As of November 16, the Government of Manitoba will be accepting applications for the Manitoba Bridge Grant (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.
More information about the current public health orders implemented when all Manitoba Health Regions moved to the critical (red) level can be found in our blog here.
The MBG provides an immediate, one-time payment of $5,000 to small and medium-sized businesses and organizations that were ordered effective November 12 to fully close their premises as a result of the new Manitoba COVID-19 Prevention Orders.
Businesses eligible for the grant include:
- non-essential retailers;
- restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brewpubs, microbreweries, distilleries;
- recreation and sport facilities;
- museums and galleries;
- theatres and concert halls;
- not-for-profit organizations, faith-based organizations; and
- registered charities.
Eligible businesses and organizations are able to apply for one grant per business number regardless of the number of operating locations. To qualify for the grant, among other criteria listed below, a business or organization must have been actively operating in Manitoba immediately prior to the announced mandated closures that took effect on November 12, 2020. To note, businesses using alternative methods to provide services to the public (such as offering delivery or curbside pickup despite having to fully close physical locations) are also eligible for the program.
Businesses and organizations that have received other federal or provincial COVID-19 relief funding are also eligible to apply for the MBG.
To receive support from the MBG, a business or organization must:
- be a permanent, Manitoba-based business or organization physically operating in the Province of Manitoba;
- have been actively operating or conducting business on November 9, 2020;
- operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, co-operative, non-share corporation, not-for-profit organization, or registered charity;
- possess an active and valid Business Number as of November 9, 2020;
- be in good standing with the Manitoba Companies Office (not required for sole proprietors and registered charities);
- have been required by Manitoba COVID-19 Prevention Orders in effect as of November 12, 2020 to fully close their premises to the public; and
- have an e-mail address and a valid business bank account with a Canadian financial institution.
Businesses and organizations not eligible for the MBG include:
- business and organizations that are permitted to operate, but were required to limit the number of occupants within their premises;
- businesses that do not exist for the purpose of carrying on an active business in Manitoba (e.g., passive businesses);
- businesses or organizations that engage in multi-level marketing;
- businesses or organizations that were in arrears for taxes owing to Manitoba before the first state of emergency on March 20, 2020, and that have not since rectified the amount in arrears (note: this does not include businesses that have deferred tax remittances incurred between April and September 2020).
Payments will be automatically deposited into a business or organization’s bank account within 10 business days after the application is approved. Applications for the MBG are being accepted until December 15, 2020.
Additionally, the MBG may be extended to provide an additional $5,000 to eligible businesses and organizations if the current public health orders are extended past January 1, 2021.
The MLT Aikins LLP 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 or their eligibility to receive the grant 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 of opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.