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January 11, 2022

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

CRA Q&A sessions on COVID-19 support measures for businesses and organizations

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is hosting interactive question and answer sessions on the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program for affected businesses and organizations on January 13, 2022.

Please click here to register.

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Additional Details on the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program

The new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program (OBCRP) is targeted to eligible businesses that are most financially impacted by the capacity limits recently announced as part of the province’s public health measures. Eligible businesses include those that pay commercial property taxes and / or energy costs either directly or indirectly through a net lease arrangement.

Businesses with Net Leases

If the business has a net lease, the landlord will be able to provide an invoice detailing the total property taxes associated with the business. These may include the Common Area Maintenance (CAM) and Taxes, Maintenance and Insurance (TMI) documents.  Note that if the property tax and energy costs are not broken out in the TMI and CAM documents, the applicant would need to follow up with their landlord and request an estimate of those costs. As part of the application process, businesses will be required to submit property tax bills or proof of costs associated with property taxes and energy bills, such as information provided by the landlord. 

Businesses that do not pay commercial property taxes and/or energy costs, such as businesses with gross leases or business operating out of residential properties, would not be eligible for the OBCRP. 

The online applications for this program open January 18.  A complete list of eligible businesses will be provided prior to the launch of the application portal, and the Ontario government will also be releasing a technical guide that provides further details on business eligibility. 

Other Measures

Businesses will also have the option to take advantage of the six-month interest-and penalty-free period available to make payments for most provincially administered taxes, helping them free up cash flow during these challenging times. With this help, businesses will have the option to delay their payments for the following provincially administered:

  • Employer Health Tax
  • Beer, Wine & Spirits Taxes
  • Tobacco Tax
  • Insurance Premium Tax
  • Fuel Tax
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement
  • Gas Tax
  • Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts & Benefit Plans
  • Mining Tax
  • Race Tracks Tax

Federal government loosens foreign-worker cap for Quebec companies

On Monday, federal Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister, Carla Qualtrough, announced a pilot project with Quebec that increases the maximum number of temporary foreign workers (TFW) allowed in low-wage positions that employers in specific sectors can hire.

Employers in those sectors identified by the Quebec government can hire up to 20% (an increase of 10% for the majority of them).

When first announced on August 6, 2021, this pilot project was intended to run until December 31, 2023. On November 30, 2021, the Government of Canada agreed to extend the program until December 31, 2024. At the conclusion of the pilot project, the Government of Canada will evaluate outcomes to help inform its future decisions.

Alongside launching these new pilot measures, ESDC is also working to rebuild the TFW compliance regime to help better protect TFWs in the future. Ongoing activities to strengthen ESDC's risk-based approach to target higher risk employers include:

  • Enhancing TFW inspection tools and mandatory training to strengthen the quality and timeliness of inspections;
  • Continuing to leverage its tip line service, allowing workers to flag any situation of abuse or misuse of the program in a confidential manner;
  • Continuing to raise employers' awareness of their obligations to foster compliance with the TFW Program's conditions; and,
  • Expanding the concierge service with consulates, which helps ESDC to identify concerns that need immediate attention.

Click here for the media release

Nova Scotia business owners who pay themselves now eligible for COVID-19 government support

Nova Scotia small business owners who run their operations without a payroll will be now eligible for a COVID-19 relief program aimed at bars, restaurants, performance halls, recreation facilities and gyms.

The Sector Impact Support Program, announced three weeks ago, offers between $2,500 and $7,500 to small operations in the Nova Scotia that are losing business as a result of stricter public health measures imposed in December. The amount businesses receive depends on the size of its payroll — or the amount of revenue normally coming in.

To qualify you must be in an eligible sector.

Your business must also:

  • be registered in Nova Scotia as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, society, social enterprise, not-for-profit, charity in business or other similar organization
  • have an active CRA Business Number (BN)
  • have gross revenue of $5,000,000 or less in its most recently filed tax year

Incorporated businesses that operate more than one eligible business establishment under a single corporate entity, may apply for a rebate for each business establishment.

Click here for more information on the program.

Apply Here

Quebec to impose a tax on people who are unvaccinated from COVID-19

Quebec is announcing it will impose a health tax on Quebecers who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Quebec Premier François Legault made the announcement in Montreal on Tuesday afternoon, as the number of pandemic-related hospitalizations continues to climb.

“A health contribution will be charged to all adults that don’t want to get vaccinated. We are there now,” he said.

Only 10 per cent of the population is unvaccinated but they make up 50 per cent of patients in intensive care beds, according to the premier.

Legault said there will be an exemption for those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons.

The government is still working the amount that will have to be paid, but Legault said it would be “significant.”

Keurig Canada fined $3 million for misleading claims over coffee pod recycling

The Competition Bureau says Keurig Canada will pay a $3 million penalty for making false or misleading claims that its single-use K-Cup pods can be recycled.

In a statement Thursday, the bureau says the company voluntarily reached an agreement that will include the fine plus an $800,000 donation to an environmental charity and $85,000 in Competition Bureau expenses for the case.

Keurig reportedly came to an agreement to a settle a class-action suit in the United States over the same issue last month, though the details of that settlement are not yet public.

The company was investigated by the Competition Bureau for claims its single-use plastic beverage pods could be recycled if consumers peeled off the metallic lid and emptied out any contents like coffee grounds.

But the bureau said the K-Cups aren't widely accepted for recycling in any province except Quebec and British Columbia and those instructions don't go far enough for many cities that might accept them in a recycling program.

In addition to the financial penalties, Keurig Canada has to change its packaging, publish notices about the changes on its websites, social media and in local and national media outlets, as well as include the information in packaging for new Keurig brewing machines and send an email to subscribers.

"Portraying products or services as having more environmental benefits than they truly have is an illegal practice in Canada," Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell said in a statement.

"False or misleading claims by businesses to promote 'greener' products harm consumers who are unable to make informed purchasing decisions, as well as competition and businesses who actually offer products with a lower environmental impact."

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COVID-19's impact on the world is creating waves across all sectors and industries.

Every member of the CFA community is dealing with an issue that is affecting the world, our industries, our communities, our businesses, and our people.

We would like to hear from you if you have any topics, issues or questions to navigate turbulent times in order to support you further: 

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