During this very challenging time for the hotel industry, the MHA has been reaching out to all levels of government seeking programs and assistance to help hotels. We are pleased to provide a summary of the programs that are currently available. We will continue to update this list as these programs change and grow.
The most timely source of information for MHA hotel members is our bulletins. We send member bulletins daily or sometimes multiples times per day, to ensure everyone is kept informed of the latest developments affecting hotels. If you are not receiving the bulletins, or if you would like to access the library of our past bulletins, please contact the MHA office.
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions about the programs and initiatives listed below.
No Interest on Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MBLL) Receivables
On Friday, April 3, Premier Pallister announced that MBLL will not charge interest on receivables from licensees. MBLL has now released more details about this initiative, which were provided to MHA hotel members in a member bulletin. For more information please contact the MHA Office.
Eight-Week Layoff Period Extended
The Province is making a temporary change to employment standards to provide employers with more time to recall employees laid off as a result of COVID-19. The change ensures any layoff period occurring after March 1, 2020, and until the state of emergency ends, will not be counted toward the period after which a temporary layoff would become a permanent termination. Click here for more information.
Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP)
On April 22nd Premier Pallister announced the Manitoba government will provide up to $120 million for businesses that do not qualify for the various federal government assistance programs and wage subsidies created because of COVID-19. The Province will advance each eligible business a non-interest-bearing forgivable loan of $6,000. The loan will be forgiven on December 31, 2020 if the recipient attests at that time the business has not received any major non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports. If the applicant has received benefits under a federal COVID program, then the loan will be added to the recipient’s 2020 tax bill. Click here for more information.
Workers Compensation Board – 20% Refund and Deferral of Premium Payments
On April 21st the Province announced that the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) will be returning a $37-million surplus to employers. Each eligible employer will receive a refund of approximately 20 per cent of their 2019 premium. The payments will be sent out in May.
The Province also announced previously that the WCB will defer premium payments until the end of May, waive late payment penalties until further notice, and extend the payroll reporting deadline without penalties until the end of May. Click here for more information.
Summer Student Recovery Plan
The Summer Student Recovery Plan is a new wage subsidy program to support employment of high school and post-secondary students in the private and non-profit sectors.
Under the program, up to $120 million is available for employers to access a $7 per hour wage subsidy, up to a maximum of $5,000 per student. The program is open to Manitoba students aged 15 to 29, with an employment period from May 1 to September 4. Employers can be subsidized for up to 5 students. Reimbursement will be provided at the end of the employment period, upon proof of payment of student wages. Click here for more information.
PST Collection Deferred Until June
The Province has extended the deadline for certain monthly retail sales tax (RST) returns to June 22, 2020 (from April 20 and May 20, 2020). This extension applies to small and medium businesses with monthly RST remittances of no more than $10,000 per month. In addition, Manitoba has extended the deadline for businesses that file RST returns quarterly to June 22, 2020 (from April 20, 2020). The MHA spoke with Manitoba Taxation who affirmed that if your remittance falls below $10,000, regardless of how much your previous remittances have been, the payment can be deferred.
In addition, Manitoba advises that where these eligible businesses were not able to file and remit their February RST return by the due date on March 20, 2020, they will not be subject to late filing penalties or interest until after June 22, 2020. However, interest will continue to apply on all outstanding tax debts established before the March remittance deadlines. Click here for more information.
Utility Interest Relief
The Province has also promised interest relief from Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas.
Manitoba Job Restart Program (MJRP)
The Manitoba Job Restart Program (MJRP) provides a taxable financial benefit to a maximum of $2,000 to Manitobans who:
• safely return to work for a cumulative 30 hours/week with one or more eligible employers
• voluntarily stop collecting Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency
Student Benefit (CESB) or similar COVID-19 financial support programs delivered by the federal government. Individuals must return to work for a cumulative 30 hours per week during the period of June 26, 2020 to July 31, 2020. Click here for more information.
Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – Up to 75% Wage Subsidy for Employers
The federal government greatly expanded its previously announced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. They will now be offering a 75 percent wage subsidy for qualifying small businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Applications are now open.
Extended Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines
The Canada Revenue Agency has extended tax filing and payment deadlines (for individuals, the self-employed, corporations and charities), including GST payments and remittances, until the end of June 2020. Click here for more information.
Canada Emergency Business Account
The Canada Emergency Business Account provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover operating costs. Expanded eligibility criteria now makes the program open to businesses with 2019 total payroll between $20,000 and $1,500,000. Full loan repayment by December 31, 2022 will see a 25% loan forgiveness up to $10,000. Loans will be available through eligible financial institutions and will be fully guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada. The financial institutions are beginning to roll this out now. Please contact your financial institution to find out if they have been approved to offer the program.
Mortgage Deferral Flexibility
The six big banks are offering up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. Credit unions have indicated their willingness to assist as well. Priority will be given to small business owners on a case-by-case basis, with strong consideration for those demonstrating financial need. Hotels should contact their banking institution to discuss the options available to them.
Work Sharing Program
Work Sharing is a pre-COVID-19 program that helps employers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. The program provides EI benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours to share the available work while their employer recovers.
For most employers, the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be a more practical and responsive program to deal with the current situation. However, the government has recently made changes to the Work Sharing Program to make it a more feasible option for employers. Some of these changes are:
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for Employees
Acknowledging that the Employment Insurance (EI) system is not equipped to handle the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, the federal government created a new program for Canadians who are not working as a result of COVID-19. The eligibility for the program is broad, including lack of available work, childcare responsibilities or illness / self-quarantine. Unlike EI, to access the CERB employees do not need to be formally laid off from their employer. Going forward, there will be a single portal for workers to access both CERB and EI. The maximum paid by either program will be $500 per week (taxable). Applications for the CERB opened on Monday, April 6. Program Features:
Tax Relief for Business
At a special council meeting on Friday, April 3, Winnipeg City Council approved tax relief for businesses – most notably, a three-month deferral on penalties for business and property taxes. The City will also waive Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP) program fees on both property and business taxes until October 1, 2020. Click here for more information.