CORRECTION: We had previously asserted that Revenue Quebec has pushed back the date for tax filings to July 31st, but the date is in fact June 1st. Read here for the latest information.
A lot of you are stressed right now. In addition to the energy, attention, and care many community groups are putting into transforming their services and finding new ways to meet the needs of their members, there’s the question of money. How will we pay for all the things we just bought and the people we just paid? What happens in the long term?
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Government Funding During COVID-19
We also know there is an overwhelming amount of rapidly changing information out there. We’re hoping this resource can give you an overview of what government funding is available right now. We also know many of you truly have other fish to fry, and if that’s the case- please do that! Turn back to this question on your own time and at the pace that is possible for your organization.
Federal Government Funding for NonProfits
The first thing to know is that Imagine Canada is doing an amazing job of being on top of everything federal during COVID-19. Their work is detailed and up to date. They are our go-to resource right now, and they should be yours!
Check out their guide on Federal Initiatives for Nonprofits. It includes things like:
- Wage subsidy programs
- Deferrals for taxes
We won’t recreate their great work- so start there.
In addition to that list, the Prime Minister announced additional Federal government funding for:
- Homelessness (this money distributed through the Reaching Home program)
- Domestic violence and sexual assault (this money distributed through Women and Gender Equality Canada and the Canadian Women’s Foundation)
- Seniors (this money will be distributed through United Way Canada and New Horizons, so check with them for more information!)
- Indigenous Communities (through Indigenous Services Canada)
The Canada Summer Jobs program has also made adjustments.
- The wage for Canada Summer Jobs employees is now 100% funded
- Employment can last until February
- Employment can be part-time
The PM then announced new funding for vulnerable populations, that will be distributed through similar channels (so, watch for announcements from Centraide, probably). The examples given included money for:
- Volunteer-based home delivery of groceries and medications.
- Transportation services, such as those driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments.
- Scaling up helplines that provide information and support.
- Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits.
- Delivering training and supplies to volunteers.
- Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact, and social gatherings with virtual contact through telephone, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet.
More funding for Arts and Culture organizations was also announced.
Provincial Government Funding in Quebec
We’ve collected the funds that seem most helpful to community groups in Quebec. Another roundup exists that could be worth checking also!
Maintaining Existing Government Funding
The Ministère du travail, de l’emploi et de solidarité sociale announced that all non-profit organizations currently funded by the provincial government can count on that money coming through as anticipated in this exceptional time. Payment schedules should not be impacted, so if you experience a surprise here, please reach out to your Regroupement for support.
Consider increasing your contact with your local MNA and MP’s offices, in order to hear of funding opportunities and to let them know what is needed on the ground. (If they aren’t already on your newsletter list, add them!)
Support for Adjusting to COVID-19
The provincial government has created a special fund called “Programme actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi (PACME–COVID-19)”. Nonprofits and coalitions in ‘good standing’ who have been impacted by COVID-19 are eligible. The overarching goal of this new fund is to mitigate the negative impacts of this crisis, build capacity and resiliency across sectors in Quebec. The criteria are broad, and we think they could be very useful to a lot of community groups.
The types of training activities that the PACME COVID-19 fund will cover are:
- General skills and professional development
- Digital literacy, working remotely, IT (e.g. how to run an AGM virtually!)
- Pre and post service provision adaptations (short or medium term)
- Adjusting or modifying the organization’s activities in the context of economic uncertainty related to COVID-19, that will allow for maintaining or diversifying the activities of the organization (e.g. hygienic/public health measures, remote work)
- Employees gaining new competencies, re-tooling their jobs
- Development work (fundraising action planning, program development post-crisis)
- Developing competencies in French
The types of human resources related activities covered:
- Diagnosis, analysis and improvement of roles, functions, structure
- Organizational communication, work at home policies, planning for HR needs for maintenance and reinstatement of activities, and support to diversify activities
- Management coaching and professional development related to HR
This is an “add on” to the province’s usual subsidies promoting workforce skills development, employee retention, and succession planning. You can apply for this at any time, through the Commission des partenaires du marché de travail.
