Businesses Eligible for Manitoba Bridge Grant to Receive Third Payment

UPDATE: On March 2, 2021, the Manitoba Government announced that it will provide a third round of bridge grant payments to eligible businesses affected by COVID-19 related closures. Businesses that received the first rounds of bridge grant payment will automatically receive a third equal payment.

New program applicants will be eligible for a one-time payment up to a maximum of $15,000. The government has extended the application deadline until March 31, 2021.

Since November 16, the Government of Manitoba has been accepting applications for the Manitoba Bridge Grant (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.

On December 8, 2020, 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 do not operate a retail location.

Businesses that applied for the MBG between November 16 and December 31, 2020 were eligible for a second payment. The Manitoba Government began issuing the second round of payments on January 8, 2021 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.

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 impacted by the public health orders that have been in effect since November 12.

Businesses applying to the MBG for the first time will 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.

Updated Eligibility Requirements

The first stream of the MBG provided an immediate, one-time payment of $5,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses and organizations that were ordered, effective November 12, to fully close their premises as a result of public health orders. The Bridge Grant for Home-Based Businesses later added home based businesses, and additional businesses were also later deemed eligible.

Businesses eligible for the Manitoba Bridge Grant include:

  • non-essential retailers;
  • restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brewpubs, microbreweries and distilleries;
  • recreation and sport facilities;
  • museums and galleries;
  • theatres and concert halls;
  • not-for-profit organizations;
  • faith-based organizations;
  • home-based businesses including but not limited to: event planners, photographers, artists and tradespeople;
  • registered charities;
  • hotels;
  • resorts;
  • lodges and outfitters;
  • travel agencies;
  • janitorial services companies; and
  • owner/operators of licensed passenger transportation businesses.

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;
  • operated as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, co-operative, non-share corporation, not-for-profit organization, or registered charity;
  • possessed 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, organizations, professions and industries not eligible for the MBG include:

  • businesses 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);
  • agriculture industry;
  • farming industry;
  • real estate agents;
  • self-employed sales persons or commissioned-based sales;
  • health professionals;
  • lawyers, paralegals, accountants, translators, veterinarians, engineers or geoscientists;
  • businesses operating under a regulatory body of a profession; and
  • businesses that deal in securities or manages financial portfolios or that provides financial services.

To receive support from the Home-Based Businesses – Stream B of the MBG, businesses must:

  • be a permanent, home-based business located and physically operating in Manitoba;
  • have been actively operating or conducting business on November 9, 2020;
  • operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation;
  • possess an active and valid Business Number;
  • be in good standing with the Manitoba Companies Office (not required for sole proprietors operating under their personal names who are not registered with the Companies Office);
  • have filed a 2019 income tax return if the business started before January 1, 2020;
  • provide a record of gross income generated in 2020 if the business started after January 1, 2020;
  • have an e-mail address and a valid business bank account with a Canadian financial institution; and
  • operate on a full-time basis.

Payments are automatically deposited into a business or organization’s bank account within 10 business days after the application is approved.

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 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 and their eligibility should contact a member of our labour and employment team in Winnipeg.