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Updated Relief Measures To Support Physicians And Their Practices

Sebastien Chevrier - Nov 13, 2020
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to financially challenge businesses countrywide, the Government of Canada has recently announced extensions to existing programs as well as several additional support measures to help businesses in need.

As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to financially challenge businesses countrywide, the Government of Canada has recently announced extensions to existing programs as well as several additional support measures to help those who may be struggling. For a number of physicians across the country, these updates are particularly relevant. 

On October 9, the Canadian government announced plans to introduce legislation shortly on the following initiatives:

Expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

This extension allows those eligible for CEBA loans who continue to be seriously impacted by the pandemic to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. The application deadline for CEBA is now also being extended to December 31, 2020. However, an attestation of the impact of COVID-19 on the business will be required to access additional financing. 

In addition, businesses that have been operating out of a personal banking account will now be eligible as well, which they were not previously. 

Extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy 

This subsidy can now help continue to keep your staff on payroll until June 2021. This subsidy rate is up to a maximum of 65% of eligible wages until December 19, 2020. 

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy 

This subsidy would be provided directly to tenants, while also supporting property owners. It would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses (up to a maximum of 65%) based on how far their revenue has fallen. This new subsidy would be available retroactive from September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

You can read more about the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy here.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Top-up

This top-up of 25 percent is for businesses that were temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, and it is in addition to the 65 percent Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy. This could be extremely helpful for physicians whose practice may have experienced an outbreak and would have been forced to deal with such an order.

COVID-19 OHIP Advance Payment Program – Delayed Payback Date

In April of 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Health established an advance payment program for eligible physicians to address any cash flow issues that could arise during the pandemic. The COVID-19 Advance Payment Program provided monthly, interest-free, automated advance payments to be set off against future OHIP payments to individual physicians. Payments assessed over the previous 12 months (April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020) were examined, and a monthly average was determined based on payments for that period. The program automatically topped up physicians' payments to 70% of this average. Physicians who were eligible for advance payments automatically received them in May, June, and July 2020.

Originally, these were due to be paid back this month (November 2020). However, the government has now announced that paybacks will begin as of February and take place over a six-month period. You can learn more here.

New Benefits for Individuals

The government also recently announced additional support for individuals which may prove helpful to physicians dealing with Covid-19 personally.

Canada Recovery Benefit 

The Canada Recovery Benefit will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for those who are not employed/self-employed due to COVID-19 and who are not eligible for EI (or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19). Click here to learn more.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit 

The Canada Recovery Caregiving will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers unable to work for at least 50% of the week because of having to care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, daycares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19, or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19. Click here to find out more and apply.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit 

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19, self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19. Click here to find out more and apply.

Additional Support

While not every physician will be able to benefit from these recent announcements, they do provide some buffer for those who have been suffering or may suffer financially over the coming months. In addition, as we mentioned earlier, other potentially helpful measures are currently in effect.

If you require assistance in navigating the current financial environment, we are here to support you. For an exhaustive list of all payment and support options that have been available to physicians since the early days of the pandemic, you can click here to check out our previous blog.

Contact us to learn more. 

 

As part of Financial Literacy Month, we will be sharing regular financial posts on both our blog and Twitter over the coming weeks, so don’t forget to check back often!