COVID-19 News Release
Date: 01 April 2020
What a difference a month makes. At the beginning of the month, it was business-as-usual, but with an evolving understanding that economic circumstances might shift due to the spread of the coronavirus. By mid-month, schools were closing, major sports leagues had cancelled or suspended the remainder of their seasons, and businesses were beginning to feel the impact of measures designed to protect public health. At the end of the month, we are at home, working to support our customers, while only occasionally venturing out to buy the essentials.
Through this health crisis and its economic impact, All Nations Trust Company remains committed to our customers, our community, and our mission - to facilitate Indigenous self-sufficiency through provision of financial and business services. We are committed – to you.
In this challenging time, first and foremost we wish you and your families good health. With our staff, we have shared the current advice of the health professionals such as the washing of hands and social distancing. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control remains ANTCO’s go-to source for information: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/about-covid-19/prevention.
At the same time, it is critical that businesses take the necessary steps required to weather the storm of lower revenues and anxious staff. The various levels of government have announced a range of programmes to support businesses to navigate this period of financial uncertainty.
ANTCO is also here for our customers. As a first step, we announced a one-month loan or mortgage payment deferrals to support our customers whose business or financial circumstances is impacted by measures designed to slow the spread of the virus in our province and country. Some of you have already utilised this offer, but for anyone who hasn’t, please contact us if you require immediate relief.
We are also working with our national association to engage with the various levels of government to determine additional relief options that may be offered by Canada’s Aboriginal Financial Institutions. As soon as we have information, we will let you know.
Finally, we are communicating directly by letter, email, and telephone wherever possible with the Honourable Marc Miller, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable Bill Morneau, Federal Minister of Finance, to add our voice to this urgent endeavour. We encourage you to reach out to your local MP/MLA to add your voice.
Government Support for Business
At ANTCO, we continue to monitor this shifting landscape, and continually refer to the Department of Finance’s website: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html. The British Columbia Government has also published its response to the pandemic here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/tax-changes/covid-19-tax-changes.
While details are not available in all cases, the outline of both Governments’ response has come into focus. We have summarised the key components of both Governments’ response below. ANTCO’s summary is intended to create greater awareness of those components. It is up to business owners and managers to determine their eligibility and to comply with the requirements of any Government programme.
Canada Emergency Business Account
Having working capital is a must-have for any business. Without a critical mass of ongoing sales, cash becomes depleted as businesses settle their liabilities. The Canada Emergency Business Account responds to this by “providing interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.”
Small businesses, not-for-profits, and charities that can demonstrate payroll between $50,000 to $1 million in 2019 are expected to be eligible.
How to access the Canada Emergency Business Account
Details are expected to be released in the coming days.
Small businesses, not-for-profits, and charities may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 75% of their payroll costs to up to a maximum weekly subsidy per employee of $847. Salaries paid from 15 March 2020 are expected to be eligible.
Details are not yet known. It is currently understood that small businesses, not-for-profits, and charities which experience a 30% or higher decline in sales (or donations) will be eligible.
How to access wage subsidies
Details are expected to be released in the coming days.
The Work-Sharing programme is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
Work-Sharing is an existing programme. Its eligibility requirements apply to both employers and employees. See this link for further details: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing/eligibility.html.
How to access the Work-Sharing programme
An application (see here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing/application.html) must be completed and submitted to the email address found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing/apply.html.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”)
The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months.
How to access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number. Further details are expected to be released in the coming weeks.
B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
In addition, the B.C. Government has announced the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers. It is a one-time, tax free payment of $1,000.
It is understood that B.C. workers who may be eligible for the CERB may also be eligible for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.
How to access the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
Details are expected to be released in the coming weeks.
The Government will also provide working capital support by delaying the collection of various amounts owed to the Canada Revenue Agency.
Income Tax Payment Deferral
Payment of income taxes owed between 18 March 2020 and September 2020 may be deferred until after 31 August 2020. The Canada Revenue Agency will not assess any interest or penalties on taxes owed in the interim period.
GST Payment Deferral
GST remittances may also be deferred until 30 June 2020. Details depend on whether the taxpayer is a monthly, quarterly, or annual filer.
Taxes: British Columbia
Sales Tax Payment Deferral
Sales tax filing and payment deadlines for the Provincial Sales Tax, Carbon Tax, Motor Fuel Tax, and Tobacco Tax have been deferred until 30 September 2020.
School tax is included within the annual property tax assessment. School tax rates for commercial properties (Classes 4, 5 and 6) will be reduced by 50% for the 2020 tax year.
B.C. Employer Health Tax
The employer health tax return and final payment due date for the 2019 calendar year has been extended to September 30, 2020. Businesses that pay by instalment are not required to make an instalment payment until 30 September 2020.
WorkSafe B.C. has announced the quarterly filers who complete their quarterly return will be allowed to defer their first quarter premium payment without penalty until 30 June 2020.
See this link for further information: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/news-events/announcements/2020/March/covid-19-situation-your-reporting-payment-deadline.
B.C. Hydro has announced a COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program to help customers, including business customers, experiencing financial hardship during the Coronavirus outbreak.
See this link for further information: https://www.bchydro.com/news/press_centre/news_releases/2020/bill-relief-covid-19.html.
Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”)
ICBC has announced that customers on an Autoplan Payment plan or who are experiencing hardship due to the coronavirus can apply for up to a 90-day deferral of their premium payment without penalty.
See this link for further information: https://onlinebusiness.icbc.com/eforms/dotcom/jsp/ACG398.jsp.
ANTCO has taken care to ensure the information provided above is relevant as at 01 April 2020. Support for businesses (and individuals) continues to change, and further details continue to emerge. Readers must consult their advisers or contact the relevant government, agency, or Crown Corporation for further information.