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Downtown Winnipeg BIZ: Memo - The latest information for BIZ Members

Dear Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Member,

After another year of waiting, switching gears and coming up with new ways to reach customers, you have inspired us. Let me speak for everyone at the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ when I say we are energized and motivated by your determination and perseverance.

The last couple of years have not been easy, and I know there are particular challenges when it comes to running a business under these circumstances. Know that we are here for you, and we’re listening. We’re also acting. We’ll continue to provide all the services that enhance downtown. We will leverage the data collected in 2021 when advocating on your behalf and we will bring joy with our tours, events and initiatives.

While we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, know that we will keep you updated with any information that might be helpful for you. We’ve pulled together a list of the government supports that are currently available, including the new provincial government’s Sector Support program which has applications open as of today. As always, reach out if you have questions.

Public health order extension

The current public health orders were set to expire on Tuesday, Jan. 11 and will be extended until 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Visit the Province’s Jan. 7 backgrounder (PDF) for information.

COVID-19 supports for businesses available now

The Government of Canada has a business benefits finder that asks a few questions about your business and will offer a tailored list of available federal supports.

Below is a list of provincial and federal supports for businesses with a short summary. For more detailed information including how to apply for each, please visit the links provided.

COVID-19 wage & hiring supports for businesses – Federal

  • NOTE: if you applied previously and were told you were ineligible, you may re-apply – the federal government has reported a spreadsheet error.

  • If you’ve seen a drop in revenue during the pandemic, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of the wages you pay employees.

  • For each applicable claim period, you can claim one of the following, whichever gives the highest amount: Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP); Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP), Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP).

  • You can apply for the THRP, regardless of sector, if you were affected by a qualifying lockdown.

  • Next deadline: January 27, 2022. The next claim period applications will be open in February.

COVID-19 rent and property expense support for businesses – Federal

  • If you’ve seen a drop in revenue during the pandemic, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your commercial rent or property expenses.

  • Depending on the period you are applying for, you may be eligible to claim your commercial rent or property expenses through one of the following: Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP); Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP).

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) Guarantee – Federal

  • Businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 can access guaranteed, low-interest loans to cover operational cash flow needs.

Sector Support Program – Provincial – NEW!

  • This program provides assistance to businesses affected by the public health order restrictions in effect from December 21, 2021 to January 11, 2022.

  • Eligible recipients include:

      – Food service facilities that rely primarily on dine-in services, including those in hotels
      – Movie theatres
      – Concert halls
      – Museums and galleries
      – Recreation and sport facilities and centres, including gyms

  • Businesses who donated surplus food to a charity that feeds the homeless or other Manitobans in need can also deduct the cost of the food for income tax purposes.

Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave – Provincial

  • You can access funds to help cover COVID-19-related sick leave including testing, vaccinations and side effects, self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms, or care for a loved one in any of the previously mentioned circumstances.

Retrain Manitoba – Provincial

  • Get reimbursed for investments in employee continued education and training opportunities offered through accredited institutions like Aveda Institute, MITT and most Manitoba universities and colleges.

  • Any course which is industry-recognized and deemed necessary by the employer is eligible like driving school, esthetician courses, leadership development, information technology and more.

  • Funds can also be used to offset the costs of onboarding new talent acquired through the YES! Winnipeg’s Job Connection network.

Supports for employees available now

Below is a list of resources that may be helpful when communicating to or supporting your employees. The Government of Canada also has a personal benefits finder that may be useful.

We’ve included a summary of important information. For all the eligibility requirements, please visit the links provided.

Employment Insurance (EI)

  • Employees collecting EI after loss of work due to lockdowns require a Record of Employment (ROE) from their employers.

  • Sickness benefits also include loss of work due to quarantine.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

  • Extended until May 7, 2022.

  • For employees who were unable to work at least 50% of their work week because they are sick with COVID-19, advised to self-isolate or have an underlying health condition that increase the risk of getting COVID-19.

  • Employees must not be receiving sick leave from their employers.

Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB)

  • Extended until May 7, 2022.

  • For employees unable to work because they are caring for a child under 12 or a family member who needs supervised care.

  • Applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.

Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB)

  • Eligibility period between Oct. 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022.

  • Temporary income support to employees who cannot work because of a lockdown.

  • Manitoba currently has two eligibility periods.

  • The employee must have been unemployed during the lockdown periods.

As always, please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions:

Thank you,

Kate Fenske, CEO
Downtown Winnipeg BIZ