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Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates

 

Ward & Uptigrove is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation and its implications to our staff and clients. As new relevant details become available, we will update this page and encourage you to check back frequently. 

 

For a full list of measures, visit Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and Ontario's Action Plan.

 

For information on Tax Deadlines & Payments, see our Summary of Extensions.

 


Corporate Measures

 

Ontario recommends that businesses prepare to reopen by reviewing new public health measures and safety guidelines during COVID-19 and making recommended changes ahead of time.  Our HR Health & Safety specialists created a COVID-19 Re-Opening Worksheet to help businesses.  

 

May 20 Update

 

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA)  

Applications will be open through Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation beginning May 25. 

 

To be eligible for a loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75%. The Federal and Ontario government would provide a forgivable loan to cover 50% of the total 75% reduction in the rent paid by the tenant. The remaining 25% of the rent reduction would be rent waived by the landlord.

 

A signed rent forgiveness agreement that also includes a moratorium on evictions for three months must be in place between impacted tenants and landlords. Samples are provided on the CMHC web page. 

 

This program applies to commercial properties with small business tenants.  Commercial properties with a residential component, and residential mixed-use properties with a 30% commercial component, would also be eligible for support with respect to their commercial tenants.

 

An eligible small business tenant is one that:

Not-for-profit organizations and charitable entities would also be considered for the program.

 

May 19 Update

 

The Canada Emergency Business Account eligibility is expanded to include many owner-operated small businesses.  CEBA allows banks and credit unions to provide their business clients' interest free loans of up to $40,000 for non-deferrable operating expenses.  The loans will be guaranteed by the Government of Canada and 25% of the loan amount will be forgivable (up to $10,000) if 75% is repaid before December 31, 2022.  Eligibility includes 

  1. Small businesses who have a 2019 payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million
  2. Applicants that have payroll of less than $20,000, including sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors or family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll, and have:

May 14 Update

 

Ontario announced some retailers, seasonal businesses, health and community service providers will be allowed to open or expand operations if they can meet workplace safety measures as a part of A Framework for Reopening our Province: Phase 2: Restart - Stage 1.  

The list of essential businesses has been updated, as well as Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces were provided.

 

The Federal government announced the Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund which provides $100-million through Farm Credit Canada to help companies in times of need with flexible financing solutions, such as convertible debt. Applications up to $10 million will be considered if a company can demonstrate an impact from an unexpected business disruption.

 

May 13 Update

 

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered by FedDev Ontario in Southern Ontario, for small and medium businesses that have applied to existing measures for which they are eligible and been declined, including 

The interest free loans for Canadian or provincially incorporated businesses with up to 499 full-time equivalent employees that have had business revenues affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

May 5 Update

 

A national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to assist producers who have seen additional costs incurred related to COVID-19. Among other things, the program includes set-asides for cattle and hog producers due to the effect of temporary closures of food processing plants. 
 

April 17 Update

 

Community Futures Network provided an additional $287 million to support rural businesses and communities, including through access to capital.

 

Veterinarian - April 6 

 

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association webinar: Navigating the Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis

 

April 3 Update

 

The Ontario Government extends non essential businesses closures for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves.  Any businesses no longer considered essential must close Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.  Businesses may continue operations with employees working remotely.  Businesses with questions may call Ontario's toll-free line 1-888-444-3659.

 

March 27 Update

March 25 Update

 

The Ontario Government announced 

March 23 Update


Human Resources Solutions

 

Our HR Solutions team has detailed Employer Frequently Asked Questions, which includes information on obligations and absences surrounding COVID-19.

 

May 19 Update


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)  program has been extended until August.  Applications are open through CRA My Business Account or Represent a Client.

 

The subsidy for most employees on eligible remuneration paid between March 15 and August 29, 2020 would be the greater of:

Baseline remuneration will be the average weekly remuneration paid to the employee between January 1 and March 15, excluding any seven-day periods in respect of which the employee received no remuneration (so if an employee was hired on February 1, the lack of any remuneration in January would not reduce their pre-crisis remuneration). 
 
In general, the CEWS works out to be:

CRA has provided a calculator to help employers estimate their benefit.  
Tax Templates has provided a calculator that also incorporates the reduction for when the 10% subsidy has been already claimed and the rebate of employer CPP and EI for staff not employed.
 
Some other details:

If employees are able to return to an employer’s payroll through CEWS and they had previously applied for and/or received CERB, there will be a repayment process to ensure payment for both benefits in the same period is not received. 
 

