debt consolidation
- Consumer or business proposal
- Declaring bankruptcy
Talk with your financial institution about the first two options. To learn more about a proposal, or filing bankruptcy, meet with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). LITs are federally regulated professionals who can evaluate your financial situation, explain debt-relief options, and help you make informed choices. Find a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.
What is a Consumer or Business proposal?
A proposal is an alternative to bankruptcy. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) prepares your offer to pay creditors a percentage of what is owed over a specific period of time, or to extend the amount of time to pay off the debt, or a combination of both. The creditors vote to accept or reject the proposal. Accepting a proposal means creditors can recover at least some of the outstanding debt, compared to bankruptcy where they may lose everything you owe them.
There are two types:
- Consumer proposals: For individuals owing less than $250,000, excluding mortgages; and
- Division 1 proposals (Commercial proposals): For businesses and individuals (there is no limit regarding how much money is owed).
Once all the terms of the proposal are met, the debtor is legally released from the debts included in the proposal.
A proposal is noted on your credit report. If you have a good payment pattern, you will be that much further ahead when you want to rebuild your credit.
What are the different types of bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a structured, formalized legal process to be released from the obligation to repay debts. It can allow you to reset your finances, but bankruptcy has limitations and longer-term implications. Therefore, it is often viewed as the last resort after the alternatives of refinancing or filing a proposal.
There are three types:
- Personal: Canada’s most common type of bankruptcy. It often occurs when someone has a loss of income, can’t decrease debt, has maxed out borrowing options and relies on credit for everyday expenses.
- Small business: For sole proprietors and partnerships that are not incorporated, a small business bankruptcy is treated the same as a personal bankruptcy. The assets and debts of the business are viewed as the owner’s personal assets and debts. Your personal assets (eg., house or vehicle) can be seized if your business cannot meet its financial obligations.
- Corporate: For incorporated businesses, which are legal entities, and therefore owners’ personal assets are not at risk.
Once you have declared bankruptcy, creditors cannot take your assets or inventory, nor can they garnish your wages if you get a job. Your Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) will sell your assets, including any acquired during your bankruptcy, but excluding any assets exempted by provincial and federal laws. Money raised by the asset sale is held in trust by the LIT for distribution to your creditors.
Bankruptcy will be noted on your credit report, making it harder to get a loan. You may have to complete certain duties, such as attending credit counselling sessions and reporting your income to your trustee every month.
Visit Bankruptcy – Business structures to learn how a bankruptcy will affect the CRA accounts for sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations.
Every province has its own legislative requirements and recommendations that must be followed when reopening businesses, otherwise you could be fined. Not knowing could cost you! We've created customize provincial FAQs for everything you need to know when it comes to reopening your business.
|British Columbia||Prince Edward Island|
|New Brunswick||Newfoundland and Labrador|
How to access financial support
The below surveys can help you determine which programs to look at:
You can also view a chart outlining significant government support programs, including links to application forms here.
For student job subsidies, check out our list of student workplace programs.
Resources for small business grants
- Canada GrantWatch
- Canada Startups funding database
- Etools for exporting (Canada business database)
- Funding programs for employment and social development
- Futurepreneur Canada
- Government of Canada business grants and financing
- Startup Canada grants and programs
You can view a chart outlining significant support programs, including links to application forms here.
You can view a chart with links to application forms here.
What should I do if I cannot pay my federal taxes?
If a business already owes remittance to CRA, it can create a payment plan by calling 1-800-675-6184. This is not recommended if you have no outstanding remittance.
If you can’t remit your QST/GST/HST payment on the due date, try to make a payment agreement with Revenu Quebec.
If that’s not possible, you can apply in writing to have your penalties and interest cancelled. Cancellations will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
The new Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) provides $40 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). BCD & EDC work together with eligible financial institutions to offer you solutions through your regular financial institution. These are available at participating banks and credit unions. Please speak to your financial institution account manager to determine what help is available to your business.
This program includes:
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) a 40k loan to be provided through financial institutions.
- Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises to support their operations. EDC will guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million. The program cap for this new loan program will be a total of $20 billion for the export sector and domestic companies.
- Co-Lending Program from Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises to provide additional liquidity support to Canadian businesses. The Co-Lending Program will bring the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million, 80 percent of which would be provided by BDC, with the remaining 20% by a financial institution. BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers. The potential for lending for this program will be $20 billion.
All eligible credit unions will be added to the list of providers. There are 232 Financial institutions offering the BCAP programs. Please check the list provided on the CEBA website under “How can I apply”.
Effective March 24, 2020, EDC is stepping up to support all exporting companies by offering their bank a guarantee on loans of up to $5M so that companies can access more cash immediately. For more details, contact your financial institution.
For credit insurance customers, EDC understands how difficult this time is and therefore effective immediately EDC will:
- Cover losses for goods shipped even if the buyer has not accepted the goods, subject to terms.
- Waive the 60-day waiting period for claims.
- If you’re new to EDC and are seeking more information please call 1-800-229-0575 or contact them here.
- Current EDC Customers who need working capital and financial solutions should contact their account manager.
- Existing EDC customers who need assistance with insurance products and online portals should contact 1-866-716-7201 and [email protected].
- If you only sell products and services within Canada, other Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) partner financial institutions are here to help you. Contact the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) at 1-877-232-2269 as a first step to see how they are helping businesses like yours.
What is the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWSE)?
The TWSE allows a business to reduce their payroll remittances by 10% of the paid employee wages during the period of March 18 to June 19, 2020. Over the 90- days period, the limit is $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
- Individuals (excluding trusts)
- Partnerships with members who are individuals (excluding trusts), registered charities, other partnerships eligible for the subsidy or eligible Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations (CCPCs)
- Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation (incorporated) eligible to the small business deduction or non-profit organizations, registered charities
- Have an existing business number & payroll program account with CRA on March 18; and
- Pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remunerations to an employee in Canada.
It is a 10% subsidy, so if you have 2 employees that you pay $1,500 each, every two weeks, the subsidy will be $150 * 2 = $300
The maximum that you can receive per employee is $1,375.
The maximum amount of TWSE that an employer can receive is $25,000.
- You do not need to apply to the subsidy
- Continue to deduct income tax, CPP and EI from the salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration paid to your employees.
- Calculate the 10% subsidy that you would be eligible for.
- Reduce your current payroll remittance of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that you send to CRA by the amount of the 10% wage subsidy that you are eligible for.
- If applying after June 19th, you will have to complete and submit a CRA self-identification form which will help CRA reconcile the subsidy with your payroll program account. This form is not yet available. If a business has not reduced their remittances, then CRA can credit your payroll program account after receiving the self-identification form.
Example: if you have two employees for a total bimonthly labour cost of $3,000 and you deduct $700 from their pay for the federal and provincial income tax, you will be able to remit to CRA only $400 and keep the remaining $300 for you as you have a subsidy of $300 (as calculated above).
The calculation is the following: Planned Income Tax remittance – 10% subsidy = New Income Tax remittance
You cannot however reduce your remittance of Canada Pension Plan contributions (CPP) or Employment Insurance (EI) premiums. You must continue to remit the CPP contributions and EI premiums you have deducted from your employees’ pay, as well as the employer’s share of the CPP contributions and EI premiums.
For more details, see the Frequently Asked Questions from CRA.
Is the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWSE) being extended past June 19, 2020?
No, at this time the government has not indicated that they will be extending this program. Government is still reviewing the CEWS consultations and COVID-19 support program changes are still under consideration at this time.
Are month to month leases eligible under the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)?
How can I contact CMHC regarding the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)?
- E-mail [email protected]
- The CECRA application line is 1-833-610-0515
- The general program inquiries line is 1-800-668-2642
Note that both of these lines are experiencing high call volumes (currently averaging a wait time of 1:20mins), and you may not be able to get through. CMHC has recommended that you leave a voicemail and that they will call you back.
We have raised these issues with CMHC; please let us know if you experience problems contacting CMHC.
From March 15, 2020 to September 26, 2020 if you had lost income because of COVID-19, the CERB will provide you with temporary income support, whether you are EI-eligible or not.This benefit is available until you have received it for 28 weeks or until October 3rd, whichever comes first. For non-EI eligible applicants who have applied through the CRA, the last CERB period ended September 26, 2020, and applications for this period only are currently being accepted retroactively. All other claim periods are temporarily closed for applications
Retroactive applications for earlier periods will reopen soon and be done via the CERB line at 1-800-959-8281, with a Deadline of December 2, 2020.
Effective September 27:
- EI-eligible workers will be transitioned into the EI program.
- Pending legislation, non-EI-eligible workers will be transitioned into:
- Canada Recovery Benefit
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
What is the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)?
Applications for the CRB will open on October 12, 2020.
The Canada Recovery Benefit is a federal program intended to replace the CERB for workers who are not eligible for EI.
This is a $500 per week benefit that eligible applicants must reapply for every two weeks through the CRA. The CRB will be self-attestation based and available for up to 13 periods (two weeks each) and will run from September 27th, 2020 to September 25th, 2021.
More information can be found here
Who is eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)?
CRB Eligible applicants:
- have a valid Social insurance number
- are at least 15 years old
- are resident and present in Canada
- have earned a minimum of at least $5000 in 2019, in 2020 or the 12 months
- must be looking and available for work
- must have had an average weekly income loss of at least 50%
- have voluntarily left or quit their job
- failed to return to work when requested or failed to resume self-employment, if it was reasonable to do so, or
- declined a reasonable offer to work
More information can be found here.
