Applications are now open online for the Increased Employment Incentive (IEI).

The B.C. increased employment incentive is a one-time refundable tax credit for employers. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2021.

This credit sets aside up to $190 million for businesses that were able to hire new workers, hire back people who were let go or increase workers’ hours during the last three months of 2020.

The credit is available to all employers in B.C., except for public institutions and political parties. For employers required to pay the employer health tax (EHT), the credit will be first applied to any EHT outstanding and will be available as a refund to the extent the credit exceeds the amount of EHT or other debt owed to government.

Businesses that are registered and liable for EHT are encouraged to file their 2020 EHT return before applying for the IEI to ensure no delay in receiving the tax credit.

Visit the B.C. Increased Employment Incentive site for more information and to apply.

The BC Recovery Benefit is a one-time, tax-free payment up to $1,000 for eligible families including single parent families, and up to $500 for eligible individuals. 

Applications are open until June 30, 2021

Benefit rates:

If you are eligible, the benefits will be automatically calculated based on your net income.

  • $1,000 for families and single parents with incomes under $125,000.
  • Reduced benefits for eligible families and single parents with a new income of up to $175,000.
  • $500 for eligible individuals earning up to $62,500.
  • Reduced benefit amount for eligible individuals earning up to $87,500.

Please visit the program website for full eligibility criteria and to apply.

For the 2020 tax year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has introduced additional reporting for the T4 slip, Statement of Remuneration Paid, for all employers. The new reporting will help CRA validate payments under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.

Members who are responsible for payroll and have clients that do not use a payroll service can find the new T4 reporting requirements here .

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has now ended. The CERB closed to retroactive applications on December 2, 2020. You can no longer apply for this benefit.

The Government of Canada has announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and new recovery benefits that will better support Canadians (see section about New Benefits).

If you were receiving CERB, you may be eligible for one of the new recovery benefits retroactive to September 27, 2020 and available until September 25, 2021.

Canada Recovery Benefit

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CBR) provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to EI.

  • 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 19 eligibility periods (38 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
  • If you earn over $38,000 net income in the calendar year, you will need to reimburse some or all of the benefit when you file your taxes.

You can learn more about the benefit and how to apply here.

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 are 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.

  • If you are 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 4 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. You cannot apply for periods that are closed.
  • Anyone who has travelled out of the country for non-essential reasons will not be eligible.

You can learn more about the benefit and how to apply here.

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 are 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 are eligible for the CRCB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each one-week period.
  • If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 38 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

You can learn more about the benefit and how to apply here.

Temporary changes have been made to the Employment Insurance program to help individuals access EI benefits. The changes are in effect until Sept 2021 and include but are not limited to:

  • Your waiting period may be waived
  • A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada
  • Only 120 insured hours are needed to qualify
  • You will receive payments of at least $500 per week before taxes, or $300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits

For the full list of changes please visit the Employment Insurance section of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Record of Employment

  • When completing Record of Employment forms due to COVID-19 situations, new code categories should be used. For details visit the Employment Insurance-Record of Employment section of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Supplementary Unemployment Benefits Plan (SUB)

  • The SUB is an existing plan that allows employers to “top-up” employees’ EI Benefits without penalty to the employee (i.e. additional income does not reduce EI benefits). The plan is available when employees are unemployed due to a temporary stoppage of work, training, illness, injury, or quarantine. SUB plans must be registered with Service Canada before they go into effect.

Work-sharing Program for Employees

  • This program helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when groups of employees with similar jobs all reduce their hours by the same percentage to avoid lay-offs. Employees’ reduction can be 10%-60%. Due to COVID-19, the maximum duration has been extended from 38 to 76 weeks. Employees can apply for EI benefits for workdays lost due to the work share reduction.

IMPORTANT
COVID-19 temporary layoff period

To ease financial hardship on businesses and to keep employees connected with their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC government has extended the temporary layoff period to 16 weeks for COVID-19 related reasons. This aligns with federal benefit programs and other province’s measures. Employers are also able to request an extension through section 72 for a longer period than 16 weeks on application to the Employment Standards Branch.  

The Launch Online Grant program provides funding to BC-based businesses to create an online shop or an online booking system and/or improve their existing online operations to attract new local customers and expand to new markets. The grant will pay for up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $7,500 per business.

Visit the Launch Online Grant program site for more information and to apply.

The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant provides fully funded grants to hospitality and fitness businesses impacted by the March 30, 2021 Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders.

