Business Owner Update - Friday March 27, 2020
Today the Federal Government and Bank of Canada finally made key announcements to help small businesses:
- Increased Payroll Subsidies up to 75% - This will be back-dated to March 15. No link or details yet on the limitations or qualification. I will get them to you as soon as they are posted. Here is the announcement https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1kvKpXdndQmKE
- Government guaranteed, interest free small business loans up to $40,000 – this is a program where, if you go to your bank to borrow money to get through the next few months, the government of Canada will be the guarantor. Under some circumstances (no details yet), 25% may become forgivable.
- Bank of Canada drops Prime Rate to 0.25% - this makes the cost of borrowing as close to “free” as it gets. This is the time for you to replace as much high-cost debt with new low-cost debt.
In addition, you get a deferral of GST remittances on top of all the other deferral of payment programs announced over the past 10 days. You’ll have to pay your GST owing eventually, but consider the money is better in your pocket for the time being.
These will help those of you who will be able to find work to keep the doors open and if the Alberta Government doesn’t order a lockdown. If you need to shut the doors, the cheap loans and payment deferrals will help you to weather the storm and re-open later.
Let’s address the potential of a lock-down. Yesterday, the Alberta government admitted it is preparing an essential services list. This is a prerequisite to doing a lockdown. As I reported to you earlier this week, the Alberta list will be based on the Ontario essential services list, likely with more extensive leniency for the oil and gas sector (re-attached). This is not something the Alberta Government wants to do, but only if covid19 gets out of control. That number is much higher than we are now (check my website if you like numbers). However, politics are politics and we still might see one.
If the government imposes one, my forecast is that we will need to see case numbers trending up significantly (i.e. additional cases each day are more than the additional cased from the day before) for 2-3 more days in a row and the Canadian Emergency Response Benefits become available so the additional layoffs get paid by the Feds, not the Province (i.e. April 6). I’ll be keeping watch over these numbers for you.
For you convenience, here is new link summarizing all the Federal program announcements (not yet updated from today). https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
Let’s do everything we can in our workplaces, with our employees, customers and suppliers to plank this outbreak so we can keep businesses open and everyone working!
Pete Baran | 403-973-3531
Chief Business Mechanic | Blueneck Consulting Inc.