Government Programs In Place To Help Canadians Through COVID-19 Crisis

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many individuals and small businesses are facing financial hardship – including some of the people who make their homes with Avenue Living. However, a number of different government programs are helping Canadians through these unprecedented times.

“Federal help has been really important. Governments are acting as a backstop against things that people couldn’t have planned for. The pandemic is such a black swan event that even those who have contingency planning in place might not have been prepared for something of this magnitude,” said Andrew Searby, Chief Financial Officer of Avenue Living Asset Management.

Canada’s Economic Response Plan (CERP) is a multi-billion dollar initiative to help people with income support and for businesses to operate throughout this pandemic period.

“The CERP is helping people and small businesses that have had the rug yanked out from under them to endure this period. It still won’t be enough for some, but for many it will be the help they need to make it through,” continued Searby.

Avenue Living holds both residential and commercial properties throughout the Prairies, including over 350,000 square feet of commercial space.

Government Assistance for Individuals

In order to help individuals, families, and students to make it through this period of adversity, the federal government has implemented programs to supplement income, ensure safety, and extend financial flexibility on payments such as mortgages and taxes.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit will provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance or are unable to work due to COVID-19. This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. This benefit would be available from May to August.

Government Assistance for Businesses

With over 1 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country, small business is an incredibly important piece of our economy. A suite of impactful support has been made available to SMEs, including interest-free financing, deferrals of payments, and subsidies that will encourage the retention of employees.

The Canada Emergency Business Account is providing 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.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy supports employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic. The subsidy generally covers 75 per cent of an employee’s wages – up to $847 per week – for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 per cent in March, and 30 per cent in April and May.

The government has also reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses. This program is expected to reduce rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June.

“At Avenue Living, we provide people with their homes – the basic need of shelter – and entrepreneurs with a venue to conduct business. We are happy to see the government stepping up to help people maintain these fundamentals,” said Searby.

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