Grants of $1,000 to $10,000 are available to hospitality and fitness businesses impacted by the March 30, 2021 PHO orders on gatherings and events and liquor and food serving premises.

Grants are available until June 4, 2021 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first.

Visit the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant program site for more information and to apply.

Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium sized B.C. businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses. 

As of March 2021, there have been updates to the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant:

  • The application deadline has been extended to August 31, 2021 or until funds are fully committed, whichever comes first
  • Businesses now only need to show a 30% revenue loss from March 2020 to time of application, when compared to the same one-month period the year before.
  • Applicants can now get help preparing a complete application package from a registered Small Business BC service provider.  This service will now be included in the up to $2,000 in additional government funding paid to the service provider.

Please visit the program website for full eligibility criteria, to watch an information session webinar, and to find grant information translations in easily shareable PDFs.

Employees that worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 will be allowed to claim expenses up to $400, based on the amount of time working from home, without the need to track detailed expenses. Nor will they be required to have a signed Form T2200. Visit the Government of Canada’s site for details of the new temporary flat rate method for home office expenses.

There are two separate wage subsidy programs available.

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (10%)

  • This wage subsidy program is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the CRA.
  • Eligible employers are individuals (excluding trusts), some partnerships, non-profit organizations, registered charities, and Canadian-controlled private corporations eligible for the small business deduction.
  • Subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration paid between March 18, 2020 and June 19, 2020 to a maximum of $1,375 per eligible employee and $25,000 per employer.
  • As the subsidy is government assistance, it is taxable to the employer.
  • How to apply: Benefit claimed by reducing source deductions (not CPP nor EI).

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75%)

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) helps businesses keep and return workers to their payroll.

The CEWS has been extended to June 5, 2021. The maximum wage subsidy rate remains at 75%.

  • The subsidy will be paid by the government to the employer (i.e. not a reduction in source deductions). As this subsidy is government assistance, it is taxable to the employer.
  • This is a subsidy for employees; employers are expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of maximum wages covered.
  • Funds will be sent from CRA directly to businesses.
  • Public bodies are not eligible for this subsidy (public bodies includes municipalities, local governments, crown corporations, public universities, colleges, schools, and hospitals)
  • How to calculate the wage subsidy: Use the CEWS calculator to calculate your wage subsidy amount.
    • For Not-for-Profits and Registered Charities: The government proposes additional flexibility with respect to the revenue loss calculation allowing Not-for-Profits and Registered Charities the option to include or exclude government funding in their revenues for the purposes of applying the revenue reduction test.
  • How to apply: CEWS application is now open. Employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a Client. Access their FAQ document for more in-depth technical information.
  • This program provides bridge financing for large commercial businesses in all sectors.
  • Conditions exist and employers will be required to make certain disclosures upon application.
    • Companies must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities
    • Companies must commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions
    • Program will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay
    • Companies required to commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures
    • Program not available to companies that have been convicted of tax evasion
  • Applications are now open.

The objective of the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is to help Canadian businesses obtain financing during the current period of significant uncertainty. The BCAP will support access to financing for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions by providing $65 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is being expanded to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million. Through the BCAP, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with private sector lenders to support access to capital for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions.

This program includes:

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): Provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Repaying the balance on the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 33% (up to $20,000).

The CEBA application process follows one of two streams: (i) the Payroll Stream (Applicants with employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year between 20,000 and 1,500,000) or (ii) the Non-Deferrable Expense Stream (Applicants with $20,000 or less in total employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year).

More information about the CEBA loan, eligibility requirement and how to apply can be found here.

EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Provides credit and cash flow term loans to small and medium-sized enterprises to help these businesses weather the impacts of COVID-19. Loans of up to $6.25 million, with 80% guaranteed by the EDC, can be made. This money is to be used for operational expenses.

  • Eligibility: The Co-Lending Program is available to Canadian businesses impacted by COVID-19. To qualify, companies must have been financially viable and in good standing prior to the impact of the pandemic
  • This support is available until June 2021.

BDC Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises: This program, developed by BDC in partnership with financial institutions across the country, is intended to help Canadian businesses impacted by COVID-19 fund their operational cash flow needs.

  • Eligibility: The Co-Lending Program is available to Canadian businesses impacted by COVID-19. To qualify, companies must have been financially viable and in good standing prior to the impact of the pandemic.
  • This support is available until June 2021.

How to apply: All three programs are now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities that have seen a drop in revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020.

The CERS has been extended to June 5, 2021.

