Cambridge Chamber of Commerce


Recent Updates


MAY 25, 2020: Commercial Rent Assistance Registration Now Available
Landlords may now register for the CECRA program through the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation portal. CMHC asks you register according to the following schedule: 


  • Monday: Property owners who are located in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program.

  • Tuesday: Property owners who are located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program.

  • Wednesday: All other property owners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories

  • Thursday: All other property owners in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec

  • Friday: All

More information and registration.


MAY 20, 2020: More Information For Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Program Released

Today the government provided more information on the CECRA program, including eligibility, what is needed to apply and that applications will become available on May 25. Landlords looking to use the program to help their tenants mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 are encouraged to prepare for the application process prior to Monday. Learn more.


Application Process For The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) Program Now Open
This program will provide emergency funding support for large Canadian enterprises facing financial challenges in light of the economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. LEEFF will be open to large Canadian employers who (a) have a significant impact on Canada’s economy, as demonstrated by (i) having significant operations in Canada or (ii) supporting a significant workforce in Canada; (b) can generally demonstrate approximately $300 million or more in annual revenues; and (c) require a minimum loan size of about $60 million. Learn more.


AS OF MAY 19, 2020: Canada-U.S. Border Closure Extended

Today it was announced the closure of the Canada-U.S. border would be extended an additional 30 days to June 21. The conditions of the closure remain unchanged, which bans non-essential travel.


AS OF MAY 19, 2020: Expanded Eligibility For The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Today the government announced it was expanding the criteria used by businesses in calculating their CEBA eligibility. To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 need:


  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution;

  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return;

  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities and insurance.

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Learn more.


AS OF MAY 16, 2020: Additional Government Supports For Women Entrepreneurs

On May 16, the Government of Canada announced an additional $15 million in funding to the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). The money will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients to help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.


AS OF MAY 15, 2020: Today, the Finance Minister Bill Morneau today announced that the Government of Canada will extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. The CEWS was in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6. Neither the 30% drop in revenue requirement nor the allowed types of payroll used in calculations have changed. This extension will help to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to rehire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis. 


The federal government has also shared that the first set of job postings for students and recent graduates are now up on the jobbank.gc.ca website and also on the Job Bank Canada app with more jobs being posted in coming weeks. 


The Prime Minister announced $450 million in funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.25 million to help farmers better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of healthy food products for consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak.


AS OF MAY 13, 2020: Government Announces Details Of The Regional Relief And Recovery Fund

Today the government announced the details of the nearly $1 billion in funding being provided to the Regional Development Agencies ($675 million) and the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations ($287 million). SMEs may now apply for support through their local Regional Development Agency. Learn More.


AS OF MAY 11, 2020: Additional Support For Medium And Large Businesses 

The Government of Canada today announced its intention to create the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time and position them for a rapid economic recovery. 

The government also announced it will expand the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs, including loans of up to $60 million per company and guarantees of up to $80 million. Learn More.


AS OF MAY 8, 2020 Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Program To Be Extended

The Government of Canada today announced its intention to create the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time and position them for a rapid economic recovery.

The government also announced it will expand the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs, including loans of up to $60 million per company and guarantees of up to $80 million.
Today, the Government of Canada indicated the CEWS program will be extended beyond the current June 6 cut-off. No further details are available at the time of this writing; however, they are expected to be released by the government next week. We are pleased the CEWS is being extended.


Details Of Emergency Support Fund For Cultural, Heritage And Sport Organizations Announced
Today, the Government of Canada shared further details about its April 17 announcement of temporary relief measures to support the culture, heritage and sport sectors as they manage the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and plan for the future. A total of up to $500 million has been set aside to help alleviate the financial pressures of affected organizations. Learn more.


AS OF MAY 4, 2020: Canada and international partners launch the Coronavirus Global Response

The Canadian government announced today that Canada and partners from around the world have launched the “Coronavirus Global Response.” This online event aims to initially raise more than $8 billion (USD) to help researchers and innovators develop solutions to test, treat, and protect people, and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Learn more.


AS OF April 28, 2020: First Ministers Statement On Restarting The Economy

This afternoon, Canada’s First Ministers released a joint statement. It includes a set of common principles for restarting the economy and acknowledges the need for a gradual approach that prioritizes public health and allowing for differences between provinces. Read the statement.


AS OF April 24, 2020: Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Details Announced

The Government of Canada announced it has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to provide rent relief for small businesses. The program will see tenants receive a 75% reduction in their rent payments for April, May and June.

The program is for small businesses, non-profits and charities that:


  • Pay less than $50,000 per month in rent.

  • Have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop versus pre-COVID-19 revenues.


