The Manitoba government has provided more than $180 million through programs created to protect businesses from the impacts of COVID-19 and support the economy, Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Economic Development and Jobs Minister Ralph Eichler announced today.
“Our priority is to protect Manitobans from the deadly pandemic and protect their livelihoods from its economic impacts,” said Fielding. “We’ve created the most generous support system in the country to provide Manitobans with the right program at the right time, and we are listening to Manitoba businesses and individuals so we can help meet their evolving needs.”
The province is currently processing payments to successful applicants through its wage subsidy programs and the Manitoba Bridge Grant.
“We recognize the sacrifices being made by Manitoba businesses, not-for-profits and charities to comply with public health restrictions and protect the health and safety of Manitobans,” said Eichler. “Manitoba businesses are facing lost revenue and additional costs to operate and adapt their service delivery models, and our investments are providing some relief from these new financial challenges.”
To date, the province has paid out nearly $16.7 million through three wage subsidy programs announced last spring under Manitoba Economic Development and Jobs. It has allocated $46 million for these programs and payments will continue to go out through early 2021.
This includes nearly $6.2 million in advance payments to more than 800 employers through the Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy. As an incentive for businesses and not-for-profit organizations to hire or bring back up to 20 employees, the program reimburses up to 50 per cent of total wages paid between July 16 and Dec. 31, 2020, for a maximum of $5,000 per worker. The program closed to applications in December 2020 and applicants have until Feb. 1 to submit their final claim so many reimbursements will occur after Feb. 1, noted Eichler.
The province has provided more than $10 to more than 1,900 employers through the Summer Student Recovery Jobs and Back to Work this Summer initiatives, designed to encourage youth employment in summer 2020, with another $2.5 million in payments underway.
In November 2020, the province announced the creation of the Manitoba Bridge Grant, an immediate $5,000 payment to small and medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit and charitable organizations directly ordered to temporarily cease operations or close physical locations under the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. In December 2020, the program expanded to offer up to $5,000 to full-time home-based businesses impacted by public health restrictions.
So far, the province has processed more than $100 million in payments to approximately 10,500 businesses through the Manitoba Bridge Grant. This includes a second equal payment since public health orders extended past Jan. 1, 2021. The province is notifying businesses of second payments starting this week.
Along with a commitment of $200 million to the Manitoba Bridge Grant, the province pledged initial supporting funds of up to $50 million for business groups such as the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Winnipeg to provide a detailed plan to government on long-term recovery funding this month. A portion of the $250 million in business support was shifted from other programs that had run their course, as new needs emerged based on the latest restrictions, such as the Manitoba Gap Protection Program, which had granted approximately $59 million to 9,800 businesses upon its completion in November 2020.
One recommendation from the business community, the Dine-in Restaurant Relief Program, recently received $5 million from the province to offer rebates to offset additional costs borne by sit-down restaurants across Manitoba that shifted to a delivery model due to public health orders. The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is delivering the program in partnership with the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association and is inviting eligible restaurants to apply now at https://rrf.mbchamber.mb.ca/.
The province also committed $1.5 million to support the GoodLocal online shopping platform and delivery service in the capital region and help chambers of commerce throughout Manitoba develop and promote local businesses.
Manitobans can learn more about COVID-19 supports for businesses at: