A Note On COVID-19 Government Supports

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By: Jennifer Locke | May 25, 2020

It’s a beautiful time in #MyHaliburtonHighlands – the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and we are reminded daily that we are so lucky to live in a literal “God’s Country”.

June is approaching rapidly, and despite the beauty around us in our natural environment, we are still in a very serious situation with the COVID-19 crisis.

June means another month of rent, utilities, and hard costs for small businesses that have, at best, seen a significant drop in revenue, and at worst, have been closed for the past two++ months. To say that our small business owners are stressed by COVID-19 is likely the understatement of the year.

Today, the Prime Minister announced the opening of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA). This program provides forgivable loans to property owners and landlords to lower rent costs for businesses, not-for-profit organizations and charities that have been affected by COVID-19. It will be available until September 30, 2020 and provides support retroactive to April 1, covering May and June of 2020.

The Chamber encourages all property owners and landlords involved in providing commercial space in the Haliburton Highlands to take advantage of the CECRA to help ensure that our commercial spaces stay rented and that our local businesses are ready and able to operate in recovery.

The Chamber also encourages all eligible organizations and businesses to take advantage of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which will help with keeping your employees working for you, and the Canada Emergency Business Account, which has recently been expanded to provide more businesses with funding (including those that leverage dividends over payroll).

For those who are deemed ineligible for the government programs, the Federal Government has created a Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to be administered locally by the Haliburton County Development Corporation that can provide interest-free loans up to $40,000.

Lastly, the Business Resilience Service (BRS), a new program being run through the Canadian Chamber’s Canadian Business Resilience Network in collaboration with EY and with support from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and Imagine Canada, launches today. The BRS will provide options for any vulnerable small to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country.

The program, delivered to organizations free of charge, will:

  • Provide guidance on program options and eligibility
  • Rapidly direct businesses – including enterprises involving Indigenous peoples, women and diverse groups – to the most appropriate support organizations
  • Help organizations make decisions to support recovery plans
  • Provide real time insights and feedback to policymakers

Organizations can access the BRS seven days a week by calling 1-866-989-1080.

As we move forward as a community, we want to encourage everyone to stay safe, stay positive, and support our local businesses. We are #StrongerTogether.

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