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COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

Information and Guidance for Languages Canada Members

Last updated: August 14, 2020


Languages Canada’s top priority is to support our members to the fullest through the COVID-19 pandemic, helping you ensure the well-being of your students and staff, and working to mitigate the financial impact of this crisis on our sector. We hope the information and resources collected on this page will be useful to you. Members are welcome to contact the LC team to discuss specific issues affecting your programs or share best practices.

Please note that while we strive to keep this page up to date, we recommend checking official sources, with respect to government information, to ensure you have the most current guidance.

On this page:


LC’s advocacy work on behalf of our members

LC is actively pursuing support for our members from all levels of government. Our research and member survey data show that the need for this support is, initially, especially dire among our private sector members, which are SMEs. We are seeking assistance in the form of working capital grants to sustain our members’ fixed operational costs. This aid will enable them to "hibernate" through the crisis. We are also advocating for support in the second phase to help all our members relaunch their programs once COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted.

Why the Canadian language education sector is important

  • It attracts over 150,000 international students each year
  • It employs over 9,000 people 
  • It is a critical segment of Canada’s $22 billion international education sector
  • It contributes significantly to the success of the Canadian tourism, hospitality and post-secondary education sectors

How members can help make the sector’s voice heard

We encourage all members, their staff and homestay families to support LC’s COVID-19 advocacy efforts by contacting their local MP and MPP/MLA/MNA. It is essential for decision-makers, legislators and government officials to be aware of our sector’s situation. Without your help, we will not succeed.

Advocacy tools and resources


Government Financial Support Measures for Businesses

While LC works to secure relief funding for our sector, members should also consider the following support measures made available by the federal and provincial governments.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on the Government of Canada's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
    As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15.
    Learn more.

    Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy
    A three-month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.
    Learn more.

    Extending the Work-Sharing Program
    The Work-Sharing program is extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. This measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
    Learn more.

    Income tax payment deferral
    All businesses are allowed to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020.
    Learn more.

    Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) interest-free loans
    The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
    Learn more.

    Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
    Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
    Learn more.

    Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
    Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues. This support is available until or before September 30, 2020.
    Learn more.

    Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
    The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides nearly $962 million to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access other support measures.
    Learn more.

    Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assurance (CECRA)
    Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Over the course of the program, property owners will reduce rent by at least 75 % for the months of April, May, June, July and August for their small business tenants. CECRA will cover 50 % of the rent, with the tenant paying up to 25 % and the property owner forgiving at least 25 %.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Alberta's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Relaunch funding
    The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers up to $5,000 in funding for eligible small- and medium-sized businesses, cooperatives and non-profits to offset a portion of their relaunch costs.
    Learn more.

    Protecting commercial tenants
    The Commercial Tenancies Protection Act ensures eligible commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Learn more.

    Corporate income tax changes
    Alberta corporate income tax balances owing on or after March 18, 2020, or instalments due between March 18, 2020 and September 30, 2020, may be deferred until September 30, 2020.
    Learn more.

  • Information about BC support for businesses, organizations and industry, including tax and rent relief is available here.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Manitoba's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Manitoba Economic Support Center
    Call the Manitoba Economic Support Center to learn more about provincial and federal support programs like wage subsidies, loans, rent assistance, hiring students and the new Manitoba Gap Protection Program. 1-888-805-7554.

    Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy Program
    The Back to Work in Manitoba initiative is a hiring program designed to support Manitoba’s economic recovery by encouraging Manitoba employers to bring back their employees or take on new hires. The program covers 50 per cent of wage costs between July 16 and October 31, 2020. Employers can be supported to hire up to 10 employees.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Nova Scotia's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Nova Scotia Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
    A joint initiative of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, Atlantic Central, local participating credit unions, and the Province of Nova Scotia.
    Learn more.

    Small Business Reopening and Support Grant
    Through this $25-million program, eligible small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises that were ordered to close or greatly reduce operations because of the Public Health Order, or that were greatly impacted by social distancing and orders to stay home, may qualify for a reopening and support grant.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Ontario's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Interest and penalty relief
    Businesses will get an extended interest and penalty relief period to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes. Between April 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020, the province will not apply any penalty or interest on any late-filed returns or incomplete or late tax payments under select provincially administered taxes, such as Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gas Tax.
    Learn more.

    Pausing commercial evictions
    The province is temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. This applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1 to August 31, 2020. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses.
    Learn more.

    Employer Health Tax relief
    The Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption is increased for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million. This means relief of up to $9,945 for employers.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Prince Edward Island's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program
    To support small and medium-sized businesses, landlords are encouraged to defer rent payments from their commercial tenants for 3 months, spreading the deferred rent amount over the rest of the lease term.
    Learn more.

    COVID-19 Workspace Adaptation Assistance Fund
    The COVID-19 Workspace Adaption Assistance Fund provides a non-repayable contribution toward the cost of implementing a COVID-19 Operational Plan.
    Learn more.

    Emergency Working Capital Financing
    A financing program has been developed to provide emergency working capital financing to assist PEI’s small business during this unprecedented economic disruption to business, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This new loan program is to assist qualifying companies maintain normal business operations during these difficult times. Eligible applicants can apply to receive a working capital loan of up to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4% per annum to be used to assist with fixed operating costs (including payroll, rent, utilities etc) with principal & interest payments deferred for a minimum of 12 months.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Québec's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Finding financial assistance for businesses
    Online tool. Learn more.

