Ontario and Quebec Budget Highlights for Canadian Tech Companies

As soon as the Ontario and Quebec provincial budgets were released, R&D Partners combed through their pages to find out what kind of financial support innovative companies from both provinces could expect from these highly anticipated government releases. In this month’s blog, we will share with you the announcements that most caught our eye.

This article will focus on some new investments that will likely have a direct impact on funding programs for innovative companies in Ontario and Quebec, and less so on measures for individual taxpayers or other industries. If you want to read more on general provincial budget highlights, we have linked other helpful articles at the end of this blog. Since it has yet to be tabled, we will also not be covering Canada’s Federal 2021-2022 budget, set to be released on April 19th.

 

Ontario

On March 24th, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board Peter Bethlenfalvy presented Ontario’s 2021 provincial budget. The Ontario government projects a deficit of $33.1 billion by the end of the 2021-2021 financial year, with the hope of a return to a balanced budget in 2029 (CBC). Despite this, Ontarians will find that no corporate or personal tax increases were announced in this year’s budget.

Many measures to support the health sector, digitize access to government services and help families were announced, but we will focus on the key measures that will most benefit Ontario’s innovation sector.

There are few “funding programs” per se announced in the budget, but we can presume that some of the money attributed to various initiatives will be distributed as grants or other forms of government funding in the following months. Several other key investments are also likely to benefit Ontario’s innovative ecosystems and flagship industries in an indirect way.

$400 million to create the Invest Ontario Fund: Invest Ontario is a relatively new initiative with the mandate to encourage investments into Ontario’s advanced manufacturing, information technology and life sciences sectors. Invest Ontario is not a direct grant fund to which companies can apply for project funding but offers a repertory of Ontario government incentives and a panoply of consulting and investment attraction services and incentives. Later in the year, more details about how this $400 million investment will be used to support Ontario’s innovative companies will be announced.

$56.4 million to create the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN): This brand-new innovation network with continue and expand on the work achieved by its predecessor AVIN (Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network). The new organization aims to bring together two of the most important innovative industries in Ontario: automotive manufacturing and information technology. Again, specific challenges and funding programs were not disclosed in the budget, but more details should follow soon. If OVIN adopts a similar approach to its predecessor, we can reasonably expect innovation challenges and hiring programs to be delivered by the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI). Companies developing electric or autonomous vehicles and connected mobility solutions will be the ones best positioned to benefit from this investment.

Doubled rates for the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit: This refundable Corporate Income Tax credit introduced in the 2020-2021 provincial budget is being temporarily doubled, going from 10% to 20%. The credit is available to Canadian-controlled private corporations that invest at least $50,000 into the renovation or purchase of commercial or industrial buildings in targeted regions of the province where employment rates have historically been below those of the rest of the province, with the goal of increasing employment and strategic investments.

 

Quebec

A day after the release of Ontario’s provincial budget, it was Quebec’s finance minister Eric Girard’s turn to table his own. Like in Ontario, despite a large projected deficit of $12.3 billion and an anticipated slow return to a balanced budget for 2027-2028, no tax increases are planned (The Gazette). In Quebec, SMEs will in fact benefit from a tax reduction making their effective tax rate equal to that of Ontario SMEs: from a previous 4% to a 3.2% rate.

As far as a high-level budget highlights go, Quebec is relying heavily on infrastructure funding to kick-start its pandemic-stalled economy, and significant help is also planned for the tourism, culture, aerospace and IT sectors (Global News).

The Quebec budget offered a few more details than Ontario’s in terms of what portion of the major investments announced can be expected to affect government funding programs, but we will be waiting for many details until later this year.

$27 million for cybersecurity innovation: Prompt Quebec will use this investment to increase the funding allocated to the Quebec Cybersecurity Innovation Program. This program supports Quebec SMEs working on cybersecurity solutions, but also aims to attract foreign cybersecurity companies to settle in Quebec.

$6 million for accelerators and incubators: The government is allocating this amount to increase support available for existing accelerators throughout the province. The goal of this investment is to facilitate the rapid growth of innovative startups and to help Quebec technology accelerators and incubators take their place in global networks.

Doubled rate of the Investment and Innovation Tax Credit (C3i): The base rate of this tax credit first announced in the 2020-2021 budget will be doubled until December 31st, 2022, meaning the minimum tax credit rate will go from 10% to 20% and the maximum rate will increase to 40%. The credit is for businesses that acquire manufacturing and processing equipment, computer hardware and management software packages before January 1st, 2025. Its goal is to incentivize Quebec companies to adopt new technologies.

Simplification of the application process for the University Researcher Tax Credit: The Quebec Government is making this tax credit, which is very useful for innovative companies eligible for the Federal SR&ED credit, more accessible by removing requirements to obtain a pre-authorization from Revenu Quebec to access it. Eligible companies can now simply claim their research and development expenses subcontracted to a university or research center when filing their taxes. The tax credit rates vary from 14% to 30% depending on if the eligible company is an SME or a large corporation.

 

Other resources: 

Read the official Ontario 2021 provincial budget here. 

Here’s what you need to know about Ontario’s 2021 budget (CBC) 

Read the official Quebec 2021 provincial budget here 

Highlights of the 2021-22 Quebec budget (The Gazette) 

Getting to Know Canada’s Innovation Superclusters

What is the innovation supercluster initiative?  

In 2018, the Government of Canada announced the launch of 5 innovation superclusters. These organizations were meant to foster innovation in key economic sectors, increase collaboration between the private sector and researchers, create jobs and increase Canada’s competitive advantage in technology development 

The Federal Government planned to invest $950 million over 5 years when launching the program. As of December 2020, close to $1.2 billion had been invested in over 265 approved projects across Canada (Government of Canada).   

The requirements to be selected as one of the superclusters were quite stringent: each organization had to demonstrate they would be able to match the government funds to finance selected projects. The superclusters also had to be led by a new or existing not-for-profit, represent firms of all sizes (from both the public and private sector), and include at least one academic institution (Government of Canada).  

While a variety of relevant activities can be funded by the different superclusters, the eligible costs applicants can expect to see covered are restricted to administrationoperational and direct project costs. Research and development activities, recruitment of new talent, market expansion, equipment purchase and installation and more can constitute eligible projects.   

Each supercluster offers its own programs, with targeted goals, timelines, and specific funding amounts. Below, you will find out more about each cluster, their industry focus and the programs they offer. You will also discover how some of them leveraged Canadian innovation capabilities and technologies to face the pandemic.   

Scale AI Supercluster  

Scale AI is “an investment and innovation hub focused on accelerating the application of artificial intelligence (AI) for supply chains” (Scale AI). Its main hub is in Montreal.  

At launch, they received $230 M in federal funding, with an additional $54.3 M coming from the Quebec Provincial Government. The key industry sectors in which they work to implement AI technologies include areas such as retail, manufacturing, transport, logistics and construction.  

Although this cluster is based in Quebec, Scale AI is expanding its program offering to other regions of Canada. In 2020, they launched initiatives in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec as part of their Acceleration Program, with even more projects planned in 2021. Announced in 2019, the Acceleration Program’s goal is to support—via cash infusions to certified entrepreneurial institutes—100 startups a year across the country.  

To apply for broader project-based funding, applicants must collaborate with other members of the cluster to create a proposal that meets Scale AI’s objectives. This cluster is also developing training initiatives: Scale AI and partner organizations across Canada offer individual skill development, as well as custom training programs for businesses 

According to their 2019-2020 annual report, 75% of their investments so far have gone to SMEs (small and medium enterprises), and 73% of investments were made in Quebec.  

Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster  

This supercluster, also known as NGen, leverages the innovative capabilities and talent pool found in Southern Ontario and Quebec. Machine learning, robotics, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing technologies, along with even more applications of advanced manufacturing capabilities, are all relevant to this cluster.   

NGen’s goal is to “leverage Canada’s technology and industrial strengths to accelerate the development, adoption, and scale-up of world-leading capabilities in Canadian manufacturing.” (NGen) Regular project funding from this cluster usually varies between $50k to $20M depending on the nature of the demand and the need for program funds.  

