Highlights of the 2020 Federal Fall Economic Statement | Additional $20,000 CEBA loan available now

On November 30, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland provided the government’s fall economic update. The fall economic update provided information on the government’s strategy both for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its plan to help shape the recovery. We’ve summarized the highlights for you.

Corporate Tax Changes

Information on several subsidy programs was included in the update. These changes apply from December 20, 2020 to March 13, 2021.

  • The government has provided an increase in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to a maximum of 75% of eligible wages.

  • If you are eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (eligibility is based on your revenue decline), you can claim up to 65% of qualified expenses.

  • The Lockdown Support Subsidy has also been extended – if you are eligible, you can receive a 25% subsidy on eligible expenses.

Also, there were two other significant corporate tax changes:

  • Starting January 1, 2022, the government plans to tax international corporations that provide digital services in Canada if no international consensus on appropriate taxation has been reached.

  • The tax deferral on eligible shares paid by a qualifying agricultural cooperative to its members has been extended to 2026.

Personal Tax Changes

The following personal tax changes were included in the update:

  • The update confirmed the government’s plan to impose a $200,000 limit (based on fair market value) on taxing employee stock options granted after June 2021 at a preferential rate. Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs) are not subject to these rules.

  • If you started working from home due to COVID-19, you could claim up to $400 in expenses.

  • The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) has temporarily been increased to include four additional payments. Depending on your income, you could receive up to $1200.

  • Additional modifications were proposed to how the “assistance holdback” amount is calculated for Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP). The goal of these modifications is to help RDSP beneficiaries who become ineligible for the Disability Tax Credit after 50 years of age.

Indirect Tax Changes

GST/HST changes impacting digital platforms were included in the update. They will be applicable as of July 1, 2021:

  • Foreign-based companies that sell digital products or services in Canada must collect and remit GST or HST on their taxable sales. Also, foreign vendors or digital platform operators with goods for sale via Canadian fulfillment warehouses must collect and remit GST/HST.

  • Short-term rental accommodation booked via a digital platform must charge GST/HST on their booking. The GST/HST rate will be based on the province or territory where the short-term accommodation is located.

And some good news on a GST/HST removal! As of December 6, and until further notice, the government will not charge GST/HST on eligible face masks and face shields.

The Takeaway

A lot of changes came out of the fall update – and you may be feeling overwhelmed. But help is at hand!

Contact us to learn more about how these changes could impact your personal and business finances.


Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) $20,000 expansion available now

The Government of Canada website has been updated with the new CEBA requirements and deadlines:

  • As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans for eligible businesses will increase from $40,000 to $60,000.

  • Applicants who have received the $40,000 CEBA loan may apply for the $20,000 expansion, which provides eligible businesses with an additional $20,000 in financing.

  • All applicants have until March 31, 2021, to apply for $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion.

Apply online at the financial institution your business banks with:

To get the full details:

Applications for the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy starts today!

For businesses, non-profits and charities facing uncertainty and economic challenges due to COVID-19, the Government of Canada is now taking applications for the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). The CERS delivers direct and targeted rent support without the need to claim assistance through landlords and provides:

  • up to 65% of rent for businesses, charities and non-profits impacted by COVID-19.

  • an additional 25% Lockdown Support during a public health lockdown order.

From the canada.ca website:

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Canadian businessesnon-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to receive the rent subsidy, you must meet all four of the following criteria – you:

  1. Meet at least one of these conditions:

    • You had a CRA business number on September 27, 2020

      OR

    • You had a payroll account on March 15, 2020, or another person or partnership made payroll remittances on your behalf

      OR

    • You purchased the business assets of another person or partnership who meets condition 2 above, and have made an election under the special asset acquisition rules
      These special asset acquisition rules are the same for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
      OR

    • You meet other prescribed conditions that might be introduced
      Note: there are no prescribed conditions at this time

    If you don’t have a business number but you qualify under condition b or c, you will need to set one up before you are able to apply for CERS. You do not need a payroll account to apply for CERS.

  2. Are an eligible business, charity, or non-profit (eligible entity)

    Check which types of businesses, charities, or non-profits are eligible

    If your business, charity, or non-profit is related to another eligible entity, you may be considered an “affiliated entity”. This may affect your calculations for the subsidy.

