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COVID-19 Economic Support and Recovery

last updated: Monday, April 6, 2020

On March 23, 2020, Kitchener City Council approved the City’s Early Economic Support Plan, which includes financial and economic support measures to help reduce the financial strain on citizens and businesses during the current pandemic.

The City of Kitchener’s Early Economic Support Plan, complements recently announced Federal and Provincial financial aid programs and is part of a coordinated economic response to the pandemic with Waterloo Economic Development Corporation (WaterlooEDC), Communitech, the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, area-municipalities and the Region of Waterloo.

It includes immediate supports over the next two months as well as longer-term work with various partners to develop a comprehensive plan focused on supporting the community in its recovery.

Early Economic Support Plan includes: 

Immediate financial flexibility for residents and businesses, including:

  • Waiving penalties and interest charges for property tax and utility payments until May 31. Utility collection notices and disconnections will also be suspended during this period.
  • Permitting the City to investigate giving tenants of city-owned commercial spaces, such as the Kitchener Market, a reduction in lease and license payments.
  • Allowing businesses who have not yet renewed their annual business license to defer payment of their licensing fees to a later date.
  • Allowing monthly parking customers at City of Kitchener parking lots to receive a full rebate of permit fees paid between March 16, 2020, and April 6, 2020, and to retain their parking permit without penalty until operations resume.

Continued support for local construction industry

  • Continuing to review development plans using digital and virtual software to ensure construction projects can continue.
  • Following provincial direction, building inspectors will be continuing inspections of unoccupied buildings. Inspections of permits for occupied buildings, such as renovations and interior alterations, will be paused.

Additional support for local businesses and employees

  • Directing City staff to work with regional partners to identify opportunities to further support local businesses and employees through webinars and training programs to assist Kitchener entrepreneurs applying for Federal and Provincial aid.

This page will be continuously updated as new measures are approved. To receive notification of changes, subscribe to this page below.

Immediate Measures:

FAQs on City of Kitchener Early Interventions for Business and Residents

On Monday March 23, 2020, Kitchener City Council approved the following early interventions to support Kitchener residents and businesses:

For answers, please click on each question to be redirected to the city's COVID-19 page.

If I am a monthly subscriber to a city parking garage, will I get a refund/reimbursement for parking not used between now and April 6?

I’m a monthly subscriber to a city parking garage, can I suspend my parking after April 6, 2020? 

Do I still have to pay property taxes?

Will construction/road projects continue?

Do I still have to pay my utilities bills?

City Hall is closed but can I still apply for a business or marriage license?

I am a City of Kitchener commercial tenant / Kitchener Market vendor / 44 Gaukel artist, what supports are available? Provincial laws may limit the amount of reduction the City can provide. For more information, please contact the following staff by clicking on their names:

Is the City of Kitchener still conducting building inspections?

Are council and committee meetings cancelled?

Federal and Provincial Supports

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

On Wednesday March 18, 2020 the Canadian government committed $82 billion in direct aid and deferred tax payments for individuals and businesses. The flow of money — described as the first phase of an even bigger rescue plan — is meant to support people who lose their jobs or miss work because of the virus, and help businesses survive the economic turmoil churned up by the health crisis.  We will update this information as more details are released.

 Federal Support for Individuals, Workers and those that are Self-employed

If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old

  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits

  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and

  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income

Find out more about this program or apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Other supports for individuals include changes to the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits, increased Canada Child benefit and to support those with student loans. Find all the details on the Government of Canada website. 

 Flexibility for Taxpayers
Canada Revenue Agency will allow individuals to defer their tax filing to June 1, 2020. Read more about tax filing deferral
 Mortgage Default Management Tools
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements. For more information, view all the mortgage support details and contact your lender.
 Support for vulnerable Canadians
Funding has increased to support those experiencing homelessness, those living in shelters and fleeing domestic violence, Indigenous community support.
 Federal Support for Business
 
 Ensuring Businesses Have Access to Credit
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses. Find out more about the details of additional support.
 Helping Businesses Keep their Workers
To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Includes corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Read more about temporary wage subsidy.
 Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes
Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. Here is more information about payment defferal.
 Supporting Financial Market Liquidity
To bolster the financial system and the Canadian economy, the government announced on March 16, 2020 that it is launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP). Under this program, the government will purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market. Details of the terms of the purchase operations will be provided to lenders by CMHC later this week. Find out more about the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program.
 Provincial Support
 Mandatory Closures
Beginning on March 24, 2020 at 11:59pm, The Province of Ontario ordered the mandatory closure for all non-essential workplaces. Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.  Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5 p.m. For more information, view the full list of essential workplaces.
 Retooling
Local businesses are being asked to consider how they might retool to provide essential medical items in short supply. Find out how to retool.
 Validation Extensions
Many provincial products and services are having their validation extended, including driver’s license and health card renewals. Find out how to extend.
 Ontario's Action Plan

On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Ontario’s Action Plan was introuduced outlining the Province’s $17 billion response to COVID-19. This action plan provides $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and will provide direct support for people, and jobs. This includes $3.3 billion in additional health care resources, $3.7 billion to support people and jobs, and measures that will make available up to $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals. Some of the supports to assist individuals and business are listed here:

  • The Ontario government is offering direct financial support to parents with a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 years of age, and $250 for those 0 to 21 years of age with special needs. Application form available online. Families already receiving the Support for Parents payments do not need to reapply to receive this support
  • Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief, in coordination with the federal government’s measures
  • 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. The government 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 a result of measures to contain the COVID‑19 outbreak
  • $75 million in urgent additional support for 194,000 low-income seniors by proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment to $166 per month for individuals and $332 per month for couples, for six months starting in April 2020
  • Providing new, additional support of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need, costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations, as well as funding to address emergency planning and self‑isolation needs for people in First Nation communities
  • $200 million in new funding to provide temporary emergency supports for people in financial need as well as funding to municipalities and other service providers to respond to local needs; for example, food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services
  • $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low‑income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID‑19 outbreak
  • Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption
  • Supporting the timely delivery of critical food and supplies by amending a regulation that restricted delivery trucks from operating during off-peak hours
 Additional Business Supports from Regional Partners & Other
 
 Small Business & Entrepreneurship Resources
Small Business Centre: Access webinars and resources that can help you maintain & support your business. To learn more, visit the Small Business Centre page. 
 Small, Medium and Large Business
 Artists & Creative Entrepreneurs
Many resources and advocacy groups are available based on discipline. Please find a complete listing on the City of Kitchener’s Arts & Culture webpage.
 Tech Industry
 Communitech: COVID-19 Info Centre
 Manufacturing
 Waterloo Region Manufacturing Innovation Network

This page will be continuously updated as new measures are approved. To receive notification of changes, subscribe to this page below.

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