Please note: the federal government is constantly updating their website as new information is announced. Remember to check Canada’s official coronavirus webpage and CREA’s COVID-19 online hub to stay up to date.
As the federal government continues to fine-tune support programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CREA is pleased to provide a round-up of financial help available to our members during this challenging time.
On Tuesday, July 21, the House of Commons approved the proposed redesign of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to help broaden the program’s reach. CREA has been advocating for changes to the CEWS allowing more brokerages to access the program. We welcome these much-needed changes.
For more information about the changes, consult the Department of Finance’s CEWS backgrounder. If you would like more information, or to apply for the program, visit the CEWS website or call 1-833-966-2099.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, CREA has been in ongoing discussions with government departments and agencies. We have had meaningful conversations about the unique challenges facing REALTORS® and the potentially devastating outcomes of any interruptions to their day-to-day business.
While working to secure financial support for REALTORS®, we also focused on the needs of brokerages, analyzing the measures announced by government, as well as programs implemented in other jurisdictions in order to find innovative solutions relevant to our industry. The government responded to calls for significant action with the following measures:
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)—a taxable benefit of $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
- The aforementioned Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)—a subsidy of an employee’s wages for eligible employers that was recently extended to December 19.
- The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)—provides 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.
- The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)—provides additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.
- The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)—a program lowering rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
- The Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 0.25%.
Businesses can also contact their regional development agency to find out if they are eligible for the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). The RRRF is a $1 billion fund that will mitigating the financial pressure experienced by businesses and organizations to allow them to continue their operations, including paying their employees. It will also support projects by businesses, organizations and communities to prepare now for a successful recovery.
The RRRF is implemented by the six regional development agencies. To find out if your business qualifies, please contact your regional development agency directly:
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)
- Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
- Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
- Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor)
- Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
These measures are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The government is constantly assessing the evolving situation and is likely to introduce additional measures as it deems necessary. We are monitoring the implementation of existing measures and continue to advocate on behalf of REALTORS® as new initiatives are developed.
This article is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you need professional advice you should consult a lawyer, accountant or other qualified professional.