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I own a business in BC and I may have to lay people off because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Is there any support available?

13, 10-2020

There are a number of federal programs designed to help employers keep employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

  1. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will cover up to 75% of an employee’s salary for the weeks between March 15 and November 21, 2020. Employers of all sizes can be eligible if they saw a gross revenue loss of at least 15% in March and and 30% in April, May and June. Eligible employers who had any drop in revenue can now qualify for the wage subsidy, starting with the claim periods that began July 5. Applications are open as of April 27, 2020. 


  1. The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy is a separate program from CEWS but allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for 3 months (from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020). Maximum $1,375 per eligible employee and $25,000 per employer. 


  1. The Work Share Program helps employers and employees avoid layoffs by allowing employees to collect EI while voluntarily reducing hours and sharing the available work with other employees. To help employers keep employees on staff during COVID-19, the government has relaxed some requirements and extended the maximum length of the agreement.


  1. Temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program means employers can receive a subsidy to cover up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee, extend the end date of employment, adapt their projects, and hire employees part-time. 
  1. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April to September. 

For a complete list of government initiatives established to support businesses during this time, see HERE.The government is encouraging employers to use these programs to keep employees on the payroll or to hire back employees they have already laid off. 

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