Applications for CERS can be made using the My Business Account.

  • A one-time payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension with an additional payment of $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

Various other federal government measures to further support individuals and small businesses:

  • Filing extensions: Many filing deadlines have been extended. Note that some returns and payments will still be due at the usual time.
    • Corporate returns and trust returns: Corporation income tax returns and trust income tax returns originally due during June, July, or August are now due September 1, 2020.
    • Personal returns: The deadline for filing T1 returns that were due on April 30, 2020 has been extended to June 1, 2020. Individuals expecting a refund or benefits should file sooner if possible, as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will process refunds.
    • Trusts, Partnerships and NR4 Information Returns: The deadlines for trusts, partnership and NR4 Information returns are extended to May 1, 2020. This is due to administrative requirements in advance of the June 1st deadline for filing individual income tax and benefit returns.
    • Income tax payments for all taxpayers: The CRA will allow all taxpayers to defer, until September 30, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before October 2020. This relief would apply to income tax balances due, as well as instalments and no interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
    • GST/HST Remittance: Businesses, including self-employed individuals, can defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June 30, 2020 if due on or after March 27, 2020.
    • GST Returns: Deadline not extended, however, no penalties or interest accrued until June 30, 2020.
    • Customs Duty and Sales Tax for Importers Payments: Customs duty and sales tax for importers payment deadlines for statements of accounts from March to May inclusive are being deferred to June 30, 2020.
    • Certain Corporate Tax Returns Receive Filing Extension: For corporations that would otherwise have a filing due date after March 18 and before May 31, 2020, their filing due date for the current tax year has been extended to June 1, 2020. This extension was modified on March 30, 2020.
IMPORTANT
Electronic signatures will be recognized by the CRA as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act, as a temporary administrative measure. This is to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during the COVID-19 crisis and to reduce administrative burden. This provision applies to authorization forms T183 and T183CORP,which authorizes tax preparers to file taxes.
  • Deferred tax payments:Effective immediately, the following tax returns and payments with due dates after March 23, 2020 and before September 30, 2020 will now be due September 30, 2020:
    • Provincial sales tax (including municipal and regional district tax)
    • Carbon tax
    • Motor fuel tax
    • Tobacco tax
  • This deferral is automatic. While a lump-sum payment could be made in September, separate returns for each reporting period must be submitted. Returns can also be filed according to the usual reporting periods, but payments may be deferred until September 30, 2020. After September 30, 2020, returns for all sales taxes will be due on their usual due dates.
  • Employer Health Tax Filing Deadline: The employer health tax return and final payment due date for the 2019 calendar year has been extended to September 30, 2020. Employers required to make instalment payments for the 2020 calendar year will be able to defer these payments. The instalments will be due on the following dates:
    • First instalment – December 31, 2020
    • Second instalment – January 31, 2021
    • Third instalment – February 28, 2021
    • The remaining tax payable is due with the employer health tax return by March 31, 2021
  • Reduced school tax rates for businesses: The province is further reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average of 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses, providing up to $700 million in relief. This enhances the 50% reduction to the provincial school property tax rate for classes 4, 5 and 6 previously announced.  
  • Delayed Budget 2020 PST tax changes: The following tax changes announced in Budget 2020 are postponed and will not take effect until April 1, 2021.
    • Eliminating the PST exemption for carbonated beverages that contain sugar, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners
    • Expanded registration requirements for Canadian sellers of goods, along with Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunication services
  • Delayed carbon tax increase: Increases to the carbon tax rate, as announced in Budget 2020, will be postponed until April 1, 2021.
  • WorkSafeBC Payment Deferred: Businesses will not be charged a penalty if they do not pay their premiums by their usual first quarter deadline of April 30.  Payments can be deferred to June 30.

Information available here

  • BC Emergency Benefit for Workers: The provincial government provides a one-time $1,000 payment for BC residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. The benefit has been expanded to include British Columbians who lost their ability to work between March 1 and March 14, 2020.
  • ICBC Payment Deferrals: Customers on a monthly Autoplan payment plan, who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, can defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty. Payment deferral is also available for fleets. Use their online resource tool to apply for a deferral by 6pm at least one business day before your next payment is due.
  • BC Hydro Payment Deferrals:
    • The Customer Crisis Fund (CCF) is a program that offers support for residential customers who are facing disconnection of the BC Hydro service, despite attempting to make payment.
  • BC Student Loan Payments on Hold: Starting March 30, 2020, BC student loan payments are automatically frozen for six months.