Canada extending repayment of COVID-19 business aid loans to 2023
The federal government is extending the deadline for small businesses to pay back their Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans to the end of 2023.
The government introduced CEBA in April 2020 as an interest-free loan program, offering initially up to $40,000 to small businesses and non-profits who have experienced a loss of revenue due to COVID-19. An expansion was then offered, seeing businesses able to apply to receive up to $60,000 loans.
Prior to Wednesday’s update, if claimants repaid the balance of their loan on or before the end of 2022, the government planned to forgive up to one-third of their loan. Now, eligible businesses “in good standing,” will have until Dec. 31, 2023 to repay and be eligible for up to $20,000 of debt forgiveness.
Ontario announces COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant
The government has announced the Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen.
It will provide eligible small businesses with a grant payment of $10,000.
Eligible small businesses include:
- Restaurants and bars;
- Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms);
- Performing arts and cinemas;
- Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
- Meeting or event spaces;
- Tour and guide services;
- Conference centres and convention centres;
- Driving instruction for individuals; and
- Before- and after- school programs.
Eligible businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and that are subject to closure under modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and will not need to apply to the new program.
Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens in the coming weeks.
Small businesses that qualify can expect to receive their payment in February.
Alberta updates isolation and related masking requirements
The CMOH Order 02-2022 sets out isolation and related masking requirements in Alberta effective January 10, 2022.
This order also reduces the isolation period for fully vaccinated individuals as well as outlines the Critical Worker Exception.
CMOH Order 02-2022: 2022 COVID-19 response
Applications open for COVID-19 Closure Relief Grants
Businesses can now apply for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant, a new program the province has fast-tracked to support B.C. businesses ordered to temporarily close their doors due to recent public-health measures.
Businesses that were ordered to fully close on Dec. 22, 2021, including bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness and adult dance centres and event venues that can no longer hold events, can apply for relief grants of between $1,000 and $10,000.
Funds from the program can help with expenses such as rent, employee wages, insurance, maintenance and utilities.
PHO order requires employers to reactivate COVID-19 safety plans
On January 7, 2022, the provincial health officer announced an order requiring employers to re-activate their COVID-19 Safety Plans.
This replaces the previous requirement for employers to have communicable disease prevention plans in their workplaces. While communicable disease prevention plans and COVID-19 Safety Plans share some of the same fundamental principles, COVID-19 Safety Plans are formal, written plans with more rigorous controls and are more appropriate for periods of elevated risk, such as the one currently faced by B.C. workplaces by the Omicron variant.
WorkSafeBC resources to help employers re-activate or implement your COVID-19 Safety Plan: