This morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced further measures to support small and medium-size businesses. He said “SME’s are the backbone of our country.” The new measures were described as follows:
- The existing 10% wage subsidy for employers will be increased to 75% of wages for qualifying businesses. These subsidies can be back-dated to March 15.
- The creation of the Canada Emergency Business Account. Eligible businesses will be able to receive government guaranteed loans up to $40,000 which will be interest free for the first year. As well, if businesses meet certain conditions, up to $10,000 of the loan can be forgivable.
- The deferral of HST, GST and import tax payments until June.
Trudeau said that more details will be forthcoming, and he asked employers to “Please keep workers on your payroll or consider hiring them back.”
Yesterday the Government announced that all in-person Service Canada Centres will be closed to protect the safety of employees and their families. Employees at Service Canada sites will turn their attention to serving Canadians over the phone. In the official news release, citizens are reminded that accessing benefits is still easiest through their online portal
The Bank of Canada announced today that it is dropping its interest rate by 50 basis points to 0.25%. Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said that the rate cut is meant to cushion the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis to financial markets and to ease the cost of borrowing for struggling businesses.
More details have come out about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Financial assistance will be available to those who do not qualify for regular Employment Insurance benefits and who are unable to work or have had their pay reduced dramatically due to COVID-19. The benefit will provide up to $2000 per month over a 4 month period. The application process is expected to open in early April via online portal and this morning Justin Trudeau said that Canadians should start receiving benefits within 14 days of applying. More details can be found on the Department of Finance website.
Business & Tourism Report
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has released the results of their most recent survey. The report can help you understand what other businesses across the country are facing and will be used to inform governments on the issues existing within the business community.
Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network is suggesting business owners read the following post. While produced in the United States, there are several services included in the resource list that are applicable to Canadian businesses as well.
BDO Canada maintains a page on their website dedicated to helping businesses cope with the effects of COVID-19. Titled How Do We Adapt to COVID-19, the page contains information on topics such as tax implications, risk management and economic impact strategies.
Our Regional Tourism Operator, RTO-12/Explorers’ Edge, responding to results from their recent survey, has written an urgent plea to local municipal officials and administrators regarding the current situation. This letter is designed to update and inform these leaders regarding the need for immediate supportive measures for tourism businesses.
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) keeps a tourism focused update page on their website. They have also published the results of their first industry survey. The summary report will be used to inform decisions made by government to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on tourism.
Provide us with your business updates so we can feature them daily and get your information out to other members. Other important updates can be found on our COVID-19 Information page. Send us your information to this email address: [email protected] or call us directly at 705-789-4771.
Let Us Help
We have created a web page with resources and updates, including a survey for you to fill out about the status of your own business. Please take the time to complete our revised survey, to enable us to share your updates with fellow members and the community.
We also encourage you to provide us with insights about your current business status. Are you closed, open or do you have modified hours? Do you have changes in service or contact information you would like to share? Send us your updates to this email address: [email protected] or call us directly at 705-789-4771 and we will share your updates to the membership.
Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDA’s) are responsible for economic development and have issued an informative single-page document to help you understand their role and where you can reach out for assistance. You can contact FedNor for support for your business.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has published the following guide to assist businesses in working through the changes COVID-19 will have on your business.
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been given $10 billion to loan to small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. They have created a support webpage with links for small business loans, working capital loans and purchase order financing.
FedNor has requested that businesses fill out their FedNor COVID-19 Impact Form, which will allow them to better respond to rapidly changing needs. Please send FedNor this form and any other concerns you might have to this address.
In this time we need to work together as much as possible to enable Huntsville and Lake of Bays to weather this situation and to position ourselves as the tourism leader once we are able to re-open our businesses and services to the public. If you have questions or need help finding the appropriate resources to assist you or your business, please reach out to us at the following address: [email protected]
From all of us at the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce team we urge you to stay safe and promise to do everything in our power to assist you in this difficult time.