While convenience stores across the country are still open for business, that doesn’t mean business isn’t hurting.
In turn, the federal government is implementing a number of measures that will help c-stores and related businesses improve their cash flow and survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers or suppliers who have experienced a 30% drop in business should qualify.
- $73-billion federal wage subsidy program. The Liberals are hoping the 75% wage subsidy will prompt companies to retain and rehire the more than six million Canadian workers who have asked for emergency federal aid. Online applications will open April 27 and officials expect to have processed 90% of claims by May 4, with payments coming to applicants later that week.
- The Canadian Emergency Business Account provide up to $40,000 in government-guaranteed loans to businesses that had payrolls in 2019 of between $20,000 and $1.5 million. It previously offered loans to business with a narrower range of payrolls ($50,000 and $1 million), but lobbying helped rectify this. The loans are interest-free until Dec. 31, 2022 and if they’re paid off by then, up to 25% will be forgiven. So if you borrow $40,000, you pay back only $30,000.
- The Commercial Rent Relief Program is for businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and have temporarily ceased operations or experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. Forgivable loans will be offered to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of monthly rent payable by eligible small business tenants in April, May and June. The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three corresponding months and not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The program will be available mid-May and will be retroactive. The small business tenant is expected to cover the remaining 25% of the rent.
FAQ about the 75% wage subsidy to eligible small businesses:
Who is eligible?
• Businesses (regardless of the number of employees)
• Individual employers
• Not for profit organizations
How do I calculate a 30% reduction in revenue?
You will have to compare your revenue for the month you wish to receive the subsidy with your revenue for the same month last year and show a 30% decrease.
As the subsidy is for salaries paid since March 15, the three claiming periods are the following:
• March 15 to April 11: compare March 2020 over March 2019
• April 12 to May 9: compare April 2020 over April 2019
• May 10 to June 6: compare May 2020 over May 2019
For employers established after February 2019, eligibility would be determined by comparing monthly revenues to a reasonable benchmark.
What is the eligible period?
For salaries paid between March 15 and June 6.
How much can I receive?
For employees hired before March 15, the subsidy will cover the lesser of:
• 75% of the pre-crisis weekly remuneration paid (up to $847 per week); or
• Current weekly remuneration paid (up to $847 per week).
For new employees (hired after March 15), it will cover 75% of the current remuneration paid (up to $847 per week).
Do I have to pay the remaining 25%?
All employers would be expected to at least make their best efforts to top up salaries to 100%.
How can I apply?
Businesses will be able to apply through the CRA’s My Business Account portal, as well as a web-based application. Businesses will have to apply every month.