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COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

The Town of Orangeville’s Economic Development & Culture/SBEC office continues to support our community during COVID-19.  While our office is closed to walk in traffic, staff is available via phone, video conference, and email to help local businesses as they respond to COVID-19.

General Information

Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 Resources and Programs

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) services, due dates and programs

Support for students and new graduates

Emergency Processing Fund for food producers, processors, and manufacturers

Support for apprentices and workers in the hospitality sector

Open Orangeville Business Recovery Plan

 

Essential Workplaces and Plan for Re-opening Ontario’s businesses, services and public spaces

The province of Ontario has published a framework for re-opening Ontario’s economy.

Effective July 17, Ontario announced stage three of reopening for certain regions including Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph. Nearly all businesses and public spaces can gradually reopen as regions enter stage three, with public health and workplace safety restrictions in place. The following high-risk venues and activities will remain closed until they can safely resume operations:

  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Buffet-style food services
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment who follow specific requirements
  • Overnight stays at camps for children
  • Private karaoke rooms
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments

Businesses must follow public health measures and follow the Ministry of Health’s guidance document for essential workplaces. Sector-specific guidelines are also available. Recommendations include promoting physical distancing and frequent hand washing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contact-less payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses and sectors that are either not able to reopen in Stage 3, or that are experiencing significant challenges opening with restrictions in Stage 3, can contact the government of Ontario to work on a re-opening plan.

Financing and Cash Flow Support

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) – apply now online at The Centre for Business and Economic Development

What does it provide?

The RRRF is intended to support businesses who have attempted to access other federal relief supports and were ineligible, rejected, or require funding for expenses that have not been supported, with priority given to applicants who were ineligible or rejected from other federal relief supports. Details of the program are as follows:

  • Maximum assistance under RRRF offered through the Community Futures program is $40,000
  • 0% interest rate and no principal payments until December 31, 2022.
  • Principal repayments can be voluntarily made at any time.
  • 25% (not to exceed $10,000) of any loan can be forgiven provided the recipient has paid 75% of the original loan amount prior to December 31, 2022.
  • If the recipient is unable to repay the loan by December 31, 2022, the loan will be converted to a three-year term loan with interest rates up to 5%, effective January 1, 2023. The full balance must be repaid no later than December 31, 2025.

Who is eligible?

Small and medium-sized businesses who require support with fixed operating costs and working capital needs.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) – apply now through your financial institution

What does it provide?

The Canada Emergency Business Account provides interest-free loans in the form of lines of credit of up to $40,000 to businesses with payrolls between $20,000 and $1.5 million. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital.

Who is eligible?

Small businesses and not-for-profit organizations are eligible if they can demonstrate their payroll is between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. The program has been expanded to include a sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll, and owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) – apply now through your financial institution

What does it provide?

The Government of Canada has established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide $40 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).  Under this program, BDC and EDC will enhance their cooperation with private sector lenders to coordinate financing and credit insurance solutions for Canadian businesses. The BCAP will support access to financing for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions.

This program includes:

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.

Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.

Who is eligible?

BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate credit solutions for individual businesses. Financing may be available for credit-worthy Canadian businesses with viable business models.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) – applications now open

What does it provide?

LEEFF provides short-term liquidity assistance in the form of interest-bearing term loans to large Canadian employers who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The intent of LEEFF is to provide bridge financing to large Canadian employers to help these enterprises to preserve their employment, operations and investment activities until they can access more traditional market financing.

Who is eligible?

LEEFF is open to large Canadian employers who (a) have a significant impact on Canada’s economy, as demonstrated by (i) having significant operations in Canada or (ii) supporting a significant workforce in Canada; (b) can generally demonstrate approximately $300 million or more in annual revenues; and (c) require a minimum loan size of $60 million.

Other Sources of Financing Support

  • Some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may find that they do not qualify for the CEBA, CEWS or BCAP. This may include cultural, heritage and sport organizations and entrepreneurs, innovators and pre-revenue firms. New targeted programs have been announced to support these SMEs.
  • FedDev Ontario is implementing a 3-month deferral for companies in repayment, taking effect April 1, 2020. There are several types of organizations that may be eligible for further funding including tourism operators, small/medium sized businesses, amongst others.
  • Many financial institutions are introducing programs to support businesses and are flexible with terms due to the nature of the situation. Speak with your bank to discuss your situation and understand your options.
  • The Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund, offered through Farm Credit Canada, is set up to support a wide range of enterprises in the agribusiness and agri-food sector, including companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging and distribution. The fund will help companies in times of need through innovative solutions such as convertible debt investments and other flexible financing solutions.