During the summer of 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NGen launched the Made Smarter Strategic Supply Challenge. The goal of this call for proposals was to scale up the Canadian production capacity of health products and devices instrumental in fighting the global pandemic.  

In January of 2021, the Financial Post reported that NGen awarded over $27M to a number of projects. This does not include any co-investments, which bring the total funding amount invested in this call for proposals to over $60M. (Financial Post)   

Digital Technology Supercluster  

Based in British Columbia, this cluster aims “to solve the world’s biggest problems by developing, deploying and scaling Canadian made digital technologies in ways never seen before”. (Digital Technology Supercluster) Like the other superclusters, they support companies across Canada. Members of the cluster are found in 9 provinces, with 40% being located outside of BC.  

The wide-ranging possibilities offered by data science and digital technologies are reflected in the diversity of industries – health sciences, cybersecurity, agrifood and more – targeted by this supercluster. 

Their Capacity Building program is focused on helping Canadians expand their skills and opportunities. It is divided into 2 kinds of projects: strategic initiatives and exploratory projects. Funding recipients for the strategic initiatives will obtain between $2M and $4M, whereas the exploratory project can access between $50K and $500K.  

They also offer a Technology Leadership program, dedicated to using data science to address important, global issues such as the accessibility of health services, climate change and more. The program will co-invest up to $30M in 5 to 7 projects in each targeted field.  

Protein Industries Canada Supercluster  

The Plant Protein Supercluster’s headquarters are in Alberta. This innovation cluster seeks to develop new plant-based protein alternatives and strengthen Canada’s agri-food economy, leveraging Western Canada’s agricultural strengths. As of the publication of their 2020 annual report, an estimated 569 jobs had been created by 17 funded projects.  

Protein Industries Canada offers two main funding programs to member organizations: The Capacity Building Program and the Technology Program. The first is focused on cross-industry initiatives to create long-term benefits for the agricultural and food processing sector. This is done through collaborative projects aiming to train a more skilled workforce, increase intellectual property literacy, improvements in infrastructure and more. The Technology Program creates partnerships to create new and innovative plant protein products that will develop Canada’s value-added food processing potential.  

In response to COVID-19, Protein Industries Canada made changes to their technology program. Until March 31st, 2021, projects could see eligible salaries funded at 75% – as opposed to the usual 50% – and applicants could receive advances on their funding.   

Ocean Supercluster  

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, based in Atlantic Canada, has the mandate to leverage Canada’s uniquely vast and resource rich ocean economy potential. To do so, this supercluster collaborates with several industries, from aquaculture and transportation to offshore energy, national defense, ocean resources, and more 

Their Ocean Startup Project aims to double the number of ocean technology startups operating in Atlantic Canada. The program is in partnership with notable accelerators like Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) and Innovacorp. Bootcamps, innovation competitions and dedicated accelerator programs are being created to meet this goal. Like other superclusters, they also have a Technology Leadership program to fund collaborative projects with total costs ranging from $500k to $20M.   

Their most recent call for proposals, the Ocean Supercluster Resilience (OSCR) program, took place in February 2021. A response to the massive disruptions caused by the global pandemic, this program accepted EOIs for projects able to increase the ocean economy’s resilience by addressing supply chain efficiency, sustainability issues and more. Projects will see up to 50% of their eligible costs covered, and selected applicants should be announced shortly.   

Have questions about these Superclusters, or think your company is a good fit for any of their funding programsDon’t hesitate to reach out to our team 

 

Financial Aid for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

R&D Partners is compiling a list of financial aid and other measures created or amended to help businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19.

We will continue to update this list as the situation progresses, so please check back regularly. 

Table of Contents

Federal

Provincial

General

Municipal

 

Federal

Grants, Subsidies, & Loans


Government of Canada: Temporary Wage Subsidy (10%)

This program is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers (individuals, NPOs, charities and/or CCPCs eligible for the small business deduction) to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The subsidy is calculated when employers remit federal, provincial, or territorial income tax to the CRA. Payroll remitance of these amounts can then be reduced to obtain the subsidy, up to a maximum of 10% of the remuneration paid and $25,000 per employer.


Government of Canada: Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy initially provided a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15th, 2020.

The Government of Canada’s Fall 2020 Economic Statement, published on November 30th, proposed to increase the maximum subsidy rate back to its original 75%. It had previously been reduced to 65%. The subsidy is expected to be in place until March 2021.


BDC: Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) Guarantee

This new loan guarantee is intended for businesses that were greatly affected by COVID-19 and the lockdown measures. To be eligible, businesses need to have benefited from the CEWS or CERS by showing a 50% revenue decline for at least three months (consecutive or not) in the eight-months preceding their HASCAP Guarantee application. If they were not eligible for CEWS or CERS, businesses could still qualify for HASCAP if they can still show a 50% year-over-year revenue decrease for three months.

BDC will guarantee 100% of a new term loan, with actual amounts ranging from $25,000 to $1 million.

Applications must be submitted to the business’ primary financial institution.


EDC: EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (BCAP Program)

Canadian small and medium-sized businesses from all sectors that were financially viable and generating revenue prior to the COVID-19 outbreak can access credit and cash flow terms loans backed by EDC and co-lending arrangements with BDC. Financial institutions will be able to issue credit and cash flow terms loans of up to $6.25 million to existing clients. These loans will be guaranteed at 80% by the EDC.

This money is to be used for operational expenses, not for dividend payouts, shareholder loans, bonuses, stock buyback, option issuance, increases to executive compensation or repayment/refinancing of other debt.


BDC: Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises (BCAP Program)

This program provides term loans for operational and liquidity needs of businesses, which could include interest payments on existing debt. The program is designed in three segments to better support different business sizes:

  • Loans of up to $312,500 to businesses with revenues of less than $1 million.
  • Up to $3.125 million for businesses with revenues between $1 million and $50 million.
  • Up to $6.25 million for businesses with revenues in excess of $50 million.

Loans will be interest-only for the first 12 months, with a 10-year repayment period.


Government of Canada: Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) (BCAP Program)

This program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to help cover small businesses’ operating costs while their revenues are reduced because of COVID-19. Loans that are repaid on or before December 31st, 2022 will receive a loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). To be eligible, businesses must demonstrate they paid $20,000 to $1.5M in total payroll in 2019.

A new loan of up to $20,000 is being made available in addition to the original CEBA loan. $10,000 of this new loan is also forgivable if the remaining amount is repaid on or before December 31st, 2022.

Applicants should contact their financial institutions in order to begin the application process.


The Government of Canada: Farm Credit Canada

The Government of Canada will support Farm Credit Canada by providing $5 billion in additional lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses and food processors. This is meant to address farmers’ cashflow issues as well as help processors absorb the cost of lost sales.


BDC: Special COVID-19 Initiatives

BDC is offering new relief measures for qualified businesses, including:

  • Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible repayment terms such as principal postponements for qualifying businesses
  • Small business loans of up to $100,000 for businesses that are generating revenue and have been in operation for at least 24 months
  • Postponement of payments for up to 6 months, free of charge, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less
  • Reduced rates on new eligible loans

BDC: Mid-Market Financing

In order to better support medium-sized companies, BDC will offer loans ranging from $12,5 to $60 million to eligible Canadian businesses. 


Government of Canada: Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

This program replaces the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA). Businesses, charities and NPOs can qualify for this program. The rent subsidy will be paid directly to tenants or property owners, eliminating the need to go through landlords to apply for the program. Subsidy amounts will be proportional to the business’s revenue drop.

Application periods have been harmonized with the CEWS, with CERS’s period one corresponding to the CEWS period 8 (September 27 to October 24, 2020).


Government of Canada: Regional Relief and Recovery Funds (RRRF)

The federal government will provide loans, some of which will be partially forgivable, to Canadian companies affected by COVID-19 for whom previous federal support was unavailable or insufficient. Details such as eligibility, funding amounts, and conditions vary from province to province. 


Government of Canada: Canada Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF)

This program is offered by different regional agencies across Canada and aims to support fish and seafood processors. Direct aquaculture and fishing enterprises are not covered by this initiative.