What is the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)?
Applications are now being accepted for the CRSB.
A $500 per week benefit for 2 weeks of sick leave or quarantine in the event that a worker does not have paid sick leave with their employer and has earned at least $5,000 in the past year. The CRSB is self-attestation based and available from September 27 until September 25, 2021, to assist those who have been unable to work for at least 50% of the time they would have otherwise worked in a week because they:
- contracted or might have contracted COVID-19
- they have underlying conditions that, in the opinion of a person of authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19, or
- they isolated themselves on the advice of their employer, or a person of authority for reasons related to COVID-19
If the worker’s employer pays sick leave, the worker cannot access CRSB for those days paid by the employer.
Please note that a medical certificate/doctor’s note will not be required to access the benefit.
More information can be found here
What is the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)?
Applications are now being accepted for the CRCB.
A $500 per week benefit for up to 26 weeks to help one claimant per household attend to a child under 12, family member, or dependent because schools, daycares, etc. are closed/operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19. This benefit is not accessible to workers who choose to keep their dependent at home. This benefit is self-attestation based and available from September 27th, 2020 to September 25th, 2021
More information can be found here
My employee wants to access the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). Do I need to issue another ROE?
No, there will be no requirement for a business to issue another ROE, unless there is an interruption of earnings.
For employees claiming the Canada Recovery Benefit, will work refusals be tracked and monitored?
At this time, they will not be tracked or monitored.
Will the attestation form for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) look different?
Yes, the self-attestation forms will have added points. For example, for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) an employee will need to attest that they have been off at least 60% of the normal work week because of COVID-19.
Will a person who has 3 days of vacation be able to use the full 7 days of the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)?
The new benefits are administered on a weekly, not daily, basis. Eligibility for the benefit will depend on if the worker is off at least 60% of the normal work week due to COVID-19.
Are the new programs available to students using the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)?
A student could potentially qualify for the new programs (CRB, CRSB, CRCB); however, they are intended for workers. With regards to the EI eligibility requirements, there is a need for a layoff and an availability to work.
Will workers be allowed to work while claiming the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) or Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)?
Yes, there will be a program similar to Working While on Claim. The $1000 per claim period threshold will no longer exist.
The working while on claim aspect will be taken back from a worker’s tax return.
Will employers be allowed to use the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) plans again?
Yes, once we get the EI system back, the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) programs will be available again.
If you are not eligible for EI, CRA CERB will provide you with a flat rate of $2,000/4 weeks for up to 16 weeks.
If you are eligible for EI, Service Canada EI-CERB will provide you the below options:
Option 1. $1000/2 weeks for up to 16 weeks; or
Option 2. $2000/4 weeks for up to 16 weeks
Yes, the benefit is taxable, but you will receive the $2000 upfront. When the time comes for you to prepare your income tax return for the year 2020 you will need to claim it as income.
- You must reside in Canada and have a valid social insurance number
- You are 15 years of age or older at the time of application
- You are earning employment income of $1,000 a month or less for reasons related to covid-19, or because you are unable to work due to illness, or because you lost your employment for other reasons beyond your control
- You have not quit your job voluntarily
- You are not receiving nor have you applied for the CERB from the Canada Revenue Agency nor are you receiving Employment Insurance benefits for the same benefit period
- You have earned a minimum of $5,000 in income within the last 12 months or in the 2019 calendar year from one or more from the following sources:
- Employment income
- Self-employment income
- Dividend, under certain conditions.
Application portals and phone lines are open now. CERB will be available until October 3, 2020.
- EI-eligible applicants should apply through the E-Service Canada portal.
- Non-EI-eligible applicants should apply through the CRA My Account.
To avoid overloading the CRA portal, CRA has recommended that the day to apply will depend on your month of birth. If you were born in:
- January, February and March, you can apply starting April 6
- April, May and June, you can apply starting April 7
- July, August and September, you can apply starting April 8
- October, November and December, you can apply starting April 9
In order to receive your benefit faster, make sure that you have signed-up for direct deposit with CRA and that the information you provided is up to date.
More details here.
There are three ways to apply:
- Online with E-Service Canada portal (recommended for those eligible for EI)
- Online with CRA My Account (recommended for those non-eligible for EI)
- Over the phone with an automated phone service:
- If you have Portal Account issues:
- If you have filed tax returns prior to 2018:
- If you have never filed a tax return before:
- If you have Portal Account issues:
Note: Ensure that you have your SIN, your postal code, and that you know the period that you are applying for when you call.
The fastest way to apply to CERB would be to call 1-833-966-2099.
You will have to re-apply for each claiming period.
More details here.
Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deliver this benefit jointly so if you have already applied for Employment Insurance, you do not need to re-apply.
The CERB is available in 4-week periods:
|1||March 15, 2020 - April 11, 2020|
|2||April 12, 2020 - May 9, 2020|
|3||May 10, 2020 - June 6, 2020|
|4||June 7, 2020 - July 4, 2020|
|5||July 5, 2020 - August 1, 2020|
|6||August 2, 2020 - August 29, 2020|
|7||August 30, 2020 - September 26, 2020|
Applicants will begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of their application.
The Federal Government has announced that if you are earning less than $1000 per month, you can work and claim CERB. Anyone earning more than $1000 per month will not be eligible for CERB.
First 4-week eligibility period: if you earn more than $1000 (gross) in the form of employment and/or self-employment income over two consecutive weeks during the 4-week period which made you eligible for the CERB, you will have to repay the $2000 you received from CERB.
Second 4-week eligibility period: if you earn more than $1000 (gross) in the form of employment and/or self-employment during the 4-week period, you will have to repay the $2000 you received from CERB.
Yes, if you have seasonal employment and can’t find a job due to COVID-19 you are eligible for CERB provided you meet all the eligibility criteria.
The federal government announced that anyone whose EI claim ran out after January 1, 2020, will be eligible for CERB.
You have the option to return or repay your CERB payment if you return to work sooner than anticipated, or if you applied but later realized you’re not eligible.
If you received CERB by cheque and have not yet cashed/deposited it, you can return it to the address below.
If you no longer have the cheque, or you received direct deposit, you can mail the repayment to the CRA:
- Make the payment out to Receiver General for Canada”
- Indicate it is for Repayment of CERB”
- Include your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Mail the payment to:
- Revenue Processing – Repayment of CERB
- Sudbury Tax Centre
- 1050 Notre Dame Avenue
- Sudbury, ON, P3A 0C1
As an employer, you are required to file an ROE whenever an employee experiences or anticipates an interruption of earnings. This is generally 7 consecutive days of no earnings or if the employee has fallen below 60% of their regular weekly earnings for reasons like illness, pregnancy or caring for an ill family member. All to say, an employer still needs to submit an ROE for their employee to Service Canada (the fastest way to do this is through ROE web, not Paper ROEs).
Employees applying for CERB do not need their ROE to apply to CERB.
Employees applying for EI, can use their previous 12 month pay stubs to create an interim ROE. This will allow them to start and process their ROE while waiting for employers to submit their ROE.
Please note that all EI applications received after March 15th are automatically being treated as CERB applications.
If an employee quits their job/takes a leave of absence voluntarily, they will not be eligible for the CERB. This program is designed for employees who are no longer able to work due to COVID-19. People will have to self-attest multiple times during the CERB payment period, and post-mortem audits may occur.
In Quebec, to compensate for the wage gap between people who receive CERB and essential workers on low incomes, the government introduced the Incentive Program for the Retention of Essential Workers (PIRTE).
Yes, if they meet the eligibility criteria above.
This will be done purely by attestations. Government will reserve the right to ask to see bank statements, check CRA T4s and T4Sums, and post-mortem audits may occur.
Yes. For example, in Quebec you can receive the temporary aid for workers from the Quebec government and the CERB from the federal government.
You are eligible for EI if you meet the regular eligibility criteria. You are eligible for the CERB if you have a valid social insurance number and meet all the criteria.
No, applicants cannot receive EI regular or sickness benefits and the CERB at the same time but:
- Those who are already receiving EI regular benefits will continue to receive the same benefits until the end of their benefit period. If these benefits end before October 3, 2020, they may then apply for the CERB if they meet the eligibility requirements.
- EI claims of those who became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits March 15th onward will be automatically processed through the CERB. After 4 months of receiving the CERB, they will still be able to apply for their regular EI benefits if they are still unemployed. Receiving the CERB first will not affect their eligibility to receive EI benefits after.
Yes, you are eligible for CPP and CERB at the same time. However, you must meet all the other eligibility criteria for CERB.
Agents are available to speak to about CERB or CRA My Account at 1-800-959-8281. You can also check out the CERB website.
What if I know my employee is abusing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?
Report a lead on suspected tax or benefit cheating in Canada by providing key identifiers and factual details to the CRA by phone, mail, fax or submitting a lead online.
If you are a farmer or part of the agri-food sector, the below are some government programs and changes that may affect you:
- There’s been an increase in Farm Credit Canada, which provides credit to farmers and the agri-food sector.
- Farmers with an outstanding Advance Payment Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30 will have an additional six months to repay the loan.
- Farmers who still have interest-free loans outstanding will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $100,000 interest-free portion for 2020-2021, as long as their total APP advances remain under $1 million.
- The Government of Canada will provide support of $1,500 per temporary foreign worker to help pay the cost of the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. Applications will be made through the Ministry of Agriculture website – more details to come.
- The launch of a $100M Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund through Farm Credit Canada
What is the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)?
The Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP) is a $50-million program designed to help employers who employ temporary foreign workers with the extra cost associated with the 14 day isolation period required under the Quarantine Act.
Eligible employers can receive a non-repayable contribution of up to $1,500 per temporary foreign worker.
Funding will be available until September 15, 2020 or until the $50-million has been distributed and as long as the order under the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol has to be followed.
Who is an eligible employer under the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)?
Eligible employer are:
- Canadian employers in the following sectors
- fish harvesting
- food production and processing
- comply with the mandatory 14-day isolation protocol and other public health requirement
- comply with the regulation of the Temporary foreign workers Program
- comply with regulations regarding wage and employment conditions from the program they use to hire their temporary foreign workers
What are the supported incurred incremental costs admissible under the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)?
- Wages and benefits of the temporary foreign workers during the mandatory 14-day isolation period
- Off site accommodations during the mandatory 14-day isolation period
- Transportation to and from off site accommodations required during the mandatory 14-day isolation period
- Food or a food allowance during the mandatory 14-day isolation period
- Health and safety supplies such as gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaners and soaps required for the mandatory 14-day isolation period
- Other incremental costs directly associated to the 14 day mandatory isolation period imposed on temporary foreign workers under the Quarantine Act
It is possible to claim retroactive cost. Retroactive costs are expenses that were made on or after March 26, 2020. In order for those cost to be reimbursed, they must be:
- approved or deemed eligible
- incurred during or for the purpose of the mandatory 14 day isolation period
How can I apply to the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)?
Eligible employers can download the application form here. Only one form is necessary to request funds for all of your temporary foreign workers.
Application must be submitted before September 15, 2020.
You can send the application by email to: [email protected]
I was approved for funding with the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP), what are the next steps?
- You will need to sign the Contribution Agreement. This document includes information such as the maximum amount you can receive. This will be accompanied by a step-by-step guide on how to complete a claim for reimbursement.
- Once the 14 day isolation period is over, submit documentation supporting your claim. You can submit more than one claim if you have workers arriving on different dates or you can wait and submit all you claim at once.
Claim must be submitted by August 14, 2020
- For every worker, you will be required to provide their Unique Client Identifier (UCI). The UCI can be found on the worker’s work permit.
Once all the documentation is received and processed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, you will receive a cheque that covers the whole amount of the claim. Individual cheques will be sent for each requested claim.
Can I receive money for all my temporary foreign workers under the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)?
In order to be eligible, workers must have arrived in Canada between March 26, 2020, and June 30, 2020.
Can I still receive the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP) if I received financial assistance from a provincial or territorial government to help cover these costs?
Your MISTFWP contribution may be reduced.
Can I still receive MISTFWP if my incremental costs per employee is less than $1,500?
Yes, however should the $1,500 exceed the incremental costs per employee your MISTFWP contribution may be reduced.
How can I make a change or withdraw my application to the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)
If you need to make a change to your application, you need to contact the program. Do not resubmit a claim.
If you need to withdraw a claim, you need to contact the program.
How can I contact the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)?
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program
1341 Baseline Road
Tower 7, 7th floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0C5
Email: [email protected]
The federal government announced $470million in support to fish harvesters, including:
- The Fish Harvester Benefit - income support for up 75% of losses for harvesters experiencing a 25% drop in revenue, up to $10,000. Available to anyone who can’t access the 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
- The Fish Harvester Grant - non-repayable grants up to $10,000 to owners of fish harvesting businesses.
- Amendments to employment rules next year to allow workers to apply for EI based on the income of previous years.
What are the changes to EI for fishers?
The government has implemented temporary measures due to COVID that will allow EI fishing benefits for fishers to be calculated using either their actual fishing earnings for their current claim, or their fishing earnings from their claim for the same season from the previous year, whichever is higher.
Service Canada has mentioned that these programs will not be available at this time. This is because they are pushing out as many CERBs as possible.
Employees on CERB may receive employment income of up to $1000/CERB period. This could be provided by an employer in the form of a top up.
Note: this program is no longer open for applications.
The Canada Summer Jobs Program (CSJ Program) is an initiative to help students (15-30 years of age) gain quality work experience and to encourage businesses, who would normally not have the financial capability, to hire a student worker by subsidizing their wage.
I have applied to the Canada Summer Jobs program. How do I find out if my application was approved?
- Check the status of your application on your GCOS account
- Check the list of approved businesses on Canada Summer Jobs 2020 : Employers that have been approved for funding. If you have not received an email response about the decision of your application then you will not be on this list.
Please keep in mind that businesses who applied in February received a response May 15. Applications are looked at individually and expectations timeframes cannot be provided for those who applied in May.
I have not applied to the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Can I still apply?
Unfortunately late applications/invitations are now closed. Those who would like to use a similar program like the Student Work Placement Program (WIL Digital Subsidy), Mitacs and the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER).
What other Student Workplace programs exist through which I would be able to receive a subsidy?
- WIL Digital: https://www.wil-amt.digital/en/
- Mitacs: https://www.mitacs.ca/en
- Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER): http://bher.ca/
- Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada): http://bher.ca/news/bher-and-cewil-announce-grant-funding-to-create-new-work-integrated-learning-opportunities
- Private and public sector employers can now receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee instead of the previous 50%.
- Employers will be allowed to hire staff on a part-time basis
- Agreed upon contract can be extended to February 28, 2021
The WIL program, offered by the Information and Communications Technology Council, helps employers grow their business by providing up to $7,000 in financial assistance to hire post-secondary students from a publicly funded Canadian post-secondary institution (this includes universities, colleges and CEGEP). These students can be full-time or part-time, vary in their year of study and be from any discipline (including Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM, Business, etc.).
- 50% of the student’s salary, up to $5000; or
- 70% of the student’s salary, up to $7000, if the student falls into an under-represented group
The WIL subsidy can be used in conjunction with wage subsidies offered by the provinces and territories.
- Registered businesses
- Non-for-profit organizations
- Post-secondary institutions in Canada
- Businesses creating a new student position for this program
For more information please see the WIL Digital website.
The federal government will give an added $600 million to the RRRF programs. $455.7 million will go to Regional Development Agencies and $144.3 million will go to the Community Futures Canada offices. More information click here.
- $675 million in RRRF loans
- $287 million in Community Futures Development Corporations programs which target small businesses and rural communities across the country
Program details will vary in each Regional Development Agency and the application process is available now. Some RDAs programs can be used to supplement other Government COVID-19 relief while other RDA programs are only available to those who were denied by the Government COVID-19 relief. Please keep reading to find the RDA programs that apply to you.
What are the 6 different Regional Development Agencies (RDA)?
- Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency (ACOA) - NS/NB/PE/NL
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) - QC
- Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency - YT/NT/NU
- FedDev Ontario (Southern Ontario) - ON
- FedNor (Northern Ontario) - ON
- Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) - AB/BC/MB/SK
Yes, however you must apply for other federal relief measures first, such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (aka CEBA/40K loans), the 75% wage subsidy, and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) before applying to the RRRF.
Businesses and organizations who have either:
- Applied for other federal relief measures but were unsuccessful; or
- Accessed other federal relief programs but are still experiencing financial hardship. For these applicants only eligible costs for which the applicant has not received any other assistance may be covered by the RRRF
Note: Critical sectors to the resilience and survival of Atlantic Canada’s economy (i.e. manufacturing, ocean industries, clean growth technology and tourism) may be given priority.
Actual amounts of potential assistance under the RRRF will be discussed on a case-by-case basis with a ACOA program officer. This assistance is to cover cash flow for up to 6 months. Only eligible costs that are not covered by any other assistance for emergency relief will be considered to be covered under RRRF.
Yes, the RRRF is meant to assist with eligible costs that have not been assisted by other emergency relief. Eligible costs will be determined on a case-by-case basis and detailed in your contribution agreement. RRRF Eligible costs that can be requested by an applicant are:
- Rent or lease of equipment and machinery
- Salaries and benefits
- Property taxes
- Cleaning Supplies
- Additional safety measures
- Bank interest charges
- Interest portion of loan payments
- Office supplies
- Vehicle operating expenses
- Professional fees
- Other fixed overhead costs
- One time stabilization expenditures
Eligible Speak with an ACOA program officer to discuss your particular circumstance.
- Download the RRRF online application form
- Upload the below either online (fastest method of application) or by mail
- Application for Financial Assistance Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
- Externally prepared financial statements for years 2018 & 2019
- Projected cash flow for six months
- Copy of articles of incorporation (if applicable)
- All other documentation relevant to your request
- If you are uncertain if the RRRF is right for you speak to an ACOA program officer:
- If you are a current ACOA client, please contact your program officer directly
- All other businesses and organizations, please call 1-800-561-7862 or e-mail [email protected]
Applications will be assessed as they are received. Ensure that your application is properly completed to be processed quickly. Incomplete applications may prevent ACOA from considering your application. Speak to ACOA before submitting an application to ensure the process goes smoothly. Help with fillable forms is also available.
Applications are open now online. They will be accepted and assessed until March 31, 2021 or until the funding runs out, whichever comes first.
While every effort will be made to provide RRRF funding to as many businesses as possible, demands for funds may exceed the amount that is available.
Once you are approved for the program, and you have accepted the offer, ACOA will give you an advance of half of the amount. The rest of the funding will be provided after you submit eligible claims to ACOA.
Yes, it is repayable. There is a 2-year “grace” period which ends on December 31, 2022. Payments will start on January 1, 2023 and the full amount must be repaid by December 31, 2025.
