Update: Access to Federal COVID-19 Subsidies for Financial Advisors

We have heard your questions and concerns about access to federal subsidy programs and are pleased to provide some answers.

Federal Subsidy Access for Self-Employed Advisors

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) 

Who qualifies?

The government has addressed concerns from many industry associations by lowering the payroll threshold from $50,000 to $20,000. If you are incorporated and pay yourselves at least $20,000 yearly, you qualify for this subsidy.

How does it work?

Provided by participating financial institutions, the program will run for three months and provides a $40,000 interest-free loan for a period of just over 2 years.

$10,000 of that is forgivable if paid in full by the end of 2022.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Who qualifies? 

If you have paid employees, you may qualify for this 75% wage subsidy. You must have withstood a minimum 15% revenue decline in March and/or a 30% revenue decline in April and May. If you meet the revenue decline threshold in March, you automatically qualify for April. May would have to be reassessed.

How does it work?

To demonstrate threshold requirements, you must choose one of the following methodology options:

Option 1:  You can compare your revenue for the month you wish to receive the subsidy in with your revenue for the same month last year and show a 30% decrease for April and May, or a 15% decrease for March.

Option 2:  You can compare your gross revenue for the month you wish to receive the subsidy in with your average of gross revenue from January and February 2020.

Once an option is chosen, you must stick to that option and not change your methodology. 

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) 

This program is in development, and the provinces must be engaged given they are tasked with rental issues. This program will provide federal assistance to alleviate a large portion of commercial rental costs. A portion of rental costs will have to be paid by businesses.

Federal Subsidy Access for All Employees (Including Commission-Based Advisors)

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)  

Who qualifies?

This subsidy provides access to anyone that has earned a minimum of $5,000 of income in 2019. This includes those that have been paying themselves via dividends or earn their income via commission.

How it works?

Through this program, you could earn a minimum of $1,000 a month on top of any business revenue that you have been earning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Shift in Focus: Our COVID-19 Advocacy Efforts

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has altered advocacy efforts, our focus remains resolute. We continue to engage with government officials across the country, addressing the concerns of our membership in relation to COVID-19. Additionally, we have been ensuring that our members have access to the most up-to-date federal and provincial COVID-19 information on our COVID-19 Member Resource Centre.

Title Protection Advocacy Efforts

A pan-Canadian approach to title protection has, and will continue to be, our top advocacy issue.  We have seen legislation introduced and passed in Ontario, and legislation introduced in Saskatchewan. There were plenty of positive discussions with other jurisdictions over the last 12 to 18 months, and dialogue has been maintained with government officials across the country.

However, the events of the past couple of months have required us to refocus our advocacy efforts. For the past six weeks, and for the near future, governments across the country will continue to be squarely focused on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

To that end, we would kindly ask that all members refrain from lobbying their elected officials on issues such as title protection. This is a time to do what we can to assist government to ensure economic viability, and is not the time for lobbying on other matters.

Focus on Relief Measures

It is in that spirit that we have temporarily shifted our advocacy focus from title protection to advocating for temporary relief measures – such as the lowering of RRIF minimal withdrawal amounts. To support small businesses across the country, hundreds of advisors from across Canada have answered the call to provide pro-bono financial advice to small business owners through our Advocis Connect program.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the tremendous work you’re doing on behalf of your clients. Our country’s ability to rebuild its economy and the lives of Canadians impacted by this crisis can not, without doubt, be done without all of you. As your professional association, we will continue to do everything in our power to support you.

Non Solis Nobis.