Summary of economic supports available to those impacted by Covid-19

The various levels of government have initiated a number of economic supports in regards to the Covid pandemic. The Government of Manitoba is maintaining an excellent landing page, summarizing many of the programs offered both by themselves as well as the Government of Canada. The current status of the federal programs can be found on the Government of Canada’s website

This page is not intended to be exhaustive in scope, but to provide an overview of the various programs as they existed at the time of writing.  The situation is quite fluid, so please check back from time to time.

Support for individuals – as of August 18, 2020

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit – CERB – provides $2,000 per month for up to 24 weeks to workers that have lost their income due to Covid-19.
    • Please review the full criteria at the website above, the following is a high-level overview of the program only.
    • This applies if you have stopped, or will stop working for reasons related to Covid-19 for at least 14 days in a row.  You can’t have voluntarily quit your job or already be receiving E.I. benefits.  You can earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
    • This benefit applies even if you would not have qualified for E.I. benefits (i.e. because of length of employment, or because of self-employment).
    • You will need to re-apply for every 4-week period, to a maximum of 24 weeks. 
    • Web applications are quite simple – taking under 10 minutes.  The telephone application also takes very little time.
    • Keep in mind that income tax will not be withheld on these payments, which could result in a balance owing when filing your 2020 income tax.
    • Please note that the application is available through both Service Canada and Canada Revenue Agency. Be sure to only apply through one avenue. The CRA’s website will direct you to the correct option.
    • If you have other specific questions – review their FAQ
  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) – Provides financial support for post-secondary students, recent post-secondary graduates, and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to Covid-19. This will provide support for those that do not meet the criteria for EI or CERB (i.e. if they had less than $5,000 of earnings in 2019/prior 12 months).
    • Runs from May – August 2020
    • $1,250 per 4 week period or $2,000 if you have dependents or a disability.
    • You must have either:
      • enrolled in a post-secondary program that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
      • Completed or ended your post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later.
      • Completed or expected to graduate from Grade 12 in 2020 and have applied for a post-secondary educational program that starts before February 1, 2021.
    • Please see the above website for all other criteria.
  • EI sickness benefits – can provide up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you can not work for medical reasons.
    • Up to 55% of your earnings, to a max of $573/week
    • If you apply for a new Regular or Sickness benefit claim after March 15, 2020 you may be transferred to the CERB program.
    • The requirement for a medical certificate has been waived for sickness benefits.
    • Please review this website for more information.
  • Extension of the payment deadline for personal taxes to September 30th, 2020. Late filing penalties have also been deferred, effectively providing an extension to that date.

Support for businesses and other employers – as of August 18, 2020

See the Government of Canada’s website for a full list of federal programs.  The following are the programs most likely to impact small to medium sized businesses.

