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COVID support still continues. Somewhat.

COVID support still continues. Somewhat.

** UPDATE **

As if to illustrate the speed at which the new Omicron variant is moving…. as soon as we hit “publish”, this post is out of date. Here’s what’s changed:

  • The legislation enacting the below has now passed, and it’s in law.
  • In light of Omicron, and the reintroduction of capacity limits (or closure, in some cases in BC), the government’s relaxed the eligibility criteria for the lockdown support programs described below. Previously, you had to be under a closure order to qualify, and have a minimum qualifying revenue drop of 40%. Now, it’s if you’re under a capacity limit (50% capacity or less) and a minimum 25% revenue drop. Also, the amount potentially available’s gone up. We’re looking at this, but please call us if you think you qualify. There’s also new provincial support on the way.

Finally… the government’s started to audit CEWS claims. We don’t know how intrusive these audits will be, but please be aware we only have a 30-day window to submit any required information. If you receive a letter from CRA, please draw it to our attention immediately.

Hard to believe Christmas is a mere 1 week away but COVID programs and changes don’t stop for holidays.

The Federal Government recently provided an update on the COVID programs available. In a nutshell… the era of a blanket, nationwide support is over. The new programs are more scaled back, and more focused on those sectors that are still really suffering.

Sorry – this was announced about a month ago, but we were waiting for the government to introduce the supporting legislation before we posted this update. The legislation’s now in Parliament but hasn’t yet been passed. We assume that it will!

What is continuing?

The Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRPH), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and Canada Recovery Benefit (CRCB) were set to expire on Nov. 20, 2021, but the government proposes to extend these until May 7, 2022.

What is ending, and what replaces it?

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), and Canada Response Benefit (CRB) all ended on Oct 23, 2021.

These are to be replaced by proposed new programs. As mentioned above, they’re definitely more targeted, and generally harder to qualify. As it stands, all have an expiry date of May 7, 2022.

For businesses:

  • Tourism & Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP)
    1. Must have an average loss of at least 40% for over 12 months and a minimum revenue loss of 40% in current month.
    2. The subsidy provides for 40% – 75% rebate on eligible wage and rent expenses, depending on the revenue loss. If your revenue loss is less than 40%, you’re not eligible – sorry.
    3. We’ve not yet seen the criteria to identify who is eligible to apply!
  • Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program
    1. The qualification limits to qualify for the program are stricter than those for the THRP, and rebates offered are significantly less.
    2. To qualify, you must have suffered at least a 50% revenue reduction in the current month (compared to pre-COVID), and you must have suffered an average revenue hit of at least 50% in the first year of COVID.
    3. If you qualify, you are eligible for a rebate of 10% – 50% on eligible wage and rent expenses, with the rebate depending on the revenue loss. If your revenue losses don’t meet the 50% double-test, you’re not eligible – sorry.
  • There’s also additional “Lockdown Support” for businesses, if it’s put into effect in your community. Rather detailed. However, if you’re affected, you’re potentially eligible for the same rebates as in the THRP, described above, even if you’re not in that sector. The eligibility thresholds are also the same as the THRP.

For individuals, we have the new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit:

  • $300 weekly – strictly available to workers whose work interruption is a direct result of a government-imposed public health lockdown. (CERB was $500 weekly and didn’t require a lockdown.)
  • Available to workers who are ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI), such as self-employed people. Also available to workers who are eligible for EI as long as they are not already being paid benefits for the same period

And don’t forget?

You may recall that $10k or $20k of the CEBA loan is forgiven, so long as you repay the rest of the balance ($30k or $40k) by December 31, 2022. If not, you’re on the hook for the full amount you received!

In Other News (for Ontario)…

The Ontario government announced a “staycation” tax credit for the 2022 tax year.  Ontarians will get a 20 percent personal income tax credit on eligible accommodation between January 1 and December 31.  The personal income tax credit allows Ontarians to claim up to $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family on holiday rental accommodations.  That means it could be a maximum $200 tax break for individual Ontarians or $400 for families, which is a refundable one!  Yes, one could see some money back.

The Ontario Government has also approved legislation for the minimum wage to be increased to $15.00 an hour effective January 1, 2022. 

Stay safe and healthy, everybody!