The delivery agencies are: 

Atlantic Canada: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Quebec: Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)


Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation (CEEFC) and Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV): Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

This program will provide loans of $60 million or above to large Canadian employers affected by COVID-19. Companies will need to demonstrate yearly revenues above $300 million, as well as significant operations in Canada, in order to justify their eligibility. The loans will be repayable at any time during the lending term without penalty.


Telefilm Canada: Short-Term Compensation Fund for Canadian Audiovisual Productions (STCF)

Film and TV productions that have been pre-approved by Telefilm can obtain a reimbursement of up to 20% of their approved, eligible production costs in the case of a filming interruption caused by COVID-19.

The following conditions must be met:

  • An Actor or Director declared on the insurance policy covering the project has to have tested positive for COVID-19 or;
  • There must be a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak on set and it must cause a production shut down.

In all cases, reasonable and systematic measures must have been taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on set, in compliance with public health measures.

The program will offer compensations to eligible productions until March 2021.

Challenges/Calls for Solutions


The Government of Canada: Calling All Suppliers – Help Combat COVID-19

The Government of Canada is calling on suppliers capable of providing disposable N95 masks, disposable surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and other products and services to combat COVID-19. If you’re able to help, you can fill out the submission form for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) products and services.

For more information, contact their info line.


NRC-IRAP/Innovative Solutions Canada: Pandemic Response Challenge Program

This program will receive $15M in funding to foster collaboration between academia and Canadian SMEs taking up R&D challenges related to COVID-19. To start, the main research areas will be: 

  • Rapid detection and diagnosis
  • Therapeutics and vaccine development 
  • Digital health

The specific R&D challenges have yet to be announced, but interested researchers and SMEs can register here to begin the team-building process.


Thales Digital Solutions: COVID-19 Rapid Response Call

Thales Digital Solutions is looking for partners to develop specific solutions to help fight COVID-19 on several fronts. Companies that manufacture and supply medical equipment, as well as healthcare organizations and more are invited to manifest their interest. 

Tax Deferrals


The Canadian Revenue Agency: Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31st, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18th, 2020 and before September 2020. This relief will 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.

Provincial

ALBERTA


Government of Alberta: Relaunch Funding

Alberta will help eligible businesses that were affected by mandatory closures–or that remained open but were severely affected,–to re-open and adapt to the new public health guidelines through a first grant of up to $5,000.

A second grant will soon be made available. This amount will be up to $15,000 per business, giving access to up to $20,000 total through the program.

The funds may be used for various expenses essential to business continuity (such as rent or salaries) as well as non-medical PPE and other equipment.


Government of Alberta: Payments and Tax Deferrals

The Government of Alberta has announced the following tax and payment deferrals, including:

  • Deferral of corporate income tax balances and installment payments from March 19 until August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts, and continue operations. 
  • Deferral of electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days for residential, farm, and small commercial customers. Call your utility provider directly to arrange the deferral.

Government of Alberta: Alberta Bits and Pieces Program

A call for products and services that can help deal with COVID-19 can manifest their interest through this form.


Government of Alberta: Site Rehabilitation Program

This program will provide grants to eligible oil and gas industry contractors to close up inactive pipelines and other oil and gas exploitation sites. Projects submitted to this program could see 100% of their eligible costs covered.

There will be multiple application periods, each catering to specific types of projects, sites, and costs. 


Canada Agricultural Partnership: Agriculture Training Support

Eligible Alberta farms and agribusinesses could benefit from a grant of up to $2,000 per eligible new employee (up to $50,000 per employer) to cover various training costs or the purchase of PPE or other materials and equipment related to public health measures. 

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA


Creative BC: Amplify BC

Amplify BC is adapting many of its programs to the new COVID-19 reality in order to better support British-Columbia’s musical artists, production companies, concert venues, and event organizers.

 

MANITOBA


Government of Manitoba: B2B Manitoba

This online platform aims to connect non-medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers with businesses who may need PPE to open and operate safely.


Government of Manitoba: Manitoba Bridge Grant

The Manitoba Bridge Grant has begun issuing second payments to eligible businesses that submitted applications between November 16 and December 31, 2020.

NEW BRUNSWICK


Government of New Brunswick: General Measures for Businesses

  • Late penalties accumulated on business property taxes due on May 31st will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Undue financial challenges such as business closures caused by COVID-19 will be taken into account and late fees may be waived. 
  • Existing provincial loan and interest repayments could be deferred for up to six months.

Government of New Brunswick/Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs): Working Capital Loans for Small Businesses

Loans of up to $100,000 will be allocated to eligible small businesses to help them respond to challenges associated with COVID-19. Examples of eligible small businesses include restaurants, seasonal tourism operators, service sectors, and self-employed business owners impacted directly by the pandemic. These loans will be interest-free for the first 6 months. 


Government of New Brunswick: Working Capital Loans for Mid-to-Large Employers

Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB) will make support available to mid-to-large-sized employers. ONB will also provide –upon request–working capital in excess of $100,000 to help large employers manage the impacts of COVID-19 on their operations.

 

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES


Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation: Deferred Loan Payments 

From April 1st, 2020 to February 24th, 2021, clients of the Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) can apply to reduce or defer up to three months of loan payments without penalty or additional interest charges. Regular interest will still be charged. Businesses are automatically approved and not required to demonstrate financial hardship or impacts resulting from the COVID-19 crises. Businesses only need to notify their Department of Industry Tourism and Investment regional office that they wish to suspend their payments and specify the three month time period in which they need the suspension to take effect.

 

NOVA SCOTIA


Government of Nova Scotia: Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program

This 25% tax rebate is available to operators of qualified roofed tourism accommodations (like hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts…) who have incurred a 30% or more revenue loss from 1 April 2020 to 31 October 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.


Government of Nova Scotia: Small Business Impact Part 2

This program offers financial help to Halifx and Hants county that were forced to close or reduce operations under public health directives in effect from 26 November 2020. The program will offer funding amounts of up to %15 of the business’s revenue from sales for the month of April 2019 or February 2020 as selected by the applicant.

Eligible businesses include restaurant, bars, gyms and various leisure facilities, from escape rooms to board game bars and restaurants.

NUNAVUT


Nunavut Department of Economic Development and Transportation Services: Small Business Support Program – Special COVID-19 Grants

Nunavut small businesses can access short-term relief in the form of a $5,000 non-repayable contribution.

 

ONTARIO


Government of Ontario: Ontario Small Business Support Grant 

This new grant is intended for businesses ordered to shut down or severely curtail their operations by the provincial lockdown put in place on December 26th, 2020. To qualify, businesses need to demonstrate a 20% revenue loss compared to the same period in the previous year. Alternative comparison periods are accepted in the case of seasonal businesses. 

These grants from $10,000 to $20,000 are intended to offset this revenue loss and businesses may use the funds for any necessary expenses.


Government of Ontario: Main Street Relief Grant for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

This program offers a grant of up to $1,000 to help cover PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) purchase costs. Eligible businesses can have between 2 and 9 employees.


Ontario Energy Board: Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB)

This program provides a one- time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers affected by COVID-19 to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.

Businesses can apply for a $1,500 rebate.


Ontario Arts Council: Artist-Presenter Collaboration Projects

Due to COVID-19, OAC’s 2021 Touring and Market Development program is temporarily on hold and is replaced by this program. The goal is to keep developing relationships and artistic projects while touring is suspended.


Government of Ontario: Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants

Businesses that were forced to close or significantly curtail their operations due to new lockdown measures may be eligible for a grant to help cover their property tax or energy bills.


Ontario Ministry of Finance: Employer Health Tax Exemption

This tax exemption has been bonified from $490,000 to $1 million for 2020 in order to relieve some of the tax burden on eligible Ontario employers.


Government of Ontario: WSIB Deferment

$1.9 billion will go to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to allow employers to defer their payments by up to six months.


Government of Ontario: Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit

This new refundable Corporate Income Tax Credit is designed to support regions where employment growth is lagging behind the rest of Ontario. It will help eligible businesses to save up to $45,000 (10% tax credit rate) on the construction, renovation or acquisition of commercial or industrial buildings.


