IMPORTANT COVID-19 Information for Business

Effective March 17, 2020, the Prairie Sky Chamber will be working remotely and our physical office space will be closed to the public.  We felt very strongly that it was the right step to take for the well-being of our region.  In addition, all Prairie Sky Chamber events scheduled for March & April have been postponed.  Events scheduled for May or later will be determined in the coming weeks.

The work of the Prairie Sky Chamber will continue. We will continue to make sure the voice of Warman, Martensville & region business community is heard by leaders and influencers.  This is an unprecedented global crisis and our hearts are breaking for all impacted – our members and our region – we will do everything we can to help our business community and the region as a whole weather this storm.

To keep you all informed and updated on developments, below are important links.

COVID-19 Guidance and Resources 

Stay up to date on the rapidly evolving situation, and on the nature of the virus itself, by frequently checking local, provincial and national websites.

RESOURCES: 

BUSINESS RESPONSE PLAN – developed in partnership with the Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce, City of Warman and City of Martensville.

Warman Martensville Business Region COVID-19 Task Force Conference Calls -Held daily Mon-Fri @ 2pm

Please follow the link for helpful information http://www.chamber.ca/resources/pandemic-preparedness/

  • Review or create a Business Continuity Plan for your organization, ensuring it contains:
    • Process to follow if an employee becomes ill;
    • Policies around travel;
    • Policies around sick leave;
    • How to mitigate risk so essential business functions can continue; and
    • Internal and external communications plans.
  • Trade Commissioner Service: Key considerations for Canadian businesses
  • Better Business Bureau Tips on COVID-19

BUSINESS SUPPORT:

 

  • INCOME TAX FILINGS – Federal Government
    • All businesses are able to defer, until after August 31, 2020, any income tax amounts that are owed on or after March 20th and before September 2020.
    • Applies to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

 

  • CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ASSISTANCE (CEBA) – Federal Government
    • provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

 

  • GST/HST REMITTANCE – Federal Government
    • GST/HST payments can be deferred to June 2020 interest free.

 

  • CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)– Federal Government
    This taxable benefit would provide $500/week for up to 16 weeks.  APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN! Eligibility is as follows:

    • Employees must be over the age of 15 years.
    • Applicant must have earned $5000 in the previous year.
    • Workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
    • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
    • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
    • Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
    • Wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

 

  • SELF-ISOLTATION PROGRAMGovernment of Saskatchewan
    The program will provide $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks or $900.  The program is targeted at Saskatchewan residents forced to self-isolate that are not covered by recent federally announced employment insurance programs and other supports. The program is designed to ensure that all Saskatchewan residents are covered by either a federal or provincial program to ensure no one is faced with choosing to work instead of protecting their family and community from COVID-19 by self-isolating. This will mostly benefit self-employed residents of Saskatchewan.

 

  • BUSINESS CREDIT AVAILABILITY PROGRAMExport Development Canada and Business Development Bank of Canada
    • Provides $10 billion of additional funding to Canadian businesses facing economic challenges brought on by COVID-19.
    • Helps Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions gain access to credit through EDC, BDC and private sector lenders.
    • The short-term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada.
    • Note: Businesses must go to their current bank first, then that bank will refer the business to the BCAP only if the bank is not able to help them. Businesses that are already a BDC client, can contact their Account Manager for information on BCAP.

 

  • CO-LENDING PROGRAM – Federal Government – Business Development Bank of Canada
    • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) together with financial institutions will offer co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
    • Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan.
    • Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers.
    • Businesses should contact their financial institution to determine whether this program is a good fit for their needs.

 

  • WORK SHARE PROGRAMFederal Government
    • For workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers. Changes to the program are:
      • Program has extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
      • Businesses must be in operation for 1 year

 

  • TEMPORARY WAGE SUBSIDY FOR EMPLOYEES Federal Government (Updated March 27, 2020)
        • A three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
        • The subsidy will equal to 75% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employers.

 

  •  SUPPLEMENTAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT PROGRAM (SUB)Federal Government
    • Provide supplemental payments to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits during a period of unemployment due to: temporary stoppage of work, training or illness, injury or quarantine.
    • Employers use SUB plans to increase the employee’s weekly earnings during periods of unemployment.
    • Payments from registered plans are not deducted from the employee’s EI benefits.
    • Payments under a registered SUB plan are not considered as insurable earnings; therefore, EI premiums are not deducted.

 

  • CROWN UTILITY INTEREST DEFERRAL PROGRAMGovernment of Saskatchewan
    • The Government of Saskatchewan is waiving interest on late bill payments for up to six months. Interest on late bill payments will be waived for up to six months.
    • This program is available to all crown utility customers.

 

  • PST REMITTANCEGovernment of Saskatchewan
    • Businesses that are unable to file their provincial tax return(s) by the due date may submit a request for relief from penalty and interest charges on the return(s) affected.

 

  • SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS PROGRAM – Facebook
    • Offering $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries.
  • SASKATCHEWAN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BOARD (WCB)

    • Effective April 1 until June 30, 2020, the WCB will waive penalties and interest charges for late premium payments.
    • Forgiving interest and penalties for late payments on 2020 premiums applied in the month of March.
    • Prioritizing employer payroll revisions to help employers reduce their premiums.
    • Suspending payroll audits until further notice except in situations where an employer may be eligible for a refund.

 

 

  • CHANGES TO EMPLOYMENT STANDARD REGULATIONSGovernment of Saskatchewan
    In addition to changes made to the Saskatchewan Employment Act that introduced a new unpaid public health emergency leave and removed the 13-week employment requirement to access sick leave and the requirement for a doctor’s note to access sick leave, The Employment Standard Regulations have been amended to:

    • Ensure that during a public emergency, businesses will not have to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice when they lay-off staff if it is for a period of 12 weeks or less in a 16-week period.
    • If an employer lays off employees periodically for a total of more than 12 weeks in a 16-week period, the employees are considered to be terminated and are entitled to pay instead of notice as outlined in the Act. This will be calculated from the date on which the employee was laid off.

PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

Legal Advice:

  • Miller Thomson LLP (Saskatoon)
    • Michael Wright (306) 667-5609
  • The W Law Group (offices in Warman & Martensville)
    • Stephen Nicholson (306) 665-9508

Business Disaster Preparedness & Continuity Consulting

  • Q5 Consulting Inc. – offering complimentary business consulting until March 31, 2020
    • Nick Quigley (306) 291-4576
    • www.q5consulting.ca

Local Mental Health Resources:

  • The Counselling Corner
    • Wendy Kritzer (306) 270-4178
    • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce developed a brief guide source from a number of best practice documents and designed to assist business planning and continuity efforts.