Federal Government Announces New Expansions to Rent Support, Wage Subsidy, and Forgivable Loans Programs
The federal government has announced its intention to expand a number of the COVID-19 business support programs, addressing various shortcomings and limitations to the initiatives which the Burnaby Board of Trade has been advocating for.
The Burnaby Board of Trade is pleased that this announcement appears to addresses much of what the Burnaby Board of Trade and the chamber of commerce network has been calling on government to do, but we will investigate the details to ensure it delivers the support local businesses need.
The programs to be changed include the federal commercial rent support, the wage subsidy, and the $40,000 forgivable loan program.
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
Policy win: Allow businesses to access rent support without requiring landlords to applyThis new program would provide support for commercial rent support directly to tenants, which would seem to solve the problem with the previous rent support program that required landlords to make the application. This program would provide support for rent and mortgage support for businesses until June 2021.
The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020.
In addition to this, businesses shut down by a mandatory public health order would be eligible for a top-up of a further 25%.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
BBOT Policy Win: Extend the wage subsidy program past its current expiration date.The wage subsidy program is proposed to be extended until June 2021. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65% of wages paid until December 19, but the rules going forward are not clear. Given the wage subsidy program has not been utilized as much as government expected, the Burnaby Board of Trade urges businesses to explore using the wage subsidy to keep employees on staff and to help support their operations.
- Canada Emergency Business Account
BBOT Policy Win: Expand the CEBA program and the amount that is forgivable.This program offers $40,000 loans which are interest-free and partially forgivable to small businesses and non-profits. The government is proposing to extend the application date to December 31, 2020 for the initial $40,000 loan program, as well as offer a supplemental $20,000 loan program to those organizations most seriously impacted by COVID-19. This supplemental loan would be 50% forgivable ($10,000 would not need to be repaid.)
Read the full news release from the federal government here. These proposals all require passage by the House of Commons before becoming law.