    Learn more about affiliated entities

  3. Experienced a drop in revenue

    Your drop in revenue is calculated by comparing your eligible revenue during the reference period with your eligible revenue from a previous period (baseline revenue).

    There is no minimum revenue drop required to qualify for the subsidy. The rate your revenue has dropped is only used to calculate how much subsidy you receive for these periods.

    Calculate your revenue drop online

    After you have read about the expenses you can claim, you can use the online calculator to find your revenue drop while calculating how much subsidy you may receive.

    OR

    Read about the calculation

    You can read the in-depth details of how the revenue drop is calculated.

    Check what counts as eligible revenue

    A CERS application must be filed no later than 180 days after the end of a claim period.

  4. Have eligible expenses

    To apply for CERS, you must have a qualifying property. Only certain expenses you pay for qualifying properties are eligible for CERS.
    Learn about qualifying properties and which expenses you can claim

The full details of the CERS can be found at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-rent-subsidy.html

The Difference between Segregated Funds and Mutual Funds

Segregated Funds and Mutual Funds often have many of the same benefits however there are key differences you should consider:  

  • Both are managed by investment professionals. 

  • You can generally redeem your investments and get your current market value at any time. 

  • You can use them in your RRSP, RRIF, RESP, RDSP, TFSA or non-registered account. 

There are key differences including:

  • Guarantees

  • Contract

  • Fees

  • Resets

  • Creditor Protection

  • Probate

Contract:

  • Segregated Funds: Policy owner, Annuitant and Life Insurance company

  • Mutual Funds: Account holder, Mutual fund and Investment Company

Fees

  • Segregated Funds: Management Expense Ratio & Insurance Fee (Typically higher)

  • Mutual Funds: Management Expense Ratio

Why is this important?  

Since Segregated funds are offered by life insurance companies, they are individual insurance contracts. Which means….

  • Maturity Guarantees

  • Death Benefit Guarantees

  • Maturity and death benefit resets

  • Potential Creditor Protection (depends on the setup)

  • Ability to Bypass Probate

Mutual Funds do not have these features with the exception of possible creditor protection of RRSP, RRIF dependant on provincial legislation.

What are these features?

Maturity and Death Benefit Guarantees mean the insurance company must guarantee at least 75% of the premium paid into the contract for at least 15 years upon maturity or your death. 

Resets means you have the ability to reset the maturity and death benefit guarantee at a higher market value of the investment.

Potential Creditor Protection is available when you name a beneficiary within the family class, there are certain restrictions associated with this. 

Bypass Probate: since you name a beneficiary to receive the proceeds on your death, the proceeds are paid directly to your beneficiary which means it bypasses your estate and can avoid probate fees. 

We can help you decide what makes sense for your financial situation. 

Applications for Canada Recovery Benefit now open!

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is now open for applications.

As described on the Canada.ca website, the CRB gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

This program replaces the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and, if eligible, provides $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.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the CRB, you must meet all the following conditions for the 2-week period you are applying for:

  • During the period you’re applying for:

    • you were not working for reasons related to COVID-19 OR

    • you had a 50% reduction in your average weekly income compared to the previous year due to COVID-19

  • You did not apply for or receive any of the following:

    • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

    • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

    • short-term disability benefits

    • workers’ compensation benefits

    • Employment Insurance (EI) benefits

    • Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits

  • You were not eligible for EI benefits

  • You reside in Canada

  • You were present in Canada

  • You are at least 15 years old

  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)

  • You earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you apply from any of the following sources:

    • employment income (total or gross pay)

    • net self-employment income (after deducting expenses)

    • maternity and parental benefits from EI or similar QPIP benefits

  • You have not quit your job or reduced your hours voluntarily on or after September 27, 2020, unless it was reasonable to do so

  • You were seeking work during the period, either as an employee or in self-employment

  • You have not turned down reasonable work during the 2-week period you’re applying for

You need all of the above to be eligible for the CRB.

New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy | Wage Subsidy extended | CEBA additional $20,000 loan

On October 9th, the Federal Government announced the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and additional loans through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for businesses

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) is the replacement for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA).

