Jump to Main Content
 
 
 
 

Support for Businesses

The City recognizes the economic consequences of the pandemic response are going to be significant, and businesses – both large and small – will bear a heavy burden. To provide assistance, there are resources available from different levels of government and a variety of organizations, and this page will be updated regularly as more information becomes available; including details about direct business support programs, helpful links/resources and the latest news.

The City has also established a hotline (705-574-1230) and email address as a means of providing further assistance. Businesses can contact the hotline between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Support Programming Updates

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is a subsidy that was initially available for a period of twelve weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020, that provided a subsidy of 75% paid by eligible employers to each eligible employee – up to a maximum of $847 per week.

The Government has extended the CEWS for an additional twenty-four weeks to November 21, 2020. For the first sixteen weeks (from March 15, 2020 to July 4, 2020), eligible employers that see a drop of at least 15% of their qualifying revenue in March 2020 and 30% for the following months of April, May and June, when compared to their qualifying revenue for the same period in 2019 (or the average of January and February 2020, in some circumstances), qualify for the wage subsidy. Special rules apply for certain other employers. For the following twenty weeks (from July 5, 2020 to November 21, 2020), the wage subsidy has been modified to be available for all eligible employers that experience a decline in revenue for a claim period, with a base wage subsidy amount, and an additional top-up wage subsidy amount for those employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Further, for the fifth and sixth periods, an eligible employer can calculate their wage subsidy in certain circumstances, under the rules that apply to the first four periods if the result is more favourable (safe harbour rule). To learn more, click here.

The Government of Ontario is making $8 million available to support small business and registered charities who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.

To apply for CEAP funding, customers should contact their energy provider. Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs) will begin accepting applications for CEAP-SB on August 31, 2020, delivering the program in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB. CEAP-SB funding is limited, with utilities and USMPs expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. Please note, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

For more information, including eligibility requirements and on-bill credit amounts, visit: oeb.ca/ceapa.

Clear signs and messages can help promote safe behaviours, and Algoma Public Health has made available outward and indoor signage, along with staff related signs. To learn more, click here.

As of Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need:

• A business operating account at a participating financial institution;

• A Canada Revenue Agency business number;

• A 2018 or 2019 tax return; and

• Eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.

Eligible businesses will qualify for financing of up to $40,000, with 25 per cent of this being forgivable based on the current terms of CEBA loans. Businesses can contact their primary financial institution for more information or to apply directly for CEBA. More information on the expanded CEBA can be found on the program’s website.

The Ontario government recently announced that it will continue the suspension of time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates and customers will be billed based on a new fixed COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour (effective June 1, 2020). Initiatives include:

• $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support consumers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic.

• $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of the outbreak.

• An extension of the Ontario Energy Board's winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020 to ensure no one is disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.

To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada has announced the launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

The Prime Minister announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the CEBA to include many owner-operated small businesses.

The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

• a business operating account at a participating financial institution

• a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.

• eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come.

The government will continue to work on solutions to help business owners and entrepreneurs who operate through their personal bank account, as opposed to a business account, or have yet to file a tax return, such as newly created businesses.

To ensure the safety of our community and help you navigate the new normal, City staff have created a Reopening Business the “Smart, Safe and Responsible Way” document. The comprehensive protocols are from the Federal/Provincial governments and Algoma Public Health, and have been compiled in one document as the Province sets out its path in its re-opening efforts. The guidelines in this document will help you safely serve your customers and accommodate your employees. This resource will act as a living document that we will update as this fluid situation changes.

To access the document, click here.

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) will support vulnerable businesses and eligible not-for-profit organizations that are impacted by the economic disruption associated with the COVID-19 pandemic across the regions of Canada. Applicants are eligible to receive up to 100 percent of total eligible bridge support costs, covering up to a six (6) month period.

Applications are now being accepted under two streams:

Regional Economy: This stream supports northern Ontario SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures. This fund will provide repayable and conditionally repayable contributions to eligible small and medium-sized enterprises, up a maximum of $250,000. Support to eligible not-for-profit organizations will be non-repayable. Delivered through FedNor in Northern Ontario. For more details/to apply, click here.

Community Futures: This stream supports businesses in rural and smaller communities through additional funding for the existing Community Futures Program (CFP). In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities they serve, CFDCs, who will deliver this stream of funding, will focus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants and corner stores, etc., and businesses of strategic importance to their communities, with loans up to $40,000. Please apply directly through the Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie and Area for funding.

