20 Nov 2020

Updated November 24, 2020

Bill C-9, assented to on November 19, 2020, introduces the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).

This subsidy is intended to replace the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) with a program similar to the one offered under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), by providing direct assistance to qualifying entities, whether they are renters or owners of commercial property.

This subsidy provides relief for expenses incurred by eligible businesses and organizations for the rental or ownership of real property used in the course of their activities. This subsidy takes effect retroactively as of September 27, 2020 and will be offered until June 2021.

The base portion covers up to 65% of eligible expenses. Additional assistance of 25% is offered to lessees who had to temporarily cease their activities in a given location, due to public health restrictions.

Our experts are trained to assist you in the analysis of the eligibility criteria for the CEWS and for the preparation of your application. They will be able to help you make informed choices, particularly as to the methods for calculating the revenue reduction test. With their advice, you can maximize the amounts claimed while limiting your risk of dispute in this regard. Don’t hesitate to contact your advisor to discuss it.

To learn more regarding this subsidy, please read our tax news, which is regularly updated.

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11 Nov 2020

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton – always a proud partner of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec’s (FCCQ) prestigious Mercuriades contest.

With its focus on the growth of local businesses, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton continues its involvement by presenting the Mercure Entrepreneuriat Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton This award is presented to two organizations, one SME and one large company, for implementing a winning growth strategy, developing a succession plan or achieving a successful intergenerational transfer.

The FCCQ has been celebrating the success of exceptional organizations and leaders for 41 years, and Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is very pleased to confirm its commitment to recognizing Quebec’s entrepreneurial talent.

SMEs and large corporations that want to submit their candidacy in one of the 16 categories, including the Mercure Entrepreneuriat, can do so until December 18, 2020 (free registration). Submit your application on the FCCQ’s Mercuriades 2021 web site.

Good luck to all businesses!

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11 Nov 2020

Hard hit by the pandemic, organizations in the tourism, leisure and culture industries have had to revise their business plans and seek financial assistance.

A number of financial aid programs are available to help Quebec organizations get through the crisis and plan their reopening—and more relief measures are on the way from the government and regional agencies.

Where to start?

There are more than 20 programs available to help cultural, sports and tourism organizations stay afloat and plan for the future. Additional opportunities could surface in the coming months. But since each program has specific requirements and eligibility criteria, it can be hard to navigate them all.

How can you be sure you’re taking full advantage of available relief programs?

The key is to prepare a strong application so that government analysts can process your file quickly. You should:

  • Provide a financial snapshot that lays out actual and future losses;
  • Include a revised business plan that is both concise and convincing;
  • Demonstrate that your business is viable.

How to prepare a good case?

Funding agencies are currently receiving 10 times more applications than available subsidies. This means businesses and organizations need a strong application if they want to be selected.

Before you start filling out forms, take the time to review the eligibility criteria. You want to have the right information on hand and provide the best possible answers to their questions. A carefully crafted application will increase your chances of receiving a fast response and getting approved.

Preparing applications for financial relief programs can be complicated and time-consuming for managers who are already busy dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

Our tourism, leisure and culture team is familiar with all currently available relief programs, as well as their specific eligibility criteria, and the key issues in various sectors and regions. Contact our experts. We’re here to help.

Here are some of the programs available to help you weather the pandemic and prepare your post-COVID plan.

Federal programs

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides assistance to Quebec businesses and organizations that need immediate assistance with their cashflow. The initiative is intended for all economic industries and has an envelope of more than $280 million for Quebec. Find out more about the RRRF on the Canada Economic Development website.

Support for Quebec’s women entrepreneurs

More than $10 million in capital is available to help women entrepreneurs in Quebec get the support they need to affirm their presence, grow their businesses and prepare for the future. Find out more about support for women on the Canada Economic Development website.

Provincial programs

Ministère du Tourisme

Financial aid for festivals and tourism events

Every year, more than $20 million is available in subsidies for the tourism industry. Read more about the subsidies.

Entente de partenariat régional en tourisme (EPRT)

This agreement helps small and medium-sized businesses in the tourism sector meet new health and safety criteria. It also provides support to joint initiatives aimed at adapting or revitalizing the tourist attractions in the wake of the pandemic. Read more about this program.

Entente de développement numérique des entreprises touristiques (EDNET)

This agreement enables regional tourism associations to help local businesses develop digital sales and address related obstacles. Read more about the EDNET agreement.