When launched, the new program will allow businesses to apply directly for rent relief through CRA. The original CECRA faced criticism because it required landlords to apply for the assistance and absorb a 25% reduction in rent which may explain the low uptake.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that the new rent subsidy will be available for businesses that continue to experience revenue decline due to COVID-19. From Canada.ca:

  • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which would provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy would be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020.

  • A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25 per cent for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy. This follows a commitment in the Speech from the Throne to provide direct financial support to businesses temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision.

Allowing businesses to apply for the rent subsidy directly will make obtaining support for those in need as straightforward and simple as possible.

The new CERS is set to be available until June 2021.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended to June 2021

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will continue to provide wage relief for employers until June 2021. As well, the subsidy will remain at the current rate of up to a maximum of 65% of eligible wages until December 19th and will not decrease on a sliding scale as previously planned.

Canada Emergency Business Account – additional $20,000 interest-free loan

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be expanded to provide an additional $20,000 loan with $10,000 forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Additionally, the application deadline for CEBA is being extended to December 31, 2020. Businesses applying for the loan will be required to prove they have faced income loss caused by COVID-19.

Applications for Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and Caregiving Benefit starts today!

Starting October 5, 2020, the Government of Canada will be accepting online applications for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).

From Canada.ca:

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

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

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.

Eligibility:

To be eligible for the CRSB, you must meet all the following conditions for the 1-week period you are applying for:

  • You are unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you’re self-isolating for one of the following reasons:

    • You are sick with COVID-19 or may have COVID-19

    • You are advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19

    Who can advise you to self-isolate

    • You have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

    Who can advise you to stay at home due to your health condition

  • You did not apply for or receive any of the following for the same period:

    • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

    • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

    • short-term disability benefits

    • workers’ compensation benefits

    • Employment Insurance (EI) benefits

    • Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits

  • You reside in CanadaDefinition

  • You were present in Canada

  • You are at least 15 years old

  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)

  • You earned at least $5,000 (before deductions) in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you apply from any of the following sources:

    • employment income

    • self-employment income

    • maternity and parental benefits from EI or similar QPIP benefits

    What counts towards the $5,000

  • You are not receiving paid leave from your employer for the same period

You need all of the above to be eligible for the CRSB.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to 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. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they’re sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

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.

Eligibility:

To be eligible for the CRCB, you must meet all the following conditions for the 1-week period you are applying for:

  • You are unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you are caring for a family member

  • You are caring for your child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care because they are at home for one of the following reasons:

    • Their school, daycare, day program, or care facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19

    • Their regular care services are unavailable due to COVID-19

    • The person under your care is:

      • sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19

      • at risk of serious health complications if they get COVID-19, as advised by a medical professional

      • self-isolating due to COVID-19

    Who can advise a person under your care to self-isolate

  • You did not apply for or receive any of the following for the same period:

    • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

    • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

    • short-term disability benefits

    • workers’ compensation benefits

    • Employment Insurance (EI) benefits

    • Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits

  • You reside in CanadaDefinition

  • You were present in Canada

  • You are at least 15 years old

  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)

  • You earned at least $5,000 (before deductions) in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you apply from any of the following sources:

    • employment income

    • self-employment income

    • maternity and parental benefits from EI or similar QPIP benefits

    What counts towards the $5,000

  • You are the only person in your household applying for the benefit for the weekWhat is considered a household for this benefit

  • You are not receiving paid leave from your employer for the same period

You need all of the above to be eligible for the CRCB.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The CRB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Applications will open on October 12

Insurance Planning for Business Owners

For business owners, making sure your business is financially protected can be overwhelming. Business owners face a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing risk. Insurance can play an important role when it comes to reducing the financial impact on your business in the case of uncontrollable events such as disability, critical illness or loss of a key shareholder or employee.

This infographic addresses the importance of corporate insurance.

The 4 areas of  insurance a business owner should take care of are:

  • Health

  • Disability

  • Critical Illness

  • Life

Health: We are fortunate in Canada, where the healthcare system pays for basic healthcare services for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. However, not everything healthcare related is covered, in reality, 30% of our health costs* are paid for out of pocket or through private insurance such as prescription medication, dental, prescription glasses, physiotherapy, etc.

For business owners, offering employee health benefits make smart business sense because health benefits can form part of a compensation package and can help retain key employees and attract new talent.