The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) will provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.

The LEEFF program will be open to large for-profit businesses – with the exception of those in the financial sector – as well as certain not-for-profit businesses, such as airports, with annual revenues generally in the order of $300 million or higher.

To qualify, eligible businesses must be seeking financing of about $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings.

Companies seeking support must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities. Recipients will need to commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions. The LEEFF program will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay. In considering a company’s eligibility to assistance under the LEEFF program, an assessment may be made of its employment, tax, and economic activity in Canada, as well as its international organizational structure and financing arrangements.

This program will be delivered by the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Department of Finance.

More details will be available soon.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) provides additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). The BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.

The BCAP is now expanded to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million. To learn more, click here.

A collection of links to assist businesses in reopening is available on the Sault Together website. The information will help businesses safely serve customers and accommodate employees. This resource will act as a living document that staff will update as this fluid situation changes.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. It will reduce small business rent costs by 75% (for April, May and June) for business tenants paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations, or have experienced at least a 70-per-cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.

• Provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments payable by eligible small business tenants experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June.

• The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a pledge not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.

• The program is also available to charities and non-profit organizations.

• Provinces and territories will cover up to 25 per cent of costs, subject to terms of agreements with Ottawa. They will also ensure implementation of the measures.

• It is expected the new program will be operational by mid-May.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is administering the the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program. To learn more, click here.

The National Research Council of Canada has opened applications for the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) COVID-19 Innovation Assistance Program (IAP). The $250 million fund provides a wage subsidy for small and medium-sized Canadian businesses (commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes) unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Business Credit Availability Program (CERB).

Companies can apply between April 22 to 29: https://nrc-covid-19.microsoftcrmportals.com/en-CA/

To qualify, Canadian businesses must:

• Be an incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized business in Canada;.

• Be a company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees;.

• Plan to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada;.

• Lack sufficient financial resources to sustain operations during the COVID-19 downturn period;

• Have a Canada Revenue Agency business number;.

• Be incorporated by no later than March 1, 2020; and.

• Be unable to qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The City of Sault Ste. Marie is supporting local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic by creating the Sault Together website (www.saulttogether.ca) to profile businesses that remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit the website to find business that remain open during this time.

The Canadian government's latest program is for students who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The new program will provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students who have dependents or disabilities. This benefit will be available from May to August 2020.

The City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation have designed a monthly survey to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and organizations during and beyond the COVID–19 crisis. Your feedback will help us communicate directly to municipal, provincial and federal governments your needs in a timely and coordinated manner, and help us as we plan for post-crisis recovery.

Tell us how COVID-19 is impacting your business! Please take a few minutes to complete our April survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SSM_COVID

The Canada Summer Jobs program helps employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to the jobs they need. The program will help create up to 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years of age.

Canada’s small businesses increasingly depend on the employment of young Canadians. The changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program announced on April 8 will help small businesses hire and keep the workers they need so they can continue to deliver essential services.

The temporary changes to the program for this year include:

• An increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 percent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.

• An extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.

• Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.

• Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.

As we continue to navigate through our current situation, we recognize the importance of continuing to support small businesses with the resources they need to help them stabilize and grow.

Please keep up with available free webinars to keep you learning, growing, and adapting through this time of change: https://themillworks.ca/covid-19-small-business-support.

 

You can get ready to apply online for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and other programs by setting up your CRA My Account now, and signing up for direct deposit to get your benefit as expeditiously as possible. Please setup your account online.

Announced a 75 percent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses (replaces previous 10% subsidy), for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.

• Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.

• The deferral to June of GST/HST payments, as well as customs duties owing on imports, will generally apply to remittances that become due in March, April, and May. These amounts would normally have been due to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency as early as the end of this month. This measure will take effect immediately, through existing authorities.Launched the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero percent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.

• The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide funding to eligible financial institutions so that they can provide interest-free loans in the form of lines of credit of up to $40,000 to businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million. A quarter of this loan (up top $10,000) is eligible for complete forgiveness.

• Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.

These new investments will help Canada’s financial institutions provide the credit and liquidity options that a range of Canadian businesses need immediately.

