Feds' Economic Update Lays Out New Supports for Arts Sector, Parents & Businesses

On Nov. 30, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister and minister of finance, released the federal government’s fall economic update, which is formally titled Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19: Fall Economic Statement 2020. The update does not provide dollar-for-dollar detail about the government's economic plans, but rather provides a broad fiscal update for the country and lays out the government’s priorities and general plans for additional supports to get people and businesses through the current economic crisis.

Included in the latest economic statement are a number of items that should help individuals and small businesses in the Canadian music and entertainment industry. Before any of the new promises are made reality, it’ll require that the House of Commons passes spending legislation.

To start, Freeland’s announced the planned creation of Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program, which intends to support the hardest-hit industries, like tourism, hotels, arts and culture, and the air sector. It will offer eligible businesses low-interest loans of up to $1 million with a 10-year term. The federal government will guarantee this money that is leant by banks or other financial institutions.

“We know that businesses in tourism, hospitality, travel, arts and culture have been particularly hard-hit,” said Minister Freeland, “so we’re creating a new stream of support for those businesses that need it most — a credit availability program with 100-per-cent government-backed loan support and favourable terms for businesses that have lost revenue as people stay home to fight the spread of the virus.”

To help parents of young children, there will be temporary support of up to $1,200 in 2021 for each child under the age of six for parents entitled to the Canada Child Benefit. This will be split into four payments of $300, with the first coming shortly after the enabling legislation is passed, and the other payments coming in April, July, and October 2021. Families that earn a net income above $120,000 will be entitled to half that level of payment. As well, child care agencies will get 120,000 every child they care for under the age of six in 2021.

For help businesses weather the second wave of COVID-19, the government plans to increase the maximum rate of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to 75% for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and extending this rate until March 13, 2021, and extending the current rates of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until March 13, 2021. Both programs will be there for businesses until June 2021.

Also, the Canada Revenue Agency will allow people working from home "with modest expenses" to claim up to $400 as a tax deduction without having to provide a detailed account of their expenses.

The Department of Finance Canada also released the Annual Financial Report of the Government of Canada for 2019–20. It provides an overview of the government’s spending and revenue for the previous fiscal year and highlights the factors affecting these results.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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