COVID-19 Updates

SBLR is fully committed to helping our clients navigate and adapt to the challenging times around COVID-19. Stay up-to-date on the latest measures the Federal and Ontario Governments are taking to help your business. Check this page regularly for updates as the situation evolves. 

For the measures SBLR is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and in support of the health and well-being of our clients, our team members and our community, click here:


March 9, 2021 - CEWS and CERS Update

On March 3, 2021, the government announced its proposed extension for the wage subsidy program ("CEWS") and rent subsidy program ("CERS"). The main changes are as follows:

  • The wage subsidy, the rent subsidy, and Lockdown Support are legislated to be available until June 2021
  • Maintaining the current rate structures until June 5, 2021.
  • The weekly wage subsidy for a furloughed employee, from March 14 to June 5, 2021, would remain the same.
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Reference Periods, Periods 14 to 16.
  • More Flexible Baseline Remuneration Periods.

Read more here

January 7, 2021 - Government Assistance Update

The Federal and Ontario governments have recently released various updates on existing and new government assistance programs including the following:

  • Increased the Canada Emergency Wage subsidy ("CEWS") top-up rate from 25% to 35%
  • Indicated the deadline to apply for the CEWS
  • Introduced Form PD27 to report the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy ("TWS") claimed
  • New lockdown support through Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy ("CERS")
  • Introduces the New Ontario Small Business Support Grant ("OSBSG")

Read more here

November 18, 2020 - Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Update

On October 9, the government proposed the new CERS program to replace the current rent subsidy program. The new rent subsidy would be available retroactive to September 27, 2020, until June 2021. The new rent subsidy would provide benefits directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

Read more here

October 30, 2020 - Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Update

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides a $40,000 interest-free loan, with potentially $10,000 being forgivable in the future. In October 2020, the government announced an expanded CEBA program that will provide an additional $20,000 interest-free loan, with potentially another $10,000 being forgivable.

Read more here

October 23, 2020 - CEWS (Update)

On October 14, the government announced the extended Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, which extends the current CEWS to June 2021. The intention is to provide more assistance to businesses and workers who are suffering from the pandemic. 

Read more here

October 14, 2020 - COVID-19 Relief Measures (Update)

On October 9, 2020, the federal government announced its plans to introduce legislation to help businesses get through the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here

July 21, 2020 - Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (Update)

The federal government has proposed to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) until December 19, 2020.

Read more here.

June 17, 2020 - Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (Update)

This update is related solely to the 4th CEWS eligibility period, which runs from June 7 to July 4, 2020. Based on this, the 30% revenue threshold will continue to apply for period 4. 

Read more here.

May 26, 2020 - Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

Applications for the CECRA opened on May 25, 2020. CECRA is intended to provide rent relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. The program works by incentivizing landlords to reduce the rent for small business tenants.

Read more here.

May 20, 2020 - COVID-19 Relief Measures Update

The Federal Government of Canada has made changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). 

Read more info here.

May 6, 2020 - COVID-19 Ontario Economic Measures

Provincial tax and fiscal measures were announced in addition to the federal measures in order to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ontario measures may continue to be updated frequently by the government.

Read more here.

April 27, 2020 - COVID-19 Relief Measures Update

The following is our update on the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG). 

Find our summary here.

April 24, 2020 - COVID-19 Relief Measures Update

The following is our update on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) and the recently announced Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA).

Find our summary here.

April 16, 2020 - Canada Emergency Business Account (Update)

Today, the government announced it will be expanding the CEBA loan program.

When it was originally introduced, the CEBA was only available to businesses with payroll between $50,000 and $1,000,000. The CEBA will now be available to eligible businesses with payroll between $20,000 and $1,500,000. There was no indication of any other changes to the program.

Find the full summary of the CEBA program here.

April 13, 2020 - Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (Update)

On April 11, 2020, Parliament passed the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) into law.

We had previously written about the CEWS in detail on our April 8th update. We focus on the changes in this update, as well as provide you with the link to the full details on the subsidy.

The CEWS still provides a wage subsidy of up to 75% to eligible employers retroactive March 15, 2020, for up to 12 weeks.

Find our full update here.

April 8, 2020 - Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (Update)

Today, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced changes to the previously announced 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which originally required businesses to show a 30% drop in revenue compared to the same time period last year.

Businesses will now only have to show a 15% decline in revenue for the March period. The revenue decline requirement remains 30% for the April and May periods.

