Advocacy and Policy Updates

2020 Canadian Advocacy, Legislation and Policy Updates



NAFA Canadian Advocacy, Legislative and Policy Updates


March 26, 2020 Update

Given the ongoing situation related to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on businesses and the economy as a whole, NAFA is working closely with the Federal Government Public Health Authorities, Finance Canada and the provincial governments to ensure we are providing up-to-date information to Government officials and have information to share with fleet managers.
 
The following link provides the most up-to-date information on what government support is available to businesses and Canadians on an ongoing basis: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses 
 
Please note that some of the announced measures only received Royal Assent this afternoon, and should be accessible in the very near future. NAFA also anticipates additional measures and plans to be announced in the coming days and weeks. NAFA will continue to represent your interests with government officials and decision-makers throughout this crisis. Please stay safe and let us know what more we can do to help.
 
Below is the list of announcements most relevant to NAFA members:
 
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (these were previously announced as the “Emergency Support Benefit” and the “Emergency Care Benefit” that, as of today, have been combined into 1 benefit to allow Canadians to access the funds quicker): 
    • Provides up to $2,000 a month for the next four months to workers who aren’t receiving pay due to COVID-19. Those who have lost their job, contractors, self-employed, those who are sick, in quarantine, taking care of children or seniors all are covered.
    • Even if you still have a job but with no salary, you can receive the benefit.
    • All employees of a business, including the owner, are eligible.
    • Online portal for applications will be available soon and Canadians can receive the benefit within 10 days of applying, aiming to have portal ready by April 6th
  • Eliminating the payroll tax for three months by providing a 10% wage subsidy to small businesses;
  • Helping businesses with cash flow by deferring tax payments until August 31st;
  • Establishing a coordinated approach with the financial sector: cutting interest rates to 0.75%, and major banks increasing lending capacity by $300 billion; 
  • Establishing a Business Credit Availability Program through BDC and EDC worth $10 billion – providing more short-term loans, working capital, and export insurance-credit so that more Canadian businesses are supported.
  • Enhancing the Work-Sharing Program to help businesses pay wages so they don’t have to lay anyone off.
 
WHERE TO START
 
The following links provide the best place to start for fleet managers looking to access supports for themselves or employees.

These websites are: 
 
  1. Visit the website for businesses for information about supporting your employees and your business. It will be constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolve.  
  2. Download the Canada Business App to find tailored supports to address your specific needs and questions about COVID-19. 
  3. Consult the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare your business in the days and weeks to come. 
 
More announcements will be made in the coming days and weeks, and NAFA continues to advocate for urgent measures to address immediate fleet and businesses needs. 
 
INDUSTRY SUPPORT
 
List of relevant and official information sources regarding COVID-19: 
   
GOVERNMENT updates and useful links: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses 

March 20, 2020 Update
 

USMCA

Bill C4 - An Act to implement USMCA, has been passed by the Senate and received Royal Assent last week as Parliament suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is good news for fleets on both sides of the border. At a time of volatility in the market and when our economy is currently facing significant challenges from COVID-19, it is important to increase certainty in the markets and in maintaining access to our closest trading partner.

 

Coronavirus COVID-19) economic response update

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced a series of new measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to support businesses and workers affected by the global pandemic. These measures include the imminent closure of the Canada - US border to non-essential travel and a fiscal stimulus package of $82 billion to stabilize the economy.

 

The fiscal stimulus package includes $27 billion in direct supports to individuals and businesses and $55 billion to facilitate business access to liquidity through tax deferrals. Parliament will be recalled in the coming days to vote on the implementation of some of these measures.

 

These measures largely support those who lost their jobs by enriching the employment insurance program, those with children by increasing the child care benefit, and businesses experiencing cash flow issues by delaying tax remittances.

 

While this is a positive step in the right direction, the measures must be implemented immediately. NAFA, along with other industry partners, continues to advocate for targeted support directed at the industries directly affected by this unprecedented crisis. We have briefed government leaders on the massive commercial fleets and the auto industry. We also highlighted the need to exempt vehicle repair and maintenance facilities from mandatory closure across Canada as provinces and the federal government issue new restrictions to limit the spread and flatten the curve of COVID-19.

