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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: April 16th, 2020, 4:00pm

Information on government grants, resources, and programs, and how to apply for them, is available here.
The Government of Canada has a support page with summaries of current programs and application portals.

Today’s vital updates:

  • The new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program will provide rent assistance for businesses during the months of April, May, and June. No further details were given, and the program will have to be established and deployed with the assistance of the provinces, the Prime Minister said.
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account, which offered loans of $40,000 to businesses through financial institutions, will have looser criteria.
    • Companies who paid between $20,000 and $1,500,000 in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible to receive a loan. The previous parameters were $50,000-$1,000,000 in payroll.
    • If the balance of the loan is repaid by 2022, $10,000 will be forgiven.
  • The eligibility requirements of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be changed as follows:
    • Claimants will be able to earn up to $1,000 month and remain eligible.
    • Seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI benefits and cannot undertake their usual seasonal work owing to COVID-19 will be eligible.
    • Workers who have exhausted their EI benefits and cannot find work owing to COVID-19 will be eligible.
  • The Government of Canada is working with the provinces to deliver a program which will temporarily top up the salaries of essential workers making less than $2,500 a month. Details are not yet available, but the backgrounder specifically mentions people working “front-line in hospitals and nursing homes, those ensuring the integrity of the food supply, or providing essential retail services to Canadians.”
  • The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario released its March report. Ontario employment declined by a record 403,000 jobs (or -5.3 per cent) in March, more than four times greater than the previous largest monthly job loss. Ontario’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 per cent in March from 5.5 per cent in February, the largest monthly increase in the jobless rate on record. The report warned that significant additional losses were expected in April.

If you are showing symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days. Call a public health authority. Do not visit any healthcare provider in person before calling.  

It is important that everyone practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Remain at home unless absolutely necessary. Minimize contact with other people. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. Maintain a 2-meter distance from others if you are required to be out in public. If you have recently traveled outside the country, self-isolate for 14 days. This means that you must not leave your home under any circumstances. Have supplies delivered and left at your door. 

Previous updates can be accessed at https://gncc.ca/covid-19/covid-19-gncc-news/ 

Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.