Government introduces legislation for new, targeted support to help businesses through pandemic
November 2, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada
The government is taking targeted action to support Canadians and Canadian businesses, non-profits and charities that continue to face uncertainty and economic challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, introduced Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), which would implement new, targeted support to help hard-hit businesses. These measures are designed to help businesses get through the second wave of the virus so they can protect jobs, continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery. As previously announced, the business supports include:
- The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which would provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. The government is proposing to allow claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ended October 24, 2020.
- The new Lockdown Support, which would provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this would mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.
- The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire their workers. The wage subsidy would remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.
Technical backgrounders will be released to provide additional details on the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, the new Lockdown Support, and the extended Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, including details on eligibility.
The programs proposed in this legislation would ensure businesses, non-profits, and charities get through this crisis, stay solvent, and keep workers on the payroll.
“Canadian businesses and workers have shown tremendous resilience in rising to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are facing a second wave of the virus and hard-hit businesses are counting on our support to get them through the winter and see them through this crisis. It is my sincere hope that Parliamentarians from all parties will work with us to ensure workers and employers get the support they need.”
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
“The only way we are going to get through this crisis is by ensuring Canadians are supported—especially our essential, hard-working small business owners across Canada. This legislation is an important next step in delivering the emergency help they need. I encourage all Parliamentarians to stand behind this effort so that Canadians can get through this and emerge stronger than ever before.”
The Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
Over 3.8 million Canadians have had their jobs supported through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, with over $45 billion paid out in subsidies as of October 25, 2020.
Small- and medium-sized businesses are strongly represented in sectors — like food services (i.e. restaurants), hospitality, tourism, and transportation — which continue to be significantly affected by the virus and the measures taken to contain it.
As of late October, the Government of Canada has approved over $2 billion in rent support, through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses. Rent assistance has helped over 138,000 small business tenants supporting 1.2 million jobs in Canada.
The new rent subsidy would pick up where the previous program left off, delivering direct, targeted, and accessible rent support to qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19 without the need to work through their landlords. It would provide a subsidy for eligible fixed property expenses, including rent and interest on commercial mortgages. The announced program parameters would apply until December 19, 2020 with future parameters in 2021 to be adapted and targeted as needed.
Media may contact:
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada
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