This will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but you may be eligible for amounts comparable to the federal relief already announced. Speak with an ACOA program officer to discuss your particular circumstance.
Eligible costs will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and these costs will then be detailed in your contribution agreement.
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) will distribute a RRRF of $211 million for Quebec.
- $140million in financial support for vulnerable SMEs ineligible for measures already in place and facing cash-flow problems
- $71million to support SMEs and non-profit organizations by providing capital and technical assistance in rural communities that are served by Community Futures Development Corporations and Business Development Centres.
The CED will provide two kinds of financial assistance based on the SMEs profiles and needs:
- Loan up to $40,000
- Loan for over $40,000
Yes, but you must have applied & have received a response from the below support measures that are applicable to you under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan :
- Canada Emergency Business Account (aka CEBA/40K loans)
- Canadian Heritage Emergency Fund for Culture
- Financial assistance for Aboriginal SMEs
- Canada’s Emergency Wage Subsidy
- NRC IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (DAP)
The Quebec RRRF program provides payroll and working capital support to those who are not eligible for other support measures under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. Should you be receiving these support measures, but still require additional assistance your applications will not be processed on a priority basis.
- Non-profit organizations
- Business support organizations
- Indigenous organizations
- registered/based in Quebec; and
- suffering a negative impact related to COVID-19 (i.e. revenue loss, layoffs, cashflow pressure, etc.); and
- aware of their support measure applications under the Canada COVID-19 Economic Response Plan having being accepted or refused
Then determine which profile best matches your situation.
- Businesses with revenues of $250,000 and more, including:
- Manufacturing businesses
- Value-added services (e.g., sectors creating jobs or contributing to technology transition, the green economy or business resilience)
- Food processing (primary, secondary and tertiary processing)
- Businesses from all industries, including tourism, requiring over $40,000 in funding
- High-potential start-ups in the manufacturing and value-added services sectors
If this profile matches your circumstances, you must complete the pre-eligibility questionnaire. If you are eligible, you will then be invited to complete an application for financial support.
- Retail businesses and local services
- Social economy enterprises (all sectors)
- Artisanal production and specialty local food products
- Tourism industry projects requiring funding of $40,000 or less
- Businesses with less than $250,000 in sales (all other sectors)
- Self-employed workers (all sectors)
- Start-ups other than in the manufacturing and value-added services sectors
- Businesses matching Profile 1, but that are already clients of a SADC/CAE
If this profile matches your circumstances and:
- you are in a metropolitan area, please call 1-800-561-0633
- you are outside a metropolitan region contact your SADC or CAE
If you’re not sure which profile best suits you, please call 1-800-561-0633 to speak with a CED advisor.
You can also Check your pre-eligibility using CED’s questionnaire here.
If you do not qualify for other federal relief measures, you must determine which profile best represents your situation. Please read both profile criteria before determining which is the best fit for you:
- Ensure that you have applied for the other government COVID-19 relief measures that apply to your business. Keep your evidence of rejection.
- Check your eligibility
- Complete the online Request for financial assistance RRRF (once opened you have 12 hours to complete it)
- Attach in 6 documents :
- Evidence of rejection from any federal emergency measures
- Financial statements for the last year and the most recent interim
- Recent statement from your financial institution
- Void cheque or direct deposit validated by your Canadian financial institution
- Copy of the delegation instrument(if applicable)
- Formal or informal notice indicating that the customer could be or is in violation of an environmental law or regulation (if applicable)
Applications are being accepted now, and can be made through the CED’s website.
Financial aid will generally not exceed $40,000; however, SMEs and non-profits in the manufacturing sector, or other value-added services, may qualify for more than $40,000. Amounts will be determined based on need, and will have different repayment terms.
Businesses looking for less than $40,000:
- If 75% of the contribution is repaid by December 31, 2022 (based on a predetermined payment schedule), the remaining 25% becomes non-repayable.
- If 75% of the contribution is not repaid by December 31, 2022, then the entire contribution is considered repayable over a 3-year period starting January 1, 2023
For businesses looking for more than $40,000:
- The entire amount is considered repayable over a five-year period, based on a predetermined payment schedule, starting January 1, 2023.
The funding can be used to stabilize SMEs and non-profit organizations, and to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Eligible costs include:
- Equipment and machinery rental or leasing
- Wages and benefits
- Property taxes
- Professional fees
- Other fixed overhead costs and one-time stabilization costs
If you SME is based in Quebec, please call 1-800-561-0633 or email to [email protected].
In Southern Ontario, the regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) will be administered by FedDev Ontario.
- $213 million for SMEs facing financial pressures
- $39.4 million for rural businesses in the form of capital and business support; delivered by southern Ontario’s Community Futures Development Corporations.
You must either be disqualified from accessing federal relief measures, or have applied to the federal relief measures and been declined, in order to access the RRRF.
Canadian or provincially incorporated businesses, co-operatives, Indigenous-owned businesses located in southern Ontario who
- have 1 to 499 full-time equivalent employees;
- are facing funding pressures with fixed operating costs due to COVID-19;
- were a viable business before the pandemic, and plan to continue the business or resume operations; and
- have already applied to the federal government’s emergency credit relief measures for which they are eligible.
Applications are open now, using the Applicant Toolkit available on the FedDev website.
Applications can be made using the application form. It is strongly recommended to consult the program guidelines and the frequently asked questions before completing your application. If you have questions, you can contact FedDev at 1-866-593-5505.
There are two funding options:
Option 1: Up to $40,000 in a conditionally repayable contribution (interest-free loan)
- No payments required until December 31, 2022, but can opt to make payments between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022
- If 75%, or up to $30,000 is repaid by December 31, 2022, then the remaining 25%, up to $10,000 is forgivable.
- If 75% is not repaid by December 31, 2022, the balance owing converts to a 3-year loan, with a fixed repayment schedule beginning January 1, 2023 with no forgivable portion
- Full amount must be repaid by December 31, 2025.
Option 2: Up to $500,000 unconditionally repayable contribution (interest-free loan)
- Interest-free, fully-repayable loan
- 100% must be repaid
- No payments required until December 31, 2022
- Fixed payment schedule begins January 1, 2023
The loan amount will be determined based on:
- The funding option selected
- Eligible operating costs
- Whether any other federal relief measures have been accessed, and in what amounts
- Applicants ability to repay the loan
The loan funds cannot be used for:
- Monthly mortgage and loan payments;
- New capital expenditures;
- Refinancing of existing debt;
- Costs of amortization or goodwill;
- Purchase of land or buildings; or
- Any costs deemed not reasonable or not directly related to a business’ fixed operational expenses.
In Northern Ontario, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund will be administered by FedNor Ontario.
Incorporated companies, corporations, co-operatives, Indigenous organizations (such as Indigenous/First nation/Métis Settlement owned businesses) that:
- Are located or operating in Northern Ontario;
- Don’t qualify for, or have been declined for other federal relief measures;
- Employ between 1 and 499 full-time equivalent employees; and
- Are negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Non-profit organizations, for example Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations and Tourism organizations that:
- Are based in Northern Ontario and/or offer support to businesses in Northern Ontario; and
- Carry out commercial activities; and
- Are able to support SMEs regarding COVID-19
- Sole proprietorships
- Businesses in the following sectors:
- Food and Beverage
- Professional Services
Businesses in these sectors should contact the Community Futures Development Corporation in Northern Ontario.
The application period opened on May 13, 2020, and will remain open until all the funds are allocated.
The maximum amount is $250,000.
- SMEs will receive repayable or conditionally-repayable loans.
- Non-profit organizations will receive non-repayable loans.
Loans to SMEs will be repayable, or conditionally-repayable, with no interest or security required.
- Payments will be made in installments over a maximum of 5 years from the date the first payment was issued.
- A payment moratorium is available until December 31, 2022; however
- SMES that receive $40,000 or less, and who repay at least 75% before December 31, 2022, will have the remaining 25% (up to $10,000) forgiven.
- The full balance must be paid by December 31, 2025
- Loans to non-profit organizations are non-repayable.
Eligible costs are retroactive to March 15, 2020, and include:
- Commercial Rent / Mortgage (rent is only eligible if not supported by the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program);
- Rent or lease of equipment and machinery;
- Salaries and benefits (only eligible if not eligible or rejected through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy);
- Property taxes;
- Cleaning supplies;
- Additional safety measures;
- Bank interest/charges and loan repayment (interest);
- Office supplies;
- Vehicle operating expenses;
- Professional fees;
- Insurances, and
- Other fixed overhead costs and one-time stabilization expenditures.
Costs incurred before March 15, 2020 are ineligible. Other ineligible costs include:
- Land and buildings acquisition;
- Entertainment expenses;
- Salary bonuses and dividend payments;
- Refinancing of existing debts;
- Amortization or depreciation of assets;
- Federal and provincial income taxes, GST (recoverable portion), taxes or surtaxes on excess profit;
- Provisions for contingencies;
- Lobbying activities or commissions paid to consultants to secure funding; and
- Donations, dues and membership fees.
The RRRF will be provided in two different ways:
- A loan up to $40,000 where repayment of 75% of the contribution before December 31, 2022 will result in forgiveness of 25% (up to $10000). This is for businesses not eligible to the Canada Emergency Business Account or RRRF - Community Futures Stream
- A loan greater than $40,000 up to a maximum of $1,000,000 where this contribution is fully repayable to businesses that can demonstrate a meaningful contribution to the western Canadian economy, and experiencing liquidity issues. These companies may or may not have accessed other Government of Canada relief programs, but need more funding to mitigate cash flow pressures.
