NEW (01/27) The BC Government recently released a helpful Supports for Businesses guide, which is easy to navigate and includes both federal and provincial programs.
financial programs available to support businesses & their workers
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP): Co-Lending Program for SMEs: Federal government program offered via BDC, which is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues, up to $60 million; interest-only for first 12 months, with a 10-year repayment period. 80% of the financed amount is provided by BDC and 20 % is provided by the business’ financial institution. This support is available until or before September 30, 2020. For more information, speak directly with your financial institution, which will contact BDC as appropriate.
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP): Loan Guarantee for SMEs: Federal government program offered via EDC. Operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $80 million to SMEs which were otherwise otherwise financially viable & revenue generating prior to COVID-19. This program is being extended through to June 30, 2021.
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): Federal government program offered via your financial institution & partnered with EDC. Includes loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses & not-for-profit employers with payrolls of $20,000 to $1.5 million in 2019 and operating as of March 1, 2020. Interest-free for one year. If re-paid by Dec 31, 2022, 25% (up to $10,000) will be forgiven. Businesses & non-profit societies/registered charities with payrolls of $20K to $1.5M in calendar year 2019. CEBA has been extended to include businesses that owned by sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses; businesses that rely on contractors; and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll and those which operate using a personal (vs business) bank account. (NEW: 12/4) As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans for eligible businesses will increase from $40,000 to $60,000. Applicants who have received the $40,000 CEBA loan may apply for the $20,000 expansion, which provides eligible businesses with an additional $20,000 in financing. All applicants have until March 31, 2021, to apply for $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion. For more details on those now eligible, click HERE.
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): Federal & Provincial government program via CMHC. Forgivable loans for property owners with small business tenants to cover 50% of 3 months (April through June, 2020) with program extensions of three additional months (July through September, 2020) of gross rent (rent + taxes, maintenance & insurance, if applicable) payments when those landlords forgive 25% of gross rent for those same months. Application portal now open with funds to be received shortly after successful application is processed. Commercial landlords who are eligible for the CECRA are restricted from evicting their eligible commercial tenants, from repossessing their goods and property, and from filing lawsuits seeking collection of their rent payments in arrears between April and the end of September. Application deadline for the September extension is September 30th, 2020. Small businesses with commercial rent of $50,000/month of less which have had to temporarily cease operations or experienced a 70% or greater reduction in revenue due to COVID-19. Includes non-profits & charities. Loan of 50% of monthly rent (to max) is payable to the landlord but landlord (both mortgaged & non-mortgaged property owners may qualify) must forgive 75% of the rent for April, May & June and must not evict during that period of time. Tenant pays remaining 25% of rent for April, May & June. EXAMPLE: Rent is $10,000/month. Loan from gov’t paid to landlord for $5,000/month x 3 months. Landlord temporarily reduces rent from $10,000/month to $7,5000/month. $5,000 of this is covered by gov’t loan & tenant pays remaining $2,500/month for those 3 months. Gov’t then forgives the $5,000 x 3 in loan to landlord. Landlord recovers 75% of regular rent. Tenant pays 25% of regular rent. Gov’t covers 50% of rent. Eligibility criteria, further details & application process/portal, FAQ, etc. are all included on the Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) website: HERE If rent has already been paid at time of approval then the subsidy can be applied to a following month in a rolling fashion. For example, if April’s rent has already been paid then the funding can be used for three months; May, June & July.
- Canada Emergency Benefit Program (CERB): NOTE - CERB is now closed. See the new Canada Recovery Benefits Program Executive Summary (top of page) for more details about programs moving forward from September 26th, 2020 onwards. This is a taxable benefit which provides $500/week for up to 7 periods (28 weeks) for wage earners (employees or self-employed) who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic between March 15th - September 26th, 2020. CERB covers Canadians who are unable to work due to COVID-19, including those who are on a BC “unpaid, job-protected leave related to COVID-19,” those who have been (temporarily) laid off due to COVID-19, those whose employment has been (permanently) terminated due to COVID-19, and those whose income has been reduced to $1000/month or less due to COVID-19, seasonal workers, and those EI benefits have recently expired. For those who want to make a retroactive application, see the website here.
