Provincial and Federal COVID-19 Financial Supports for Farmers
This infosheet provides a summary of information and links to provincial and federal financial support information. The information is current as of the publication date but subject to frequent changes. Always check the program website for the most current details.
Provincial Supports For Farmers
Interest-Free and Penalty-Free Period on Provincial Tax Payments (Deadline August 31, 2020)
On March 25, 2020, the Ontario government announced a five-month relief period for Ontario businesses who are unable to file or remit select provincial taxes on time, due to the special circumstances caused by the COVID 19 outbreak in Ontario. This relief period will help businesses around the province focus on supporting the well-being of their employees and their continued operations during this time of uncertainty. Tax filing and remittance deadlines will remain the same, but beginning April 1, 2020 for a period of five months, penalties and interest will not apply to Ontario businesses that miss any filing or remittance deadline under select provincial taxes.
Employer Health Tax Exemption Increase
On March 25, 2020, the Ontario government announced relief measures to help support Ontario businesses when they need it most. These include increasing the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million and a five month relief period for Ontario businesses who are unable to file or remit their provincial taxes on time due to COVID 19-related circumstances.
WSIB Financial Relief (Deadline August 31, 2020)
The financial relief package allows businesses to defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. Businesses who report and pay monthly, quarterly or annually based on their insurable earnings are eligible for this deferral. Each customer reports and pays on the previous full month or quarter, for example March 31 reporting and payment obligation covers the period of February 1-29. The following payments are eligible for deferral:
- Monthly: March 31, April 30, May 31, June 30, July 31, Aug 31
- Quarterly: April 30, July 31
- Annual: April 30
Hydro Rates (Deadline October 31, 2020)
Ontario is making electricity bills more affordable for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers through a $1.5-billion increase in electricity cost relief compared to the 2019 Budget. In addition, the Province is also setting electricity prices for time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days, to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID 19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering. The COVID-19 hydro rate has been extended to October 31, 2020.
Federal and Provincial Supports For Farmers
Changes to AgriStability (Deadline July 3, 2020)
Ontario farmers who apply for a 2020 interim payment will now receive 75 percent of their estimated final payment, the Ontario government has announced. Previously, farmers could only receive 50 per cent of their estimated final AgriStability payment. The change is in response to the challenging situation many farmers are currently facing.
The government has extended the deadline to enrol and pay the fee for AgriStability to July 3, without penalty. This gives farmers more time and flexibility to make business decisions and assess their program coverage needs, especially while dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information please visit: Agricorp
Risk Management Program (RMP) Deadline Extended (Deadline June 30, 2020)
On April 1, the Ontario government announced that farmers will have until June 30, 2020, to apply for or make changes to coverage under RMP for livestock and RMP for Grains and Oilseeds.
Extending the RMP deadlines gives farmers more time to make business decisions and to assess their program coverage needs, especially when dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This support is critical to the agricultural industry.
Coverage options for 2020 will not be affected, and program delays will not cause gaps in the coverage, ensuring farmers continue to have coverage in place.
For more information, please visit: Agricorp
Agri-food Workplace Protection Program - Producers
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $2.25 million to help farmers enhance COVID-19 related health and safety measures for their employees.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, this second stream of the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program provides funding to farmers to help support the health and safety of their employees by redesigning work spaces, providing personal protective equipment and increasing cleaning and disinfection. Support is also being offered for farmers that experience unexpected costs for housing and transport as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak among employees.
OMAFRA began accepting applications on May 14, 2020 and will expedite the approval process to get the necessary support to the agri-food sector faster. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program
The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program provides cost-share funding for farmers and processors to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and implement workplace modifications and other measures. By significantly expanding the program, farmers can take additional steps to improve health and safety for their workers and ensure the continued supply of locally grown food during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Agri-food Workplace Protection Program - Provincially Licensed Meat Processors
The governments of Canada and Ontario have launched a new program to help agri-food workplaces further address new and immediate health and safety issues directly related to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, this first stream of the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program is providing up to $2.25 million for provincially licensed meat processors to implement COVID-19 health and safety measures to maintain a safe workplace, including purchasing additional personal protective equipment and work station modifications required due to COVID-19. The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) began accepting applications on May 12, 2020 and will expedite the approval process to get the necessary support to the agri-food sector faster. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
Work Place Safety and Prevention Services Funding
The governments of Canada and Ontario are partnering with the Work Place Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), to provide agri-food businesses, organizations and associations with access to educational resources, tools, and consultation services, to help the sector meet COVID-19 health and safety requirements.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, WSPS will develop and introduce industry specific COVID-19 resources for farm businesses and provincially licensed meat plants.
There are two main components. First, WSPS will develop a toolkit to inform and guide approaches and measures to effectively manage the risks of COVID-19 in these operations. The toolkit will include pandemic response and recovery resources. Second, Ontario farmers, farm organizations/association and provincially licensed meat processors will have access to consulting services, in-person or virtually, to meet COVID-19 occupational health and safety requirements and guidelines. Further details at Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program: Agriculture Producers.
Funding to Support Efforts that Match Employers with Job-seekers
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the federal and provincial governments are providing support to help people connect with job opportunities in the sector quickly. This program is helping primary agriculture, food processing companies and grocery retail to recruit and train workers who are important to keeping the essential food supply chain functioning.
Federal Supports For Farmers
Canada Emergency Business Account
The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019 or can demonstrate paying between $40,000 to $1.5 million in non-deferrable expenses. Eligible businesses should reach out to their financial institution/bank to begin the process.
Lending Capacity increased for Farm Credit Canada (FCC)
FCC has received an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time.
FCC has announced a COVID-19 support program, including access to an additional line of credit up to $500,000.
Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This allows flexibility to be available - when needed - to those who need it the most.
Bank of Canada Overnight Rate Cut
The Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 0.25 per cent. This unscheduled rate decision brings the policy rate to its effective lower bound and is intended to provide support to the Canadian financial system and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Income Tax Payments (Deadline September 1, 2020)
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is allowing all businesses to defer payments. Penalties and interest will not be charged if the deferred payment requirements are met by September 1, 2020. Penalties and interest relief will be considered on a case-by-case basis for income tax balances that are not covered by the COVID-19 relief provisions. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.
No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
HST Remittances (Deadline June 30, 2020)
The CRA will allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer payments of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), as well as customs duties owing on their imports, until June 30, 2020.
The deferral will apply to GST/HST remittances for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods for monthly filers; the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period for quarterly filers; and for annual filers, the amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer's current fiscal year.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The Government of Canada announced an up to 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to three months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. It will cover up to 75% of an employee's salary on the first $58,700 earned - amounting to up to $847 a week. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. Information on program and how to apply.
Supporting Canada's farmers, food businesses, and food supply
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced measures within agriculture programs and an investment of more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors who provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring a safe and reliable food supply.
Advanced Payment Program Payment Deferral (Deadline September 30, 2020)
Eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payment Program loan due on or before April 30, 2020, will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan.
Keeping Canadians and Workers in the Food Supply Chain Safe
Recognizing the importance of this responsibility, the federal government will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory 14-day isolation protocols or any other public health order. This program will be available as long as the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol is followed.
COVID-19 Ontario Site
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