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April 22, 2020

April 22 COVID-19 Update

Manitoba Gap Protection Program

This morning, Premier Brian Pallister announced an aid program for small and medium businesses who are ineligible for federal aid programs including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Business Account.

The Manitoba Gap Protection Program will provide up to $6,000 in non-interest bearing forgivable loans to eligible small business. The loan will be forgiven on December 31, 2020 if the business attests it has not received any major non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports such as the CEWS and the CEBA. If the business has received federal COVID-19 benefits, the loan will be be added to the business’ 2020 tax bill.

To be eligible for the MGPP funding, a business must:

  • Have been operational on March 20, 2020, the date the Manitoba government declared a province-wide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act because of COVID-19;
  • Have temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order and have been harmed by the health order;
  • Be registered and in good standing with the Manitoba Business and Corporate Registry;
  • Have not qualified for federal government COVID-19 grant support; and
  • Have an email address and a bank account.

More details, including the application process and timelines, are expected next week.

Hand Sanitizer

We still have a substantial stock of hand sanitizer, and have opened sales up. There is no longer a cap on how many bottles a member can buy, and we’ve also opened up sales (at a small up-charge) to non-members.

You can order hand sanitizer here. If you’re a member, make sure to log in to get your member discount. Click here to buy.

Re-Opening The Economy

Both Premier Brian Pallister and Chief Provincial Public Health Officer said today that they have been looking at a plan to begin re-opening the economy. We can expect more details on this next week.

Wage Subsidy Portal Opens April 27

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made two announcements about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the 75% payroll subsidy being in the works from the federal government.

  • Applications will open through CRA on April 27. The government also said they expect 90% of the applications to be processed by May 5 and money to be out the door soon after that.
  • CRA has released a CEWS Calculator that organizations can use to determine how much they’ll be getting from the program while they wait for the funds. This can help them access credit since they know how much money they can expect. Click here to use the calculator.

Workers Compensation Board Giving 20% Rebates

We also learned this morning that the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba is going to be offering 20% rebates to eligible employers due to a surplus.

The rebate will be 20% of your 2019 premiums, and will be credited to your account in May. In order to qualify, employers must have fulfilled their payroll reporting responsibilities for 2019. If you haven’t yet reported, it’s not too late to report your 2019 payroll to receive the surplus.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

Premier Brian Pallister also announced Tuesday that Manitoba has signed on to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, and will be contributing $16 million to the program. Details on this are still murky, but we know the premiers have a call with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland today to continue to work on what this will look like. Pallister did mention that the program will involve “forgivable loans” of some sort.

Inter-Provincial Travel

Late last week, we reported that any construction worker returning to Manitoba from out of province must self-isolate for 14 days, under the current public health order. The province clarified this order twice, and as far as we can tell, workers coming back from working in other provinces must self-isolate unless they didn’t travel further than 50km outside the border.

We are aware several of our members have jobs working on critical infrastructure in other provinces – we’re seeking clarity on whether or not these workers would be considered exempt, but it appears as though the order does apply to them at this time.