Weekly Digest – 7 October 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

Canada’s Exports, Imports Fell in August

Latest data from Statistics Canada showed that imports fell 1.2 percent, while exports were down 1.0 percent in August. This signals that momentum of the recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 could have slowed more than anticipated.

Meanwhile, Canada’s trade deficit narrowed slightly to $2.45 billion, missing analyst forecast of $2.0 billion.

If you are in the import/export business and are still struggling due to the pandemic, feel free to drop us a message so we can help you bounce back stronger.

Canada Bans Tourists Until October 31

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Bill Bair announced that Canada would close its borders for international tourists, until October 31, 2020.

Tourists, even those who hold valid visas, cannot enter the country by land, air or sea, including travellers from the US.

Only Canadian citizens with a permanent residence in Canada, people with work permits for non-discretionary and non-optional reasons, and international students with valid student visas can travel into the country.

Furthermore, any other groups of people who have been exempted by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will also be allowed.

However, those who enter the country will be required to complete a 14-day self-quarantine after arrival.

Canada Proposes Three New Benefits to Help People Cope

The Canadian government has formally proposed creating three new benefits that are intended to help people who lost their income because of COVID-19.

The Canada Revenue Agency has opened the applications on the My Account section of their website for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The Canada Recovery Benefit is for employed and self-employed individuals directly affected by COVID-19 who can’t get Employment Insurance benefits.

If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period. If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is for employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they’re sick, need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

If you’re eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period. If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) is for employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.

If you’re eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period. If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

If you need help with your application, get in touch with us so we can assist you. You may also book a consultation with us so we can explore other financial assistance options you may be eligible for.

First Antigen Rapid Test for COVID-19 Gets Canadian Approval

Canada is acquiring more than 20 million of the rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 by Abbott Rapid Diagnostics, which were recently approved by Health Canada.

Abbott got the green light from Health Canada to sell its Panbio antigen rapid test in the country. Canada has also signed a contract with the company for 20.5 million pieces of the test devices.

This approval comes a week after Health Canada authorized the use of another rapid test from Abbott Diagnostics in the United States.

That test, the ID Now kit, can provide results in as little as 13 minutes on the spot where the patient is tested. The Panbio test uses antigen technology, and can produce results in less than 15 minutes.

Canada is buying 7.9 million of the ID Now tests, and another 3,800 of the analyzer boxes that are needed to run the results.

$7.5 Billion Invested in Infrastructure to Stimulate Saskatchewan’s Economy

Premier Scott Moe announced a $7.5 billion, two-year capital plan to build a strong Saskatchewan and boost the province’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The $7.5 billion in infrastructure funding represents a $2.0 billion increase over the government’s existing capital plan.

The fund will be used to invest in schools, hospitals, highways, Crown utility projects, municipal infrastructure, and other important capital projects.

This is great news for businesses operating in the province! If your business is currently struggling to recover, get in touch with us so we can help you get back up to speed.

10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWS) is a 3-month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions they need to remit to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay from March 18 to June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 for each eligible employee. The maximum total is $25,000 for each eligible employer.

If you need help in applying for this wage subsidy and other types of government assistance you may be eligible for, feel free to drop us a message.

New T4 Reporting Requirements

For the 2020 tax year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be introducing additional reporting for the T4 slip, Statement of Remuneration Paid.

Additional reporting requirements will apply to ALL employers and will help the CRA validate payments under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

For guidance on this new reporting requirement or other compliance concerns, you may contact us.

Google Canada Launches Tool to Help Small Businesses Go Global

Google Canada has launched Market Finder, which is a one-stop-shop for Canadian small businesses seeking to go global. This free tool will help them identify the best markets for their products or services and prepare customized business plans using detailed market insights.

There are also videos and guides available to help small businesses prepare for new markets and educate in areas such as logistics, localization, and international payments.

Are you looking to pivot and transform your business by going online and boosting your digital capabilities? Drop us a message so we can schedule a consultation and discuss how we can make this possible.

New Canada United Small Business Relief Fund

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund brings together financial institutions and business associations to support small businesses affected by COVID-19.

Starting August 31, the fund provides up to $5,000 in funding toward recovery efforts such as buying personal protective equipment, renovating physical spaces, or developing e-commerce capabilities.

This new funding is being managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network.

Assistance for Businesses in Canada

If you’re wondering what assistance is available to your business, please get in touch with us. There is a range of programs and grants including the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), the Co-lending Program, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) and more.

The application deadline for Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which provides eligible small businesses with interest-free $40,000 loans, will be extended until the end of October.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help you assess based on your current financial situation and business needs.

Digital Main Street Grant

The Digital Main Street Grant is a $2500 grant for small businesses to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. You can read more here or drop us a message if you need assistance in taking advantage of this new grant.

The Future of Work in the Post-Pandemic World

With social restrictions intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 still in place, the way we work and conduct business have changed significantly.

Here are some of the most notable ways COVID-19 can shape the future of work temporarily or for the long term, according to Gartner.

  • Increase in remote working
    Companies will shift to more remote work operations and will collaborate digitally.
  • Expanded data collection
    Remote workers will be monitored more in terms of productivity, employee engagement, and well-being.
  • Contingent worker expansion
    Companies will expand their use of contingent workers to maintain more flexibility in workforce management in the post-pandemic world. Other job models such as talent sharing and 80% pay for 80% work will also be introduced.
  • Expanded employer role as social safety net
    Employers will play a greater role in their employees’ financial, physical, and mental well-being. Support includes enhanced sick leave, financial assistance, adjusted hours of operation and child care provisions.
  • Transition from designing for efficiency to designing for resilience
    There will be greater emphasis on building a more resilient business which is flexible and can respond or correct course quickly with change.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss your next steps for your business.