This program can be combined with any other provincial or federal subsidy. The funding can be for training that lasts hours, days, or months depending on your team’s needs and realities.
Wage Top Up for Essential Workers
This program provides a wage top-up to essential workers, particularly those who are make less than they would on the CERB. To be eligible, you need to work in an essential service (and includes lots of social services), and make less than $550 a week. If you are eligible, you can get up to $100 more a week. The program is called IPREW, and aims to retain more essential workers.
Delaying your Tax Filings
Revenue Quebec has pushed back the date for tax filings from March to June 1st. You can find the announcement about tax filings here.
Revenu Québec has also delayed the deadline to pay contributions for the Québec Pension Plan, Québec Parental Insurance Plan, Health Service Fund, and Québec drug insurance plan concerning the 2019 taxation year.
The provincial government in Quebec has also made loans more easily available. You can check out these two programs for more information:
- Programme d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises (PACTE)
- Fonds local d’investissement (FLI)
City of Montreal
The City of Montreal has put out a number of support measures that mostly affect small businesses adapting to COVID-19 (such as supporting groups in creating online stores). If that might apply to you, check here. They also have a phone line you can call.
They have also announced financial support for nonprofits that rent in city buildings, as many of you do! This includes community groups who offer services, work in arts and culture, or sports, and who might need financial assistance.
Municipalities such as Montreal have deferred municipal property tax installments.
Funding and planning challenges
It’s hard to apply for money in the current context. Here are some challenges we are hearing about in terms of financial planning:
- It’s hard to build or approve a budget for this financial year, with so much uncertainty
- Our staffing has shifted, decreased, or disappeared
- How long is this going to last? When will we be “back to normal?”
- Will our organization look the same after COVID or will some of the changes we’ve made be maintained?
When writing a grant, here are some questions you might be grappling with:
- How fast should we apply or how much time we have to apply before funds run out
- Are normal grant deadlines still in place? Will deadlines be delayed?
- Will previously existing funds still exist, or will they be redirected to COVID-19 funding?
- We’re waiting to hear back on a grant, and we should have heard by now. Should we continue applying for other grants if we haven’t heard back?
- If we weren’t able to deliver on a recent grant in the way that we had hoped, given COVID-19, can we still apply for this funding in the future?
- How do we plan for start dates for these projects? Do we need multiple start dates?
We don’t have answers for a lot of these questions. Indeed, COCo is in much the same place. Instead of answers, here are some questions we hope might help your organization sort through those issues.
- What do we need financially to adapt to COVID-19 now? Is there someone on our Board or staff who could focus on creating a plan to access those funds?
- What are key actions we can take to support our long term financial health? Is there someone on our Board or staff who could focus on creating a plan to access those funds?
- Can we think about contingency plans across our organization and our requests for new projects? Is there someone else in our network who could do X project if Y gets sick?
- If we receive funding through Emploi Quebec or the Canada Summer Jobs program, could we re-tool those positions to support our capacity and management of change in this time?
- Can we think beyond the walls of our own organization and explore creative partnerships in this exceptional time?
- How can we negotiate with funders, given the exceptional time that we are in?
You are working under really challenging circumstances in a very exceptional time. It is not business as usual right now. Organizations have been impacted at all levels, so it is normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. But you aren’t alone! Reach out to your network and to our team for support!
Imagine Canada has produced an excellent round-up of fundraising resources in the time of COVID-19 and they continue to update it so check back often. If you haven’t yet signed their letter advocating for a special relief fund for our sector and other measures, it’s not too late!
This article was written by COCo staff in collaboration with Marlo Turner Ritchie (Social Impact Consulting / Conseil Impact Social), Yuan Stevens and Mark Phillips.
You can contact COCo through our usual channels, get in touch with Marlo on Facebook, Linked In, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org; and find Mark Philips at email@example.com. Nothing in this blog post is legal advice: please consult a lawyer to receive advice regarding your organization’s situation.