    Concerted temporary action program for businesses
    For businesses whose liquidity is affected by the repercussions of COVID-19.
    Learn more.

    Flexibility measures respecting existing loans and loan guarantees
    Learn more. French only.

    Emergency assistance for SMEs
    The program supports small and medium-sized enterprises that experience financial difficulties during the pandemic.
    Learn more. French only.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Saskatchewan's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Business reponse team
    Email supportforbusiness@gov.sk.ca or call toll free 1-844-800-8688.

    Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy
    The Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy allows eligible employers to access up to $10,000 to provide existing employees with training that addresses increased health and safety requirements or adoption of innovative practices that align with social distancing protocols. Applicants must demonstrate that the requested training supports the safe re-opening of the service or business. The application deadline is December 31, 2020.
    Learn more.

    Provincial Sales Tax
    Saskatchewan businesses which are unable to remit their PST due to cashflow concerns will have three-month relief from penalty and interest charges.
    Learn more.

    Commercial Eviction Protection for Tenants
    Temporary commercial eviction protection for small business tenants is available during the COVID-19 emergency. The moratorium on evictions applies to landlords that are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Commerical Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but choose not to.
    Learn more.

General COVID-19 links

Government of Canada

Provinces


Immigration and international students

The Government of Canada has put in place travel restriction measures that restrict air travel to Canadians, permanent residents and families of Canadians to protect Canada from the outbreak of COVID-19.

International students who have a valid study permit or who were approved for a study permit before March 18, 2020 are exempt from travel restrictions and are now able to enter Canada.

Learn more

Travel to and from Canada

Health checks are conducted by airlines before boarding flights. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air. Health checks are conducted upon arrival in Canada. Quarantine for 14 days is mandatory even when not showing symptoms. People without a plan to quarantine should not travel to Canada.

Learn more

LC is in regular communication with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and IRCC on issues impacting international students who are currently in Canada. GAC recently shared updates from Trade Commissioners around the world on repatriation of international students wishing to return home.

View updates (PDF - April 2, 2020)

Online course delivery

International students' eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program won’t be affected if in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19.

This includes students who have a study permit or who have been approved for a study permit for a program starting in May or June but who are unable to travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions. International students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and may complete up to 50% of their program while outside Canada if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.

Learn more

More information

Global Affairs Canada’s International Education Division has provided information and guidance that may be of assistance to international students. The resources listed provide information on study permit-related issues, as well as travel restrictions and exemptions that may affect international students, and Government of Canada programs for which international students may be eligible.

View GAC information for international students (PDF - April 3, 2020)

International Experience Canada (IEC) has provided updates on measures affecting youth mobility arrangements.

View updates from IEC (PDF - April 9, 2020)


Other government resources

BDC Webinar: How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business

The spread of COVID-19 poses important challenges to Canadian businesses. With the situation constantly evolving, you need to be prepared for any disruptions. Join BDC experts as they share short-term economic perspectives and advice on how to manage through the crisis.

Watch on YouTube.

Canada Business App

Download Canada Business to have information on government support at your fingertips.

Learn more.

Cancellations and postponements

LC members are encouraged to accommodate students who are affected by COVID-19-related travel restrictions by offering flexible arrangements such as credit or refunds on postponed or cancelled bookings. 

Transitioning to live virtual classes

As the current crisis continues to evolve, social distancing measures remain a crucial part of the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. With this in mind, Languages Canada is gathering information regarding tools and resources to help member programs transition from traditional classrooms to live virtual classes.

View resources for transitioning to live virtual classes (PDF, March 18, 2020)

Homestay and insurance issues

LC is gathering information from key service provider partners, such as insurance companies and student housing providers on how they are addressing challenges. 

LC Information Session: COVID-19 - Homestay and Insurance Issues

On March 16, 2020, LC hosted a webinar on homestay and insurance issues with representatives from Canada Homestay Network and guard.me. 

View homestay and insurance webinar recording (57 min.)
 

keep.meSAFE workshop - Mental Wellness in a Pandemic

We are pleased to share an invitation from our partners at keep.meSAFE for a free workshop to help members support their students' mental and emotional health and wellbeing during the current COVID-19 crisis. All staff and faculty are invited to join.

Friday, March 20  - 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (EDT)
Thursday, April 16 - 2:00 PM- 3:00 PM (EDT) 

Join the webinar by clicking on this link from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/753863805

Agencies

LC is staying connected with global partners via the GAELA and FELCA networks and industry associations to share information and learn best practices with the goal of alleviating negative impacts on our membership.

  • Summary of the situation in student sending countries, as described by FELCA member associations (March 11, 2020)
  • Summary of the situation in student sending countries, as described by FELCA member associations (March 30, 2020)

Staying active in a social distancing world

LC members are kindly sharing links to online fitness, mindfulness and entertainment resources to help staff, students and families stay active and healthy while respecting social distancing measures. If you would like to add to this list, please email communication@languagescanada.ca.

View resources (PDF, March 19, 2020)