Both Federal and Provincial Governments have reacted swiftly to implement robust financial measures to support both employers and employees. As we have seen with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the available financial support to Canadians may be subject to change as the various governments continue to develop their response to the pandemic in real time. Below is a summary of current financial resources that are being made available to Ontarians.
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Financial Resources for Employers
- Wage subsidy - Eligible small and medium sized businesses are eligible for a Federal wage subsidy of 75% backdated to March 15th. Details of the subsidy are still forthcoming, and we are expected to know more by March 30th.
- Work Sharing – The Federal Work-Sharing program has been extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. Some of the program requirements have been relaxed and the application period is expected to be expedited. More information is expected to be forthcoming.
- EHT Exemption – The Ontario government has proposed to increase the EHT exemption to 1 million dollars.
- Business Loans – The federal government has made additional credit available to companies through various loan programs including a guaranteed loan of up to $40,000 for small businesses which will be interest-free for the first year.
- Deferred tax filing - The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
- WSIB – The Ontario government will provide financial relief by allowing employers to defer WSIB payments for up to six months.
Financial Resources for Employees
Canada Emergency Response Benefit – The Federal government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
- workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number. More details about the program are expected in the coming days.
- GST/HST Tax Credit – There will be a one-time special payment by early May made through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
- Child Benefits – Starting in May, the Federal government will increase the Canada Child Benefit $300 per child. The Ontario government has also committed to provide families a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age.
- Loan Relief - Effective March 30, there will be a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time. The Ontario government will work in partnership with the Federal government to also provide 6 months of loan and interest relief on the OSAP portion of student loans.
- Delayed Personal Tax Filing - The tax filing deadline for individuals will be extended to June 1, 2020.
- Mortgage Support - Canada’s mortgage insurers have been instructed to provide homeowners with solutions to mitigate temporary financial hardship related to COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Deferred payments are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage. Employees will need to contact their lender directly in order to determine what mortgage support they are eligible for.
- Utility Support – The Ontario government has set the electricity rates to “off-peak” for the next 45 days. They have also expanded the eligibility for the Low‑income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and are ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID‑19 outbreak.
If you have any questions, contact Essential HR today to see how we can help your business during this time.