Programme d’accessibilité des établissements touristiques (PAET)

This program was created to help the operators of tourist accommodations, tourist attractions, tourist information centres and other service providers to make their facilities accessible for people with disabilities. Read more about this program.

Investissement Québec programs

Concerted temporary action program for businesses

Known by the French acronym PACTE, this new relief program provides ad hoc financial support to businesses experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some $446 million has been earmarked for accommodations and tourist attractions.

The program has also introduced special assistance for businesses located in red zones through a provision called Aide aux entreprises en régions en alerte maximale (AERAM). This aid is specifically for businesses that have been forced to close due to lockdown restrictions.

Read more about the eligibility criteria on the Investissement Québec page.

PADAT: Program supporting the development of tourist attractions – Part 2

This program provides funds to ageing hotels so that they can update their facilities before the tourism industry reopens. Qualifying works can either be renovations or standard-compliance upgrades. Read more information about the PADAT program.

Joint Initiative with Tourisme Québec

Fonds de développement des entreprises touristiques (FDET)

This fund provides financing to projects that promise to enhance the tourism offer. Eligible projects must attract new customer segments and prolong business’ operating times or seasons. Loans of $50,000 to $500,000 are available to startups as well as existing small and medium-sized businesses. Read more about the fund.

Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)

Aide temporaire aux lieux de diffusion

This program provides ad hoc support for the maintenance of concert or variety show venues across Quebec. With a maximum budget of $6 million, the program was created as part of the Quebec government’s measures to revive live show activities.

Leisure program

Several financing programs are available for the recreation and leisure sector.

For more information, see the list of financing programs on the Association québécoise du loisir municipal website.

We also encourage you to read our support measures for businesses page. It summarizes the various COVID-19 relief programs available. This page is updated regularly.

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29 Oct 2020

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s Corporate Finance team is pleased to announce the successful sale of Alasko Foods Inc. to Groupe Commensal Inc.

Founded in 1989 and based in Montréal, Quebec, Alasko Foods Inc. (“Alasko”) is a leader in commercializing high quality organic and conventional quick-frozen fruits and vegetables, with products sold in Canada and the United States as well as Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Alasko’s strong reputation for providing superior products and world-class service to its customers makes it a premier partner of industry leaders. Alasko is a turnkey solutions provider across multiple channels, with an extensive track record of serving blue chip retail, food service and industrial customers.

Alasko called on the expertise of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s Corporate Finance team to advise on the sale process.

Groupe Commensal Inc. (“Commensal”), specialized in food processing, has been a pioneer in the vegan and vegetarian retail and food service market for over 40 years. Founded in 1977, the company’s mission has always been to develop product lines that are vegan and vegetarian, locally Canadian and better for you.

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Alasko Foods is acquired by Groupe Commensal.

Its products can be found in more than 1,000 supermarkets and specialty shops across Quebec. Its commitment has always been to develop high quality products at affordable price points, helping more families eat healthy.

Over the years, Commensal has branded over 50 retail products like soups, sauces, ready-to-eat meals and ready-to-cook vegan proteins, and has been a large contributor to the development of the wellness food sector in Canada.

“The new acquisition by the Commensal team will allow Alasko, one of the largest frozen fruit and vegetable importers in Canada, to have active owners that care about their clients and focus on key deliverables. We ensure the confidence that clients and suppliers alike demand”, says George Kyres, President of Groupe Commensal. “Our pledge is to scour the globe to source the best available frozen fruits and vegetables and collaborate with those that share our passion for quality. On behalf of the team, we would like to thank our suppliers and our clients for their patience as we finalized the change in ownership. We remain humbled by all the love and support that everyone has demonstrated to us and for that we remain eternally grateful.”

To learn more about how Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton can help meet the needs of your business, please contact our deal team.

About Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton

Our leading mid-market focused financial advisory team provides sector-specific advice on mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, debt and equity capital markets. We bring deep industry knowledge to each transaction to support our clients’ corporate finance strategies and priorities.

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is a Canadian leader in the areas of assurance, tax, advisory services and business recovery and reorganization. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is Quebec’s leading professional services firm with more than 2,800 employees. As a member firm of the Grant Thornton International network and together with its Canadian counterpart Grant Thornton LLP, the firm is a member of one of the world’s largest professional services network made up of 56,000 people in over 140 countries.