COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
We have been hearing how COVID-19 has affected our entrepreneurship and small business community. As always, we’re here to help. We’ve collected answers to some of the most common questions you’ve been asking about COVID-19 support here and we will update this page with the latest information as it becomes available. If you need to contact us in the meantime, you can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What financial support is available to keep my business operating?
A: Both the Federal Government and the Government of Saskatchewan have announced financial programs to assist small businesses affected by COVID-19. Although these programs have been announced, many specific details are yet to be released. Programs include:
Q: How can I prepare to apply for financial support?
A: Although government assistance for businesses has been announced, program details, including how to qualify for support, are not yet available. You can prepare to apply for support by assembling financial information for your business. Document your fixed and variable expenses as well as the financial effects COVID-19 responses have had on your revenue. You may be asked to provide these details and being specific about financial impacts will ensure your application to support programs can be reviewed as quickly as possible.
Q: Are there any alternatives to laying off employees?
A: Yes – the Federal Government has created temporary work sharing special measures for employers affected by COVID-19, extending the duration of work sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks to a total of 76 weeks. The mandatory waiting period has also been waived. You can find out more here.
Q: Where can I find out more about Employment Insurance and COVID-19?
A: Visit the Federal Government’s Employment Insurance page to apply for EI benefits. You can then apply to have the usual one-week waiting period waived by calling the government’s toll-free number at 1-833-381-2725. If you need to lay off employees, ensure they receive a record of employment as they will need this to apply.
Q: What if I don’t qualify for Employment Insurance?
A: The Government of Canada has announced the creation of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):
This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months to:
- Workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- Workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- Wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
Q: How can I reduce my business costs during this time?
A: Discuss your account with your landlord and/or service providers. Several programs allowing for payment flexibility and deferral have been announced, and where programs have not been put in place, many providers are still aware of the situation.
The Federal Government has recently announced that all taxpayers can defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after mid-March and before September 2020.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is also permitting lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that Saskatchewan businesses who are unable to remit their PST due to cash flow concerns will have relief from penalty and interest charges. Businesses that are unable to file their provincial tax return(s) by the due date may submit a request for relief from penalty and interest charges on the return(s) affected. Crown utilities are also waiving interest on late bill payments for up to six months.