The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of the eligible rent payments. The loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% and agrees not to evict the tenant. More information.


AS OF April 22, 2020: Today, the Government of Canada announced a series of programs directed toward students and recent graduates, including the newly proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit (which still requires legislative approval). This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. This benefit would be available from May to August 2020. More Information.


AS OF April 21, 2020: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator Now Available

Ahead of the Wage Subsidy application process, which will be available in the coming days, additional details and a calculator are now available for businesses. Calculate Your Subsidy


New Resource Web Page From Finance Canada 
Finance Canada has produced a refined search tool to help businesses find the financial supports they may be eligible for, including direct financial support programs, access to credit and more. More information.


AS OF April 20, 2020: Canada – U.S. Land Border Restrictions Extended
On Saturday, April 18, it was announced that restrictions on travel across the land border between Canada and the U.S. would be extended until May 20. The current restrictions remain in place. Click here for more information.


AS OF April 16, 2020: The Government of Canada is:

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs.

  • Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.

The government will continue to monitor and respond to the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19, and take additional actions as needed to protect the health and safety of Canadians and stabilize the economy.


WHERE TO START:

Whether you are self-employed, a small business owner, or an entrepreneur – you shouldn’t have to worry about having to lose your business or your job. 


To get the help you need: 

  1. Visit our government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about supporting your employees and your business. It is constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves. 
  2. Contact your local financial institution. Since we know most small businesses have a relationship with their local financial institution already, we’ve worked with the financial sector to increase their lending capability to support you in in this challenging time. They are a good first place to start for help.
  3. Consult the Canadian Business Resilience Network and Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare you business in the days and weeks to come.

AS OF April 15, 2020: Federal Government Expands CERB Qualification Criteria

The Government of Canada announced, today, that more Canadians will now qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). In addition to those who already qualified, the CERB is expanding to include people who:


  • earn up to $1,000 per month;

  • are seasonal workers;

  • have recently had their EI run out.

The changes are retroactive to March 15.


AS OF April 1, 2020: the latest updates on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) can be found below.

To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months.


  • The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration.
  • This subsidy continues to exist.


The Federal government announced further, increased wage subsidies to any business, big or small, along with charities and not-for-profit organizations, so long as they are not publicly-funded, and meet the criteria below.


  • A 75% wage subsidy is available, up to 3 months. This subsidy will be backdated to March 15th, 2020. 

  • To qualify, gross businesses revenues must have decreased by at least 30%, this will be reviewed and verified after the fact.

  • Revenues will be compared to the respective month in from last year (2019) in March, April or May.

  • Details for businesses who do not have revenue data from last year will come soon.

  • Companies will be required to show pre-crisis income of an employee. Business will then get 75% of the wages they paid out returned to them through the CRA.

  • Companies will need to apply for the subsidy each month. 

  • This subsidy applies to any business, big or small, including the hospitality sector (bars, restaurants).

  • The number of employees in your organization won’t determine if you qualify.

  • The subsidy will cover 75% of a salary on the first $58,700 earned.

  • Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker.

  • Your business does not need to be open to receive the subsidy.

  • The remaining 25% of wages is not required to qualify for the subsidy. However, employers will need to attest that they are doing everything they can to pay the remaining 25%of people’s wages.

  • Any one who fraudulently accesses these subsidies will face serious penalties.

  • Businesses will apply through the CRA website. 

  • The portal will open shortly; the funds will be available in 6 weeks (as of April 1st)

  • Further details of how and where to access the subsidy to come


AS OF March 30, 2020: the Federal government provided further details on wage subsidies for businesses.

  • The Federal government announced increased wage subsidies for SME business and not-for-profits. The wage subsidy is increasing from 10% to 75%, for 3 months. This subsidy will be backdated to March 15th, 2020. 

  • To qualify, businesses revenues must have decreased by at least 30%, this will be reviewed and verified after the fact 

  • The number of employees in your organization won’t determine if you qualify

  • The subsidy will cover 75% of a salary on the first $58,700 earned

  • Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

  • Your business does not need to be open to receive the subsidy

  • The remaining 25% of wages is recommended, but not required to qualify to for the subsidy

  • Further details of how and where to access the subsidy to come




Canadian Chamber of Commerce


Coming Soon: Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund

MAY 25, 2020: Applications are opening Monday, June 1 for our Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund. We are offering grants to Canadian small businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a lifeline and support their resilience. These grants are possible through the generosity of Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) and will be offered as a one-time payment of $10,000 to 62 businesses across the country. Applications will be accepted from June 1 to June 12, 2020. More information


CBRN Launches National Guide For Business Reopening

MAY 20, 2020: As businesses prepare to reopen or revamp their operations amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are numerous issues and challenges to consider. This toolkit prepared by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Canadian Business Resilience Network is designed to provide guidance, or access to guidance, for business owners and senior managers responsible for re-establishing their operations while ensuring the health and safety of their staff, customers, suppliers and the general public is at the forefront.

