Halifax’s tourism industry is critical to the health of our economy and community.
Discover Halifax has compiled a list of available resources and financial support available to businesses and individuals through the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia.
We are continuing to monitor this situation closely and partner with organizations to help provide you with the information you need now to deal with impacts from novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The federal government has created the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to address the gaps left by other support measures. This includes $110 million to support affected Atlantic Canadian businesses and communities. Businesses in sectors that are critical to the resilience and survival of Atlantic Canada’s economy, including tourism, may be given priority.
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Atlantic Association of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) are distributing the RRRF in Atlantic Canada. If you’re a tourism operator, small business, or organization in need of pressing assistance, please contact the regional development agencies (RDAs) for assistance with federal funding and services.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a series of Tip Sheets with pandemic guidance for a variety of businesses including retail, restaurants and food services as well as a variety of others.
If you work in the accommodation or restaurant sector, please review operational considerations for COVID-19 management provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Chamber of Commerce has created a toolkit detailing a five-step approach to help businesses prepare for safe operation with COVID-19. Read our Reopening Business in Halifax Toolkit for the 5 most important ways you can prepare to reopen your business.
To help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on Canada’s tourism industry, Parks Canada will work with tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas to defer payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation without interest until September 1, 2020.
The Government of Canada has announced the following support for Canadian businesses impacted by COVID-19 pandemic:
» You can access more information on the government’s website.
1. Enhancements to Work-Sharing program to support employers and their workers. The program provides EI to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond their control.
2. The new Business Credit Availability program (BCAP) will make more than $10 billion in financing available to Canadian businesses, mainly targeting small and medium-sized businesses. The new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program will enable up to $40 billion in lending.
These financing and credit solutions will be provided through:
» Export Development Canada (EDC)
» Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
3. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will allow businesses to defer tax payments until August 31, 2020 to help with cash flow.
Businesses, including self-employed individuals, can defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports.
4. A 75% wage subsidy is available to qualifying businesses, for up to three (3) months retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help a business keep employees and return workers who were previously laid-off to their payroll. The subsidy is available to all non-publicly funded companies (including not-for-profit, bars and restaurants) that have seen a 30% drop in revenue.
» You can access more information on the government’s FAQ page for wage subsidy.
5. The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide 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. To qualify these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.
Business owners can apply for support from CEBA through their banks and credit unions.
Small Business Impact Grant
If your small business, non-profit, or charity had to close or reduce operations because of the COVID-19 public health order, you may be eligible for a one-time grant. Small businesses, non-profits, or charities ordered to close or substantively curtail their operations under the COVID-19 public health order may be eligible for the Small Business Impact Grant. The one-time grant is equal to 15% of sales revenue from either April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000 per business. You can choose which month will be used to calculate the grant amount. Apply here.
6. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 per month for up to four (4) months. The eligibility requirements were expanded on April 15, 2020. Visit CRA’s webpage for a detailed listed of requirements, including:
Worker Emergency Bridge Fund
If you were laid off or out of work on or after 16 March 2020 because of COVID-19 and you aren’t eligible for Employment Insurance, you may be eligible for the Worker Emergency Bridge. The Worker Emergency Bridge is a one-time $1,000 payment to help you meet your basic needs as soon as possible. It can be combined with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The payment counts as taxable income and you’ll need to include it on your 2020 tax return.
The province has made the following announcements to help businesses:
» You can access more details on the Province of Nova Scotia’s website.
• Deferral of payments until June 30 for all government loans, including those under the Farm Loan Board, Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, Jobs Fund, Nova Scotia Business Fund, Municipal Finance Corp. and Housing Nova Scotia.
• Deferral payments until June 30 for small business renewal fees, including business registration renewal fees and workers compensation premiums (a list of fees will be posted online early next week).
• Changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through credit unions, include deferring principal and interest payments until June 30, enhancing the program to make it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000, and for those who might not qualify for a loan, the government will guarantee the first $100,000.
• Small businesses which do business with the government will be paid within five days instead of the standard 30 days
• Ensuring more Nova Scotians can access the Internet to work from home, by providing $15 million as an incentive to providers to speed up projects under the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative and complete them as soon as possible.
• Rent deferral agreement program, To support small and medium-sized businesses, landlords are encouraged to defer rent payments from their commercial tenants for three (3) months, spreading the deferred rent amount over the rest of the lease term. To be eligible for the COVID-19 Small Business Rental Deferral Guarantee Program, landlords must register with the Department of Business by 3 April by emailing NSRentDeferral@novascotia.ca. The rent deferral agreement must be in place by 1 April.
Please note that landlords are not allowed to change locks or seize property of businesses that can’t pay rent, if the business closed directly as a result of COVID-19 public health orders. See Direction of the Minister under the Declared State of Emergency.
Halifax Regional Municipality Property Tax Deferral
Halifax Regional Council has voted to provide immediate relief to both residential and business customers. These efforts include:
It is critical, however, that those who can pay their taxes continue to do so in a timely fashion.
Businesses and non-profits need clarity on how they can comply with the Public Health Order. An on-line tool to quickly help employers determine if they may remain open, in compliance with current workplace safety requirements, has been posted to the provincial coronavirus website.
You can find the assessment tool here: https://covid19-employer-assessment.novascotia.ca/en