Manufacturing: government assistance for small & medium businesses

Federal government announces $73 billion wage subsidy bill

Manufacturing: government assistance for small & medium businesses

Canadian manufacturers have been playing a key role in combatting COVID-19; many businesses have shifted production to manufacture protective equipment desperately needed for frontline workers. Many other manufacturing companies have continued making food, medicine and other essential supplies.

Nevertheless, due to the ongoing crisis, small and medium-sized businesses need help now more than ever to stay afloat.

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

In March, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) association, which represents 2,500 manufacturing companies, released a statement on its website calling for more support for manufacturing companies. President & CEO of CME Dennis Darby said:

“The manufacturing workforce cannot work from home, workers have to be present on the plant floors. Manufacturers are therefore more susceptible to shocks and need targeted relief. We are calling on the government to adopt an aggressive recovery plan similar to that being considered by the US. Canada’s plan should include payroll tax cuts and Employment Insurance (EI) payment holidays.

Measures like this would free up cash for businesses and encourage employers to keep workers on the payroll for as long as possible. While we are encouraged by the emergency funding to ensure access to business credit, businesses cannot afford to be taking on more debt in a time of crisis. This is why over 42 per cent of our membership has identified direct grants as the best way to support businesses.”

CME has made a list of resources available on its website covering financial assistance available to manufacturers, which is regularly updated.

Federal government

On Sunday, Ottawa announced that it will be launching an ambitious economic program. Prime Minister Trudeau deemed it the most significant since WWII. The program will be retroactive to March 15 and will total $73 billion. It comprises wage subsidy legislation; the federal government will pay companies 75% of the first $58,700 earned by each employee. This means that businesses could receive up to $847 per week for up to 12 weeks.

The new economic program is now available to companies which lost 15% of their revenue in March, or 30% of their revenue in April or May.

Provincial governments

As previously reported on COS, in Ontario the provincial government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief to all provincial businesses through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Notably, premium payments will be delayed for six months, which will amount to an average of $1,760 for approx. 275,000 Ontarian businesses.

In Alberta, small businesses are being encouraged to get in touch with non-profit Business Link, who will help connect businesses with the services they need and, amongst other things, is offering free sessions with experts (lawyers, accountants, marketing specialists, etc.) until June.