- RRRF Funding up to $40,000
- Were refused for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
- Are not eligible for the RRRF - Community Futures Stream
- Are not a sole proprietor
- Are not non-for profit organizations
- Have fewer than 500 full-time employees
- Are located in Western Canada (BC, AB, SK and/or MB)
- Are not in an area serviced by a CF office
- Were operational as of March 1, 2020
- Have suffered financially because of COVID-19
- Intend to continue operations in Western Canada
Examples of businesses that are eligible to apply are pre-revenue firms and businesses who pay workers in dividends or have independent contractors.
- RRRF Funding over $40,000
- Are not a sole proprietor
- Are not a not-for-profit
- Have less than 500 full-time employees
- Are incorporated to operate in Canada
- Were operational as of March 1, 2020
- Are located in Western Canada (defined as British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba)
- Have suffered financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Can demonstrate 2019 revenue of less than $10 million, or pre-revenue businesses that received angel or venture capital funding
- Have applied for funding from other federal COVID-19 support measures, such as the Business Development Bank of Canada's Co-Lending Program, and Export Development Canada's Business Credit Availability Program
- Intend to continue operations in Western Canada
- Can describe the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on its operations, and outline how WD funding will help support the western Canadian economy to:
- retain diverse and valuable talent
- maintain sector knowledge and skills
- maintain capital flow
- maintain critical supply chains and increase capacity to withstand supply chain disruptions
- protect technologies and processes that improve resilience, productivity, and/or competitiveness
- protect vital intellectual property
This will depend on the relief program.
Businesses who have received the Canada Emergency Business Account (aka CEBA/40K loans) or the Community Futures Emergency Loan Program will not be eligible for the $40,000 RRRF.
Businesses that have received support from other Government of Canada relief funding measures, including the Business Development Bank of Canada's Co-Lending Program, Working Capital Loan, and Oil and Gas Sector Capital Loan, as well as Export Development Canada's Business Credit Availability Program, but require additional funding to mitigate liquidity pressures may still apply.
Either up to $40,000 or up to $1,000,000 depending on your situation and sector.
Applications are currently being accepted on an ongoing basis and will be assessed as they are received. The WD RRRF will close once it has successfully distributed all available funds to eligible businesses.
The application process is the same for both loan amounts. Only one application can be submitted per business.
- You must apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account (aka 40K loans).
- If you are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account and you are located in an area serviced by a Community Futures Organization you must apply to the Community Futures Emergency Loan Program
- If you do not meet the criteria of either above programs
- If applying for funding up to $40,000 attach the below items to your completed Regional Relief and Recovery Fund application
- Void cheque or direct deposit form validated from your bank
- If applying for funding over $40,000 attach to your Regional Relief and Recovery Fund application:
- Financial statements for the past 2 years
- Estimated 2020 cash flow needs from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020
- Void cheque or direct deposit form validated from your bank
- Receive and print your confirmation message with your Reference #
- You will be notified by email with a decision on your application
At the end of your Contribution Agreement, you will be required to submit a final report that includes:
- Number of jobs maintained, thanks to RRRF
- Confirmation that the business is continuing its operations
- Any other metrics requested by WD
- Recipient’s financial statements (at the request of WD)
Check out the guide here.
Up to $40,000
- Repayment of 75%, or up to $30,000 of the contribution about paid before December 31, 2022, will result in a 25% forgivable portion (max. $10,000)
- No scheduled monthly repayments are required until after December 31, 2022
- If 75% is not paid before December 31, 2022, the balance owing will be converted to an additional 3 year term loan with a fixed monthly repayment schedule. This will begin January 2023 and will not have any forgivable portion
- 100% of contributions must be repaid by December 31, 2025
- 100% of contributions must be repaid by December 31, 2025
- No scheduled monthly repayments are required until after December 31, 2022
- 3 year repayment period beginning January 2023
- Check that you are eligible
- Check that your application is not missing any mandatory information or documentation
- Ensure that you have only submitted one RRRF application
- Contact the WD at 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
Up to $40,000
If your application is approved, you will be asked to review and accept a Contribution Agreement before a single payment is provided to you.
If your application is approved, you will be asked to review and accept a Contribution Agreement before your funds will be disbursed. This may include advance payments.
Please feel free to contact your Western Economic Diversification Canada Office at 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
Vancouver, BC - Tel: 604-666-6256 - Email: [email protected]
Calgary, AB - Tel: 1-888-338-9378 - Email: [email protected]
Edmonton, AB - Tel: 780-495-4164 - Email: [email protected]
Saskatoon, SK - Tel: 306-975-4373 Email: [email protected]
Winnipeg, MB - Tel: 204-983-4472 Email: [email protected]
In the territories, the RRRF provides support in key sectors including, but not limited to, tourism, fisheries, the mining supply chain, local food production and processing, regional innovation ecosystems and community infrastructure, as well as support to Community Futures Networks in Nunavut, Northwest Territories and relevant stakeholders in Yukon. There are three ways to receive funding:
- NBRF - CanNor’s Northern Business Relief Fund - non-repayable grant
- Targeted relief and stabilization measures for key sector
- Community Futures Network - More information to come soon
All registered northern-based business including sole-proprietors, partnerships and incorporated companies who:
- predominantly operate in one or more of the territories, and their operations have a direct impact on the northern economy
- have been in operation since October 1, 2019
- have fewer than 100 employees - priority will be given to SMEs with less than 20 employees
- were solvent, financially viable, and not declared bankrupt prior to the onset of economic disruptions associated with COVID-19
- are currently, and expect to continue, operating at a loss over the coming months (i.e. to incur ongoing expenses that are higher than incoming revenues) as a direct result of COVID-19.
- franchisees or subsidiaries of larger corporations where financial support can be provided by the franchisor, parent or holding company or trust fund, or where the total number of employees of the corporation and all its subsidiaries is greater than 100
- territorial, municipal or other governments, agencies of government and crown corporations
- not-for-profit organizations, societies, co-operatives, unincorporated associations
The NBRF amounts available will vary on the SME’s eligible fixed operating costs. This amount can vary from $2500-$100000 and will be covered at 100% in the form of a non-repayable grant for a maximum of $100000 in total costs over the 4 month period. Any amount claimed that would allow a recipient to generate profit will make the SME ineligible to NBRF.
Eligible fixed operating costs include:
- rent/mortgage; and
- utilities (Heat, electric, water & sewer, phone and internet); and
- subscriptions (i.e. financial or booking systems);and
- insurance; and
- other fixed costs as deemed reasonable at the sole discretion of CanNor
Ineligible fixed operating costs:
- salaries and wages
- costs covered by business continuity insurance
- mortgage for property(ies) other than the primary business location OR residential properties used for income generation (for example, AirBnB)
- rent or mortgage for home-based businesses
- other home-based business costs where the costs are not 100% attributable to the business (for example, while a home-based business can request reimbursement for business insurance, it cannot request reimbursement of 20% of its electricity bill on the basis that the business occupies 20% of the floor space of the primary residence)
- other costs that may be deemed ineligible and/or are not deemed by CanNor to be essential during the period of business closure or reduced operations
- any amount claimed that would allow a recipient to generate profit will makes the SME ineligible to NBRF
When Applying provide:
- Complete Application-Agreement form
- Direct Deposit Form
- Detailed General Ledger (March-June 2019) OR Monthly invoices for the eligible fixed costs of the months for which they are being claimed.
- Income Statement of General Ledger Summary for the year 2019
- Articles of incorporation
- Lease/mortgage agreement for commercial space (if applicable)
- Franchise agreement (if applicable)
At the end of the agreement
- Income Statement of General Ledger Summary for agreement period (April-July 2020)
- Copy of all invoices for fixed costs claimed for the entire agreement period
- Copy of agreement and payments received from any other federal, territorial, municipal or other COVID-19 relief program including (CEWS, EI Work sharing program, Government of Nunavut Small Business Support Program, Government of Yukon SME Relief Program)
E-mail CanNor at [email protected] to obtain a copy.
Nunavut Regional Office
E-mail: [email protected]
Northwest Territories Regional Office
E-mail: [email protected]
Yukon Regional Office
E-mail: [email protected]
The provincial temporary layoff deadline is coming up for my employee to be automatically terminated. What should I do?
Some provinces will allow you and your employee to apply for a variance - essentially requesting an extension to the temporary layoff period. You will need to contact your provincial employment standards to determine if this is an option and how to make the application.
The work-sharing program permits you to reduce an employee’s hours by up to 60% (i.e. from 40 hours per week to 16 hours per week) and the government provides a top-up through the Employment Insurance program. In order to qualify for the work-sharing program you will need to have at least 2 employees in the same department who are willing to reduce their hours.
Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be able to create “rolling layoffs”, where employees work four weeks on and four weeks off, for example.
All of these suggestions require the participation of the employee. If they are not in agreement and the temporary layoff period ends, you will have no choice but to make it permanent. At this point, if notice was not paid/given at the time of the initial layoff, you will need to fulfill that obligation. Depending on jurisdiction, you may also need to pay severance.
The need for clear, concise, and transparent communication cannot be overstated. A permanent layoff is usually not the best solution for both parties (having to find a new job, having to train a new worker, severed access to benefits, having to pay severance, etc). As long as your worker feels that your cards are on the table and an amicable agreement is in their best interest as well as yours, one of these solutions might just offer you the chance to keep your business open through these tough times, so that you can regrow it once again.
Can I terminate an employee during the pandemic?
Terminating an employee is never an easy decision to make or enact, but it’s even less so during a pandemic. It’s important to take into consideration Employment Standards requirements, Human Rights, and the Common Law (outside of Quebec).
Some jurisdictions have enacted temporary provisions due COVID-19, and these will also need to be considered when making your decision.
If you wish to terminate an employee, please contact your CFIB business counsellor to discuss your situation and find out your rights
Work refusals are becoming more prevalent with COVID-19 Health and Safety concerns. Make sure you keep the below in mind when dealing with employee work refusals.
- Create a business pandemic policy to communicate and educate employees about your new workplace expectations and measures in the workplace.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your employee. Ask for the work refusal reasons in writing/email. The situation is likely to fall into the below categories:
- Health and Safety concern (fear of getting sick)
- Sickness (from Covid-19 or not)
- Caring for or living with a dependent or at-risk demographic (child or parent)
- Communicating, but not willing to come back to work
- Not communicating (job abandonment)
- Determine if there is any way that your business can accommodate the employee’s situation. Health and safety in the workplace are the employer’s priority and the responsibility of all those in the workplace. Should there be an opportunity to accommodate a reasonable concern, then it will be the responsibility of the business to consider accommodations to the point of undue hardship. Accommodation can take many forms such as providing more PPE, allowing an employee to work from home, or allowing an employee to use a protected provincial/territorial/federal leave of absence, if available.
- Keep documented proof. Whether it’s accommodations for an employee who feels unsafe in the workplace, or weekly registered letters sent to an employee to prove a history of non-responsiveness, it is always advised that you keep communications with employees in their employee files.
It is important to remember that an employee’s non responsiveness cannot be assumed to be a resignation. Thus, an employee’s refusal to report to work, or his or her absence without justification or resignation letter, cannot automatically be interpreted as a voluntary departure/resignation.
If you are unable to communicate with your employee, you are required to follow up with them in a verifiable method such as registered mail. This letter should come from a place of concern for the employee and request that the employee provide you with an update on their situation. The letter should in no way be threatening or presumptive. Should the employee persist in being non-responsive, you should continue to document this history of non-responsiveness before considering job abandonment or frustration of contract. These situations should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If you are in this situation, please contact your Business Counsellor or employment lawyer.
The government advises people 70 years of age or older to stay home unless necessary. However, it is not prohibited to ask them to work. Before acting on a decision, ensure that you know what your provincial laws and HR best practices are on this matter.
Provincial Health and safety laws provide that an employee has the right to refuse to work if they have reason to believe that their health or safety is at risk. It is the responsibility of an employer to provide a safe workplace, so if there is a refusal of work related to health and safety it should be documented and addressed in the workplace. Should the refusal of work persist, then your provincial ministry of labour or department of Health and Safety will likely need to be involved to investigate the matter.
Provincial Human Rights laws provide protected grounds on age. This means that an employer unjustifiably treating employees differently because of age would leave themselves open to a human right’s claim for age discrimination.
HR best practices:
It is often recommended to refrain from categorizing your employees by age and instead base employee safety measures and policies on all employees’ ability to work. This reduces the risk of human rights claims, allows employers to set health and safety expectations across all their employees and deal with the case-by-case situations as they come up.
Should a case come up, consider whether the worker's presence at work is necessary, and whether their health allows it. Should there be reasonable cause for concern, you may need to consider additional preventive measures/policies in the workplace to accommodate their situation and ensure their wellbeing and that of others in the workplace.
Should an employee be willing to work, but you, as the employer, feel uncomfortable having them in the workplace, you will likely need to pay for their leave to stay home.
An alternative solution would be to try to find work from home solutions for this employee.
What do I do with employees who cannot return to work because they are taking care of a dependent (child or parent)? What do I do if my employees don’t feel safe sending their children to school or daycare?
Pre-COVID-19, an employee who does not return to work could be disciplined up to and including dismissal; however, our current situation is very unique and will require drastic changes in the workplace. Employers will be required to be flexible and accommodate employees who cannot return to work. Each employee will likely have their own needs that should be managed on a case-by-case basis.
Here are some tips for managing the situation:
- Talk to your employee about their situation and what their needs might look like. Is this a matter of health and safety in the workplace? Is this a matter of being available to watch the dependent?
- Determine if there are any accommodations that you as the employer can provide, such as working from home or a change in their job description to allow them to do work from home.
- Check to see what provincial, territorial and/or federal protected leaves might apply to your employee. As provinces move to re-open, following public health guidelines, your employees are expected to return to work in a safe workspace.
- Call your CFIB Business Counsellor to discuss your employee’s situation and how to find the best solution for both of you.
Note that some jurisdictions have enacted protections for employees who are unable to work due to COVID-related reasons; talk to your Business Counsellor before disciplining an employee in this situation.
Pre-COVID-19, an employee who does not return to work could be disciplined up to and including dismissal; however, our current situation is very unique and will require drastic changes in the workplace. Employers will be required to be flexible and accommodate employees who cannot return to work. Each employee will likely have their own needs which should be managed on a case-by-case basis.
Here are tips on managing the situation:
- Talk to your employee about their situation and what their needs might look like to feel safe coming into the workplace. In these situations, it is not uncommon for the employee to be afraid of coming into the workplace altogether.
- Determine if there are any accommodations that you as the employer can provide, such as telework, working from home or a change in their job description to allow them to do work from home, or leave without pay.
- Check which provincial, territorial, and/or federal protected leaves might apply for your employee. for personal or family leave that may apply to this situation. As provinces move to re-open, following public health guidelines, your employees are expected to return to work. Under normal circumstances, an employee who does not return to work could be disciplined up to and including dismissal.
Note that some jurisdictions have enacted protections for employees who are unable to work due to COVID-related reasons; talk to your Business Counsellor before disciplining an employee in this situation.
- We know that these situations are not always easy or clear. Call your CFIB Business Counsellor to discuss your employee’s situation and how to find the best solution for you and your employee.
How do I manage mental health/anxiety for employees returning to work?
As a business owner, getting your employees back to work during the pandemic can be challenging. Some employees are experiencing anxiety and stress, even those who have never struggled with these issues in the past. Whether they are concerned about exposing themselves or their families to the virus, or perhaps they are anxious about how to interact with customers in this new context - the struggles are real and employers have a duty and a responsibility to help and support their employees. As you focus on the reopening, safety guidelines and measures, don’t forget to spend a bit more time with your staff.
Planning and communication are key. Developing a Workplace Plan is one approach and it doesn’t have to be complicated:
- Organize a zoom call or a socially distanced picnic in the park to break the ice before reopening.
- Bring the employees back to the workplace ahead of the reopening for a few days or meet one-on-one.
- Involve your health and safety representative or committee,
- Get staff involved in the preparation so they feel in control or at the very least as though they are contributing to their own personal safety and that of their colleagues.
- Survey your staff anonymously to get a temperature checkProvide contact information for where to find help
There are many ideas so be as creative as you want based on your employees’ needs. Where appropriate, you could use a Team Development format and let your employees contribute to the process; this means allowing for some flexibility in your planning to include their suggestions. Regardless of your approach, let your employees voice their concerns so they know that you are there to help them through the transition. We all know it’s not “business as usual” and the better prepared your team is, the better served your clients will be.
Remember that everyone’s anxiety and fear is at a different level so think about your team individually and as a group. What issues can you predict and which issues can you prevent and address right away? Here are a few tools that can assist you and your employees:
- Mental Health Commission of Canada has many resources:
- Resources in Response to COVID-19
- Choosing the Mental Health Resource that’s right for you: not all are created equal
- Other resources for E-mental health, Suicide prevention, Workplace mental health, Caregiving, and Webinars (I.e. Building Mental Health into Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs: Pandemic Response)
- The Canadian Mental Association has 6 tips to respond to employee anxiety about COVID-19
- The Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety’s page on Mental Health
- Anxiety Canada has two great resources:
Share these resources with staff, make them available in your lunch room or via your Intranet (if available). These trusted sources can be helpful for employees while reflecting on their return to work but can also help in communicating and addressing their fears. Stress and anxiety can be minimized with good, clear and well sourced information that is available on a regular basis.
There will be extreme cases and additionally challenging situations. If you or an employee are experiencing distress, please call your local crisis centre. If you or someone you know is in need of emergency services, please don’t hesitate to call your local Emergency Services (often 911). Otherwise, don’t hesitate to call your CFIB Business Resource team for additional support.
- CFIB Webinar: https://vimeopro.com/user65099910/cfib
- CFIB Mental Health Webinar slides: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/sites/default/files/2020-05/CFIB%20MS_PG_EN_Leading%20Through%20COVID19_PPL%20-%20Business%20Leaders.pdf
- Mental Health Commission - How to manage return anxiety as the lockdown lifts
How do I manage my stress level as a business owner?
As a business owner, many people depend on you; your employees, your suppliers, your community, your family. You have become an expert in many areas of business operations, but even in a stable economy running a business is a challenge – then comes COVID. As you focus on keeping the business afloat, address employees’ anxieties and fears, support your community, and try to keep a bit of yourself to give to your family… we ask you this, Who is taking care of you?
During this pandemic we’ve spoken to thousands of business owners about everything under the sun and the last thing they tend to address is their own wellbeing. You are the keystone of your business and its greatest asset. Many business owners are struggling; stress, anxiety, burnouts, not to mention concerns with financial uncertainty and what the future holds. You are not alone. There are many resources and tools available:
- CFIB partnered with Morneau Shepell to present the “Building Resilience and Leading Through COVID-19: Training to Support Mental Health” webinar, a great tool to walk you through a self-analysis of your wellbeing with tips and guidance.
- Additionally, we recommend the Workplace Strategies for Mental Health site, specifically Strategies for Small Business Owners.
- You spend a lot of time helping others, but not yourself, so turn the table around and assess your wellbeing with the Burnout Response
- If you can relate to “I’m feeling stressed due to the pandemic,” make it a priority to practice self-care. Your business can only benefit from a stronger you.
If you are experiencing distress, please call your local crisis centre (National suicide prevention support line: 1-833-456-4566).
If your or someone you know is in need of emergency services, please don’t hesitate to call your local Emergency Services (often 911).
- Check the public health guidelines in your jurisdiction on how to proceed in this situation.
- Ask your employee to take the COVID-19 self-assessment test
- If the employee has not come into the workplace, you can require an employee to self-isolate for 14 days. The worker must take all necessary measures to protect their health and safety, and those of others in the workplace. As an employer you have a duty to take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of your workers.
- Provide the employee with their provincial, territorial, and federal leave/pay options and ensure that they know who to call at the workplace to keep updated on their situation.
- As provincial rules will vary on being able to ask for doctor’s notes, completing asking your employee to complete fit-to-work assessment before coming back into the workplace may be a good alternative.
- If the employee cannot stay home, consider PPE measures to keep everyone safe in the workplace. These work best and will not raise the likelihood of a human rights claim if made applicable to the workplace and not one individual.
Managing employees during the COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging as many symptoms of COVID-19 can also be symptoms of a cold, allergies or flu.
What you need to do will vary depending on the level of exposure to your workplace and the provincial rules provided by your ministry of labour and your public health authority; however, here are some general guidelines:
- Is the employee showing signs of COVID-19? Use your province’s online Self-Assessment Tool, listed by Health Canada, to determine if the symptoms are related to COVID-19.
- Has the employee had close contact with someone with COVID-19?
- Was the employee travelling in recent days?
If YES is the answer to any of these questions, ask the employee to leave the workplace right away, get tested and self-isolate for 14 days.
If the test result is positive:
- You may need to report it to the province (in some jurisdictions public health will do this)
- Notify your company’s health and safety committee or representative that there has been a COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. Do not identify the employee
- Contact the local Public Health Unit to discuss next steps
- Ask your employee to track their recent contacts as this will help prevent the spread of COVID-19—public health will also work on this with the individual
Second step: Assess the level of exposure
If the employee has been in the workplace, were they around other employees or customers? If yes, then you should:
- Evacuate the space/send employees home, explaining that the evacuation is a precautionary measure. Do not identify the employee in question.
- Determine the level of exposure in your workplace
- Check the public health guidelines in your jurisdiction on how to proceed in your situation.
- Clean and disinfect the exposed premises. Ensure that workers are not using the space to give the disinfectants time to take effect.
- Re-assess your risk and review your safety plan.
- Implement an internal communication strategy so that employees are aware of measures being taken to manage the situation and keep them informed about their return to work. Re-educate employees on company policies to ensure that the incident does not happen again.
- Clearly communicate that all staff must take necessary hygiene precautions such as effective handwashing, social distancing, avoiding travel to affected areas, and meeting with infected or potentially infected people.
During the pandemic, remember that:
Employees can refuse work if they reasonably believe there is a dangerous condition in the workplace or that work constitutes a danger to their health. If this happens, employers must respond by carrying out an investigation and, if applicable, take action to eliminate the danger. Contact your provincial health and safety department right away to request a ruling on the safety status of your workplace.
Where possible, implement a work from home policy so employees can continue their tasks in a remote setting.
Being allowed to require a medical note from your employee will depend on your business’s provincial employment standards and on the severity of the employee’s shared situation.
To reduce the strain on health care providers, some provincial governments recommend that only persons experiencing serious symptoms attend hospitals or medical clinics. Some provincial governments are requesting that businesses do not ask employees for medical notes before or after sickness. As an alternative, your provincial government may allow you to ask for a fit-to-work assessment/functional abilities form upon your employee’s return to ensure their ability to work.
If a particular situation allows you to request a medical note, it will be important to check whether your province's standards require you to cover the costs related to this request (transportation, remuneration, medical assessment, etc.).
Should you be uncertain of what is acceptable in your province feel free to contact a CFIB Business Counsellor to speak about your situation.
Provincial Health and Safety legislation allows an employee to refuse work they feel is unsafe. Health and Safety in the workplace is an employer priority and the responsibility of all those in the workplace. It is important to talk to the employee about their concerns, explain to them all the safety measures put in place at the workplace to keep employees safe, and ask the employee what would make them feel safer. Including employees in these decisions lets them know their voices are heard and that their safety really is a priority.
Should the employee still feel that they are unsafe in the workplace past the point of accommodation, you may need to request the complaint in writing and involve your provincial Ministry of Labour to investigate your workplace to make a health and safety ruling. If the complaint is deemed reasonable, then you will be required to accommodate the employee. If the complaint is deemed unreasonable, then you can require the employee to return to work.
Having a COVID-19 Health and Safety policy in place will help to clearly show the measures that the business has taken to keep workers, customers and suppliers safe. It should also provide information on how employees can report concerns. In some jurisdictions, a COVID-19 Health and Safety policy, or a COVID-19 operational plan is a requirement to re-open your business. Check with your Business Counsellor to find out what is needed in your province/territory.
Can I tell my employees that the time they were off due to COVID-19 business closures is their vacation time for this year?
While most jurisdictions do allow for the employer to decide when an employee will take vacation, there are generally conditions attached:
- The employer is required to give notice of the date the vacation will begin, and
- The employer may not mandate vacation time unless an agreement on vacation time cannot be reached.
This means that telling an employee after the fact will not be permissible.
If your jurisdiction does allow for the time off to be vacation time, then you will still need to pay out the vacation pay. Consult our chart to find the rules according to your province or territory.
If you have questions about vacation time and returning employees, please contact your CFIB Business Counsellor.
Employees can work while on claim using the workshare program.
This is a three-way agreement with the employee, employer and Service Canada that takes about 30 days to negotiate. If the employer has already put this in place, Service Canada will waive the 30 days of negotiation.
The first CERB period for an employee is the first 4-week period where they have not earned more than $1000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 consecutive days. Should you be eligible for EI this will not necessarily be the first CERB period (March 15 - April 11, 2020). Should you not be eligible for EI these 14 or more consecutive days will be within the four-week benefit period of your claim.
Subsequent CERB periods are the 4-week in length. If you are eligible for EI, this will not necessarily follow the CERB period schedule. If you are not eligible for EI, this will follow the CERB period schedule. An employee can earn $1000 in employee income and/or self-employment income in each period and still claim CERB.
What are the new T4 reporting requirements for 2020?
For the 2020 tax year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has introduced additional reporting requirements for the T4 slip, "Statement of Remuneration Paid." This will apply to all employers and will help the CRA validate payments made under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).
In addition to reporting employment income in Box 14 or Code 71, all employers must report all employment income (including retroactive payments) made to employees in four defined periods in 2020 by using the corresponding new “other information” codes below:
- Code 57: Employment income – March 15 to May 9
- Code 58: Employment income – May 10 to July 4
- Code 59: Employment income – July 5 to August 29
- Code 60: Employment income – August 30 to September 26
For example: if you are reporting employment income for the period of April 25 to May 8, payable on May 14, use code 58.
Eligibility criteria for the CERB, CEWS, and CESB is based on employment income for a defined period. The new requirement means employers should report income and any retroactive payments made during these periods.
As the year is coming to an end, employers are reminded that they are obligated to provide T4 slips to any employee they have paid in 2020. Failure to issue this slip may result in penalties.
For more information about T4 reporting requirements, go to Information for employers: CRA and COVID-19.
- Provide a copy of the employee’s pay stub or a copy of the to-be-filed” ROE to the employee
- File the ROE when possible on ROE web
We know this is very frustrating. CFIB is raising this issue with the government.
In the meantime, the fastest way for an employer to submit their ROEs is still online through ROE web. Although paper ROEs seem like a quick solution for businesses it will not help Service Canada work more efficiently.
For employees applying for EI, know that employees can always provide Service Canada with pay stubs/a copy of the ROE to create an interim ROE while waiting for their employer’s ROE.
When laying off employees you will be required to file a Record Of Employment (ROE).
An ROE has to be filed when there is an interruption of earnings of seven days (known as the seven-day rule). The interruption of earnings occurs when there are seven consecutive days with no work and no insurable earnings, or when an employee’s salary falls below 60% of regular weekly earnings due to illness, injury, quarantine, pregnancy, etc.
If you are filing the ROE electronically, it must be issued within 5 calendar days of the end of the pay period in which the employee’s interruption of earnings occurs. If you are using a paper ROE, it must be issued within 5 calendar days of the employee’s interruption of earnings, or the date you became aware of the interruption of earnings.
There are two ways to complete the ROE:
- Through ROE web either by using a:
- Select Sign-In Partner; or
Note: Service Canada will require a second method of verification which they will send by mail before you gain access to ROE web.
- Calling Service Canada 1-800-622-6232 for a Paper ROE (unavailable at the moment)
For more information please read the steps to complete the ROE.
Shortage of Work (Layoff)
When you are laying off employees due to a shortage of work or a temporary business closure.