The toolkit provides key information on government regulations, childcare availability, sourcing PPE, government financial supports and communicating to staff, customers and suppliers. The guide also includes links to a wide range of additional toolkits and resources prepared by members of the CBRN. Key sections of the guide will be regularly updated online to provide the most recent information available. Access toolkit.


RESULTS ARE IN: Major Survey On Business Conditions Amid COVID-19 Shows Economic Clock Is Ticking 

AS OF APRIL 29, 2020: The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, a joint effort between Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, provides the most detailed insight yet into the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian businesses. The survey is Canada’s first comprehensive view into how our businesses are managing as the COVID-19 shutdown continues. In all, more than 13,000 businesses participated – thank you!  Explore the findings


Five Keys To Reopening The Economy

AS OF APRIL 28, 2020: Businesses want to ramp up economic activity quickly and safely in a way that allows Canadians to get back to work while protecting employees, customers and the general public. As they implement public health measures, businesses will need time to procure personal protective equipment and change how they operate. Policymakers need to develop clear, predictable measures that are coherent domestically and aligned internationally where possible, and that minimize unintended consequences. Doing so will give Canadians the confidence to return to their workplaces and patronize businesses in their communities. Read more.


Positive Changes To Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program, Interest-Free Loans available April 9. 


AS OF APRIL 8, 2020: Today, we learned of several important changes to the wage subsidy program that will help more businesses access funding: 


  • A business will now be able to compare its revenue to the same month last year OR an average of January and February 2020. This will help new and growing firms who may not have qualified based on a comparison to the same month in 2019.

  • A business needs only to demonstrate a 15% reduction in gross revenues for March. A 30% reduction will still be required to receive the subsidy in April and May.

  • The program will now allow businesses to use either accrual or cash accounting methods.

  • Employer paid Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) and Quebec Parental Insurance Plan premiums will be reimbursed.

  • Registered charities and not-for-profit organizations are eligible employers to apply for the wage subsidy. They also have the choice of whether or not to include government funding in their revenue calculations.

  • Businesses can start applying for interest-free loans on April 9. Applications are available through local financial institutions.


While these are positive changes, the Canadian Chamber continues to focus on the importance of getting funds to businesses in days, not weeks.


New Website with COVID-19 Supports for Business Launches Monday


APRIL 3 , 2020. Our official COVID-19 website launches on Monday, April 6, in collaboration with the Government of Canada. We have partnered with our chamber network and a number of Canada’s leading business organizations, including the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. We are also grateful for the support of a number of our members, including Canada Life, Canadian Western Bank, Grant Thornton, EDC and Advertek.
 
The website will host resources for business, news and insights, progress on policy and more. You’ll receive an invitation next Monday to check out the new website – keep an eye on your inbox! 


Government Delivers What SMEs Need to Protect the Jobs in Their Businesses 


March 27, 2020.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered some welcome news for SMEs across the country. That news included the following announcements:


•    A 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to three 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.
 
•    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.
 
•    The launch of 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 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.
 
•    The launch of 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.


Helping Your Business Prepare for and Manage Through COVID-19


In today’s global world, systems are more interconnected than ever. It stands to reason then, if a pandemic strikes in one part of the world, the opportunities for it to spread are that much greater.


To help businesses prepare for and manage through a potential COVID-19 escalation in Canada, the Canadian Chamber has developed a brief guide source from a number of best practice documents and designed to assist business planning and continuity efforts. This tool includes links to the some of the most relevant and credible information, best practice tools and resources and can be found here Pandemic Preparedness Guide.


COVID-19: Top Five Things SMEs Need to Know (Blog by Perrin Betty)


The Canadian Chamber has  prepared an FAQ based on questions we have received from members on the government's measures to support business during the COVID-19 pandemic and about how we are adjusting our own operations. Please visit www.chamber.ca/resources/pandemic-preparedness




Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Canada’s response


How Canada is responding to COVID-19

For detailed information on Canada's whole-of-government actions to respond to the outbreak, refer to the Government of Canada's response to COVID-19.


Economic and financial support

To learn more about Canada’s actions to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, refer to Canada’s COVID-19


Travel advisories

The Government of Canada is continually assessing travel risks for Canadians. An official global travel advisory is in effect: Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. In addition, a pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice with travel health advice for Canadians has also been issued.

It may be increasingly difficult to travel in and out of some destinations. If you are currently in a destination with travel restrictions and your presence there is not essential, you should consider leaving by commercial means while these are still available.