Find our full summary here.

April 7, 2020 - Update: Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Online application for the CERB is underway through the CRA website. Click here to apply.

The CRA has also provided a summary of frequently asked questions to aid in determining whether you qualify for the CERB, which can be found in the following link: Questions and Answers on the CERB

Of note from these questions, is the CRA's confirmation that an individual who in the past received non-eligible dividends, i.e. dividends paid out of corporate income taxed at the small business rate, can count this dividend income towards the $5,000 income requirement to be eligible for CERB.

April 6, 2020 - Get Support for Families

Learn about funding that families can apply for if they have children that are not in school or child care due to COVID-19.

Eligible parents will receive a one-time per child payment of:

  • $200 for children aged 0 to 12
  • $250 for children or youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs

Find out if you are eligible and how to apply here.

April 5, 2020 - Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Today Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be accepted starting Monday, offering Canadians who have lost their jobs because of the crisis $2,000 a month. Trudeau says it will take three to five days for the money to arrive by direct deposit or ten days by mail.

Applications can be made via portal through CRA, beginning April 6th.

Only those born in January, February and March can apply Monday. The rest of the months will go in order in groups of three on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, before it opens to everyone on Friday.

Further details and eligibility for the CERB can be found here.

April 1, 2020 - Update: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for Businesses

Today, Finance Minister, Bill Morneau announced the following details of the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy:

  • the subsidy will amount to 75% of the first $58,700 each employee normally earns annually, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week
  • the program will be available for a 12 week period of time, from March 15 to June 6, 2020
  • available to employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30% in March, April or May, when compared to the same months in 2019
  • includes employers of all sizes and across all sectors, including non-profit organizations and registered charities
  • entitlement will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees

Read more here.

March 30, 2020 - Update: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (info as of 11:15 am, Monday, March 30)

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, provided a few more details regarding the improved Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, announced on Friday.

The wage subsidy will be available to businesses that have experienced a decrease in revenue of at least 30% (no details on how this is to be measured). The government will pay 75% of the first $58,700 of wages for all employees of an eligible company, effective from March 15. There is no limitation on the size of the business or number of employees. Also, businesses are encouraged to pay the other 25% of wages not covered by the subsidy.

Mr. Trudeau did not indicate how long this subsidy will be paid. He did say the funds will come "soon", but no details on how this will be accessed. He also said that there will be several penalties for businesses who attempt to abuse this, or "game the system". Further details are to be provided by Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, on March 31.

With regards to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit of $2,000 a month, he indicated that the portal for this will be available April 6, and cash should flow within 10 days to anyone who has a CRA MyAccount set up for direct deposit.

March 27, 2020 - Federal Government announces additional support for small businesses.

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced today additional new measures to support small businesses dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19. The announcement is part of the government's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which commits $107 billion in support to Canadians. Further details on these new measures to follow.

Click here for the full announcement - Prime Minister announces support for small businesses facing impacts of COVID-19

March 26, 2020 - Dealing with the Financial Impact of COVID-19 (SBLR Webinar)

Amid COVID-19, what could you be doing to protect yourself, your employees, and your business, while generating tax relief? Below is the link to SBLR's webinar, summarizing some of the recent relief measures the Government of Canada is adopting to assist those affected by COVID-19. We also provide our suggestions on how you can minimize the financial impact to yourself, your employees and your business.

Click here to watch our webinar "Dealing with the Financial Impact of COVID-19".

March 24, 2020 - Ontario's List of Essential Workplaces

As of 11:59 pm on March 24, only businesses considered essential workplaces will be allowed to remain open in Ontario during the COVID-19 crisis. Here is the list of workplaces considered essential. 

List of Essential Workplaces.

March 23, 2020 - Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

The Government of Canada released further information on the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers. which was announced on March 18, 2020, as part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration employers pay between March 18, 2020, and June 20, 2020, up to $1,375 per employee and to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer. Here's a link with the Government's answers to various questions regarding this subsidy.

Frequently Asked Questions - Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

March 18, 2020 - Federal Government Relief Measures

We want to let you know of the recent developments from the Government of Canada, and how SBLR can continue to support you during these difficult times. The majority of our team members are now working from home, but are easily accessible by phone or teleconference. We are able to work seamlessly through our cloud-based systems. Please know that the partners and team at SBLR are here to assist you in any way possible during these difficult times.

Federal Government Relief Measures - March 18, 2020