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COVID-19 Update - Changes to Federal and Provincial Programs

On October 9, 2020, the Government of Canada announced new and extended programs aimed at helping businesses with reduced revenues and increased costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic operate through the end of 2020 and first half of 2021.


On November 10, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced new provincial programs and alterations to existing programs.


We will post another article tomorrow which will include new reporting requirements that will impact all organizations that incur payroll costs.


These new and extended measures include:


Update Regarding Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

  • More flexibility has been introduced in how the revenue drop is calculated. In some cases, this will lead to qualifying for CEWS where a business did not qualify. In other cases, this will lead to larger subsidy than would have been received without this greater flexibility.

  • The subsidy will remain at the current maximum subsidy rate of 65% for the periods of October 25, 2020 to November 21, 2020 (Period 9) and November 22, 2020 to December 19, 2020 (Period 10)

  • The 65% subsidy rate includes:

    • A maximum base subsidy rate of 40% if revenue is down >50% and

    • A maximum top-up subsidy of 25% if revenue is down >70%

  • The current wage subsidy program has been extended until June 2021. More details on the claim periods after December 19, 2020 are expected in the future.


Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

  • Replaces the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

  • Applications for this program and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Lockdown Supplement (CERSLS) cannot be made presently as the program still needs to be passed into law

  • Provides rent and mortgage support until June 2021

  • Once this program and CERSLS are passed into law you can make claims retroactive to September 27, 2020

  • Subsidy will be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners

  • Businesses, charities, and not-for-profit organizations that have experienced the required revenue shortfall would be eligible

  • Eligibility criteria and basis on which revenues are calculated are aligned with the criteria and basis for CEWS

  • The calculation for the subsidy is aligned with the calculation of CEWS, Specifically:

    • The percentage of subsidy is driven by the percentage decline in revenue

    • Any decline in revenue in comparison to the reference period makes you eligible

    • For revenue declines from 1% to 49% the subsidy percentage is the percentage of the revenue decline x 0.8

  • The CERS subsidy has a maximum subsidy rate of 65%

  • 65% subsidy rate includes:

    • A maximum base subsidy rate of 40% if revenue is down >50% and

    • A maximum top-up subsidy of 25% if revenue is down >70%

  • Eligible expenses:

    • Include commercial rent, property taxes (including school taxes and municipal taxes), property insurance, and interest on commercial mortgages (subject to limits) for a qualifying property, less any subleasing revenues

    • Are capped at $75,000 per location per qualifying period

    • Are capped at $300,000 per affiliated group per qualifying period



Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Lockdown Support

  • This program is a supplement to CERS

  • 25% subsidy rate

  • Total subsidy rate of 90% if business qualifies for the Lockdown Support and the maximum CERS subsidy

  • Provides rent and mortgage support until June 2021

  • Can make claims retroactive to September 27, 2020

  • Subsidy will be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners

  • Businesses, charities, and non-for-profit organizations that have experienced the required revenue shortfall would be eligible

  • Entities are eligible for periods where they are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issue under the laws of Canada, a province or territory

  • The public health order would qualify if it meets all of these conditions:

    • It is made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

    • Is limited in scope based on defined geographic boundaries, type of business or other activity, or risks associated with a type of location

    • Non-compliance is a federal, provincial, or territorial offence or can result in the imposition of fines or other sanctions

    • It is in effect for a period of at least a week, so that some or all of the activities of the eligible entity at, or in connection with, the qualifying property are required to completely cease

  • In order to qualify:

    • The organization must qualify for the base CERS; and

    • The public health order requires the organization to:

      • Completely shut down the location; or,

      • Cease some or all activities and it is reasonable to conclude those ceased activities were responsible for at least 25% of the revenues of the entity at that location in the appropriate pre-pandemic reference period

  • In the event that the public health order was only in effect for part of the claim period the Lockdown Support would be pro-rated for the number of days the location was affected


Manitoba Bridge Grant

  • Provides an immediate one-time payment of $5,000 to organizations directly impacted by the restrictions under the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System

  • Eligibility criteria:

    • Must be actively operating or conducting business in Manitoba immediately prior to the implementation of the public health orders as of November 9th

    • Must operate a physical location in a region to which the public health order applies

    • Operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, co-operative, non-share corporation, not-for-profit organization, or registered charity

    • Possess an active and valid business number as of November 9, 2020

    • Must have been required by Manitoba COVID-19 Prevention Orders in effect as of November 12, 2020 to fully close their premises to the public

    • Must have an email address and a valid business bank account with a Canadian financial institution

    • Being current on all taxes owing to Manitoba as of March 20, 2020 or having since rectified any arrears owing at that time

  • An entity that seeks alternative ways to provide services despite having to fully close their premises as a result of the public health orders is still qualified to apply for this grant

  • If the public health order remains in place as of January 1, 2021 a second $5,000 payment may be advanced. These payments would flow automatically to businesses that received the first payment

  • Application deadline is December 15, 2020 but this deadline may be extended by the Manitoba government at a later date


Manitoba Gap Protection Program

  • Included in the announcement for Manitoba Bridge Grant was a comment that, for those organizations that received it, the $6,000 from the Manitoba Gap Protection Program will be converted from a forgivable loan to a grant

  • We were unable to confirm the details of this comment with the Province

  • If this comment proves to be accurate:

    • This means that recipients no longer must repay the province if they receive federal COVID-19 support in excess of the $10,000 threshold

    • Organizations that did not claim federal COVID-19 support programs to avoid the claw back of this $6,000 should consider applying for those programs now

Please contact your lead partner or manager at Fort Group to discuss any of these programs further.


We are in this together!

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