Ontario Ministry of Finance: Interest and Penalty Relief for Businesses

Ontario businesses who are unable to file or remit select provincial taxes on time, due to the special circumstances caused by the coronavirus (COVID‑19) in Ontario, will benefit from a five-month relief period to file or pay them. The payments remain due at the normal dates, but no late fees or interests will accumulate for five months, starting on April 1st, 2020. This relief is automatic, that is businesses that find themselves unable to meet tax deadlines do not need to contact the Ontario Ministry of Finance to notify them.


Ontario Call for Suppliers and Solutions: Emergency Products

Producers, manufacturers and suppliers are invited to fill out this form if they have any supplies which can be used to fight COVID-19.


Government of Ontario: Innovative Solutions

Suppliers and innovators are invited to submit proposals to help address the spread and impact of COVID-19. Businesses that can support virtual mental health services, supply chain monitoring, or financial advice for small businesses are invited to submit their proposals.


Ontario Centers of Excellence: COVID-19 Collaboration Platform

OCE is looking to match collaborators with access to assets, technologies or products which could be instrumental in fighting the  COVID-19 virus. 

Application here


ENCQOR: Call for projets – Resilience to Pandemics

This technological challenge calls on Quebec and Ontario SMEs to develop innovative 5G solutions to help Canada become more resilient when facing situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A wide variety of economic sectors could benefit from the proposed solution, from the health sector to manufacturing, transportation and more.


Digital Main Street: Digital Transformation Grant

This program aims to help Ontario businesses to implement technological strategies and tools to facilitate their digital transformation and increase their online presence.

 

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND


Finance PEI: Emergency Working Capital Financing

This new loan program will help qualifying companies maintain normal business operations during these difficult times. Eligible applicants can apply to receive a working capital loan of up to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4% per annum to be used to assist with fixed operating costs.

To be eligible, a business must:

  • be located, operating, and generating revenue in the Province of PEI
  • be registered to conduct business within the Province of PEI
  • have a satisfactory credit rating and no defaulted outstanding debt obligation on file in the Province’s Central Default Registry

Finance PEI: Fisheries Emergency Loan 

These loans of up to $25,000 are intended for eligible fisheries or aquaculture businesses operating in PEI. Borrowers will benefit from deferred interest payments for a maximum of 18 months.

 

QUEBEC


Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec (CDPQ): Support for Québec Businesses

Loans of $5 million or more to Quebec companies that can demonstrate that they were profitable before the start of the COVID-19 crisis and have a promising growth outlook in their sector. Companies from all sectors and sizes may apply.


Investissement Québec: Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE)

This measure is designed to shore-up Quebec businesses’ working capital in response to temporary difficulties they may be experiencing as a result of COVID-19. To be eligible for funding, they must demonstrate that:

  • their financial structure offers realistic prospects for profitability outside of these extraordinary circumstances. Financing can also take the form of a loan from Investissement Québec, but guarantees will be the preferred funding method.
  • their cash flow issues are temporary and that the liquidity shortage stems from:
    • A problem involving the supply of raw materials or products (goods or services)
    • An inability, or a substantially decreased ability, to deliver goods, products or services

Investissement Québec: Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE): Red Zone Businesses

This new stream of the PACTE is intended for businesses located in “Red zones” currently under maximum alert and targeted by government-mandated closures. Some examples of eligible industries for this special stream include:

  • Restaurants;
  • Theatres;
  • Bars;
  • Museums;
  • Spas;
  • and more.

The main difference between the original PACTE and this special stream is that 80% of the loan (up to a maximum of $15,000 for each month of closure) can be written off.


Quebec Ministry of Tourism: Regional Tourism Partnerships

This program funds projects according to three streams, two of which are reserved for COVID-19 struggles encountered by the tourism industry in Quebec:

  1. Stream one is intended to help tourism businesses adapt their workplaces to meet the new public health guidelines regarding COVID-19. 
  2. Stream two will focus on collective projects that will help tourism-sector SMEs to adapt to the new COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. 

Businesses must contact their regional tourism associations in order to access the application form and obtain more details about the program. Funding amounts will depend on the specifics of each project.


Investissement Québec: PACTE Tourism Industry Stream 

The new stream of the Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses offers the same loan guarantees as it does to all other eligible sectors, with a few new, advantageous conditions for the tourism sector: 

  • A 24-month moratorium on reimbursement of capital;
  • A repayment term of up to 60 months after the end of the moratorium;
  • And no minimum loan amount

Quebec Ministry of Tourism / Investissement Québec: Support for the Development of Tourism Attractions – Component 2: Hotel Renovation Fund 

This new stream of the “PADAT” will provide term loans to eligible hotels for the purposes of facilitating major renovations in order to boost the tourism sector in Quebec after COVID-19. Loan amounts will range from $100,000 to $5 million and cover up to 80% of eligible expenses. All costs directly related to the approved construction or renovation activities could be deemed eligible, including equipment and furniture expenses, among others.


SODEC: Temporary Support for Film and TV Production

The SODEC is offering this new program to help the film and TV production recover from the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Two streams were available, the first offering general support to production activities and the second one emergency grants meant to offset the cost of interrupting a production because a member of the cast or one of the directors received a positive COVID-19 diagnostic. The second stream has now been terminated, but general support remains available. 


SODEC: Temporary Working Capital Support

Exceptional support for SODEC-supported sectors. These new support measures include a new line of credit, a new loan guarantee and a new term loan.


Government of Quebec: Emergency Support for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

As short-term support, Quebec government will offer loans or loan guarantees of up to $50,000 to Quebec SMEs.

Eligible businesses include:

  • Those in all sectors that are otherwise viable
  • Those significantly impacted by COVID-19
  • Those that have cash flow issues directly related to the impacts of the pandemic

Government of Quebec: Emergency Support for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses: Support for Businesses in a Red Alert Zone

This new stream of this emergency support program is intended for businesses located in “Red zones” and affected by government-mandated closures.
This stream offers the possibility to forgive up to 80% of the loan (up to a maximum of $15,000 per month of closure).


Financière agricole du Québec (FADQ): Loan guarantee

FADQ financing clients experiencing temporary cash flow issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic can now access loan guarantees for loans of up to $50,000. 


Quebec Ministry of Tourism: Tourism Industry Support

The Quebec government has announced several measures that will benefit the tourism industry, hard hit by COVID-19. A total of $750 million is expected to be spent across various programs and measures.


ENCQOR: Call for projets – Resilience to Pandemics

This technological challenge calls on Quebec and Ontario SMEs to develop innovative 5G solutions to help Canada become more resilient when facing situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A wide variety of economic sectors could benefit from the proposed solution, from the health sector to manufacturing, transportation and more.


La Piscine and SODEC: SURF

La Piscine is partnering with SODEC to offer support to the businesses and non-profits of the cultural industry. Group coaching sessions will help participants address their particular challenges related to the pandemic.

The program is entirely offered online.

 

YUKON


Government of Yukon: Increase to Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund

The Department of Tourism and Culture has announced a one-time, $1 million increase to the Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund (TCMF) in the interest of helping support more businesses in the summer when the pandemic subsides. Where the fund previously covered 50% of marketing costs it will now cover 100%. It will also be extended to cover initiatives targeting people already in the Yukon.


Government of Yukon: Paid Sick Leave Rebate for Employers

This program will reimburse employers who pay their employees to take sick days and self-isolate. The rebate will cover a maximum of 10 days of wages per employee, up to $378.13 per day per employee. This program can also support self-employed workers who lose income due to taking sick leave.

Provincial – General

MANITOBA


Government of Manitoba: General Economic Measures

Until October 1st 2020: 

  • Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas, Workers Compensation Board and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) will not charge interest or penalties. 
  • Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas will not disconnect any customers. 
  • MPI will relax ordinary practices on policy renewals and collections. 
  • Interest will not be charged on education property taxes.
  • Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will not charge restaurants receivables.

 

NOVA SCOTIA


Government of Nova Scotia: COVID-19 Economic Budget

Small and medium-sized businesses in Nova Scotia will receive $161 million to help them weather the economic storm caused by COVID-19.