March 18 Update

 

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy provides employers 10% of wages paid from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020 up to $1,375 per employee and $25,000 total. Employers will access the subsidy through their remittances for source deductions. Eligible businesses must employ at least one person, be registered for payroll March 18 or before with CRA, have payroll remittance and be one of the following business types: 

  1. Canadian-controlled private corporations (CPCC) with taxable capital employed in Canada for the preceding taxation year of less than $15 million
  2. An individual (other than a trust)
  3. A partnership compromised of members who are described in 1, 2 or 5.
  4. Non-profit organizations
  5. Registered charities.

Tax Templates has provided a calculator to help employers estimate their benefit.

 

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits: For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children


Personal Measures

 

June 4 Update 

 

Seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) will receive a one-time payment of $300, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).  Allowance recipients will also receive $500.  These tax free payments will be received during the week of July 6.  

 

May 13 Update

 

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) for post secondary students and new graduates who are not eligible for CERB and are looking for, but unable to find, work or unable to make more than $1,000 before taxes over the four-week period for which they are applying.  It is available from May to August 2020, providing $1,250 per month to eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.  Applications  can be made through CRA My Account.

 

April 15 Update

 

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a taxable benefit that provides $500 per week, paid in $2,000 blocks, for up to 16 weeks between March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020, to  workers who 

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week period; for subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in income for the entire four-week period of your new claim.
 

There is a staggered schedule for applications based on birth month. All EI claims after March 15, 2020 will be automatically processed through CERB. 

 

April 6 Update

 

The Government of Ontario has opened applications for eligible parents to receive a one-time payment of $200 per child aged 0 to 12 or $250 per child with special needs aged 0 to 21.  If families previously registered for the Support for Parents during strike days, they do not need to register again.

 


Wealth Management

 

March 18 Update

 

Minimum RRIF Withdrawals: The required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) will be reduced by 25% for 2020. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.


Firm Communications

 

April 16, 2020 - Navigating the Financial Implications of COVID-19

This recorded webinar uses a case study approach for common small business scenarios to demonstrate how the most recent measures can be applied.  The presentation can also be downloaded here.

 
April 13, 2020 - Canada’s COVID-19 Financial Relief Plan Newsletter

A consolidated summary of support for businesses, individuals and other changes in their most current state of affairs as of April 11, 2020.

 

Ward and Uptigrove Logo

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates

 

Ward & Uptigrove is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation and its implications to our staff and clients. As new relevant details become available, we will update this page and encourage you to check back frequently. 

 

For a full list of measures, visit Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and Ontario's Action Plan.

 

For information on Tax Deadlines & Payments, see our Summary of Extensions.

 


Corporate Measures

 

Ontario recommends that businesses prepare to reopen by reviewing new public health measures and safety guidelines during COVID-19 and making recommended changes ahead of time.  Our HR Health & Safety specialists created a COVID-19 Re-Opening Worksheet to help businesses.  

 

May 20 Update

 

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA)  

Applications will be open through Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation beginning May 25. 

 

To be eligible for a loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75%. The Federal and Ontario government would provide a forgivable loan to cover 50% of the total 75% reduction in the rent paid by the tenant. The remaining 25% of the rent reduction would be rent waived by the landlord.

 

A signed rent forgiveness agreement that also includes a moratorium on evictions for three months must be in place between impacted tenants and landlords. Samples are provided on the CMHC web page. 

 

This program applies to commercial properties with small business tenants.  Commercial properties with a residential component, and residential mixed-use properties with a 30% commercial component, would also be eligible for support with respect to their commercial tenants.

 

An eligible small business tenant is one that:

  • Pays monthly rent not exceeding $50,000 in gross rent payments,
  • Generates no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, and
  • Is experiencing a decline of at least 70% in pre-COVID-19 revenues (determined by comparing revenues in April, May or June to the same month in 2019 or alternatively compared to average revenues for January and February 2020).

Not-for-profit organizations and charitable entities would also be considered for the program.

 

May 19 Update

 

The Canada Emergency Business Account eligibility is expanded to include many owner-operated small businesses.  CEBA allows banks and credit unions to provide their business clients' interest free loans of up to $40,000 for non-deferrable operating expenses.  The loans will be guaranteed by the Government of Canada and 25% of the loan amount will be forgivable (up to $10,000) if 75% is repaid before December 31, 2022.  Eligibility includes 

  1. Small businesses who have a 2019 payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million
  2. Applicants that have payroll of less than $20,000, including sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors or family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll, and have:
  • A CRA business number and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • Eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities and insurance.

