Federal business supports may expand

·2 min read

With some small businesses still struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has announced plans for new or extended targeted supports.

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy would provide rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations, including businesses, charities and nonprofits. It would subsidize a percentage of expenses, up to a maximum of 65 per cent eligible expenses to Dec. 19, 2020, with organizations being able to make claims retroactively for between Sept. 27 and Oct. 24, according to a government press release.

Organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order could receive a top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25 per cent, in addition to this 65 per cent subsidy. This program replaces the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses, which has supported over 130,000 businesses across the nation.

An extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to Dec. 19, 2020 is also being considered. This would keep employees on the payroll and encourage employers to rehire workers. Since launching, over 3.7 million Canadians have had their jobs supported through this program, with more than $41 million paid out in subsidies as of Oct. 4, 2020.

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free loans to eligible businesses and not-for-profits up to $20,000 – in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. If repaid by Dec. 31, 2020, a total of $20,000 would be forgiven. The funding is eligible to small businesses that have experienced lowered revenues due to COVID-19, but still face costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and employment costs.

Over 765,000 CEBA loans have been approved as of early October, representing more than $30 billion.

Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times