 

ONTARIO


Ontario Ministry of Finance: Economic Support in Response to COVID-19

The government of Ontario has pledged $17 billion to fight COVID-19. Of this amount, $200 million will provide emergency support for individuals experiencing financial difficulties, and to municipalities and other services so they can quickly respond to local needs. How this amount will be divided and administered has yet to be disclosed. 

A $1.5B increase in electricity cost relief will make electricity bills more affordable for eligible residential, farm, and small business consumers. In addition, the Province is also setting electricity prices for time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days, to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID‑19 outbreak.

Other measures (with no clear guidelines to date) include:

  • $200M for research institutions, industry, and nonprofit scientific partners to develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and related diseases.
  • $100M in skills training for workers affected by the outbreak.

 

Municipal

MONTREAL


Municipal Government of Montreal: Business Support Hotline

Montreal is offering a hotline for small business owners looking for general information about assistance programs as well as answers to questions about support measures offered by the city. The hotline is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

To decrease wait times on calls, business owners are encouraged to ask their questions via a short online questionnaire. They will receive an answer from a city economic development advisor within four hours, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Fill out the form (French).

Or call: 514 394-1793


PME MTL: Automatic, Interest-Free Moratorium

The PME MTL network is partnering with the Fonds de solidarité FTQ to offer an automatic, six-month moratorium on capital and interest to private and social economy businesses that have received a loan through the PME MTL fund, Fonds Locaux de Solidarité, and Fonds de commercialisation des innovations. This measure is effective as of March 19th, 2020.

Clients of PME MTL can contact their advisor for more information.


PME MTL:  Recovery Fund for LaSalle Businesses

This $200,000 fund is meant to ensure socio-economic vitality on LaSalle’s commercial arteries and to maintain commercial diversity despite the impact of COVID-19. Targeted sectors are those particularly affected by the pandemic such as retail, food services and personal services. 

 

EDMONTON


City of Edmonton: Edmonton Economic Recovery Grants: Phase 1

Phase 1 of the Edmonton Economic Recovery Grants will be delivered as micro grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Businesses may use these funds to purchase equipment and services needed to adapt their business to the new public health measures and allow them to resume their activities more quickly. Eligible businesses can come from any sector of activity, but must demonstrate that they have experienced significant financial hardship as a result of the pandemic and the related public health closures, restrictions, and measures. 

Businesses can apply every Monday of the intake period, which will end in December 2020.

Phase 2 funding will begin rolling out in 2021 and will address more long-term recovery and development goals. It is important to note that businesses that receive funding under Phase 1 will not be eligible for Phase 2 funding.


For general information about COVID-19, visit the Government of Canada.

Stay home and stay healthy!

 

 

 

COVID-19 Funding and SRED: Best Practices for Canadian Companies

Over the past few months, we’ve seen various levels of government create many new funding programs for Canadian companies that were hit hard by COVID-19 or the necessary lockdown measures. This has affected nearly every industry, from the biggest industrial manufacturers to our favourite local restaurants and independent coffee shops. However, receiving this funding is not the end of the journey. For many innovative Canadian firms, getting ready to file a SRED claim for 2020, the influx of government subsidies and other supports brings confusion about how these funding programs interact with the SRED claim.

As a general rule, any government funding that a company receives and that goes towards their R&D expenditures must be deducted from the amount they include in their SRED claims. This is to avoid what is commonly called “double-dipping”, which happens when the same expenses are covered by two or more different sources of government aid. Moreover, stacking rules as specified by each funding program must also be adhered to. As your company prepares its SRED claims, forgetting to deduct non-repayable COVID-19 pandemic support from your SRED-eligible expenses could end up costing you time and money, especially if an audit is conducted. Below, you will find important information about two of the most important Federal Government coronavirus relief programs and how they may interact with your SRED claims:

1. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

This wage subsidy has already seen a few different iterations in its short existence. This corner stone of the federal COVID-19 support strategy has distributed over $60 billion to Canadian companies to date and will continue to approve applications until at least June 2021.

You may have accessed the full 75% wage subsidy in its early months, and then, depending on your industry and how much it was affected by COVID-19, seen your subsidy rate go up or down with the introduction of the base and top-up subsidies system that allowed some businesses to cover up to 85% of their eligible salaries.

When it comes to R&D expenditures, the principle of how to treat the CEWS funds remains the same, regardless of the claim month and exactly which proportion of your employees’ salaries was subsidized. However, individual calculations will vary greatly. You will need to keep a few key things in mind:

  • You only need to deduct the amounts of the wage subsidy that apply to employees that are actively engaged in research and development activities; and
  • You only need to deduct the amounts of the wage subsidy that are proportionate to the amount of time your employee actually spent on research and development activities in a given month.

Here is a practical example: Let’s consider a company that has 10 employees and benefited from a 75% wage subsidy from CEWS in April 2020. Each employee’s salary amounts to $1,000 a month, bringing the total CEWS amount the company benefited from for April to $7,500.

10×(0.75×$1,000)=$7,500

However, that month, only three employees spent time on research and development activities the company can include in their SRED claim. Therefore, only $2,250 would need to be deducted from eligible SRED expenses at most, and that is if all three employees spent 100% of their time on eligible R&D activities that month.

3×(0.75×$1,000)=$2,250

Say two of these three R&D employees spent 50% of their time that month on eligible activities, with the last spending 75% of their time on eligible SRED work. For our first two, you would only need to deduct $375 each, and for our last eligible employee $562.5.

50%×(0.75×$1,000)=$375

75%×(0.75×$1,000)=$562.50

(2×$375)+$562.50=$1,312.50

In total, you would have to deduct a total of $1,312.5 from April expenses from your total SRED claim to account for the monies received from CEWS that month and avoid any double dipping. Repeat this process for every month you received CEWS and conducted eligible R&D. This will give you the total amount you need to deduct from your claim for the financial year. Do not forget that your CEWS rate will vary from month to month and make sure to adapt your calculations accordingly.

(2×$375)+$562.5=$1,312.50

2. Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

This program was initially introduced as a $40,000 interest-free loan with the possibility of up to $10,000 of that loan amount being forgiven if the remainder is repaid by December 31, 2022. On December 4, 2020, the total loan amount was increased to $60,000, with now $20,000 eligible for complete loan forgiveness.

While it is officially a government loan administered by various local financial institutions across Canada, the potentially non-repayable portion of CEBA should generally be treated like a grant at this time for tax accounting and purposes (this can be reversed if the loan is not repaid on time and the grant portion is thus lost). This grant portion is a form of government funding that should be deducted in the year it is expected to be received and could impact other government funding. The R&D tax credit expenditures are reduced by government aid that is associated with R&D activities and this may include both grants and loans with “noncommercial” terms, as long as the government aid is directly associated with these R&D expenditures.

The important element to keep in mind with respect to interaction of financial aid and the SRED tax credit program is that any government or non-government aid your business benefited from that is directly associated with the SRED expenditures must be taken into account. Complex and often competing stacking rules for each program must be considered as well. This includes the programs mentioned above and the many other COVID-19 and other government incentives, even if we did not specifically mention them in this short overview.

How R&D Partners can help:

If you have any questions about SRED or COVID-19-related government funding, or if you are considering submitting a SRED claim, do not hesitate to contact me, Mike Lee, at R&D Partners:

1-800-500-7733, 110

[email protected]

Determining SR&ED Eligibility by Industry and Project Type

Introduction:

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ibis World predicted that, over the next five years, the engineering services industry in Canada would begin to grow once more, having contracted following a drop in the price of crude oil in 2015. The field of biotechnology was similarly expected to expand. Though government assistance programs will help offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unlikely that either industry will meet their original projections. Nevertheless, programs like SRED still exist to support activities within these industries, provided businesses know how to claim them.

Resources that describe general SR&ED eligibility criteria are abundant, but it is more difficult to find information related to specific industries or project types. For example, if you are in the aerospace industry and qualification testing takes up most of your fiscal period, how eligible is this activity? In this simple guide, we break down some key concepts and questions that may help you discern between eligible and non-eligible activities in certain industries.

 

Aerospace:

Often, the recipe for R&D and technology uncertainty in the aerospace industry comes from the fact that the field is stringent, regulated, and competitive . Technological objectives are constantly changing and becoming increasingly challenging to meet. Further, these objectives are often competing (e.g., reduced costs with increased performance) and demand experimental development to determine whether or not they can be met.

