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COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

Information for Languages Canada Members

Last updated: May 12, 2020

Languages Canada’s priority is to support our members to the fullest through this challenging time in order to ensure the well-being of members, their staff and students, and mitigate the financial impact on member programs.

We are compiling information and resources that we hope will be useful to you. While we strive to keep the information on this page up to date, we recommend checking official sources for any changes, as the situation and government responses evolve quickly.

Members are also welcome to contact the LC team to discuss specific issues affecting your program or share best practices.


Government information and guidance on COVID-19

Government of Canada

Provincial and territorial governments


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)


Advocacy efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our sector

LC is pursuing relief funding from the government, and our research shows that initially, the need for this support is particularly dire among our private sector members, which are SMEs. We are seeking assistance in the form of working capital grants to sustain members’ fixed operational costs. This aid will enable them to "hibernate" through the crisis and be ready to relaunch once restrictions are lifted. We are also advocating for support in the second phase to help all our members relaunch programs.

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 is an important contributor to the tourism, hospitality and post-secondary education sectors

Learn more:

How members can help make our voice heard

It is essential to make decision-makers aware of our situation. Without your help, we will not succeed.

  • Contact your local MP
    Download LC’s template letter (for private sector members) expressing the dire impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our sector. Personalize and send it to your local MP (find yours here). If your residence and business are in different ridings, send the letter to both.
     
  • Join our social media campaign
    Share our call on government to save 9000+ jobs in the language education sector on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Comment with your school’s perspective and tag your MP. 
     
  • Join the LC discussion group on Slack
    Share your stories, keep connected with other members and help motivate our entire community. Click here to join.

Economic support measures - Government of Canada

While LC works to secure relief funding for our sector, members should also consider the following support measures made available by the Government of Canada and visit Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan page for the most up-to-date information.

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit

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 Benefit is available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim. When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.

Learn more.

Wage Subsidies

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to June 6, 2020.

This wage subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position you to resume normal operations following the crisis.

To be eligible to receive the wage subsidy, you must:

  • be an eligible employer
  • have experienced an eligible reduction in revenue, and
  • have had a CRA payroll account on March 15, 2020

Eligible employers include:

  • individuals (including trusts)
  • taxable corporations persons that are exempt from corporate tax (Part I of the Income Tax Act), other than public institutions:
    • non-profit organizations
    • agricultural organizations
    • boards of trade
    • chambers of commerce
    • non-profit corporations for scientific research and experimental development
    • labour organizations or societies
    • benevolent or fraternal benefit societies or orders
  • registered charities
  • partnerships consisting of eligible employers

You must determine if your reduced revenue makes you eligible to apply for the wage subsidy in a particular period (15% for March 2020, 30% for April and May 2020).

Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy are now open. Most businesses may apply using their CRA My Business Account.

Get ready to apply

  • Register now for CRA’s My Business Account if you are not already signed up. This will ensure that you can apply as soon as applications open.
  • Make sure your business details and direct deposit information for your payroll accounts (RP) are up to date.
  • Before you apply, you will also need to calculate the estimated subsidy for your business.

You must keep records demonstrating your reduction in revenues and remuneration paid to employees.

Learn more.


10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Note: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, is a separate program. 

Learn more.

Work-Sharing temporary special measures to support employers and workers affected by COVID-19

Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the Government of Canada is introducing temporary special measures:

  • Extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks
  • Mandatory cooling off period has been waived for employers who have already used the Work-Sharing program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement
  • Reduce the previous requirements for a Recovery Plan to a single line of text in the application form
  • Reduce the requirement and expand eligibility to employers affected by accepting business who have been in business for only 1 year rather than 2, and eliminate the burden of having to provide sales/production figures at the same time, and
  • Expand eligibility for staff who are essential to recovery, Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and non-for-profit organization employers.

Learn more.

Business Credit Availability Program

The Government of Canada has introduced the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to help Canadian businesses obtain financing during the current period of significant uncertainty.

BCAP will support access to financing for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions. Through this program, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will provide $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support.

For additional information on any of the BCAP programs or to apply, businesses should contact their primary lender, where they have a pre-existing relationship. Businesses that are impacted can contact them by phone or email to find out about their application process.

