The information below was sent by CREA to Members on Monday, March 30.

In an effort to combat negative consequences for Canadians and the Canadian economy resulting from the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, this morning the Government of Canada unveiled additional support through a wage subsidy for businesses, while the Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate in an unscheduled rate announcement. These new measures come on the heels of the announcement for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), aimed at providing relief for Canadians workers who have lost their income.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, CREA has been in ongoing discussions with government departments and agencies. We have had meaningful conversations about the unique challenges facing REALTORS® and the potentially devastating outcomes of any interruptions to their day-to-day business.

While working to secure financial aid for REALTORS®, we also focused on the needs of small businesses, analyzing the measures announced by government, as well as programs implemented in other jurisdictions in order to find innovative solutions relevant to our industry. We discussed possibilities with stakeholder groups across the country to align and coordinate on proposed government action that would provide meaningful assistance to struggling businesses.

Government responded to calls for significant action today with the following measures:

  • 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to three months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Eligibility criteria for the wage subsidy has yet to be established, with government aiming to provide additional details on Monday. We will update members as information becomes available.
  • Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 0.25 per cent.
  • Deferral of GST and HST remittances and customs duty payments for businesses, including self-employed individuals, to June 30, 2020.
  • Launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs. The program will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC). Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 per cent (up to $10,000).
  • EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million.
  • Co-Lending Program for SMEs where the Business Development Bank of Canada works with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.

Additional details about these measures can be found on the websites for the Prime Minister of Canada, the Department of Finance Canada, and the Bank of Canada.

The new measures are expected to complement the CERB, a taxable benefit that will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.

The government has said CERB will apply to contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance. CREB will also be available to workers who are still employed but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19. The new benefit will be available through an online portal that is set to launch on April 6, with funds expected to flow within ten days of applying.

CREA is monitoring the implementation of these programs and will continue to advocate on behalf of REALTORS®.

Please click below for more information on Support for Businesses:

Support for Businesses