For business owners that are looking to provide alternative health plans in a cost effective manner, you may want to consider a health spending account.

Disability: Most people spend money on protecting their home and car, but many overlook protecting their greatest asset: their ability to earn income. Unfortunately one in three people on average will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before the age of 65.

Consider the financial impact this would have on your business if you, a key employee or shareholder were to suffer from an injury or illness. Disability insurance can provide a monthly income to help keep your business running.

Business overhead expense insurance can provide monthly reimbursement of expenses during total disability such as rent for commercial space, utilities, employee salaries and benefits, equipment leasing costs, accounting fees, insurance premiums for property and liability, etc.

Key person disability insurance can be used to provide monthly funds for the key employee while they’re disabled and protect the business from lost revenue while your business finds and trains an appropriate replacement.

Buy sell disability insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner were to become totally disabled. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the disabled partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Critical Illness: For a lot of us, the idea of experiencing a critical illness such as a heart attack, stroke or cancer can seem unlikely, but almost 3 in 4 (73%) working Canadians know someone who experience a serious illness. Sadly, this can have serious consequences on you, your family and business, with Critical Illness insurance, it provides a lump sum payment so you can focus on your recovery.

Key person critical illness insurance can be used to provide funds to the company so it can supplement income during time away, cover debt repayment, salary for key employees or fixed overhead expenses.

Buy sell critical illness insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner or shareholder were to suffer from a critical illness. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Life: For a business owner, not only do your employees depend on you for financial support but your loved ones do too. Life insurance is important because it can protect your business and also be another form of investment for excess company funds.

Key person life insurance can be used to provide a lump sum payment to the company on death of the insured so it can keep the business going until you an appropriate replacement is found. It can also be used to retain loyal employees by supplying a retirement fund inside the insurance policy.

Buy sell life insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner or shareholder were to pass away. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the deceased partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Loan coverage life insurance can help cover off any outstanding business loans and debts.

Reduce taxes & diversify your portfolio, often life insurance is viewed only as protection, however with permanent life insurance, there is an option to deposit excess company funds not needed for operations to provide for tax-free growth (within government limits)  to diversify your portfolio and reduce taxes on passive investments.

Talk to us about helping making sure you and your business are protected.

Throne Speech: Recovery Plan Highlights

On September 23rd, in a speech delivered by Governor General Julie Payette, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined the Federal government’s priorities focused on four foundations:

  • Fighting the pandemic and saving lives;

  • Supporting people and businesses through the emergency “as long as it lasts, whatever it takes”; 

  • “Building back better” by creating jobs and strengthening the middle class;

  • Standing up for Canadian values, including progress on reconciliation, gender equality, and systemic racism.

Below, we highlight the support programs that help those Canadians who are struggling financially due to the pandemic.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended to next summer

The Canada Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended to summer 2021. Under new program criteria, businesses with ANY revenue decline will be eligible. However, the amount of the subsidy will be based on the revenue drop rather than the original 75%.

Canada Recovery Benefit increased to $500/week

The day after the Throne Speech, in a bid for opposition support, the federal government announced it will increase the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) to $500/week for up to 26 weeks.

In order to qualify for this program, Canadians must be looking for work and had stopped working or had their income reduced by 50 per cent or more due to COVID-19, but are still making some money on their own.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500/week for up to 2 weeks for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must isolate due to COVID-19.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit will provide $500/week for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible workers who cannot work because they must provide care to children or family members due to the closure of schools, day cares or care facilities.

Creating a new Canadian Disability Benefit

The government pledged to bring in a new Canadian Disability Benefit (CDB) that will be modelled after the guaranteed income supplement (GIS) for seniors.

The CRB, CRSB, CRCB and CDB are pending the passage of legislation in the House of Commons and Senate.

CEBA extended to October 31st. Expanded to include more businesses.

On August 31st, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced the extension of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to October 31st, 2020. This will give small businesses 2 additional months to apply for the $40,000 loan.

In addition, the Federal Government said it was working with financial institutions to make the CEBA program available to those with qualifying payroll or non-deferrable expenses that have so far been unable to apply due to not operating from a business banking account.

Apply online at the financial institution your business banks with: