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Newfoundland & Labrador Economic Support

16/09/2020


Support for Individuals

  • The Provincial Government released details on the Newfoundland and Labrador COVID-19 Essential Worker Support Program. Employers will begin to receive payments on behalf of the employees starting in July and will then submit payments as part of their regular payroll remittance. The application for compensation will be available after the 16-week eligibility period. Employers can begin submitting applications on July 6, 2020 and will have until July 30, 2020 in which to apply. The province will provide an additional 10 per cent of the eligible amount to employers to offset mandatory related payroll costs from this process. (June 15)
  • The government released details today on a Pandemic Relief Grant that will benefit households in isolated Labrador communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A grant in the amount of $250 will be issued to 1,213 households in nine communities. (July 9)
Childcare
  • To ensure families do not have to pay childcare fees and that early childhood educators can continue to be paid while centres are closed due to COVID-19, the provincial government will provide funding to regulated childcare centres and family childcare homes at the childcare subsidy program rates for all licensed spaces. (March 22)
Support for Students
  • NL announced the temporary suspension of the repayment of the provincial portion of Canada Student Loans for a period of six months. (March 22)
  • For individuals with provincial student loans in default and who file income tax returns with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) from April 9, 2020 to September 30, 2020 which results in a refund, including GST credits, CRA will send refunds, including GST credits, directly to individuals instead of the provincial government. (April 9)
Housing
  • Ensure tenants of rental properties cannot be evicted if they have lost income resulting from COVID-19 and not able to pay rent. (March 26)

Supports for Businesses

  • A number of tax return filing deadlines are being altered and remission of interest and penalties is available to help support businesses dealing with circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with some deadlines being altered to June 1, 2020 or June 23, 2020. (April 7)
  • In an effort to help alleviate financial hardship on businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador during COVID-19, the Provincial Government has amended the Credit Union Regulations, 2009 to allow credit unions to avail of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program. The federal initiative, announced on March 27, provides up to $40,000 in commercial loans to businesses to alleviate unusual financial pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is provided to qualifying businesses through an application process designed by Export Development Canada and must be made through the business’s primary financial institution. (April 24)
  • The provincial government is providing compensation for private sector employers for continuation of pay to employees who were required to self-isolate for 14-days due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions. This includes individuals who are self-employed. The maximum amount of funding under the provincial program will be $500 per week for each employee (to a combined maximum of $1,000 per week for each employee when receiving both federal CEWS funding and provincial funding). The amount paid under this program will depend on federal funding received. (April 29)
  • Current deferral of loan payments, under the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation’s Business Investment Fund, has been increased to six months. This measure sees an additional three months added to the original three-month deferral action announced on March 18, 2020, which started with April payments. (May 6)
  • The hiring eligibility for commercial Research and Development (R&D) projects will be temporarily increased. Specifically, salary support for up to six positions may be considered for eligible commercial R&D projects. The positions may include existing employees, new or a combination of both. This temporary policy pertains to applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020. (May 6)
  • Contribution levels have been temporarily increased for eligible project applications under R&D commercial and Business Development Support. Eligible costs will now be covered up to 75 percent, up from 50 percent, for applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020. (May 6)
  • The government announced $300,000 in funding to launch a new Students Supporting Communities Program. The program provides a $3,500 grant to organizations that enables them to hire students to help seniors and other vulnerable groups facing social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The call for applications from employers, including community organizations, will open Friday, May 15, 2020. (May 15)
  • Collection of WorkplaceNL assessments from employers has been deferred to after August 31, 2020, with no interest or penalties. (May 22)
  • Clearance letters will continue to be provided during the payment deferral period to allow contractors that meet certain reporting criteria to continue to bid on work and operate. (May 22)
  • The interest-free payment plan for workplace injury insurance is extended beyond 2020 to March 31, 2021 to allow employers more flexibility to pay. (May 22)
  • Safety training certificates are extended to August 31, 2020 for confined space entry, fall protection, mine rescue, power line hazards, traffic control person, first aid and Occupational Health and Safety Committee members. (May 22)
  • Licences will not be cancelled for non-application for renewals until the public health restrictions have been lifted for real estate salespersons and agents; mortgage brokers; insurance companies; insurance adjusters, agents, representatives and brokers; and prepaid funeral services. (May 22)
  • New licence applications will be processed for real estate salespersons and agents; mortgage brokers; insurance companies; and insurance adjusters, representatives, agents and brokers. (May 22)
  • Businesses are eligible to have a portion of vehicle registration fees for vehicles registered to the business refunded, if they are not in use. (May 22)
  • Commercial vehicles of 4,500 kilograms or greater are not required to have their safety inspection completed while they are not operational. (May 22)
  • Deferral of the requirement for businesses to file yearly returns under Companies and Deeds Online (CADO) and remittance of the accompanying filing fee. (May 22)
  • A local preference provision has been added to the Public Procurement Regulations to increase the procurement threshold to help local businesses. This provision will mandate an allowance of ten per cent for local suppliers for all procurements, to the maximum permitted under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. (May 22)
  • All tax returns, with the exception of tax returns required from interjurisdictional carriers, falling under the purview of the Revenue Administration Act and Regulations, which would otherwise be due March 20, 2020 to July 31, 2020, are now due August 20, 2020. The tax returns applicable to this extension include Gasoline Tax, Carbon Tax, Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax, Insurance Companies Tax, Mining and Mineral Rights Tax, Tax on Insurance Premiums and Tobacco Tax. (June 8)
  • The expiry date for Fuel Tax Exemption Permits, allowing permit holders to purchase tax-exempt marked gasoline and light fuel oil, that were originally set to expire on March 31, 2020 has been further extended to August 31, 2020. Gasoline and carbon product retailers throughout the province are authorized to accept such permits and continue to sell marked diesel and light fuel oil exempt of gasoline and carbon tax to these permit holders up to and including August 31, 2020. (June 17)
Agriculture and Agribusiness
  • Funding applications for the 2020-21 Provincial Agrifoods Assistance Program are now available to help current farmers and new entrants prepare for the upcoming season. The Provincial Agrifoods Assistance Program will invest $2.25 million in agriculture programs in 2020-21, with priority on projects that support food self-sufficiency, increase agricultural growth and secondary processing and generate employment. Successful program applicants will also be eligible for cash advances to ensure funding is available early in the season when needed. (March 24)
  • Fisheries and Land Resources is working to address Newfoundland and Labrador’s food security needs during the COVID-19 pandemic by nearly doubling the volume of vegetable transplants available under the Vegetable Transplant Program – from 1.7 million transplants in 2019 to three million in 2020 – to assist eligible commercial vegetable producers in the upcoming growing season. (May 6)
  • Payment of water use charges for 2019 related to microbreweries and wineries and aquaculture due in the 2020-21 fiscal year have been waived. Payment of water use charges for all other industries will be deferred until March 31, 2021. (May 22)
  • Elimination or offer of rebates on aquaculture licence fees, and deferral of annual Crown Lands fees for aquaculture sites. (May 22)
  • Full rebate of base fish processor and buyer licensing fees to assist fish processing plants and fish buyers. (May 22)
  • has announced a $400,000-seafood marketing and innovation fund that will support the marketing of seafood products for retail and establish other markets for seafood sales in light of the impact of COVID-19 on restaurant sales. (July 30)
Hospitality
  • In support of licensees, which includes lounges, bars and restaurants, effective immediately the NLC will waive liquor license fees for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Also, the NLC will work with the licensee community to return general list product in an effort to help with working capital. The NLC is also temporarily waiving warehousing service fees for microbrewers with annual production of 1,000 hectolitres or less for those who use the NLC’s distribution network. (May 1)
  • To further assist the province’s beverage industry, the NLC has been approved to implement a wholesale pricing discount for licensees, by providing a five per cent discount for wines and spirits, and ready to drink beverages. (May 1)
  • Additionally, government has approved an increase in product commission discounts for craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries producing 1,000 hectolitres or less to 55 percent for non-NLC distributed products. (May 1)
  • Payment of water use charges for 2019 related to microbreweries and wineries and aquaculture due in the 2020-21 fiscal year have been waived. Payment of water use charges for all other industries will be deferred until March 31, 2021. (May 22)
Tourism
  • Under the Tourism and Hospitality Support Program, eligible small and medium-sized tourism operators will be able to apply for a one-time, non-repayable working capital contribution on June 8th of either $5,000 or $10,000, dependent on gross sales. (May 25)
Mining, Mineral Exploration and Quarry
  • Deferral of rental and fee payments associated with land tenure issued under the Mineral Act and Quarry Materials Act until December 31, 2020. The date range to be qualified for deferral is March 18, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Items being deferred include mining and surface lease rentals, mineral licence renewal fees, application and reapplication fees and rentals for quarry permits, quarry lease rental, and hectarage fees for quarry materials exploration licence applications. (June 8)
  • Waiver of water use charge payments for 2019 related to mineral exploration. (June 8)
  • Waiver of mineral assessment expenditure requirements for mineral licences for one year – from March 18, 2020 to March 17, 2021. (June 8)
Forestry
  • The province today announced $9.6 million in funding to create jobs and develop forest sector products and markets. New initiatives include $5.7 million for forest industry development projects, $400,000 for secondary forestry processing innovation pilot projects, and $3.5 million to establish forestry biomass market opportunities. (June 12)

Employment Standards

  • Provide employees with protections from losing their job if they must take time away from work as a result of COVID-19. (March 26)
  • The Provincial Government has extended the period that an employee can remain temporarily laid off to 26 weeks in a period of 33 consecutive weeks, previously 13 weeks in a period of 20 consecutive weeks The time period for making a complaint to the Director of Labour Standards has also been temporarily extended to 12 months from its previous six months. Both extensions are retroactive to March 18, 2020 and will end on September 18, 2020. (June 12)