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy: (NEW: 11/23) Application portal is now open for this new successor program to replace CECRA moving forward. It delivers direct, targeted, and accessible rent support to qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19 without the need to claim the assistance through their landlords. The new rent subsidy supports businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses. Qualifying organizations that were required to shut down or significantly limit their activities under a public health order will have access to Lockdown Support, a top-up subsidy of 25%, meaning that they could receive rent or property expenses support of up to 90%. Eligible expenses include commercial rent, property taxes (including school taxes and municipal taxes), property insurance, and interest on commercial mortgages (subject to limits) for a qualifying property, less any subleasing revenues. Any sales tax (e.g., GST/HST) component of these costs is not be an eligible expense. The rent subsidy parameters apply until December 19, 2020 with future parameters in 2021 to be adapted and targeted as needed. Applicants can visit CRA login services to create a My Business Account or Represent a Client account and apply for the CERS.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): A federal government program which subsidizes employee wages in order to a) protect income of workers, and b) keep workers connected to their employers / working through this crisis as an alternative to layoffs/terminations. Program is for a specific periods of time, with an original program for March 18-July 4 (Periods 1-4) and July 5-November 21 (Periods 5-9) with a possibility that the program will be extended through December 31, 2020 as needed. Original Program (Periods 1-4): Subsidy reimburses 75% of an eligible employee’s paid wages up to a maximum annual wage rate for subsidy is $58,700; which at 75% is calculated to be a max subsidy rate of $847/week. Employers are expected to top up the remaining portion of wage if above that amount if at all feasible. Employer eligibility based on meeting a 30% revenue decline for eligible period. Expanded Program (Periods 5-9): Subsidy is now a sliding scale model, based on reduction of revenue in two parts; a) a “base subsidy” (for eligible employers who have lost any revenue for a particular period,) and an additional “top-up subsidy” for eligible employers with a revenue decline of 50% or more for the eligible period. Subsidy can be used for employees actively working or for those who are on a “leave with pay.” Deadline to file an application for any qualifying period has been extended to January 31, 2021. This program has changed significantly since first introduced. It is quite possible that employers which did not qualify when it first was released may now be eligible for funding. Eligible employers include individuals, taxable corporations & trusts, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non-profit organizations, and registered charities. Most public organizations are not eligible. In May 2020 additional types of eligible employers were added. Eligible employees are individuals who are employed in Canada. The original program and extended program have some differences regarding those who are without remuneration for 14 or more days. Check here for more info. Non-profits, charities & businesses of any size can qualify. They are not required to include government funds in calculations. Number of employees or business type (sole proprietorship, partnership, incorporated) or sector does not change eligibility. Business must re-apply each period and attest that they are doing everything in their power to pay the remaining 25% of the wages. If unable, employer must attest, and retain documentation to demonstrate their inability to cover remaining 25%. Cash or Accrual Method of Accounting: Employers can choose to assess their revenue changes based on either the cash or accrual methods of accounting, however once chosen that same method of accounting must continue to be used consistently for each period. Please consult your accounting professional for more details on how to effectively measure this & ensure accurate reporting. The expansion of this program has loosened a number of restrictions which had previously disqualified some employers. If you were previously disqualified, please take a moment to read through the updated eligibility requirements to see if your business is now eligible. Via the CRA page on their website, dedicated to the CEWS, with specifics on who is eligible and the “CEWS Calculator” for employers to determine how much they can expect to receive. The legislation to formalize this expansion of this program became final on July 27, 2020. Learn more about it on the CEWS website here - check out the simplified infographic here.
- Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): Income support for those who are employed or self-employed, and who are directly affected by COVID-19, but who are not EI-eligible. From March 15th – September 26th, 2020 many workers who were unable to work due to reasons related to COVID-19 and who are self-employed or not otherwise EI-eligible were temporarily covered by the CERB program. The new CRB is effective September 27th, 2020 and is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA.) If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes are withheld) per week for up to 38 weeks.
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB): Income support for both employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for a family member (child under 12, youth, or adult) who needs supervised care because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19 or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA.) If eligible, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes are withheld) per week, up to a total of 38 weeks.
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB): Income support for both employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they're a) sick with or b) need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or c) have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). If eligible, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes are withheld) per week, up to a total of 4 weeks.
