Support for Businesses
Managing Staffing and Leave:
- In response to COVID19 and the necessity for some business to lay off employees the Employment Act has been amended so that following a declaration of emergency by the Government of Saskatchewan the requirement of a business to provide notice, or pay in lieu of notice, is removed for layoffs that will occur for a maximum of 12 weeks within a 16-week period. The 16-week period beginning on the first day of the interruption of work. If the layoff exceeds 12 weeks within the 16-week period and the employee is not reinstated, pay in lieu of notice is required.
- Avoiding layoffs: The Work-share program has added temporary special measures to eliminate the 30 day waiting period to commence a work share agreement, or extend an existing work share agreement. Work shares are designed for employees doing the same or similar work to share the available work & be supplemented by EI for their missing wages.
- Regular EI benefits allow eligible employees to collect benefits when their hours have been reduced by more than 40%.
- The Government of Saskatchewan has created a business response team to assist with businesses affected by COVID19. They are available through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 1-844-800-8688
Tax & Income supports:
- If businesses are unable to remit their PST due to cash flow concerns they will have a three-month relief from penalty and interest charges. Businesses that are unable to file their provincial tax return by the due date may submit a request for relief from penalty and interest charges for the returns affected. Requests can be submitted directly through the Saskatchewan eTax Services sets.saskatchewan.ca or by email email@example.com.
- Provincial Crown Utilities have implemented bill-deferral programs allowing a zero-interest bill deferral for up to six months for all Saskatchewan customers whose ability to make payments has been impacted by the COVID19 restrictions.
- The Federal Government has announced up to a 75% wage subsidy for qualifying business, for up to 3 months. More details on eligibility criteria will be shared before the end of the month.
- Business Credit Availability Program (BACP) was created to help Canadian businesses obtain financing during the current period of significant uncertainty, access to this financing can be obtained through your regular financial institutions. Credit is also available through Export Development Canada for eligible exporters.
- Supporting Farmers by increasing credit available to them through Farm Credit Canada.
Support for your employees:
- The Saskatchewan Employment Act has been amended to include some changes for the protection of workers:
– Employees can access unpaid public health emergency leave;
– Removal of the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment with an employer prior to accessing sick leave; and
– Removal of the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate
- Employees are eligible to apply for regular EI benefits if they have been laid off;
- The one week waiting period for EI sickness benefits has been waived for employees unable to work due to sickness or those who are required to self-isolate as a result of COVID19;
- Self-Isolation support program: if you are required to self-isolate, the program administered by the minister of finance will provide $450 per week for a maximum of two weeks or $900, there are a number of criteria that must be met in order to be eligible to receive these benefits:They have contracted COVID-19 or are showing symptoms; or
– They have been in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19; or
– They have recently returned from international travel and have been required to self-isolate;
– They are not eligible for compensation including sick leave, vacation leave from their employer;
– They do not have private insurance covering such disruptions;
- Student Loan Repayment Moratorium: effective immediately a six-month repayment moratorium put in place, mirroring a similar federal provision;
- The federal government has announced a $400 increase for individuals and a $600 increase per couple in GST rebates, these additional amounts don’t need to be applied for but will be given automatically to eligible Canadians;
- The federal government has also announced an enhanced child care benefit, there is no need to apply for this benefit as it will be automatically calculated and applied for those who qualify;
- Canadian Emergency Response Benefit: app available early April, up to $2000 for employees not eligible for EI or self-employed individuals not receiving their income.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):
This is a benefit that replaces the Emergency Care Benefit as well as the Emergency Support Benefits that were announced March 18, 2020.
- CERB is a taxable benefit of up to $2,000/month for up to four months maximum;
- CERB will be available to Canadians who are:
– Wage earners, contract workers or self-employed individuals that are ineligible for Employment Insurance benefits; or
– Workers who are still employed, but not earning income due to COVID-19;
– Individuals who fall into one of the following categories:
1. Sick, quarantined, or have lost their job
2. Taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19
3. Working parents who must stay home to care for children affected by COVID-19 (e.g. sick, home because of school/daycare closures)
The portal for accessing the CERB will be launched in early April. CERB payments will be available for the period March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020, and will be paid every four weeks.
Applicants can expect first payment within 10 days of applying.
The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce has compiled even more resources that are available to Saskatchewan businesses and their employees, that information can all be accessed here.
CFIB has compiled some free resources available to small businesses to assist them with dealing with COVID19.