• Quickly passing legislation to provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or daycare closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

• Proposed temporary increase in Employer Health Tax Exemption from $490,000 to $1 million, would exempt 90% of private business In Ontario and save business $355 million in payroll taxes.

• $1.8 billion in WSIB financial relief through the deferral of WSIB reporting and payments to August 31,2020. Would also include deferral of cost related to workplace injury and illness, and no interest or penalties on outstanding premiums.

• $100 million in skills training for displaced workers, through Employment Ontario.

• A new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit would provide a new 10% refundable corporate income tax credit, available to eligible businesses that construct, renovate or acquire qualifying commercial and industrial buildings in designated regions of the province, saving them up to $45,000 in the year.

• To help support Ontario businesses when they need it most, the government is providing a five-month interest and penalty-free period for businesses to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.

• Beginning April 1, 2020, the Province is providing flexibility to about 100,000 businesses in Ontario to help manage their cash flows during this challenging time. This will continue for a period of five months, up until August 31, 2020, and is expected to make available $6 billion to improve the cash flows of Ontario businesses.

• For this period, the Province will not apply any penalty or interest on any late-filed returns or incomplete or late tax payments under select provincially administered taxes, such as the Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gas Tax.

• Waiving property tax interest and penalty provisions until May 31, 2020. This applies mainly to the next due date (May 5th). Pre-authorized payments (PAP) are not impacted by this measure – if a taxpayer on the PAP is affected they would need to cancel if the payment schedule cannot be maintained.

• Waiving interest and penalty provisions for remittance of the Municipal Accommodations Tax until June 30, 2020.

• Waiving interest on accounts receivable until June 30, 2020.

• These are initial steps only. Once we move our focus from community health measures to the financial impacts to the community, there will be more opportunity to assess business and community needs and supports from other levels of government to refine our approach.

The Province of Ontario has ordered the mandatory closure of non-essential businesses, starting at 11:59 p.m. on March 24 based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. For the purposes of this order, businesses include any for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing the goods and services described in the link below. This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. Note that teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses. list of essential businesses is available online.

News Releases

Starting a Business after COVID-19

Various community organizations and small businesses will host a free Webex information session on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Read more

Recording of sixth business conference call

For access to the recording of the sixth local business conference call, click here.

City hosts its sixth conference call for local businesses to discuss support

The City of Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development and Tourism and Community Development teams will host its sixth business conference call on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 9:15 a.m. Read more

City hosts its sixth conference call for local businesses to discuss support

The City of Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development and Tourism and Community Development teams will host its sixth business conference call on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 9:15 a.m. Read more

City provides reopening reference guide to local businesses

In preparation for the safe reopening of the community, the City’s Economic Development team and the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre have prepared a reopening reference guide. Read more

Business Reopening Guide

In preparation for the safe reopening of the community, the City and the Innovation Centre have prepared a reopening reference guide. Read more

Recording of fifth business conference call

 

For access to the recording of the fifth local business conference call, click here.

City provides tax relief during COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, taxpayers will have more time to pay their property tax bill if they choose. Read more

City supporting businesses through pandemic

The City is supporting local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic by creating the Sault Together website to profile businesses that remain open. Read more

COVID-19 Business Impact Survey April results

The monthly surveys are designed to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and organizations during and beyond the pandemic. Read more

Recording of fourth local business conference call

For access to the recording of the fourth local business conference call, click here.

Launch of Business Impact Survey

The City and the Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation have designed a monthly survey to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and organizations during and beyond the pandemic. Read more

City hosts fourth conference call for local businesses to discuss support

The City of Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development and Tourism and Community Development teams will host a business conference call on April 16. Read more

Recording of third local business conference call

For access to the recording of the third local business conference call, click here.

City hosts third conference call for local businesses to discuss support

The City of Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development and Tourism and Community Development teams will host a business conference call on April 2. Read more

City hosts second conference call for local businesses

The City of Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development and Tourism and Community Development teams will host a business conference call on March 26. Read more

City offers support services for local businesses

The City recognizes the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses and is committed to facilitating resources to assist those affected. Read more

City hosts conference call for local businesses

The City of Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development and Tourism and Community Development departments have organized a conference call to facilitate discussions on available business support. Read more

Share this page:

Contact Us

Phone
705-759-2500

Email
info@cityssm.on.ca

Fax
705-759-2310

TTY
1-877-688-5528

Location
99 Foster Drive
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 5X6