COVID-19 Business Help: Waiting for answers – What to do in the meantime

What’s New?

Not a lot, really!  We are in a holding pattern, waiting for updated legislation regarded the 75% Wage Subsidy.  Nothing of substance has been defined for this program, although PM Trudeau suggested yesterday that eligibility for the subsidy would be limited to businesses that have suffered a 30% drop in revenues.  Did he mean gross revenues?  What periods will be used to determine whether a drop has occurred, and many other questions were left unanswered.  The Department of Finance is still suggesting on their webpage that further details will be out by the end of the month, which would be the end of today.  Once we know more and have had a chance to analyze what the details mean for us all, we will update you.

In the meantime…

Some of you have been asking what you can do for your employees who you have had to lay off.  While we do advise waiting for more details before taking significant action, there are a few things that you can and should do:

  • Reassure your employees that there will be financial help available.  The CERB (Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit) is one that will certainly help.
  • Encourage your employees to set up access to “My Account” at the CRA, as this is the portal that apparently will be used to apply for CERB benefits.
  • Do not issue ROEs (Records Of Employment) just yet, unless you expect a layoff to be permanent.
  • Employers – do some research on Work Sharing Agreements.  This may be a viable option for you if you still have work, but not enough to keep everyone busy.
  • At this point, full EI benefits should probably be looked at as an option of last resort.  It appears the government wants to use other “ad hoc” programs for the short term, to lessen the load on the EI system.

Hopefully we can provide additional details shortly.