Province Opens Manitoba Bridge Grant to New and Seasonal Businesses

UPDATE: On June 22, 2021, the Manitoba Government announced that it will re-open the Manitoba Bridge Grant (MBG) to businesses that did not previously apply for the program before the March 31 deadline. Eligible storefront businesses will receive $5,000 and home-based businesses will receive up to $5,000 based on 10% of their gross revenue, depending on when they started operating. The deadline for new applications is July 16, 2021.

Businesses that offer prepared food services, such as hotels, lodges, outfitters, bars and lounges, are also eligible to receive a $2,000 food waste top up. For example, a new applicant that offers prepared food services would receive a $5,000 grant plus the $2,000 top-up for a total of $7,000. Businesses that did not receive the top-up on their May deposit would automatically receive their top-up on June 25.

MB Announces Manitoba Bridge Grant

On November 16, the Government of Manitoba started accepting applications for the MBG which provides financial support to businesses and organizations that have been affected by province-wide closures associated with the pandemic and accompanying public health orders. Eligible businesses and organizations do not need to repay the funding they receive through the MBG.

Bridge Grant Expanded and Second Stream Announced

On December 8, the Manitoba Government announced the expansion of the MBG to help more businesses that were not included in the first stream. The Manitoba Bridge Grant – Stream B Home-Based Business Support (stream B) provided up to $5,000 in support to eligible home-based businesses, including: event planners, photographers, artists and tradespeople who did not operate a retail location.

Businesses that applied for the MBG between November 16 and December 31 were eligible for a second payment. The Manitoba Government began issuing the second round of payments on January 8 without any action required from applicants.

Eligible businesses under the MBG received an additional $5,000 payment and home-based businesses under stream B received a payment equal to their 2020 payment, up to a $5,000 maximum.

Deadline to Apply for Bridge Grant Extended

On January 12, the Manitoba Government extended the deadline to apply for both streams from December 31, 2020 to January 31, 2021. The eligibility for the MBG was also expanded to more businesses, including hotels, resorts, lodges and outfitters, travel agencies, janitorial services companies, and owner/operators of licensed passenger transportation businesses affected by restrictive public health orders in effect since November 12.

Businesses applying to the MBG for the first time would be entitled to a one-time payment of $10,000 and home-based business applicants under stream B received a payment up to a $10,000 maximum.

Third Round of Bridge Grant Payments

On March 2, the Manitoba Government announced that it would provide a third round of bridge grant payments to eligible businesses affected by COVID-19 related closures. Businesses that received the first two bridge grant payments automatically received a third equal payment.

New program applicants became eligible for a one-time payment up to a maximum of $15,000. The Government extended the application deadline to March 31, 2021.

Streams A & B

A store-front business is one which is open for clients or the public to enter. A home-based business is one which is not open to clients or the public.

Stream A eligibility:

  • be a permanent, Manitoba-based business or organization physically operating in the Province of Manitoba;
  • has been actively operating or conducting business on or prior to June 22, 2021;
  • operates as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, co-operative, non-share corporation, not-for-profit organization or registered charity;
  • possesses an active and valid Manitoba Business Number;
  • is in good standing with the Manitoba Companies Office (not required for sole proprietors and registered charities);
  • has been affected by Manitoba COVID-19 public health orders, or any revisions to those orders; and
  • have an e-mail address and a valid business bank account with a Canadian financial institution.

Stream B eligibility:

  • be a permanent, home-based business located in Manitoba and physically operating in the province;
  • has been actively operating or conducting business on or prior to June 22, 2021;
  • operates as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation;
  • possesses an active and valid Manitoba Business Number;
  • is in good standing with the Manitoba Companies Office (this is not required for sole proprietors operating under their personal names who are not registered with the Companies Office);
  • if started before January 1, 2020, have filed a 2019 income tax return;
  • if started after January 1, 2020, have filed a 2020 income tax return;
  • if started after January 1, 2021, provide a record of gross income generated in 2021;
  • have an e-mail address and a valid business bank account with a Canadian financial institution; and
  • must operate on a full-time basis.

The home-based business or organization must also:

  • operate on a full-time and permanent basis;
  • have been actively operating or conducting business in Manitoba immediately prior to the implementation of applicable public health orders;
  • affected by Manitoba COVID-19 public health orders in effect as of November 12, 2020 or any revisions to those orders; and
  • operate in the region to which the public health order applies to.

The following businesses or organizations are not eligible under Stream A or B:

  • agriculture or farming industries;
  • real estate agents;
  • self-employed salespersons or commissioned-based salespersons;
  • health professionals;
  • lawyers, paralegals, accountants, translators, veterinarians, engineers or geoscientists;
  • businesses operating under a regulatory body of a profession;
  • businesses that deal in securities, manage financial portfolios or provide financial services;
  • businesses that conduct multilevel marketing;
  • businesses or organizations that were in arrears for taxes owing to Manitoba and that have not since rectified the amount in arrears; and
  • businesses that do not exist for the purpose of carrying on an active business in Manitoba;
  • businesses that rely on passive income.

More information about the current public health orders and the critical (red) level can be found in our blog here.

For more information on the Manitoba Bridge Grant program, visit here.

The MLT Aikins labour and employment team will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates as they become available. Employers considering the impact of the Manitoba Bridge Grant and their eligibility should contact a member of our labour and employment team in Winnipeg.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.