by Sawab Allaladé on 20/04/2020 |


COVID-19 Emergency Programs for Businesses


Confront the crisis by planning and prioritizing your company's digital transition.


In this time of crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, your company, like most, is probably facing many struggles. We believe that the biggest challenge for many companies is the success of its digital transformation. Thanks to the web, companies now have the opportunity to continue to work and sell their products and services remotely. The coming weeks, months, and years will be decisive for your company, because those who will succeed in getting through this crisis will be the ones who are able to react quickly to adapt to the changes by taking the digital turn.


In order to support businesses across the country in this regard, the governments of Québec and Canada have put in place several emergency business programs. Many of these are less publicized than others. This is what brings us to create this special COVID-19 blog for you, to share all relevant information that your company could benefit from to help you in your activities and invest quickly in digital and technological solutions (ex: ecommerce, digital marketing, web application, website etc...).


To help Quebec companies in adopting digital technologies, we launched the PME 3.0 Program. Through this program, we can help you put in place a concrete action plan for a duration of three to six months to control the impacts of the crisis on your sales by improving your productivity and visibility, for you to easily resume your progress. Visit this page to learn more. 



Here is a list of essential information regarding governmental measures and hyperlinks that will redirect you to detailed pages. We will continue updating and keeping you informed of new measures.



City of Montreal


Support measures offered by the City to merchants


  • Free support for undertaking an accelerated digital shift

Selling online is now more necessary than ever. We offer small companies and businesspersons personalized support by expert consultants in electronic marketing from the Conseil Québécois du commerce de détail to guide you in developing an action plan in times of crisis, choosing suppliers, or implementing an online store platform, among others. Interested merchants can fill out this form.


  • Deferral of the second payment to Sociétés de développement commercial (Business Development Corporations)

The due date of the second instalment of contribution to the Sociétés de développement commercial is extended by three months. The new due date is September 1, 2020.


Our view on this measure: At Oshara, we believe that this measure can help you liberate funds for short-term technological and digital solutions, to then invest in the digital shift and deal with the crisis.


  • Urban delivery service offered to merchants

This measure is intended for neighbourhood businesses located on or near the territory of a commercial development corporation. It provides a safe, affordable and accessible delivery service. Find out more.


Our view on this measure: At Oshara, we believe that this program aims to encourage local businesses to use online solutions and technologies to offer their services to consumers. Request a free evaluation for your business.



Support measures offered by the city to merchants


  • Enhancement to the Emergency Assistance for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Program

The City of Montréal has enhanced the measure introduced by the Government of Québec to support, for a limited period, eligible companies that need cash flow of less than $50,000. An envelope of $40 million is earmarked for Montréal companies. The program, granted in the form of a loan at a rate of 3%, will be provided by PME MTL, the City of Montréal's business support network. A six-month moratorium will be granted on all loans and the city will assume the interest during this period.

Find out more.


Our view on this measure: If your business has been affected by COVID-19, access to this type of cash flow could help you cover your expenses or invest in solutions that could improve your performance such as digital and technological solutions. Feel free to contact us to discuss your options.


  • Call for proposals for NPOs to provide technical support to businesses

This measure is intended for non-profit organizations (NPOs) that can provide technical support to Montréal businesses. This offers a financial contribution program to enable the rapid deployment of technical solutions and tangible means identified by the NPOs within their business networks. Find out more.


Our view on this measure: If your company is an NPO which offers support to other businesses, this program is for you. The potential funding that you may obtain could allow you to continue helping businesses by working with the best web, technological, and digital marketing agencies on the market such as Oshara.


  • Automatic moratorium on principal and interest

The PME MTL network offers an automatic 6-month moratorium on capital and interest to private and social economy enterprises that have taken out a loan under the PME MTL fund, the Fonds Locaux de Solidarité and the Fonds de commercialisation des innovations. The City will pay the interest portion during this period. For more information, contact your PME MTL advisor.


Our view on this measure: By subscribing to the low-interest loans offered by the city, you will be able to effectively invest in digital solutions that will help your business while saving on repayments and interest payments that could be paid by the city through this program. Ask for a free evaluation of digital solutions for your business today.



Government of Quebec


Quebec has set up this tool for businesses to determine the government assistance measures for which they are eligible.


Emergency assistance to small and medium-sized businesses

The program is designed to support eligible businesses experiencing financial difficulties and requiring less than $50,000 in cash.

For any information regarding the Emergency Assistance for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses program, contact your MRC, the office of your municipality or the organization responsible for managing your MRC’s local investment fund (FLI).


Our view on this measure: If your business has been affected by COVID-19, access to this type of cash flow could help you cover your expenses or invest in solutions that could improve your performance such as digital and technological solutions. Feel free to contact us to discuss your options.


Flexibility measures relating to outstanding loans and loan guarantees

A six-month moratorium has been introduced on the repayment (principal and interest) of loans already granted through the local investment funds (FLIs). Interest accrued during this period will be added to the loan balance.

For all information regarding FLIs, contact your MRC or the organization responsible for managing your MRC’s FLI.


Launching of the Concerted Action Programme for Maintaining Employment (PACME)

This grant program makes it possible to invest in employee training during a company's slowdown or temporary stoppage of operations. This training can cover different aspects such as digital skills related to telework, good practices related to health issues, organisational communication and improving expertise.

With a budget of $100 million, the PACME program will help employers retain their workforce while preparing them for economic recovery.


Revenu Québec: easing measures for corporate (including individual) income tax returns and QST payments

New dates have been announced for the filing of income tax returns. The Quebec government is deferring the payment of instalments and taxes that would be due as of today until September 1, 2020. The date and terms of payment will be announced at a later date. Businesses will have a reasonable period of time to pay the amounts due.

Quebec is following the federal government's lead and will allow businesses to defer, until June 30, their returns and remittances for the QST remittances scheduled for March 31, April 30 and May 31, without interest or penalties.


Our view on this measure: While deferred payments do not eliminate the obligation to pay, they can give businesses a breathing space and additional time to invest in digital solutions that will allow them to increase their sales and profitability. If your business falls into this category, contact us for details on how we can help you. 


Expedited processing of tax credit claims

Revenu Québec will expedite the processing of applications for tax credits for businesses as well as tax refund applications.


Our view on this measure: Tax credits and tax refunds are more than welcome sources of revenue for businesses in the current context of COVID-19. You can decide to use these financial resources to initiate or advance the digital transformation of your business. Find out more about our SME 3.0 Program. 


Financial aid for tourism festivals and events

Organizations receiving financial aid for tourism festivals and events for the summer-fall period 2020-2021 will receive their first instalment, or 80% of the total grant amount, whether or not their activities are maintained. They will receive their second installment - up to 20% of the financial assistance - according to the amount of expenses incurred at the time the event is cancelled.


Our view on this measure: This is good news for companies in the events sector that depend on government subsidies. Considering that you will be able to receive your entire financial package (taking into account the expenses incurred), this could be a great opportunity to invest in technology solutions to improve your processes, performance and results. In Oshara, we have the expertise and we want to help you. Contact us for more information.


SODEC: Temporary support for working capital

This program is designed to support businesses experiencing temporary liquidity problems through revolving credits, loans and loan guarantees. Among the criteria to be eligible are the following:

  • Be a legally incorporated business

  • For-profit or non-profit

  • Operates mainly in SODEC's areas of activity.



Government of Canada


Canada's economic action plan for addressing COVID-19 - Supporting businesses and Canadians

The Government of Canada has taken action to support Canadian businesses and workers facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Emergency account for small businesses

This program will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

  • A $40,000 government-guaranteed, interest-free loan for the first year;

  • An amount of $10,000 may be non-refundable, if certain conditions are met;

  • Details on eligibility terms and conditions will be announced at a later date.


Federal Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) (partnership with BDC and EDC)

A Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) has been established to support primarily small and medium-sized enterprises through Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

In addition, EDC will guarantee new operating credit and term loans on self-financing capacity that financial institutions provide to SMEs, up to a maximum of $6.25 million.

Furthermore, BDC will work with financial institutions to jointly provide term loans to SMEs to meet the operational cash flow needs of these businesses. Under this program, eligible businesses can obtain additional credit of up to $6.25 million.


Our view on this measure: If your company is affected by the VIDOC-19 crisis, access to this liquidity can help you cover your expenses or invest in custom digital and technological solutions to improve your management, operations, sales and marketing communication performance.  Talk to one of our experts for a free assessment of your technology and online marketing needs.


Canada Revenue Agency: Flexibility measures for business tax returns (including individuals)

New dates have been announced for the filing of income tax returns. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is allowing all businesses to defer payment of income tax amounts until September 1, 2020. This relief applies to the balance of tax payable, as well as to instalments. No interest or penalties will apply to these amounts during this period. See all the tax return relief measures here.


Our view on this measure: While deferred payments do not eliminate the obligation to pay, they can give businesses a breathing space and additional time to invest in digital solutions that will allow them to increase their sales and profitability. If your business falls into this category, contact us for details on how we can help you. 


Measures taken by Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada has taken a series of actions to support the economy and the financial system. These include the following:

  • Policy rate at 0.25%;

  • Lending to financial institutions and purchases of assets in funding markets totalling about $200 billion;

  • Purchases of at least $5 billion of Government of Canada securities per week;

  • increased amount of treasury bills purchased at auctions to 40 per cent;

  • Purchasing up to $50 billion in provincial bonds to complement its Provincial Securities Purchase Program in money markets;

  • Establishing a corporate bond purchase program to purchase up to $10 billion in corporate bonds in the secondary market.



Conclusion


At Oshara, we believe that these measures are doing tremendously to save many businesses affected by COVID-19. This is imperative in order to restore the economy, an economy that will certainly be even more digital. During the coming weeks, we have observed a boom in the usage of web technologies and solutions by numerous businesses that want to advance their digitization projects in order to remain operational and survive the economic consequences of the pandemic. 


Sawab Allaladé

Sawab A, is the co-founder and Managing Partner at OSHARA. He is passionate about Branding and Marketing and he helps businesses grow their brand and reach new heights of success using simple but efficient web technologies and digital marketing. His expertise and ability to listen and execute bring an added value to any team.

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