  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – CEWS – a Wage Subsidy that covers up to 75% of an employee’s wages with caps of $847 per week per employee. This applies for employers who experience a decrease in revenues compared to a reference period of either the same month in 2019, or the average of January/February 2020.  The decrease needs to be at least 15% for March and 30% for April-June. For July and later months the calculation becomes more complex, and allows for a pro-rated payment, vs. an “all or nothing” situation.  If you have employees that are not working, but are on payroll, the employer portion of CPP and EI may also be refundable.
    • The subsidy includes wages paid to both non-arm’s length employees (i.e. shareholders and family members), if they were on payroll before March 15th, and arm’s length (unrelated) employees. 
    • It may apply for employees receiving CERB, depending on the specifics of the circumstances. The intention of the program is to keep employees on payroll and ready to resume work at a moment’s notice, vs laid off and on E.I./ CERB.
    • Application for this program can be found through the above link. Please work through the process to ensure your understanding of the program. There are many important details on this program that may impact its availability to you. Be sure to review the program fully and discuss it with your accountant.
    • The amount available under the CEWS is reduced by the amount you are eligible for under the Temporary Wage Subsidy (see below). If you are eligible for the TWS, please be sure to claim it as you go to simplify application and ensure you get the expected funding as soon as possible.
    • If you have furloughed employees CEWS will cover the employer portion of CPP and EI.
    • The program is available to employers that are individuals, taxable corporations, non-profit organizations, registered charities, and partnerships of any of these.  Public bodies are excluded from this subsidy.
  • Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy available to most employers, excluding corporations not eligible for the small business deduction, for wages paid on or after March 18th.  Calculate employee deductions as you normally would.  10% of the gross payroll reduces the income tax to be remitted for the month, up to $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.  The subsidy includes wages paid to shareholder employees.
    • If you do not meet the revenue decrease requirements for the 75% subsidy, you may still qualify for this subsidy.
    • The amount you are eligible for under this subsidy reduces the amount available under the 75% subsidy.
    • If you did not reduce the source deductions you remitted to the CRA, but you were entitled to the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers, the CRA will treat you as having over-remitted your employee source deductions (so that normally you will be entitled to a refund). The CRA will require you to fill out a self-identification form, that will be published in the coming months, in order to credit your payroll program account by the amount of the subsidy.
    • This program includes non-profits and charities.
  • Extension of work-sharing programs from 38 to 76 weeks.
  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) – will provide a government guaranteed interest free loan of up to $40,000 to assist with operating costs. 
    • This will apply to most businesses that have payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million.
    • The program was expanded to allow those that had payroll under $20,000 to qualify for the program if their eligible non-deferralable expenses were between $40,000 and $1.5mil. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
    • Application deadline is August 31, 2020.
    • If the principal is repaid before December 31, 2022, 25% will be forgiven.  Reach out to your lender for more information.
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program provides forgivable loans to landlords of 50% of the monthly rent for April – July from small business tenants that have experienced at least a 70% decrease in revenues.
    • The loans are forgivable to the landlord, if the landlord agrees to reduce the small business’ rent by 75% for the term of the agreement.
    • The cost of the rent is thus shared 25% by the small business, 25% by the landlord, 25% by the provincial government and 25% by the federal government.
  • Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program
    • The program will assist Canadian employers in the farming, fish harvesting, and food production and processing sectors with some of the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on temporary foreign workers upon entering Canada.
    • The MISTFWP will provide a maximum non-repayable contribution amount of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker. Should an applicant receive assistance from a provincial or territorial government to help cover these costs, or the $1,500 exceeds their incremental costs per employee, the total contribution may be reduced.
  • Increased access to credit by providing government guarantees to FCC, BDC and EDC.  

Other items – as of May 19, 2020

The Government of Manitoba has provided some additional supports to businesses, as outlined on their website.

  • For assistance in accessing any of the Manitoba supports, contact the Manitoba Economic Support Centre at 1-888-805-7554.
  • The Manitoba Gap Protection Plan will provide small and medium-sized businesses a non-interest bearing forgivable loan of $6,000 to businesses that do not qualify under federal programs.
    • The loan is forgiven on December 31, 2020 if recipients declare at that time that they have not received any non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports greater than $6,000
    • If the business can not make the declaration at that time the loan becomes due by March 31, 2021.
    • Current application deadline is July 31, 2020.
    • Please review link for full eligibility criteria and specifics of the application process.
  • Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program
    • Potential reimbursement of $7/hour to a maximum of $5,000 per student employed for the first time by that employer between May 1 and September 4, 2020.
    • Employers can be subsidized for up to five students.
    • Eligible students are high school and post-secondary students aged 15-29 that are at arm’s length to the employer.
    • Please see link for full program details.
  • Manitoba has extended the deadline for March and April PST returns to June 22 for businesses with under $10,000 monthly remittances.  Quarterly filers that had a due date of April 20th will also be extended to June 22.
  • Interest will continue to apply on any debts to the province that existed before March 22.
  • Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas and MPI will not charge interest or penalties through October 1.
  • Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries will not be charging interest on receivables from restaurants, bars and specialty wine stores.
  • WCB will not be charging penalties & interest
  • Rent increase freeze for all residential rental increases set to take effect between April 1 – May 31.
  • Removal of PST from home and business insurance effective July 1.
  • Manitoba is creating a call centre to help businesses, non-profits and charities connect with the various programs that are available.
  • Some municipalities have deferred payments on property taxes and some utilities.