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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: April 8th, 2020, 4pm

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: 

  • Further refinements to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) have been revealed. Note that this legislation is still being debated, and the final bill may reflect none, some, or all of the changes below. The proposed legislation now includes the following provisions and amendments:
    • Employers will be able to measure revenue loss by comparing March-May 2020 revenue to the same month in 2019, or may compare their current revenue to an average of revenue earned in January and February 2020.
    • Businesses may choose to measure revenues on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received).
    • The 30% revenue loss requirement has been reduced to 15% for the month of March only, to recognize that some businesses did not feel effects until part-way through the month. 30% continues to apply for April and beyond.
    • Registered charities and non-profits will be able to include or exclude government funding in their revenues as they see fit for the purposes of the revenue reduction standard.
    • Special rules will apply to corporate groups, non-arm’s-length organizations and entities, and joint ventures. These have not yet been announced.
    • Eligible employers receiving the CEWS will be entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan. This refund would apply to the entire amount of employer-paid contributions in respect of remuneration paid to furloughed employees in a period where the employer is eligible for the CEWS.
    • The proposal would still apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees, or up to $847 per week, per employee. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020. Employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy would be eligible, with certain exceptions including public sector entities. An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to make best efforts to bring employees’ wages to their pre-crisis levels.
  • The CERB application process is open today for people born in the months of July, August, and September. Self-employed individuals, contractors, and others ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI) can apply. Re-application every four weeks is required, with a maximum benefit duration of 16 weeks. Those who sign up for direct deposit should receive their first payment within 3-5 days of application. The system will be open tomorrow for people with birthdays in October, November, and December.

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 

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

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