Weekly Digest – 8 April 2020
The word “uncertain” has been thrown around a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic – and that’s because almost everything around it has been. We hope you’re going well and managing to get some time away from your business during these crazy times. Here’s a recap of what you should know, plus some tentative updates on CEWS (75% wage subsidy).
Government support for businesses
The Government has announced a number of measures aimed at avoiding layoffs, improving access to credit, supporting financial stability, and increasing flexibility with taxes. The government’s official website has a more detailed roundup of these measures. It’s good to remember, as Finance Minister Morneau said, the government is implementing programs in a matter of weeks, that would usually take years to develop, so it may not be perfect from the start.
There are still a lot of questions around the finer details of programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), so please get in touch with us if you have any concerns.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
Some more details:
- Funds for this program will not be available for at least 6 weeks.
- It will be retroactive to March 15th 2020.
- The federal subsidy will pay 75% of employee wages for up to 3 months up to a maximum of $847 per week per employee.
- The 75% subsidy is based on what is actually paid to the employee.
To qualify you must:
- Be a business, charity or not-for-profit.
- Be experiencing a 30% revenue reduction resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Show you are doing everything you can to pay the 25% top up.
- Apply through the online portal which will be set up in the coming weeks.
- Reapply each month.
There has been some very recent indication that there may be some flexibility around the measurement of the 30% revenue reduction. Indications are that you may have a choice between comparing current revenue (March/April/May 2020) against the same period last year, OR against January/February 2020. In addition, it is possible that the 30% revenue reduction qualifier may be dropped to 15% for the month of March only. These changes were announced by PM Trudeau today, but of course it is all “proposed” until legislation is actually passed.
More details can be found here.
Until the subsidy is received, businesses may want to use the line of credit offered through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), but please feel free to chat to us first.
What next? You may want to set up a CRA My Account, but be mindful the website has been overloaded recently.
New info on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
If you have stopped working because of Coronavirus, the CERB may offer you some temporary income support. This provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. Applications for this program are open now.
Some finer details:
- Payment of $2000 per month, paid monthly
- Starting April 6th 2020
- Payment to be received in 3 business days for direct deposit
- This will be taxable income.
To qualify for CERB, there are some criteria:
- Have stopped working because of COVID-19
- Earned $5000 in income in 2019 or 12 month period prior to application
- Be at least 15 years old
There are answers to frequently asked questions about CERB on the official website.
Worried about cashflow?
If you’re worried about your cashflow, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We will do all we can to help you implement cash management processes and forecasting techniques to help. There are also some finance options available to you as well. Facilities may be provided quite quickly, so just ask if you need some help and we’ll work out what’s best for you. Remember, we are in this together.
Are you using Zoom for conference calls or online meetings? You’ll want to be sure to read this notification from Zoom about security settings, and consider requiring a password from participants. Without a password, anyone with the meeting ID can join. Because of this loophole, many meetings have been “Zoom bombed” by uninvited participants who post inappropriate images or disrupt meetings with annoying sounds. We use Zoom extensively, and have for a couple of years. We have always used the “waiting room” function, and we can say that we have never had a case of Zoom bombing.
Time for some good news
This week’s good news story comes out of the US where a college student – Ashley Lawrence – has been sewing face masks for those with hearing impairments who rely on lip-reading. These masks have plastic windows over the wearer’s mouth so they can still communicate.
Ashley is sewing and shipping these masks to dozens of hospitals for free, backed by a GoFundMe campaign. The campaign has since been deactivated as she reached her funding goal in 2 days.
What are your good news stories from the week?
All the best
We sincerely hope that you and your family are well and remain well. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are all in this together!
Also, let’s remember and support our health-care workers, and the many, many others on whom we depend for our daily needs. They are shouldering stress, risk, and anxiety the same as all of us, and are performing critical tasks at the same time. Our government needs our prayers as well. They are trying to do their best in a stressful, fast-moving situation, and while we love to criticize them for their short-comings, they are doing an admirable job in continuing to serve us.