BCAP includes the following programs:

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

CEBA provides much needed credit for small businesses to pay for immediate operating costs such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax, or debt service. It is 100 per cent funded by the Government of Canada.

  • It is available to Canadian employers with $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019, and operating as of March 1, 2020. This includes smaller (i.e., micro) businesses and other eligible employers such as not-for-profits.
  • Under CEBA, financial institutions will be able to provide interest-free credit facilities of up to $40,000 to eligible businesses.
  • If the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, 25 per cent (up to $10,000) will be forgiven.
  • If the loan is not repaid by December 31, 2022, the remaining balance will be converted to a three-year term loan at 5 per cent interest.

This program is now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.

EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

This program provides credit and cash flow term loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. Canadian businesses in all sectors that were otherwise financially viable and revenue generating prior to the COVID-19 outbreak are eligible to apply.

It allows financial institutions to issue operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to existing clients, with 80 per cent guaranteed by EDC.

This money is to be used for operational expenses, not for dividend payouts, shareholder loans, bonuses, stock buyback, option issuance, increases to executive compensation or repayment/refinancing of other debt.

This program is now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.

BDC Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises

This program provides term loans for operational and liquidity needs of businesses, which could include interest payments on existing debt. Similar to the EDC program, this program is available to businesses that were financially viable and revenue-generating prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The program is designed in three segments to target support to different business sizes.

  • Loans of up to $312,500 to businesses with revenues of less than $1 million.
  • Up to $3.125 million for businesses with revenues between $1 million and $50 million.
  • Up to $6.25 million for businesses with revenues in excess of $50 million.

Loans would be interest-only for the first 12 months, with a 10-year repayment period.

Applications details will be made available in the days to come by financial institutions.

Learn more.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

The federal government reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.

The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.

Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May, and further details will be announced soon.

Learn more.

Economic support measures - Provincial governments

British Columbia

For workers:

  • B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
    The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. Online applications for the one-time payment will open May 1, 2020.
  • Climate Action Tax Credit
    A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families.
  • Renters, Homeowners and People Experiencing Homelessness
    Funding for housing supports are increased to ensure people can maintain their housing in the event of job or income loss. 
  • B.C. Student Loans
    Starting March 30, 2020, B.C. student loan payments are automatically frozen for six months.

For businesses:

Manitoba

The Manitoba government has implemented a number of initiatives to support Manitoba businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • launching a new call centre to help businesses, non-profits and charities to connect with support programs;
  • extending the April and May tax filing deadlines for Retail Sales Tax until June 22, 2020 for small and medium businesses with monthly RST remittances of no more than $10,000 (see this bulletin for full details);
  • not charging interest or penalties for Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas, Workers Compensation Board and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI);
  • not disconnecting customers of Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas;
  • relax ordinary practices on policy renewals and collections at MPI;
  • not charge interest on Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries receivables from restaurants, bars and specialty wine stores; and
  • not charging interest on education property taxes.

Learn more.

Nova Scotia

The Government Nova Scotia has made these announcements to support businesses:

Small Business Impact Grant
Through this new $20-million program, eligible small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises ordered to close or greatly reduce operations because of the public health order may be eligible for a flexible grant. This one-time grant is equal to 15 per cent of revenue from sales, either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. You can use it for any purpose. The deadline to apply is 25 April.

Commercial rent deferral
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. Landlords are not permitted to change locks or seize property of businesses who cannot pay rent, if the business closed directly because of COVID public health orders.

Worker Emergency Bridge Fund
This fund supports people who are self-employed or laid-off who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance. Applications open 10 April 2020.

Changes to payments

  • Government will defer payments until June 30 for all government loans
  • Government will defer the payment of small business fees until 30 June
  • The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through 16 provincial credit unions, will defer principal and interest payments until 30 June 2020. The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program continues to provide access to credit for eligible businesses up to $500,000
  • Small businesses which do business with the government will be paid within five days instead of the standard 30 days

Learn more.

Ontario

Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
The Ontario Government is committing $241 million to partner with the federal government and deliver more than $900 million in urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords through a new program, the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). The OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Learn more.

Québec

The Government of Québec has implemented measures to support businesses, including:

Learn more.

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)