- Canada United Business Small Business Relief Fund: Managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national chamber network, to help small Canadian businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.Successful applicants will receive a relief grant of up to $5,000. Supports businesses and non-profit organizations across Canada with reimbursable funds up to $5,000 to assist with COVID-19 related costs of reducing risk for customers or staff (i.e. plexiglass barriers, signage, sanitizer, PPE, etc.) and/or enhancement of website/development of e-commerce capabilities.
- Customs Duties & Taxes: Federal government customs duties & tax payments owed are deferred to June 30th, 2020.
- Employment Insurance (EI): Income support for those who have lost their job through no fault of their own (i.e. due to a shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs.) From March 15th – September 26th, 2020 those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 were temporarily placed into the CERB program, which was administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA.) As of September 27th, 2020, EI-eligible workers are again being supported through the EI benefits program, which is administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC.) Maximum EI benefits have been extended to 50 weeks to respond to the needs of Canadians during the pandemic.
- Federal Business Income Tax: The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18th, and before September 2020.
- GST/HST Payments: Payments owed are deferred to June 30th, 2020.
- Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEF): A federal government program (through the Canadian Development Investment Corporation) of bridge financing for large employers ($300 million+ in annual revenue) who aren’t able to access conventional financing to maintain operations. The objective of the LEEF program is specifically to protect Canadian jobs and help otherwise operational Canadian businesses and their suppliers, weather downturn. Minimum $300 million/year in revenue but financing needs are not able to be met through conventional financing. Must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investments. Program will include strict limitations on dividends, share buy-backs and executive pay and will include an assessment of the company’s employment, tax and economic activity. For more information, see the CDIC LEEF FAQ page here.
- Regional Relief & Recovery Fund (RRRF): Federal government program through Western Economic Diversity Canada, which provides SMEs with an interest-free repayable contribution of up to $40,000 to help alleviate financial hardships related to COVID-19; for businesses not eligible for CEBA or the RRRF-Community Futures Stream (a program not available in Delta). Amounts available are up to $1,000,000. To qualify, businesses must have been operational as of March 1st, 2020, however they can be pre-revenue (e.g. a company that has not had any sales to date); can include businesses which do not have employees, but rather contractors; and/or those which do not pay their owners salaries, but rather dividends. This program is not available to sole proprietors or non-profit organizations. It is intended to support businesses that do not qualify for other Government of Canada COVID-19 support measures. For more details on specific eligibility, please contact Western Economic Diversification Canada directly. Complete eligibility assessment HERE and complete application form HERE.
- Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers: A federal government program introduced prior to the CEWS program, and available concurrently with it. The subsidy is equal to 10% of wages paid from March 18th, 2020 through June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 per eligible employee; to a max of $25,000 total per employer. Eligible employers include small businesses (individuals (excluding trusts,) CCPCs, and some types of partnerships) and registered charities & non-profit societies. There is no need to apply for the TEWS program. Eligible employers calculate the subsidy amount and then reduce their CRA Payroll Remittance of income tax by the amount of the subsidy. Be aware that when calculating eligibility for CEWS, an employer must also take into account their eligibility for TEWS as well. More information is available in the "CEWS Calculator."
- Accelerating Manufacturing Scale-Up Grant: Provides up to $250,000 in grants to eligible small and medium sized manufacturing businesses. Eligible businesses can apply for cost-shared funding of up to $250,000 from a total of $10 million to pivot, retool or scale-up production to adjust to shifts in the economy; commercialize products close to being market-ready more quickly; and/or increase transparency and secure supply chains for critical goods where B.C. businesses are competitive.
- BC Business Taxes: Payments for employer health tax (EHT), provincial sales tax (PST), municipal & regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and carbon tax are deferred until after September 30th, 2020. Scheduled April 1st, 2020 increases to provincial carbon tax and PST are deferred.
- BC Emergency Benefit for Workers: A provincial government one-time, tax-free payment of $1,000 for those whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19. To qualify, eligible applicants will have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15, 2020; will meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB); will have been approved for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (even if you haven’t received a federal benefit payment yet); be at least 15 years old on the date you apply; have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return; and not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance. Applications for this benefit closed on December 2, 2020. More information on this benefit are available HERE.