 

Workforce Retention and Support

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – applications now open

What does it provide?

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) enables employers to re-hire workers previously laid off, and to keep those who are already on payroll. The subsidy applies at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6. As of May 14, the CEWS was extended to August 29. In July, proposed changes were announced that would broaden the reach of the program and provide better targeted support so that more workers can return to their jobs quickly as the economy restarts.

Who is eligible?

  • This subsidy is available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 15 per cent of their revenue in March 2020 and 30 per cent for the following months. In applying for the subsidy, employers are required to attest to the decline in revenue.
  • Eligible employers include individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non-profit organizations and registered charities. On May 15, the CEWS was extended to allow eligibility for more organizations and businesses.
  • The Small Businesses 10% Wage Subsidy is a separate program. This subsidy will offer remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10 per cent wage subsidy for a period, any benefit from the 10 per cent wage subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period would generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

How can I apply?

Complete the CEWS calculator to determine your eligibility. Set up your My Business Account with the CRA to prepare.

Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) – applications now open

What does it provide?

The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit that provides $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is eligible?

The CERB applies to many Canadians including contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are still available. To understand if your employee should apply for EI or CERB, visit Canada.ca.

How can my employees apply?

Applying for the CERB can be done online using CRA My Account or over the phone with an automated phone service (1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041). Canadians will begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB will be paid every four weeks and be available for a maximum of 24 weeks.

Work Sharing Program – applications now open

What does it provide?

Work Sharing (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. A temporary special measure has been introduced to extend the maximum duration of WS agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for those businesses affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19.

Who is eligible?

Employees on a Work-Sharing agreement must agree to a reduced schedule of work and to share the available work over a specified period of time. Detailed eligibility requirements for employers and employees can be found at Canada.ca.

How can I apply?

Businesses can apply for Work Sharing now.

Job Protection

The province of Ontario announced legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures. Visit Ontario.ca for details.

 

Rent Relief

Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) – applications now open

What does it provide?

The federal and provincial governments have reached an agreement to implement the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.

  • This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.

Who is eligible?

The program supports small business tenants who are paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

How do I apply?

Applications for CECRA open on May 25 through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

 

Payment Deferrals

Income Tax Payment Deferral and Extended Deadlines

All payments of income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18th and before September 30th will be deferred until after September 30, 2020.  New deadlines can be found at Canada.ca.

Employer Health Tax (EHT) Exemption

The Ontario government is increasing the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million due to the special circumstances caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Payment Deferral

Businesses who pay WSIB premiums can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. Businesses who report and pay monthly, quarterly or annually based on their insurable earnings are eligible for this deferral.

Municipal support

Orangeville Council has passed a number of measures to help alleviate some of the immediate financial pressure that Orangeville residents and businesses are experiencing. The economic relief package includes:

  • Waiving of all fees and interest related to late payment of property taxes, for residents and businesses, for a three-month period
  • Penalties on overdue water fees are also waived
  • Orangeville Hydro has suspended account collection activities including late payment interest on incremental balances and the provincial winter disconnect ban has been extended by an additional three months.

 

Business Operations

Utility Rate Relief

The Government of Ontario continues to provide electricity rate relief by implementing a number of measures. Time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates continue to be suspended and, starting on June 1, customers will be billed based on a new fixed COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour.

Insured Mortgage Purchase Program

The Government of Canada launched an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program. Up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools will be purchased through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

 

Funding and Supplier Opportunities

Agri-Food Open for E-Business

The Governments of Canada and Ontario are supporting the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors to capture online e-business opportunities that will help create new, expanded or enhanced markets and open new retail channels to help generate new revenue streams for future growth.

There are two funding streams:

  1. Bring Your Business Online: Provides a grant of up to $5,000 to eligible organizations/businesses to help establish an online presence.
  2. Develop Online Business Opportunities: Provides cost-share funding for up to 90 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 to develop e-business opportunities on a larger scale.

Find details and eligibility requirements here.

Ontario Together Funding

The province of Ontario has launched the Ontario Together Fund to help companies retool, build capacity, or adopt the technological changes needed to produce supplies and equipment for hospitals, long-term care homes, and other critical public services. Researchers and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions in response to COVID-19 are invited to submit their ideas online.

Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) Funding

NGen, the industry-led organization leading Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, will invest $50 million to support companies as they prepare to produce critically needed technologies, equipment, and medical products to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Review the project guide to understand requirements.