Federal government announces additional measures to support businesses through COVID-19

On March 27, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the next wave of measures to help businesses affected by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. While a full statement is available on the Government of Canada website, we have highlighted the items most relevant to the foodservice industry here.

Deferred GST/HST payments

Businesses, including self-employed individuals, are now allowed to defer all GST/HST payments until June, 2020, as well as customs duties owed for imports.

The official statement cites this as the equivalent of providing up to $30-billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses, in the interest of helping them continue to pay their employees and bills and ease cash-flow challenges across the country.

Increased wage subsidy

The previously announced 10% wage subsidy is being replaced by a 75% subsidy. Details on eligibility are still to be released.

Importantly, this subsidy will be available for small to medium-sized businesses for up to three months, retroactive until March 15, 2020, potentially allowing operators to rehire laid-off staff.

Canada Emergency Business Account

The newly announced Canada Emergency Business Account will provide up to $25-billion to eligible financial institutions, so that they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses so that they can pay for rent and other costs over the coming months.

Eligible businesses must have payrolls of less than $1-million. Operators should contact their regular financial institutions to apply.

These loans are guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada and will be interest-free for the first year, available through eligible financial institutions. Full loan repayment by Dec. 31, 2022, will see a 25% loan forgiveness up to $10,000.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee Program

This new program will enable up to $40-billion in lending for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash-flow requirements.

Operators interested in accessing this or other financial support through the previously announced Business Credit Availability Program should contact their current financial institution for assessment.

For further details on the new loan program, scroll down to “Quick Facts” in the Prime Minister’s statement, or this page on BDC website.

A note on applying for federal financial support

Operators should not contact the BDC to apply for financial aid. To access these loans, business owners must first contact their financial institution, which will assess their situation and deploy the financing as appropriate.

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