If your project is fairly mature and undergoing various rounds of certification testing, determining eligibility can be trickier. However, it is also worth noting that uncertainties can often be rooted in the sensitive nature of engineered goods and services being directly utilized by humans with serious safety implications. In the aerospace industry, durability and safety are typically expressed and certified under the following terms: 1) airworthiness (flight has been certified to be operative in air with passengers) and 2) flight availability (expressed as the probability of a fault occurring every flight hour, which must meet federal standards). As such, if there are uncertainties related to flight performance and safety that have yet to be understood and resolved, SR&ED continues, and related project activities could be eligible.

If you are able to answer “yes” to any of the following questions about your project, then related activities could be SR&ED eligible:

– Are there remaining tests required to prove the flight availability of your newly developed aerospace component (e.g., engine control software) in several flight and environmental scenarios?

– Is there still technological uncertainty that requires experimentation to determine whether objectives defined at the outset can be achieved?

– Are you still learning about interactions between control laws and flight performance in various flight maneuvers and environmental scenarios?

In addition to these scenarios, unexpected failures may arise during any stage of development and certification, necessitating further experimental investigation and SR&ED eligible activities.

Electrical Engineering, Electronics, & Control Systems:

Many widely-known theoretical tools have been established to explain and model phenomena in the areas of electronics, control systems, and electrical engineering . However, novel application of these theoretical tools in various devices and contexts may uncover complexities that necessitate experimental development, as modeling tools alone cannot accurately predict outcomes. What’s more, certain modeling efforts may be too computationally intensive, implying large costs and extensive development times. From these limitations, an opportunity for SR&ED occasionally arises as newer algorithms and modeling methodologies are developed, or as assumptions are made that must be experimentally evaluated. When developing new material systems and structures for semiconductor devices, antennas, and flexible transmission lines, for example, and subjecting these to uncommon signal frequencies and extreme environmental conditions, characterization activities that attempt to fill in gaps in the available knowledgebase could be eligible.

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below, you could recover some of your R&D costs through funding programs like SR&ED.

– Are you developing new tools and algorithms to model otherwise complex and computationally exhaustive phenomena?

– Are you attempting to advance the state-of-the-art in microwave theory, signal processing, or non-linear control theory?

– Are you exploring new materials, processes, and leveraging quantum and electromagnetic theories to build next-generation semiconductor devices?

– Have you presented the theoretical basis to your current development at an IEEE conference?

– Does your project also add new knowledge to the fields of sensing, physics, chemistry, or signal processing?

 

Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences:

Drug development and medical device development can be an expensive, multi-year process, but the good news is that many of these costs can be offset by several government-backed funding programs in Canada. From a SR&ED point of view, research and development in the life science sector is eligible on many fronts, compared to other technological sectors. For example, it is often clear what the established state-of-the-art is due to a vast collection of up-to-date publications concerning syntheses and clinical trials, the systematic, scientific approach demanded by SR&ED, and the uncertainty at different stages of development related to the efficacy, safety, and performance of chemical compounds and devices that interact with the human body. Given this, if you answer “yes” to the following questions, you’re likely eligible for SRED:

– Are you developing chemical compounds that interact with the human body?

– Are you dealing with scalability issues in large-scale synthesis?

– Are you building in vivo medical devices?

 

AI/Machine Learning:

Growth in the AI/Machine Learning industry has been rapid and widespread over the past few years. Accordingly, research institutions and industries alike that leverage AI/Machine Learning continue to be rewarded with lucrative funding opportunities. Naturally, the competition for securing these funds is also growing, and the bar continues to rise, especially where SR&ED eligibility is concerned. Nonetheless, if you are advancing the field of AI/Machine Learning or utilizing it to supplement your products or processes, we identified a few questions below that may help you better understand how eligible your AI/Machine Learning based project may be. If you answer “yes” to any or all of these questions, your projects are likely eligible:

– Would some of your work be potentially publishable in top-tier conferences in machine learning or directly advances a specific machine learning topic from a published resource?

– Are you dealing with strict performance requirements that, for example, encourage you to develop scalable and untested models and algorithms that can work with less data?

– Would your AI efforts and advancements impact another field of science like biology, chemistry, or agriculture?

 

Manufacturing:

Though SRED eligibility may be less common where traditional manufacturing is concerned, opportunities could arise when significant improvements to a product or existing process are sought, especially if artificial intelligence or advanced 3D printing can be leveraged.

If you answer “yes” to any or all of these questions, your manufacturing projects may be eligible:

– Are you attempting to increase production efficiency or adhere to more strict environmental regulations by applying technologies or materials that would not be conventionally used for your application?

– Additionally, does this require extensive experimental iterations?

– Are you adding new knowledge to other fields of science and technology, for example, processing advanced thermoplastics?

 

Conclusion:

It is important to examine both the experimental tasks and industry in which they are being undertaken to evaluate the eligibility and risk of a potential SR&ED project. Certain industries lend themselves well to SRED claims, while others are less obvious and more problematic. Having said that, we have successfully claimed SRED in some of the most unlikely industries, and there are a number of elements that can be incorporated into the process of filing a claim that will increase its chance of success. Please reach out to us if we can help you navigate the eligibility of a potential claim and ensure that all the possible steps are taken to maximize it and reduce the related risk.

 

Financial Aid for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

R&D Partners is compiling a list of financial aid and other measures created or amended to help workers and businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19.

We will continue to update this list as the situation progresses, so please check back regularly. 

Table of Contents

Federal

Provincial

Municipal

 

Federal


Government of Canada: Employment Insurance Updates

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine. 

Canadians in quarantine because of COVID-19 may benefit from the following amendments and additions to the existing employment insurance policy:

  • Waiving of the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for new claimants so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
  • A new dedicated toll-free phone number to support inquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period
  • Priority processing of applications concerning EI sickness benefits for claimants under quarantine
  • No medical certificate needed for people claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine
  • Backdating of EI claims for those who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine

Regular eligibility criteria (such as the 600 insured hours of work completed in the 52 weeks before the start of claim) still apply.

Eligible parties should contact one of the following numbers to have their sickness benefits waiting period waived:

  • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

Government of Canada: Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

This new benefit replaces CERB along with two new benefits (the CRSB and the CRCB) as of October 2020. The CRB is intended for workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and who still require income support. The benefit will provide $500 per week ($450 after taxes withheld) for a maximum of 26 weeks. Many of the conditions of new benefit are similar to the ones that applied to CERB:

Having earned at least $5,000 in 2019, in 2020, or in the 12 months preceding the first application for this benefit and;
Being out of work due to COVID-19 or seeing one’s employment income reduced by at least 50%.
It is not possible to benefit from CRB and any of the following programs in the same program week:

  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB);
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB);
  • Short-term disability benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or;
  • Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits.

Government of Canada: Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

This benefit will provide $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) a week for up to two weeks for workers who cannot work because they are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 if they don’t already receive paid sick leave from their employer. Other conditions similar to those of the CRB also apply, most notably the requirement to have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020 or in the 12 months preceding the first application to the program. An individual cannot benefit from the CRSB and any of the following programs for the same week:

  • CERB
  • EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB);
  • Canada Recovery Benefit;
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit;
  • Short-term disability benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • EI benefits or;
  • Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits.

Government of Canada: Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

This benefit will provide $500 ($450 after taxes withheld)  per week, for up to 26 weeks, to eligible workers who cannot work because they must provide care to children or family members due to the closure of schools, day cares or care facilities. Only one person per household may claim the benefit in a given week. To be eligible, the caregiver’s work hours must have been reduced by at least 50% due to having to stay home to take care of a child or other dependent. Applicants need to have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020 or in the 12 months preceding the first application to the program to be eligible.

Claiming the CRCB for a given week is not allowed if the applicant is already benefiting from any of the following programs or benefits for the same week:

  • Paid leave from an employer;
  • CERB;
  • EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB);
  • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB);
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB);
  • Short-term disability benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • EI benefits or;
  • Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits.

