The Manitoba government is introducing the Sector Support Program to provide up to $22 million in further support for businesses affected by the most recent COVID-19 public health orders, Economic Development and Jobs Minister Jon Reyes and Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced today.

The ministers noted the support would help approximately 1,800 businesses through various levels of available funding, depending on the number of employees on their last payrolls before the public health orders took effect on Dec. 21.

An online assessment tool will be available by the end of the busy holiday period, and until Jan. 31, 2022, to help business owners determine their level of eligibility for the Sector Support Program. Businesses can apply for grants based on the number of employees:

  • one to nine employees – $3,000;
  • 10 to 19 employees – $6,000;
  • 20 to 49 employees – $9,000; and
  • more than 50 employees – $12,000.

The program is available to businesses such as restaurants, hotels and bars that provide primarily dine-in food services, as well as fitness and recreation facilities, such as movie theatres, performance venues and museums.

Food service establishments will be encouraged to donate any surplus food to local food banks and other organizations that provide meals to Manitobans in need.

More information on the Sector Support Program is available at: https://manitoba.ca/covid19/programs/issp.html.

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is pleased to have been consulted by government in the development of the program as it meets a number of key criteria when developing a support program:

  • Timely
  • Simple to apply
  • Scalable
  • Provides business with certainty

“No support program is ever going to make up for the losses and debt that businesses have incurred over the course of the pandemic but today’s measure will hopefully lessen the stress level of those business owners that have been asked to reduce capacity as a result of Public Health Measures,” said MCC President and CEO Chuck Davidson. “Our goal is to do what ever is needed to keep business open and Manitobans employed during these challenging times”

In addition the federal government has announced its intention to temporarily expand eligibility for key support programs to ensure Canadians are protected and workers and businesses get the help they need to sustain them through new and necessary public health restrictions.

Using regulatory authority provided in Bill C-2, the government intends to introduce new regulations that would:

  • Expand the Local Lockdown Program to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more; and reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25 per cent. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies from 25 per cent up to a maximum of 75 per cent, depending on their degree of revenue loss. The 12-month revenue decline test continues to not be required in order to access this support.
  • Expand the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. As announced previously, this benefit will provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers who are directly affected by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown, and who have lost 50 per cent or more of their income as a result.

These updated regulations will apply from December 19, 2021, to February 12, 2022, during which time it is expected that public health authorities will continue to implement “circuit-breaker” restrictions that limit the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 across Canada.