Last updated Jan. 4, 2021. We will update blog posts when more information is released.
The Saskatchewan government announced a financial support plan for employers and employees impacted by COVID-19.
While many of the details about eligibility and application processes haven’t been released, here is a summary of the initiatives that may help your employees and your business.
SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYEES
SELF-ISOLATION SUPPORT PROGRAM
UPDATE: This program is now closed.
This program offers financial assistance for Saskatchewan workers in self-isolation. This is for workers who cannot earn all of their work income and are not eligible for another financial assistance program prior to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which comes into effect in April 2020.
The program offers financial assistance to Saskatchewan workers who:
- Are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms
- Have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19
- Have recently returned from international travel and have been required to self-isolate
Administered by the Ministry of Finance, the program will provide $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks or $900.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Saskatchewan workers must meet the following criteria:
- They have contracted COVID-19 or are showing symptoms
- Or they have been in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19
- Or they have recently returned from international travel and have been required to self-isolate
- They are not eligible for compensation including sick leave or vacation leave from their employer
- They do not have private insurance covering such disruptions
- They are not covered by other programs such as federal employment insurance that has been updated
Employees can apply online.
PAUSE ON STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENTS
UPDATE: This measure is over.
A six-month, interest-free pause on student loan repayments begins March 30, 2020. Repayment will begin after Sept. 30, 2020.
NEW REGULATIONS FOR JOB-PROTECTED LEAVE
The province introduced the Public Health Emergency Act so all employees have their jobs protected if they are required to self-isolate, or are caring for a dependent that is required to self-isolate.
Changes to the Saskatchewan Employment Act will ensure employees:
- Can access unpaid public health emergency leave
- Won’t have to adhere to a 13-week employment requirement to access sick leave
- Won’t need a doctor’s note
SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS
SASKATCHEWAN SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY PAYMENT
UPDATE: This program is now closed.
The province announced a one-time payment of up to $5,000 for businesses directly impacted by public heath orders related to COVID-19. The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) program can be used for any purpose by small and medium-sized businesses, which includes ongoing fixed costs or reopening once the pandemic is over.
CHANGES TO EMPLOYMENT STANDARD REGULATIONS
In addition to the above changes to the employment legislation, during a public emergency, businesses won’t have to provide notice when they lay-off employees for a period of 12 weeks or less in a 16-week period.
If an employer lays off employees for a total of more than 12 weeks in a 16-week period, they are considered terminated and are entitled to pay instead of notice. The notice calculation is made from the date on which the employee was laid off.
DEFERRED BILL PAYMENTS
UPDATE: The deferral period is now over.
All Crown utilities will implement bill-deferral programs allowing a zero-interest bill deferral for up to six months for customers whose ability to make bill payments may be impacted by COVID-19. This includes business owners.
PROVINCIAL SALES TAX RELIEF AND AUDIT SUSPENSION
UPDATE: The PST relief and audit suspension period is over.
Saskatchewan businesses who are unable to remit their PST due to cash flow concerns will have three-month relief from penalty and interest charges.
Businesses that are unable to file their provincial tax return(s) by the due date may submit a request for relief from penalty and interest charges on the return(s) affected.
Audit program and compliance activities have been suspended. The province says this will allow businesses to focus on the health and safety of their customers and staff, reduce impacts to their business operations, and minimize the spread of the virus through reduced audit travel.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR PST RELIEF?
Penalty and interest waiver requests can be submitted electronically through:
- The Saskatchewan eTax Service (SETS) located at sets.saskatchewan.ca
By email (email@example.com)
- In writing to the address below:
Ministry of Finance
PO Box 200
BUSINESS RESPONSE TEAM
The province launched a Business Response Team to identify program supports available to businesses provincially and federally. Call 1-844-800-8688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to learn more about this or other COVID-19 programs for Canadian businesses, please call us at 1-800-265-1002 or email email@example.com. Unlimited consultation related to tax matters is a key benefit of FBC Membership. You can also book a free online consultation.
Visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for the latest information, advice and insights for small business owners.
Disclaimer: The material above is provided for educational and informational purposes only.