May 14 Update

 

Ontario announced some retailers, seasonal businesses, health and community service providers will be allowed to open or expand operations if they can meet workplace safety measures as a part of A Framework for Reopening our Province: Phase 2: Restart - Stage 1.  

The list of essential businesses has been updated, as well as Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces were provided.

 

The Federal government announced the Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund which provides $100-million through Farm Credit Canada to help companies in times of need with flexible financing solutions, such as convertible debt. Applications up to $10 million will be considered if a company can demonstrate an impact from an unexpected business disruption.

 

May 13 Update

 

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered by FedDev Ontario in Southern Ontario, for small and medium businesses that have applied to existing measures for which they are eligible and been declined, including 

  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
  • BDC COVID-19 Working Capital Loans; as well as
  • Relevant sector specific COVID-19 programs i.e. Farm Credit Canada lending.

The interest free loans for Canadian or provincially incorporated businesses with up to 499 full-time equivalent employees that have had business revenues affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  • Option 1) up to $40,000 for fixed operating costs and 25% of the loan amount will be forgivable (up to $10,000) if 75% is repaid before December 31, 2022.  No payments are required until December 31, 2022 but payments could be made anytime between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022 after which the balance owing will be converted to a 3 year loan with a fixed payment schedule.
  • Option 2) up to a $500,000 loan with no payments required until December 31, 2022 and fixed payment schedule beginning in January 2023.

May 5 Update

 

A national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to assist producers who have seen additional costs incurred related to COVID-19. Among other things, the program includes set-asides for cattle and hog producers due to the effect of temporary closures of food processing plants. 
 

April 17 Update

 

Community Futures Network provided an additional $287 million to support rural businesses and communities, including through access to capital.

 

Veterinarian - April 6 

 

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association webinar: Navigating the Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis

 

April 3 Update

 

The Ontario Government extends non essential businesses closures for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves.  Any businesses no longer considered essential must close Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.  Businesses may continue operations with employees working remotely.  Businesses with questions may call Ontario's toll-free line 1-888-444-3659.

 

March 27 Update

  • The Business Credit Availability Program was increased. The Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada will provide $40 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support to small and medium-sized businesses.

March 25 Update

 

The Ontario Government announced 

  • The Employer Health Tax Exemption has been retroactively increased for 2020 to private-sector employers on the first $1 million of payroll.  The exemption is not available to employers with an annual payroll of over $5 million. 
  • Employers will be allowed to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments up until August 31, 2020. 
  • Proposed Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credita 10% refundable corporate income tax credit for Canadian-controlled private corporations that make qualifying capital investments between $50,000 and $500,000 in eligible regions (includes Perth, Huron, Grey and Bruce).

March 23 Update


Human Resources Solutions

 

Our HR Solutions team has detailed Employer Frequently Asked Questions, which includes information on obligations and absences surrounding COVID-19.

 

May 19 Update


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)  program has been extended until August.  Applications are open through CRA My Business Account or Represent a Client.

 

The subsidy for most employees on eligible remuneration paid between March 15 and August 29, 2020 would be the greater of:

  • 75% of remuneration paid, up to a maximum of $847 per week; and
  • the full remuneration paid, up to a maximum of $847 per week or 75% of the employee’s baseline remuneration, whichever is less.

Baseline remuneration will be the average weekly remuneration paid to the employee between January 1 and March 15, excluding any seven-day periods in respect of which the employee received no remuneration (so if an employee was hired on February 1, the lack of any remuneration in January would not reduce their pre-crisis remuneration). 
 
In general, the CEWS works out to be:

  • For employees that had baseline remuneration of $1,130 per week or more, the subsidy on the first $847 of wages paid is equal to 100%, with no subsidy paid on wages over $847.
  • For employees that had baseline remuneration of less than $1,130 per week, the subsidy on the first 75% of Baseline remuneration paid is equal to 100%.   
  • If there was no baseline remuneration (i.e. new arm’s length employee) then the subsidy is equal to 75% of any wages paid to a maximum weekly subsidy of $847.
  • For employees that are related or non-arm’s length with the employer the subsidy is further limited to 75% of the baseline remuneration.

