Financial Aid for Seniors

This morning the Federal government announced direct financial aid for Canadian seniors.

Key measures include:

  • Providing financial support of $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
  • Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. Seniors are still encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible.
  • Earlier this month the Manitoba government announced the Seniors Economic Recovery Credit.
  • Provides a $200 one-time, refundable tax credit to Manitoba seniors
  • Manitoba Finance will proactively mail advance payments to seniors based on those who filed a 2018 income tax return. (last year’s filing)
  • Seniors will have until May 12, 2020 to advise Manitoba Finance of any mailing address changes.

Those who do not receive a $200 cheque from the Manitoba government in May 2020 will be able to claim the $200 Seniors Economic Recovery Credit on their 2020 income tax return in the spring of 2021.

The Manitoba Gap Protection Program (the “MGPP”)

The Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP) is now taking applications .

Program details:

  • The MGPP provides a one-time $6,000 non-interest bearing forgivable loan to Manitoba small and medium-sized businesses that have experienced hardships in Manitoba as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public-health orders. 
  • The loan is forgiven on December 31, 2020 if recipients declare at that time that they have not received any non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports greater than $6,000
  • Application deadline is July 31, 2020

To receive support from the MGPP, a business must:

  • Be a permanent, Manitoba-based business operating in the Province of Manitoba;
  • Have been operational on March 20, 2020;
  • Be a for profit sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or co-operative;
  • Have temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order;
  • Have had their Manitoba-based business “harmed” by the public health orders;
  • Have not received federal government COVID-19 grant funding support (greater than $6,000), and do not intend to apply for and receive previously announced federal government COVID-19 non-repayable funding support;
  • Possess a valid Business Number;
  • Be registered, and in good standing with the Companies Office (not required for sole proprietors)
  • Have an e-mail address and a valid business bank account.

All businesses harmed by the COVID-19 public health orders that meet the criteria may apply other than:

  • Businesses who were in arrears for taxes owing to Manitoba on March 20, 2020 (i.e., before the state of emergency), and that have not yet since rectified this amount in arrears (note: this would not include businesses that have deferred taxes as a result of COVID-19 relief programs to defer tax remittances); 
  • Businesses who conduct multilevel marketing and passive businesses or corporate entities that do not exist for the purpose of carrying on an active business in Manitoba;
  • Businesses that currently have an active Manitoba Business Start Loan Guarantee, a loan under the Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program, or an agreement under The Community Revitalization Tax Increment Financing Act; and
  • Day care facilities, charities and not-for-profit organizations.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (the “CECRA”)

While applications are not yet available, further details were released on the Canada Emergency Commercial Rental Assistance (CECRA). This program will lower commercial rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June. 
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.

Further CECRA updates are anticipated mid-May.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”)

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is currently set to expire June 6th at the end of the third claim period. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that they are planning to extend the CEWS past June. Further details are expected this week.

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (the “CESB”)

The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit received Royal Assent on May 1, 2020. The CESB will pay $1,250 a month for eligible students (or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities) from May to August 2020. Applications are expected to open mid-May. If not already set up, CRA encourages students to set up their CRA My Account in advance of applications opening.

Repayment of CERB to CRA

You must repay the CERB if you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for the 4-week period in question. This could happen if:

  • you earned employment or self-employment income earlier than expected
  • you applied for the CERB but later realize you’re not eligible
  • you receive a CERB payment from both Service Canada and the CRA for the same period

If you have received a CERB payment that you have become ineligible for, you can repay the amount to CRA in a number of ways , now including through CRA My Account.

Example of a repayment scenario: You applied for the 4-week period of April 12 to May 9. At the time you applied, you expected to have little or no work or income for that 4-week period. But you have just found out your employer has rehired you and will give you back-pay for that same 4-week period. In this situation, you will need to repay the CERB for that 4-week period of April 12 to May 9.

The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (the “LEEFF”)

On May 11th the Federal government announced the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF). This program is targeted at large large for-profit businesses, as well as certain not-for-profit businesses, such as airports, with annual revenues generally in the order of $300 million or higher. To qualify for LEEFF support, eligible businesses must be seeking financing of about $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings.

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