Government of Canada: Work Sharing Program

The Government of Canada’s Work Sharing program, which aims to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer, has implemented temporary special measures to combat the impacts of COVID-19, including:

  • extending the Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks
  • waving the mandatory waiting period between agreements
  • easing the recovery plan requirements
  • expanding the eligibility to include businesses that have been in operation for only one year rather than two.
  • eliminating the need to provide sales and production figures

In order to be eligible, employees must be:

  •  year-round, permanent, full-time, or part-time employees that are needed to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business
  • eligible for EI benefits
  • willing to reduce their normal working hours by the same percentage as other employees and to share the available work with other employees

Revenu Québec: Incentive Program To Retain Essential Workers (IPREW)

Workers will receive $100 for eligible work fees that occur between March 15th, 2020 and the following sixteen weeks. To receive this assistance for any given week, applicants must not have received funding from CERB or the Temporary Aid for Workers Program for that same week. However, workers whose employers receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy are still eligible.


Fast Grants: Fast Funding for COVID-19 Science

Grants of between $10k and $500k to help academic researchers speed the completion of projects that could be used to combat COVID-19. Applicants must be:

  • A PI at an academic institution;
  • Already working on a project that could help with the COVID-19 pandemic within the next six months;
  • In need of additional funding to complete the project.

Application here


Government of Canada: Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ)

Companies that have been approved for Canada Summer Jobs 2020 will be able to benefit from the following modifications to the program to better deal with the new realities brought on by COVID-19. 

  • All funded employers will be:
    • eligible to receive a wage subsidy reimbursement of up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for their interns. CSJ normally only covers up to 50% of the intern’s wages;
    • able to offer part-time placements (less than 30 hours a week) and/or the usual full-time 6 weeks placements; 
    • And allowed to extend job placements until February 28th, 2021. 

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses (CECRA)

This program aims to reduce the rent of small businesses that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 by 75% for April, May, and June. Forgivable loans will be provided to commercial building owners whose small commercial tenants, paying less than $50,000 per month in rent, have ceased operations or have seen their revenue reduced by 70% compared to before the pandemic.

Federal and provincial governments will provide a loan of a total of up to 50% of the tenant’s rent to the property owner. The loan will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for April, May, and June under a rent forgiveness agreement. The agreement must include a moratorium on evictions for its duration. The property owner would then assume 25% of their tenant’s rent, and the small business tenant would cover the rest, up to 25% of their rent.

 

 

 

Provincial

ALBERTA

Government of Alberta: Emergency Isolation Support

The government is offering a one-time payment of $1,146 to working Albertans who:

  • must self-isolate because of COVID-19  (whether they are sick, ordered to self-isolate, or are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is in self-isolation)
  • have experienced a total or significant loss of income as a result of this isolation
  • do not have access to another source of pay during their isolation while they wait for federal measures to become available in April

Apply here.


Government of Alberta: Job-Protected Leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code will allow full and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:

  • required to self-isolate
  • caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate

To be eligible, employees:

  • will not be required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days

So far, there is no word on whether financial aid will be offered in tandem with this new measure.


Government of Alberta: Vacation Pay, Leave, or Banked Overtime

Employees may consider using their regularly available leaves should they be required to self-isolate; however, employers are not required to grant the request. Provincial employment rules only require employers to provide vacation pay, vacation leave, or banked overtime within a year of it being earned.

Employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime, but cannot force them to do so under provincial employment rules.


ATB Financial: Bank and Credit Union Measures

ATB Financial is allowing customers to apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months as well as access additional working capital. 

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA


Government of British Columbia: Changes to Employment Standards Act

The B.C. government will make changes to the Employment Standards Act to protect workers and prevent layoffs; however, no details have been announced so far. 


Government of British Columbia: B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers

This program is aimed at B.C. residents, whether they are EI and/or CERB eligible, who have lost income because of COVID-19. The program will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment to eligible recipients while they wait for other forms of more regular support. 

You can apply online starting May 1st, 2020.


Government of British Columbia: Climate Action Tax Credit

The government of B.C. is enhancing the July payment of the provincial climate action tax credit for moderate to low-income families. 

  • Adults will receive up to $218.00 (increased from $43.50)
  • Children will receive $64.00 (increased from $12.75)

BC Housing: Supporting renters, landlords during COVID-19

Housing BC has introduced a number of measures to support renters and landlords. General measures include: 

  • Landlords may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason at this time. In extreme cases, when health and safety have to be ensured or undue damage to the property prevented, landlords can still apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.
  • Existing eviction orders will also not be enforced at this time, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. 
  • Annual rent increases will be frozen for the duration of the state of emergency. 

BC Housing: Temporary Rent Supplement

The new rental supplement will help households that do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs by offering them up to $500 a month to go towards their rent. The funds will be paid directly to landlords on behalf of the household to ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic.

To be eligible, a household must:

  1. Have a 2019 gross household income of less than:
    • $74,150 for singles and couples without dependents
    • $113,040 for households with dependents
  2. As a result of COVID-19:
    • Be receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance; or
    • Be receiving or eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit offered by the federal government; or
    • Have experienced, and be able to provide evidence of, a drop of 25% or more in monthly household employment income
  3. Be paying more than 30% of current household income towards rent

The application is two stepped, and must be started by the tenant. Apply here.


Government of British Columbia: Student Loan Payment Deferral

B.C. Student loan payments are frozen for 6 months starting on March 30th, 2020. 


Government of British Columbia: Deferred Tax Payments 

All the following taxes’ filing and payment deadlines are being deferred until September 30th, 2020: 

  • Employer Health Tax
  • Sales taxes
    • Provincial sales tax (including municipal and regional district tax)
    • Carbon tax
    • Motor fuel tax
    • Tobacco tax

What’s more, the carbon tax increase announced in the provincial 2020 budget is being delayed until further notice, and School Tax Rates for Businesses are being reduced by 50% for the 2020 tax year.


BC Hydro: COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program

This program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. They can call the following number to contact BC Hydro’s customer team: 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376).


BC Hydro: Customer Crisis Fund 

Customers facing temporary financial hardship and possible disconnection of their service due to job loss, illness, or loss of a family member may be eligible for grants of up to $600 to pay their bills.


Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada: Call for prototypes to help combat COVID-19

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is looking for prototypes falling within a technology readiness level (TRL) of 7 to 9 that can help combat current and future outbreaks of COVID-19 and other similar threats. 

Innovative solutions can fall under one of two categories:

  • Medical innovations that will directly support doctors, researchers, and healthcare workers in their efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Non-medical innovations that will assist Government of Canada departments and agencies, including through their partnerships with provinces, territories and municipalities, in addressing the challenges and impacts posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies in the future.

 

NEW BRUNSWICK


Government of New Brunswick: Income Support for Workers

New Brunswick is investing $4.5 million to support workers who have lost their job due to COVID-19. This benefit is intended to help workers until the CERB and other federal measures are available. 


Government of New Brunswick: Job Protection for Workers

Workers will be able to take up to 15 weeks of upaid leave if they have COVID-19 or are caring for someone with the virus.

 

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR


Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: Urgent Legislative Sitting Supports Social and Economic Well-Being of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians 

Measures include: 

  • Providing employees with protections from losing their job if they must take time away from work as a result of COVID-19. 
  • Ensuring tenants of rental properties cannot be evicted if they have lost income resulting from COVID-19 and are not able to pay rent.
  • Extending interim supply to September 30th, 2020, in the event that the House of Assembly is disrupted until June 2020. This ensures that existing government services such as health care can continue.
  • Introducing $200 million in contingency funding to address the impacts of COVID-19 and reduced oil prices.
  • Providing long-term borrowing authority of $2 billion. This will allow for ongoing government operations, as well as the ability to respond to current revenue volatility.
  • Authorizing the temporary variation of deadlines and time periods for activities such as annual reports and audit reviews.
  • Changing the Hydro Corporation Act, 2007 to authorize additional borrowing capacity to protect against a potential reduction in revenues as a result of COVID-19.

 

NOVA SCOTIA


Government of Nova Scotia: Income Assistance

Every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50, starting Friday, March 20th, 2020. No application necessary. 


