*The application deadline for this program is April 30th, 2021*
* Financial assistance includes up to $5,000 per month for December 2020-March 2021 for small businesses equal to a $20,000 total covid grant*
There are many relief funds and programs that the government has made available to business owners that are being effected by the current global pandemic. In Saskatchewan, we would like to highlight the Small Business Emergency Payment Program that is currently being offered by the Government of Saskatchewan. The following will breakdown in detail what exactly the program is, the benefits businesses can receive, the eligibility requirements to receive the benefits, and how to apply for the program.
What is the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment Program?
This is a payment program offered by the Government of Saskatchewan to provide financial assistance to small businesses that have been ordered to temporarily close or substantially limit operations due to a public health order in effect to control the transmission of COVID-19. The program operates through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Export Development. Financial assistance includes up to $5,000 per month for December 2020-March 2021. The program is currently in Phase 2, which covers the periods of:
- December 1st-31st, 2020
- January 1st-31st, 2021
- February 1st-28th, 2021
- March 1st-31st, 2021
The deadline to apply for Phase 2 of this program is April 30th, 2021. Application submissions for Phase 2 opened on December 7th, 2020.
Phase 1 of the Saskatchewan Small Business Payment Program ran from April-June 2020. Phase 2 was originally supposed to run for December 2020 and January 2021; however, the Government of Saskatchewan released an amendment and extended the Phase 2 eligibility period until March 31st, 2021.
The payment benefit is based on 15% of a business’s monthly sales revenue for November 2019, December 2019, or February 2020 up to a maximum of $5,000 per eligibility period. As the applicant, you can select the month with the most sales revenue to ensure you receive the most out of the financial assistance. The payments can be used for any purpose within the business, such as paying fixed costs or expenses related to re-opening the business after the pandemic. For seasonal businesses, payments are based on 15% of their average monthly sales for operations in 2019 with the same maximum of $5,000 per period. For tax purposes, all funds received are considered income and must be included in your business’s income when preparing your income tax forms.
The bottom line: you could receive up to $5,000 X 4 months (Dec 2020-Mar 2021) = $20,000! I’m not sure about you, but I know $20,000 could do quite a bit to help out with most businesses.
There are 7 eligibility points that need to be met in order to be entitled to receive the benefit from the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment Program. We have detailed each point to ensure that you understand the terms and definitions that are open to interpretation. While the Government understands that this program does not help all businesses, they are trying to help as many as possible during these times.
*Please note: Businesses considered “critical public services” on the Critical Public Services and Allowable Business Services list are not eligible for the benefits of this program.
*Please note: Seasonal business that do not normally operate in December 2020, January 2021, February 2021, and/or March 2021 are not eligible for the benefits of this program.
1. Operating business in Saskatchewan since October 31, 2020
2. Permanent establishment in Saskatchewan
3. Income taxes are paid to Saskatchewan
4. Small business with less than 500 employees at all locations
a. In the year before the public health order
b. Averaged over the 3 years previous to the public health order
*Please note: If you have more than 1fixed business location, you should submit a separate application for each fixed business location you own as long as you still have less than 500 employees total between all of your locations. If you have 3 locations in Saskatchewan and 100 employees between all the locations, you would submit 3 separate applications and possibly receive $5,000 per location for each eligibility period.
5. Attest that your business:
a. Has or will experience a loss in sales revenue from business activities during December 2020, January 2021, February 2021, and/or March 2021 due to a public health order
i. Decline in sales revenue must be a direct result of a restriction imposed by a public health order. A decline in demand does not on its own make a business eligible.
b. Plans to reopen or continue operations following the cancellation of the public health orders
6. Have been ordered to temporarily close or substantially curtail operations during December 2020, January 2021, February 2021, and/or March 2021 due to a COVID-19 public health order.
Substantially Curtail: This means restrictions have been imposed on the business that are beyond the measures that are applicable to most businesses. There are certain conditions that need to be met in order for a business to be considered substantially curtailed. Here are the details of those conditions:
a. Substantially curtailed does not mean having to implement physical distancing or proper PPE. All businesses are required to operate safely through physical distancing and proper PPE (personal protective equipment).
b. Capacity restrictions must restrict the business’s normal range of customer numbers or operating hours to be considered “substantially curtailed”
c. Retail Businesses: Currently all businesses are restricted to 50% of their fire code capacity, or 25% for larger retailers that have more than 20,000sq. ft. This fire code restriction is not enough on its own for retail businesses to be considered substantially curtailed. Retail businesses will need to demonstrate that the business has experienced at least one of the following:
i. Has had customers line up or wait outside of the retail establishment in order to comply with the 25% or 50% fire code capacity restriction
ii. Has had to move to an appointment-based business model to ensure that customers will be able to enter the facility at the specified time
iii. Has moved to predominantly on-line sales, delivery or pick-up as a result of the public emergency
iv. Has another way to prove business operations have been substantially curtailed by the fire code capacity restriction in the public health order in effect. It is the business’s responsibility to be able to demonstrate this restriction, if required.
*Please note: All applicants may be subject to an audit at a later date and will be required to demonstrate when/how they were restricted by the fire code capacity.
d. Retail Businesses that also provide a service: Retail businesses are subject to restrictions under the current public health orders; however, most service businesses are not, aside from “personal services”. Retail businesses that also offer a service may be eligible, as long as sales revenue from retail sales is the majority source of sales revenue (51% or more of the total sales revenues). A retail business offering services that does not have at least 51% of retail revenue coming from retail sales revenue will not be eligible for this program. Another way of putting this, is that the businesses revenue from service can’t be the majority of their sales and must be 49% or less of the total retail revenue in order to be eligible. Be prepared to answer the following 2 questions:
1. In what way has your retail been significantly curtailed (see question 4)?
2. What portion of your sales revenue comes from retail versus services?
e. A business that meets the following 2 criteria may also be considered substantially curtailed:
i. Their main source of revenue is reliant on a sector that is closed or was ordered to close due to the restrictions of a public health order (i.e., sports leagues, events)
ii. They offer specialized services to a sector that is closed or was ordered to close and is unable to offer their products or services to a different sector due to the restrictions of a public health order (i.e., Trophy making company for tournaments)
7. Apply before April 30th, 2021
How to Apply
Well, if you’ve made it reading this far, we’re guessing you are wanting to submit an application form! Before getting started, there are a few more things to know about the application process. Once you have applied for the December 2020 eligibility period, you will automatically be considered for the following period of January 2021 as long as you can attest the same conditions from your original application. In other words, if you are accepted for your original application, you will receive an attestation letter the following month to ensure you are still eligible. In the attestation letter, business owners need to again prove that their sales revenue has declined in order to qualify for the benefits. Payments will be calculated the exact same for each month in the Phase 2 period, meaning you can expect the same amount to be issued each month you are eligible.
*Please note: Applications may be subject to an audit at any time after the payment has been issued. If a payment is deemed ineligible, the entire amount will be considered a debt owing to the Government of Saskatchewan and will subject to collection activities outlined in The Financial Administration Act.
Now you are ready to complete the application! No better time to get started than now, as applications can take up to 3 weeks to process. Make sure to have your direct deposit information ready to attach to your application, as this will speed up the payment process once approved.
Complete the online application here.
We get it, some of us just need to see, hear, read, feel, maybe even taste, more information! While we have provided many details about the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment Program, the payment benefits, the requirements to be eligible for this program, and the application process, the Government of Saskatchewan also offers their version of all the details on their website. We hope this has provided enough information to uncomplicate this complicated process even just a little bit, and may the odds be ever in your favour.