 

Key points from the federal government stimulus package for NAFA members
 

Support for businesses

  • 10% wage subsidy for small businesses up to $1,375 per employee, and $25,000 per business. This new benefit is available immediately to businesses for three months, through a reduction of the remittances of income tax withheld on employees’ remuneration.
  • CRA will allow businesses to defer income tax payments to September 2020
  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses (announced last week).
  • Credit and liquidity support through financial Crown corporations, Bank of Canada, OSFI, CMHC and commercial lenders (e.g., Domestic Stability Buffer, Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, Banker’s Acceptance Purchase Facility). These measures are effective immediately.
 

Support for workers

Introduction of the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks to support workers. This new benefit would be administered through the CRA and provide income support to:

  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
  • New emergency support benefit to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • EI Work Sharing Program
  • Tax filing due date deferred to June 1st from April 30th.
  • One-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) for low-income workers.


March 5, 2020 Update

USMCA


Bill C4 - An Act to implement USMCA, was studied by the House International Trade Committee and was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade without amendment. The Senate will also conduct a study and hear from witnesses before the Bill receives Royal Assent and the deal is fully ratified. NAFA supports the agreement in its current form and continues to advocate for the swift ratification of the deal by Parliamentarians. 
 
Pre-Budget Consultations 2020

The House Standing Committee on Finance recently completed its pre-budget consultations. They have heard from multiple witnesses, including NAFA, and made recommendations to the Minister of Finance. This year's pre-budget consultations’ theme was climate change. The Committee recommendations include an extension of the Federal Zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rebate program for the next 3-5 years and expansion of the rebates to used ZEVs as well as investment in charging infrastructure across Canada.
 
Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP)

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is now accepting project proposals for funding consideration under the second stream of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP). This second RFP targets projects for electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), workplaces and for light-duty vehicle fleets. 

The ZEVIP supports the deployment of a network of zero-emission vehicle chargers (Level 2 and higher) and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure across Canada. Funding would be available on a cost-sharing basis for strategic projects for electric vehicles and/or hydrogen infrastructure for corporate fleets, last-mile delivery fleets, and mass transit.

Fleet Managers that are interested in this excellent opportunity are invited to visit the NRCAN website and complete the online form.
Completed project proposals may be submitted to NRCAN no later than May 12, 2020. 


February 19, 2020 Update

Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP
)

Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) is now accepting project proposals for funding consideration under the second stream of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP). This second RFP targets projects for electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), workplaces and for light-duty vehicle fleets. 

The ZEVIP supports the deployment of a network of zero-emission vehicle chargers (Level 2 and higher) and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure across Canada. Funding would be available on a cost-sharing basis for strategic projects for electric vehicles and/or hydrogen infrastructure for corporate fleets, last-mile delivery fleets, and mass transit.

Fleet Managers that are interested in this excellent opportunity are invited to visit NRCAN website and complete the online form.

Completed project proposals may be submitted to NRCAN no later than May 12, 2020. 
 
USMCA

Bill C4 - An Act to implement USMCA, has passed second reading and has been referred to the House International Trade Committee for further study. NAFA supports the agreement in its current form and continues to advocate for a quick ratification of the deal by Parliamentarians. 


February 5, 2020 Update

President Trump Signed USMCA into Law


President Trump signed USMCA into law last week, effectively completing the ratification process in the United States. Mexico has also fully ratified the deal. The last step on the road to full implementation is now the passage of the deal into law in Canada. The Canadian government has tabled the bill to ratify USMCA last week in the House of Commons. Members of Parliament will debate the ratification bill in the House over the next couple of weeks before it is submitted to vote. 

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who presided over the talks that led to the new deal, urged the opposition parties to move quickly with enshrining the revamped treaty into law in order to provide certainty after years of nail-biting negotiations.

In the current minority dynamic, the Liberal government will require the support of at least one opposition party in order to support the deal. The Conservative Party — official opposition party — has signalled that they will support the agreement in its current form. Other opposition parties such as the Neo-Democrats have also indicated their potential support for the deal as long as the labour rules are enforced strongly. 
Time is of the essence; however, it could take over a year before the deal is fully implemented. When the ratification bill is passed into law by Parliament, the three signatories will take several months to develop regulations to interpret the deal’s provisions before rules finally take hold. That is why the government of Canada is pushing for quick ratification in Canada.

NAFA Canadian Legislative Counsel will continue to monitor closely and update the membership of any new development.

Read More via the New York Times article