Branch financial assistance during COVID-19
March 25, 2020
This time of unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the operations and programs of the Legion at all levels of the organization. Each member, Branch and Command has contributed to the collaborative effort to stop
the potential spread of the virus and thank you all for your quick action.
I also am impressed by how Branches and members right across this country have stepped up to help their community meet some of the challenges they are facing. Well done and keep up this great work!
One major impact on the organization is the closure of Branches nationwide. These closures have put a serious strain on the financial resources of Branches everywhere…but help is available! As researched by our Dominion Treasurer, Comrade Mark
Barham, what follows is a summary of options Branches have which may allow for some interim financing.
Summary of Resources
- Branches should check their operational insurance policies. Most insurance policies have "Force Majeure" clauses which MAY cover directed closure as a result of government action. Explore the policy with your insurance provider.
- All large banks have announced they will work with small businesses in this time of need. Banks are putting in place "INTEREST ONLY" payments on existing mortgages and loans. The plans will run for up to six months and can be set up with a call to
your bank. In addition, with the lowering of interest rates, ensure you are getting the best possible rate by asking for it.
- Provincial Governments have put in place assistance programs for small businesses and senior's centers and not for profits. As an example, Alberta has set aside 10 Million Dollars for Senior Centers and local gathering centers. To access the potential
funding, you must apply online. Again, no guarantees, but it does not hurt to ask.
- There have been a number of utility companies that have announced payments for utilities can be delayed for up to three months. Again, explore that with your provider.
- Food suppliers such as GFS are willing to work with Legion Branches to extend payment schedules. Again, it is up to the Branch to make the inquires.
Command Specific Resources
- British Columbia: The BC Economic Development Association has set up a fabulous resource website where access points and assistance are identified. This is a one-stop shopping
location. The website is https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/resources-for-small-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19/.
Electricity will not be disconnected if not paid in BC. Also, there can be a deferral of property taxes in Vancouver.
- Alberta: The province has set up a COVID-19 website where provincial assistance and action is highlighted. It is www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.
$10 Million has been set aside for Social Assistance for Seniors Centers, and Municipalities. The Legion qualifies as a Senior Gathering Center.
- Saskatchewan: At the time of writing this, the province is setting a mini budget in place of 1.3 Billion dollars to mitigate the effects of the Virus in the province. Nothing is available as an
indication of funding accessibility for not for profits.
- Manitoba: The province has a web site: www.gov.mb.ca/covid19. They have an information line set up for assistance. The number is 1-866-626-4862.
Manitoba Hydro announced they will keep power on for customers unable to pay. The customer must speak with the Hydro representative to make arrangements. The number is 1-800-652-4490.
- Ontario: At the time of writing this, the province is in the process of rewriting the 2020 budget and instead, will release an economic and fiscal update on March 25, 2020.
- Quebec: The province has put into effect a temporary income replacement program for employees affected. The amount is $573.00 per week if self-isolating. Montreal has postponed the second installment
of municipal tax payment. In addition, loans with PME MTL will be postponed for six months.
- New Brunswick: Work Safe NB are waiving premiums for three months. Property taxes will be reviewed on a case by case basis to see if penalties for late payment can be waived for financial challenges
due to ordered closures. NB Power will not disconnect customers for non-payment until further notice. The provincial budget released two weeks ago will be reformulated to protect businesses and individuals. At the time of writing this, there is
no indication what the reformulation will mean for businesses and not for profits.
- Nova Scotia: On March 20, 2020, the province announced $161 Million to help small businesses weather COVID-19. The money is for businesses to immediately address cash flow and access to credit.
The loans will not have to be paid back until the end of June. Some fees will also be deferred or waived. Worker's compensation premium payments are delayed until July. The small business loan guarantee program is increased to $500K. For businesses
that cannot qualify, the province will guarantee the first $100K.
- Prince Edward Island: The province announced a $25 Million Emergency Contingency Fund for small businesses. The application process can be started with a phone call to the provincial government
- Newfoundland and Labrador: At the time of writing this, there would appear that no outreach has been made to businesses as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Territories: At the time of writing this, there would appear that no outreach has been made to businesses as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Comrades, these are very difficult times. We are The Royal Canadian Legion and normally in hard times, the Legion is the one providing assistance. It is unusual for all of us to find ourselves in the position of having to ask for the assistance. But,
nevertheless, the ask must be made.
Thomas D. Irvine, CD
The Royal Canadian Legion