Illness or Injury
When an employee is absent due to illness, quarantine, or ordered self-isolation.
When an employee quits their job, or refuses to come into work.
When you have received approval to participate in the work-sharing program and the employee needs to apply for benefits.
Leave of absence
Can be used if an employee is unable to work; for example, schools and day cares are closed and so they must stay home with a child.
DO NOT put any comments in the comments box on the ROE; this will slow down processing as the ROE will need to be reviewed manually.
Service Canada offers a block-by-block guide to completing the ROE.
For now, the eligibility criteria remain unchanged. We will update the information if the government announces special measures.
Updated 2020-05-04: Service Canada is now allowing businesses to top up” their employees’ wages if they are receiving CERB up to a threshold of $1000/CERB period.
The Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program is designed for businesses who do want to top-up”or increase their employees’ weekly earning when they are unemployed due to a temporary stoppage of work, training, illness, injury or quarantine. These SUB plans need to be registered with Service Canada and are not considered as earnings and therefore are not deducted from EI benefits. These are supplementations of the employer’s side
For more details see the SUB plan guide.
Workers with open work permits, international students, and workers on visas will be allowed entry into Canada, despite restricted border measures, provided that they self-isolate for 14 days.
For many businesses, the COVID pandemic may be the first time they’ve had to consider having employees working from home. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to ensure productivity even while the team is geographically separated.
- Staying connected: communication will be more important than ever. As well as e-mail, consider a cloud-based platform such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or Facebook Workplace to allow for instant messaging. You can create group chats so members of internal teams can have virtual meetings and even conference calls without needing the telephone.
- Be clear in your expectations: Is it more important that employees work a certain number of hours or that they complete a certain task? How often should employees check in? Be mindful that employees may have unavoidable distractions such as child-care due to school closures.
- Make sure employees have what they need: Not everyone will be set up for working from home, so talk to employees and make sure they have what they need to do their job. Don’t assume that employees have landlines, printers, fast internet connection, etc.
- Be patient: This is a time of huge turmoil for everyone, and some employees will adapt better than others. Acknowledge the stress your employees are feeling and work with them to find solutions.
If employees are concerned about working from home, you can share with them our top tips for a productive home office.
The Government of Canada will provide support of $1,500 per temporary foreign worker to help pay the cost of the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. Applications will be made through the Ministry of Agriculture website – more details to come.
- Honour the worker’s period of employment to start upon their arrival to Canada
- Paying the wages and benefits during the TFW’s self-isolation period
- Specifically, for the workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
- Other workers must be paid for a minimum of 30 hours per week and at the rate specified on the LMIA
- The employer can withhold standard contract deductions (e.g. Employment Insurance, housing, transportation, etc.) as per their TFW Program stream requirements.
- No deductions of any additional amounts due to the self-isolation period
- Keep a proof of employee wages paid
- Cannot authorize the worker to work during the self- isolation period, even if requested by the worker. The only exception is if the service is deemed an essential service by the Chief Public Health Officer. No other duties other than those approved by the Chief Public Health Officer may be asked of the worker.
- Regularly monitor the health of workers who are self-isolating or workers who become sick after the self-isolation period.
- Communicate with your employee on a daily basis (call, text, email, or in-person two metres away if necessary) during self-isolation and ask if they are experiencing any symptoms
- Maintain a record of responses received
- If a worker becomes symptomatic at any time the employer must:
- Immediately arrange for the worker to be fully isolated from others
- Contact the local public health officials
- Contact the appropriate consulate (suggested)
- Ensure workers have the tools and supplies necessary to practice good hygiene:
- Access to hand-washing facilities
- Provide soap
- Provide alcohol-based hand-sanitizer if hand-washing facilities are not available and hands are not soiled
- Provide information on COVID-19 to the worker on or before the first day of self-isolation
- Try to provide the information in a language understood by the employee. Contact the Public Health Agency of Canada at 1-833-784-4397 or by e-mail at [email protected] for materials in different languages.
- Provide information in writing or orally (i.e. by telephone) as appropriate
- The employer must report any violation of the Quarantine Act to local law enforcement; including workers who do not observe the mandatory self-isolation period.
- Employers must follow all federal and provincial/territorial employment and health and safety laws, as well as the public health requirements of both the federal and provincial/territorial governments
Additional requirements for employers who provide accommodations:
- Self-isolating workers must be housed separate to those who are not self-isolating
- Self-isolating workers can be housed together; however, the workers must be able to maintain at least a 2 metre distance between them at all times. If this requirement cannot be met, then alternate housing arrangements (e.g. hotel) may be required.
- Note: if new workers are housed for self-isolation with workers already in self-isolation, the calendar resets to the day the most recent worker arrived.
- Surfaces in the accommodations must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. In bathrooms, kitchens and common areas cleaning/disinfecting is recommended to be done at least daily and a log should be kept of all cleaning.
- Workers can do this as it is considered essential work, alternatively a professional cleaner can be hired
- The employer must provide all supplies – paper towel, cleaning/disinfecting products, dish soap, laundry soap, etc.
- Information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 must be posted in the accommodations, including information on best practices in maintaining facilities:
- Information should be posted in bathrooms, kitchens, common areas
- Information should be in the language of the worker(s)
- The accommodations must prevent the self-isolating worker from coming in contact with older adults (65+) and people with medical conditions who are at risk of developing serious illness. A caregiver for an elderly person must spend the self-isolation period in different accommodations to the elderly person.
Occupational Health and Safety requires employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees.
Preventive measures could include:
- Ensuring that handwashing facilities are readily available and encouraging employees to practice good hygiene.
- Ensuring employees are aware of the symptoms and risk of the virus.
- Having a Health and Safety meeting with your committee or representative (if applicable) to review business policies and protocols.
- Posting safety measures and encouraging employees to follow them to help prevent person to person transmission.
- Permitting employees to work remotely where possible. Communicate this to employees, so they will feel comfortable working from home if they are feeling under the weather.
- Having safety products available (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, gloves, etc.).
- Paying additional attention to cleaning – disinfecting door handles, computer keyboards, telephones, etc.
Note: these measures also help prevent the spread of other infections such as colds, the flu, and stomach bugs.
Be wary of singling out an employee to stay home as a preventive measure, if other employees are continuing to come into the workplace. The reason to remove the employee from the workplace needs to be supported by facts, and be in line with public health guidelines, to avoid the possibility the move could be perceived as being discriminatory.
Our insurance partner Northbridge Insurance has also provided a free 20-minute webinar to help you better understand COVID-19 exposures and worksite infection control best practices.
Having a small business sick policy or attendance policy is good business sense at all times, not just when there is a pandemic. Letting employees know exactly what they are entitled to, based on Employment Standards requirements and your own internal policies, will set expectations and reduce confusion and frustration.
Under Occupational Health and Safety legislation, employees have a right to refuse work if they have reasonable grounds to believe it is dangerous to their health or safety. Remind your employees of the preventive measures that have been put in place, and the safety products available to them. This may help mitigate instances of employees refusing to work due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Each employee has a duty to report any dangerous situation to their supervisor. The employer then has a duty to take remedial action by having the workplace health and safety committee and/or representative investigate. In some cases, a government health and safety officer may need to investigate as well.
The employer may choose to reassign work. In this case, the employee must receive the same wages and benefits as they would have received under their previous assignment.
Please review the OH&S legislation in your jurisdiction for guidance on further reporting responsibilities, or talk to a CFIB Business Counsellor.
The federal government is requiring all travelers arriving from an international destination to self-isolate for 14 days. If the employee develops even a low-grade fever or mild cough they should avoid close contact with other people, and call their healthcare provider or public health department (contact information below).
If the employee is ill and still exhibiting symptoms, you can ask the employee to provide a note from a healthcare practitioner that gives them clearance to return to work, before the employee may return to their regular duties.
The federal government is recommending that all international travel be restricted. International flights will only be permitted to land at certain airports, and travellers arriving from international destinations will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. It is also possible that travellers will find themselves quarantined in the country they are visiting.
Self-insolation/quarantine requirements are decided by the destination’s provincial government. The employee may well be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the destination province, and again when they return home.
Should an employee be travelling to provinces without self isolation/quarantine requirements, an employer should still consider the risks to the employee’s Health & Safety and determine if having a self isolation term in the business’ travel policy is necessary.
Some provinces are now mandating a 14-day self-isolation for any person returning from outside the province. If this is the case in your province, then the employee will have no choice but to self-isolate.
If your province does not have the requirement to self-isolate following inter-provincial travel, the business could set the expectation of self isolating in the business’ travel policy. An employer is responsible for the health and safety of it’s employees and can ask the employees to stay home should there be reasonable cause . Requiring an employee to self-isolate when it’s not mandated by the government may mean still paying the employee. It would be best to talk to a lawyer in those situations to ensure the business is on-sides with any applicable employment standards rules and regulations.
How can I manage risks at my construction site during the pandemic?
Have questions about how to avoid risks and handle your construction site during the pandemic? Northbridge Insurance can help. CFIB’s trusted partner is offering free resources to small business owners that help you understand:
- Key infection control guidelines
- How to handle a construction site during a pandemic
- The biggest risks in the construction industry and how to mitigate them
How can I manage risks with my fleet of vehicles during the pandemic?
Parking your fleet for an extended period of time during the pandemic? Make sure your long term parking doesn’t become a long term problem by following these steps, brought to you by our partner Northbridge Insurance. You can learn:
- Where and how to park
- How to steer clear of theft and vandalism
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- And more