Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
Small businesses will now be able to receive up to 75% in federal government funds in order to keep paying their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic – up from the previously announced 10 per cent subsidy plan.
During his daily news conference outside his residence in Ottawa on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a suite of new measures to support small business.
In addition, storefront businesses will also qualify for up to $40,000 in loans, with up to $10,000 forgiven, he said. Business owners will have until June to pay GST and HST payments while taxes on imports will also be suspended.
Trudeau said that this is the equivalent of $30 billion in loans, interest free.
To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada will:
1- Announce a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
2- 2-Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
3-Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
4-Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.
These new investments will help Canada’s financial institutions provide the credit and liquidity options that a range of Canadian businesses need immediately.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and an important source of good jobs across this country. They are facing economic hardship and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is why we are taking action now to help them get the financial help they need to protect their workers and pay their bills,” Justin Trudeau said.
“The measures that we are taking to protect Canadians and our economy from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic remind us that extraordinary times demand extraordinary actions. With the new measures we are announcing today to support businesses, we are showing once again that we will do what we must to ensure that workers and businesses are supported through the outbreak, and that our economy remains strong in the face of adversity,” Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, said.