- BC Recovery Benefit: is a one-time direct deposit payment for eligible families, single parents or individuals. Eligibility is based on net income from the applicant's 2019 tax return. Maximum benefit is $1,000 for families with annual incomes under $125,000, with other lower calculated amounts available for single-parent families, individuals, and families earning up to $175,000 per year. Applicants must be BC residents as of Dec 18, 2020; have completed & filed a 2019 tax return; be at least 19 years of age; and have a valid SIN, individual, or temporary tax number. Applications are now open. More information is available HERE.
- Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant: (NEW: 04/08) Grants of $1,000 to $10,000 are available to hospitality & fitness businesses impacted by the March 30, 2021 PHO orders on gatherings and events and liquor and food serving premises. To qualify, the BC-owned businesses must have been operating since February 1, 2021 and must be able to show that they were impacted by the March 30, 2021 PHO orders. Funding amount eligibility is based on number of employees. Applications opened as of April 13 and will stay open until June 4 or until grant funds are fully expended. Businesses can now apply for the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant here.
- Commercial Property School Tax: The school tax rates for commercial properties (Classes 4, 5 & 6) are reduced by 50% for the 2020 tax year. Savings for qualifying properties is to be passed on to tenants on triple-net leases. Further reductions of school property tax rate for commercial properties has been announced: this should achieve an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses. Payment due date of the School Tax portion of the property tax bill is now delayed until December 31st, 2020.
- Commercial Property Tax Late Payment Postponement: The late payment date for commercial property taxes is postponed to October 1st, 2020 for Class 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 properties.
- Launch Online E-Commerce Grant: The Launch Online Grant program provides funding to B.C.-based business to create an online shop and/or improve their e-commerce experience to attract new local customers and expand to new markets. The grant will pay for up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $7,500 per business. The program supports a rapid response for businesses and is accepting applications from businesses ready to start and finish their online shop within 12 weeks. Up-to 25% of funds will be reserved for Indigenous businesses and businesses operating outside of the lower mainland and greater Victoria. The funds must be used to hire B.C.-based company(ies) to do the online store development.
- Small & Medium Sized Business Recovery Grants: (UPDATED: 03/15) This program provides fully-funded grants to businesses to ensure they have the support they need during and beyond COVID-19. Newly expanded & enhanced, the program is now available to many more small & medium-sized businesses. Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium sized B.C. businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses. The deadline has been extended to August 31st, 2021 (or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.) Applicants no longer need to show a revenue loss of 70 percent in March or April 2020 when compared to the same one-month period in 2019. Now a 30 percent loss is all that is required to meet the eligibility threshold. Businesses that have applied to the Program already will have their applications re-evaluated automatically if they didn’t qualify because of the previous 70 percent revenue requirement. Service providers – accountants, bookkeepers, and lawyers – can support their clients from the start of the application process. For details on the updated eligibility criteria, grant information, and translated PDFs in Simplified Chinese, Punjabi, French, Farsi, Korean, Vietnamese and more, see the website HERE.
- Temporary Rental Supplement Program (BC-TRS): Up to $500/month per unit supplement for low to moderate income residential rental tenants who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but who do not qualify for existing rental assistance program. Up to $300/month for individual with no dependents and up to $500/month for an individual with dependents. Roommates (individuals vs spouses/domestic partners) can each apply separately. The supplement will be paid directly to landlords. Application page is available on the BC Housing website.
- Patio Permit Program: In light of pandemic challenges, Delta City Council supported an initiative to work creatively and collaboratively with Delta’s restauranteurs and café owners to find innovative ways to increase the number of patrons while also respecting physical distancing requirements. A simplified process has been adopted to implement sidewalk patios. Restaurant and café owners can simply submit a request to the Engineering Department. Fees associated with liquor licenses (in order to accommodate patios) have been waived. The province has also been expediting liquor license extensions for these patio areas and in October 2020 the pilot program for patios was extended through October 31, 2021 due to its success.
- Utility Fees: The City of Delta has passed - and then extended - a Utility Flate Rate Penalty Deferral Bylaw, which allows for no penalty on late payment of late rate utility bills until September 30th, 2020.
- BC Hydro: Small businesses which have been forced to closed due to COVID-19 will have their April-June 2020 BC Hydro charges forgiven. Major industry businesses will see a 50% deferral in rates for 3 months. BC Hydro rates will be reduced by 1% for all customers beginning April 1st, 2020. Bill deferral and payment plan options are also available on a case-by-case basis. Call 1-800-BCHYDRO for more details.