COVID-19 Update for October 9 2020 – 1:45pm

Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a lengthy media briefing, saying Canada is at a “tipping point” in responding to the second wave of COVID-19, as he announced new supports for Canadian businesses.

New Business Supports

Trudeau announced that the federal government is updating support for commercial rent and mortgage payments. The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will give access to rent support through to June 2021 for organizations that have lost revenue due to COVID-19. This subsidy replaces the Canada Emergency Rent Assistance Program, which expired at the end of September.

The new subsidy will cover up to 65 per cent of rent for businesses with a revenue decline of 70 per cent or more. For those with less than a 70 per cent decline in revenue, there will be a scale to determine the amount of support. This subsidy will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency and is available to tenants directly (unlike the previous program, which went through landlords).

There will be additional support for businesses that have had to shut down completely for mandatory second wave public health orders. These businesses can receive a top up of 25 per cent of eligible rent in the event of a temporary closing.

The federal government is also extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to June 2021.

Additionally, it was announced that the federal government is expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account for businesses who have already qualified. Businesses can get an additional $20,000 in loans of which up to half will be forgivable if repaid by June 2022. The application deadline is extended to December 31, 2020.

Other Investments

It was also announced today that the federal government is putting another $100 million towards the Emergency Food Security Fund for food banks and community organizations.

Regarding the Safe Restart Agreement with the provinces and territories, additional top-up funds of over $37.2 million will be included in the first payments to the territories, along with an additional $41.1 million for air carrier services in the Canadian North.

The federal government is also putting $10 million into pandemic-related mental health and substance use programs in partnership with the provinces.

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