Government of Nova Scotia: Suspension of Student Loan Payments

Nova Scotia student loan payments are suspended until September 30th, 2020. There is no need to apply, and no interests will accumulate for non-payment during this period.


Government of Nova Scotia: Worker Emergency Bridge Fund

The Worker Emergency Bridge Fund will help self-employed and laid-off workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance. The government will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment, to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the Federal Government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

 

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES


Northwest Territories Government: Emergency Allowance for Income Assistance Recipients 

Income assistance recipients will receive $500 if they are a single recipient and $1000 if they are a household of two or more so that they can prepare for 14 days of isolation in the event that they contract COVID-19 or have symptoms.

 

ONTARIO


Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development: Employment Standards Amendment Act

In light of COVID-19, employees will be able to take a leave of absence without pay, starting on the prescribed date, if the employee will not be performing the duties of his or her position because of various reasons related to a designated infectious disease, including:

  • that the employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment
  • that the employee is in quarantine or isolation
  • that the employee is providing care or support to another individual
  • or that the employee is affected by travel restrictions

Government of Ontario: Employment Protection

Employees in isolation or quarantine, or employees that need to be away for childcare, will be able to take job-protected leave.

 

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND


Government of PEI: Employee Gift Card Program

This temporary program is a joint initiative between the PEI Government and Sobeys to provide PEI workers who have been laid off between March 13th, 2020 and March 31st, 2020 with emergency relief while they wait for Employment Insurance. This relief will be provided in the form of $100 gift cards, which can be used at Sobeys, Lawtons Drugs, Foodland and participating Co-Ops. Employers must apply on behalf of their employees.


Government of PEI: Emergency Income Relief for the Self-Employed

The Emergency Income Relief Fund is a temporary program put in place to support self-employed workers who have been significantly affected by COVID-19. 

To be eligible, self-employed individuals must:

  • Have declared business income on their most recent tax return.
  • Business income must be their primary source of income.
  • Be able to demonstrate direct financial losses resulting from the COVID -19 isolation measures at the time of application.
  • Not be EI eligible or receiving any other income support (ie. Business Interruption Insurance).

Applicants can receive a maximum of $500 per week for the period of March 16th, 2020 to March 29th, 2020 (this period will be reviewed as required).

 

QUEBEC


Government of Quebec: Concerted Actions Program for the Maintenance in Employment (PACME–COVID-19)

This program offers financial support to companies affected by COVID-19 to train their employees and adapt their human resources operations to the current crisis. The training could be related to ensuring a faster return to full operations when the crisis ends, improving employees’ technological competences in order to better manage operations during the crisis, or any other training relevant to the companies’ regular or adapted activities.


Tax Deadline Extended

The deadline for filing the personal income tax return has been extended to June 1st, 2020. Both individuals and businesses will have until August 31, 2020, to pay their income tax due for the 2019 taxation year.

 

Saskatchewan


Government of Saskatchewan: Job Protected Leave

Saskatchewan is amending its employment act to ensure that employees can access unpaid public health emergency leave. The amendments include:

  • The removal of the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment with an employer prior to accessing sick leave; and
  • The removal of the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate.

Government of Saskatchewan: Self-Isolation Support Program

This program will provide eligible workers who are forced to self-isolate and thus lose their employment income with $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks. 

To be eligible, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • They have contracted COVID-19 or are showing symptoms; or
  • They have been in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19; or
  • They have recently returned from international travel and have been required to self-isolate

AND

  • They are not eligible for compensation including sick leave, vacation leave from their employer;
  • They do not have private insurance covering such disruptions;
  • They are not covered by other programs such as federal employment insurance (which has been updated)

Government of Saskatchewan: Student Loan Repayment Moratorium

Student loan payments have been suspended for 6 months.

 

YUKON


Government of Yukon: Paid Sick Leave Rebate for Employers

The Paid Sick Leave Rebate supports Yukon workers and self-employed people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, offering them financial support if they become sick or are required to self-isolate and don’t have paid sick leave. This program will reimburse employers who pay their employees to take sick days and self-isolate, up to a maximum of 10 days of wages per employee, and up to $378.13 per day per employee.


Government of Yukon: Paid Sick Leave for the Self-Employed 

The Paid Sick Leave Rebate supports Yukon workers and self-employed people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rebate allows Yukon workers without paid sick leave to stay at home if they become sick or are required to self-isolate while still meeting their basic financial needs. Self-employed Yukoners can be covered for a maximum of 10 days of documented average daily earnings to allow for a 14-day self-isolation period. The maximum daily rebate will be $378.13 per day.

 

 

Provincial – General

MANITOBA


Government of Manitoba: General Economic Measures

Until October 1st 2020: 

  • Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas, Workers Compensation Board and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) will not charge interest or penalties. 
  • Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas will not disconnect any customers. 
  • MPI will relax ordinary practices on policy renewals and collections. 
  • Interest will not be charged on education property taxes.
  • Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will not charge restaurants receivables.

ONTARIO


Ontario Ministry of Finance: Economic Support in Response to COVID-19

The government of Ontario has pledged $17 billion to fight COVID-19. Of this amount, $200 million will provide emergency support for individuals experiencing financial difficulties, and to municipalities and other services so they can quickly respond to local needs. How this amount will be divided and administered has yet to be disclosed. 

A $1.5B increase in electricity cost relief will make electricity bills more affordable for eligible residential, farm, and small business consumers. In addition, the Province is also setting electricity prices for time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days, to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID‑19 outbreak.

Other measures (with no clear guidelines to date) include:

  • $200M for research institutions, industry, and nonprofit scientific partners to develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and related diseases.
  • $100M in skills training for workers affected by the outbreak.

 

 

Municipal – For Workers

MONTREAL


Montréal inc.: Support for Montreal Entrepreneurs – COVID-19

Montreal inc., in collaboration with Bonjour Startup Montréal, has created a support initiative reuniting a group of coaches ready to offer crisis management support to businesses of all sectors affected by COVID-19.


PME MTL/Fonds Locaux de Solidarité/Fonds de commercialisation des innovations: Automatic moratorium on capital and interest 

The PME MTL network is offering an automatic, six-month moratorium on capital and interest to private and social economy businesses who have received a loan through the PME MTL fund, Fonds Locaux de Solidarité, and Fonds de commercialisation des innovations.

The city will pay the portion of interest during this period.


Ville de Montréal: Second installment of municipal taxes postponed

  • The deadline for the second instalment of owners’ annual property taxes is now July 2, 2020. 
  •  The deadlines for other invoices, such as SDCs contributions, remain unchanged.

 

TORONTO


Municipal Government of Toronto: Grace Period for Property Taxes & Utility Bills

Property owners can expect the following extensions, depending on their plan: 

  •  For property owners on the regular three-installment payment plan, the April 1st property tax installment due date will be extended to June 1st, 2020.
  • For property owners on the 11-installment pre-authorized payment plan, Interim 2020 installment due dates will be extended by 60 days.
  • Late payment penalties (applied on the first day following the installment due date where payment in full is not received) will be waived for 60 days, starting March 16th, 2020.
  • utility bill deadlines–usually due within 21 days after the billing date–will be extended by an additional 60 days.

Interim 2020 bills with the regular installment due dates have already been mailed. The City will therefore use other means (such as their website, social media, other advertising) to identify this grace period to property owners. Property tax accounts will be adjusted as necessary to reflect these relief measures. Automatic withdrawals scheduled for the next 60 days (starting on March 16) have also been suspended, and customers will be advised of their re-scheduling.


Municipal Government of Toronto: Contingency Fund

The City of Toronto has announced the creation of a “substantial contingency fund to support businesses and affected groups”, however, the details of this fund are still pending.

 

Municipal – General

TORONTO


Municipal Government of Toronto: Economic Support & Recovery Task Force

Toronto has assembled a task force to create immediate and longer-term economic recovery strategies for residents and businesses, with a focus on supporting those industries most impacted by COVID-19, such as tourism, hospitality, and entertainment.

No new federal or provincial programs have been announced to date.


For general information about COVID-19, visit the Government of Canada.

Stay home and stay healthy!

MONTREAL