Federal Aid Programs
CERB: Self-employed workers who make up to $1,000 a month are now eligible to apply for the CERB.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): The CEBA has been expanded to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs. Since the launch of the CEBA on April 9, 2020, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, extending more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses.
BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program: You can now apply for this program which gives $300 per month for eligible households with no dependents, and $500 per month for eligible households with dependents.
Households need to meet each of the following criteria to qualify for the BC Temporary Rental Supplement:
- Have a 2019 gross household income of less than:
- $74,150 for singles and couples without dependents
- $113,040 for households with dependents
- As a result of COVID-19:
- Be receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance; or
- Be receiving or eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit offered by the federal government; or
- Have experienced, and be able to provide evidence of, a drop of 25% or more in monthly household employment income
- Be paying more than 30% of current household income towards rent
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. The federal government is working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and they will have more details to share soon.
Market Highlights (from Myles Zyblock, Chief Investment Officer, Dynamic Funds)
The number of confirmed global COVID-19 cases topped 2 million this week while the tally for deaths is now just under 140k. Thankfully, these curves appear to be bending. Countries that were the hardest-hit, such as Italy and Spain, have joined China and South Korea in stabilizing their daily new cases and death tolls.
Closer to home, the number of daily deaths continue to climb in the U.S. and Canada. However, the Trump administration has been more optimistic around their recent numbers and has laid out guidelines to state Governors for “opening up America again”. Ultimately, the decision of when to re-open will be made by the Governors as different states are experiencing different levels of infection. This will likely result in the economy re-starting in phases with the less-impacted areas coming back sooner. Included in the information package’s list of criteria (before opening up) is the need for a 14-day downtrend in the number of patients with influenza-like symptoms as well as confirmed coronavirus cases, the ability for broad testing for everyone, and a consideration for the ability of hospitals to treat patients.
In Europe, Germany’s numbers surrounding the coronavirus have been relatively less severe than its regional counterparts. For example, its case fatality rate is at 2.8% compared with 4.8% for Switzerland and 13% for both Italy and the U.K. Perhaps this is why Chancellor Merkel is planning on slowly re-opening the German economy in phases, starting on April 20 with factories followed by schools and small shops in early May
Gilead’s coronavirus drug, Remdesivir, is showing promise as a treatment for Coronavirus. However, this is still an early result and we hope to hear about more successes from them soon.
The IMF released its economic outlook this week, after accounting for the coronavirus outbreak, and the forecast was chilling. Global GDP for 2020 is expected to come in at -3% while US and Canada are expected to deliver -5.9% and -6.2%, respectively.
Early signs point to a severe economic downturn. In the U.S., monthly retail sales came in at -8.7%, which is the biggest decline in the data series’ history going back to 1967. Similarly, industrial production was reported at -5.4% which is the largest fall in output since 1946. Keep in mind that these data releases are for March which captures roughly half a month of shutdown. We imagine that April and May’s data incorporating a full month of shutdown could look even worse.
Some other data points that caught our attention from around the world include Hong Kong’s average daily visitor arrivals holding at zero, reflecting the continued troubles in tourism and leisure related industries. As well, China’s GDP was reported at -6.8% on a year-over-year basis for Q1. In Canada, we saw home sales decline by 14.3% for March.
(end of Myles Zyblog commentary)