CRA has provided a calculator to help employers estimate their benefit.  
Tax Templates has provided a calculator that also incorporates the reduction for when the 10% subsidy has been already claimed and the rebate of employer CPP and EI for staff not employed.
 
Some other details:

  • All businesses are eligible, with the exception of public sector entities.
  • Eligible business must be registered for payroll on March 15 with CRA in order to qualify.
  • For employers eligible for both CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy, the CEWS benefit should be reduced by the 10% subsidy amount in that period.  If an employer chooses to not deduct the TWS off the CEWS, CRA will require the employer to indicate the 0% election on the self-identification form under the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy program.
  • Employers would select a comparison approach and accounting method when first applying for CEWS.  These must be used for the entire duration of the program.  
    • Revenue can be measured on either the accrual basis or cash basis for the purpose of determining eligibility. The revenue excludes non-arm’s length sources and excludes extraordinary items and amounts on account of capital. 
    • Eligible periods and comparisons to which the CEWS can be claimed are:
      1. March 15 to April 11: show at least 15% decline in March 2020 revenue over a) March 2019 OR b) average of January and February 2020.
      2. April 12 to May 9: Eligible for Period 1 OR show at least 30% decline in April 2020 revenue over a) April 2019 OR b) average of January and February 2020.
      3. May 10 to June 6: Eligible for Period 2 OR show at least 30% decline in May 2020 revenue over a) May 2019 OR b) average of January and February 2020.
  • Not for profits and charities will be able to choose to include or exclude government funding in their revenue reduction test.
  • 100% refund for employer EI and CPP contributions for employee wages that are eligible for the CEWS and are not working.
  • Significant penalties and prison time for those who take advantage of the system.

If employees are able to return to an employer’s payroll through CEWS and they had previously applied for and/or received CERB, there will be a repayment process to ensure payment for both benefits in the same period is not received. 
 

March 18 Update

 

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy provides employers 10% of wages paid from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020 up to $1,375 per employee and $25,000 total. Employers will access the subsidy through their remittances for source deductions. Eligible businesses must employ at least one person, be registered for payroll March 18 or before with CRA, have payroll remittance and be one of the following business types: 

  1. Canadian-controlled private corporations (CPCC) with taxable capital employed in Canada for the preceding taxation year of less than $15 million
  2. An individual (other than a trust)
  3. A partnership compromised of members who are described in 1, 2 or 5.
  4. Non-profit organizations
  5. Registered charities.

Tax Templates has provided a calculator to help employers estimate their benefit.

 

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits: For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children

  • Effective March 15, 2020, waiving the one-week waiting period for those in imposed quarantine.
  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate.

Personal Measures

 

June 4 Update 

 

Seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) will receive a one-time payment of $300, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).  Allowance recipients will also receive $500.  These tax free payments will be received during the week of July 6.  

 

May 13 Update

 

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) for post secondary students and new graduates who are not eligible for CERB and are looking for, but unable to find, work or unable to make more than $1,000 before taxes over the four-week period for which they are applying.  It is available from May to August 2020, providing $1,250 per month to eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.  Applications  can be made through CRA My Account.

 

April 15 Update

 

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a taxable benefit that provides $500 per week, paid in $2,000 blocks, for up to 16 weeks between March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020, to  workers who 

  • Have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 beyond their control (i.e. they must not voluntarily quit) or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020,
  • Have employment or self-employment income (includes non-eligible dividends) of at least $5,000 in 2019 or the 12 months prior to application,
  • Reside in Canada and be at least 15 years old at the time of application.

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week period; for subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in income for the entire four-week period of your new claim.
 

There is a staggered schedule for applications based on birth month. All EI claims after March 15, 2020 will be automatically processed through CERB. 

 

April 6 Update

 

The Government of Ontario has opened applications for eligible parents to receive a one-time payment of $200 per child aged 0 to 12 or $250 per child with special needs aged 0 to 21.  If families previously registered for the Support for Parents during strike days, they do not need to register again.

 


Wealth Management

 

March 18 Update

 

Minimum RRIF Withdrawals: The required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) will be reduced by 25% for 2020. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.


Firm Communications

 

April 16, 2020 - Navigating the Financial Implications of COVID-19

This recorded webinar uses a case study approach for common small business scenarios to demonstrate how the most recent measures can be applied.  The presentation can also be downloaded here.

 
April 13, 2020 - Canada’s COVID-19 Financial Relief Plan Newsletter

A consolidated summary of support for businesses, individuals and other changes in their most current state of affairs as of April 11, 2020.