Covid-19 Update: Advice and Information

Over recent days, the Federal and Provincial Governments have introduced several measures as an economic response to COVID-19.  In an effort to keep you informed and provide you with key updates that may impact you, your business and employees, we have summarized the various measures and outlined how to apply for the programs below.

We strongly encourage you to contact either of us with any questions you may have regarding the various programs before applying.  We can assist you in determining which program is available to you and completing any applications.

As we noted in a previous email to you, the following programs were introduced or enhanced:

  • Temporary Wage Subsidy
  • Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefit
  • Emergency Care Benefit
  • Emergency Support Benefit

Temporary Wage Subsidy

The wage subsidy is available to eligible employers  (including Canadian Controlled Private Corporations) for wages paid from March 18 to June 20.  The wage is subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration paid to employees during that time to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.  Employers can access the subsidy by reducing the remittances paid to CRA of income tax withheld on the employee remuneration paid during that time.  We can assist you in calculating the wage subsidy for your business.  Eligible companies must be active businesses and not holding companies or investment companies

Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefit

EI Sickness Benefits are available to those unable to work because of imposed quarantine.  To be eligible, the individual must have 600 work hours in the past year.  The Federal Government has made temporary changes to the program:

  • You do not need a medical certificate to qualify.
  • The 1 week waiting period has been waived.

To apply online: www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei

Call 1-833-381-2725 for any information

Emergency Care Benefit

The emergency care benefit will provide income support to:

  • workers (including self employed) who are sick or quarantined with COVID-19 or taking care of sick family member with COVID-19 BUT do not qualify for EI Sickness Benefits
  • parents with children who require care/supervision due to school closures and cannot work regardless of whether they qualify for EI or not
  • The benefit will provide up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks

Applications will be available in April 2020 via Canada Revenue Agency and Service Canada

Those receiving this benefit will be required to attest and re-attest every 2 weeks that they meet the eligibility requirements.

Emergency Support Benefit

This benefit will be available to those workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment

Applications will be available in April 2020 via Canada Revenue Agency and Service Canada

Regular EI Benefits

For those workers laid off due to work closures, regular EI benefits are available.  Workers will need 700 work hours in the last year and an ROE from their employer.  A 1 week waiting period will continue to apply

To apply online: www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei

Call 1-800-206-7218 for any information

Other Business Measure Updates

The Federal Government and the Nova Scotia governments have made other announcements

  • Canada Revenue Agency has suspended collection activities on new debts only until further notice.  If you have made payment arrangements for other amounts owing, we recommend you contact your collections officer as soon as possible to discuss the status of your account and request a payment deferral if needed.
  • The Province of Nova Scotia has deferred payments on all government loans and payments of “small business fees”. A list of the fees will be provided at a later date.  The payment of workers compensation premiums are deferred until June 30 for any companies that pay WCB.

Other Proactive Measures on Your Part

Given the uncertainties presented by COVID-19, there are certain measures that you should immediately undertake for your business.  Please reach out to us if we can assist in any way

  1. Prepare a monthly cash flow budget until July 31.  You should identify the fixed costs you will continue to incur if your business is not operating such as rent and payroll.  By doing this, you will know whether you will need to ask your bank for a loan to help you through these challenging times.  Your bank will likely need this information.
  2. You should start tracking COVID-19 related expenses so that you can isolate the impact of these one-time costs on your business.  Your bank and other lenders will be interested in this information when reviewing your company financial statements.
  3. Contact your bank/lenders to discuss deferring loan payments if necessary or increasing line of credit loan limits to assist you with cash flow needs
  4. Contact your landlords if applicable to discuss a temporary deferral of rent payments to ease the pressure on your cash flow

While we may not be working from the office, we are still here to help you through these challenging times and will continue to provide updates as more information is available and details emerge.  Please do not hesitate to call or email us if you have any questions at all

And finally…we wanted to provide you with a document prepared by the Federal Government regarding SOCIAL DISTANCING. Be well and stay safe

John Newberry ,

Equinox Controller & Accounting Services Inc.

I am a Controller-for-hire, and in that capacity, have worked with David Bruce for over ten years serving joint clients. Additionally, David served as the volunteer finance chair for the 2009 Tall Ships Festival, one of my clients. David has been, without exception, engaged in the task at hand and has always provided practical and honest advice. I look forward to working with David for many years to come.