Targeted Resources Help Protect Against COVID-19 Business Interruptions
Is your law firm being impacted by the current coronavirus crisis? See how to keep your operations flowing smoothly, even amid business upheavals.
Businesses are felting the impact of COVID-19 right across Canada. Business confidence is down, with 86% of people concerned about the economic effects on the Canadian economy and 65% worried about their financial situation, as of April 6, 2020. British Columbia alone has reported 1,291 cases, 43 deaths with 805 resolved. It’s essential to stay up-to-date and understand the latest impact on individuals and organizations throughout the country.
Law firms have been affected by COVID-19 throughout British Columbia because many have been forced to close their doors and work remotely from home. Fortunately, there are several resources to help those practicing law in British Columbia to manage the impact of this pandemic
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced the Canadian government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak and has dedicated over 1 billion dollars towards the COVID19 Response Fund. This fund will help with extreme measures underway as a response to the outbreak to help lessen the impact on Canadians, small business owners in British Columbia, and the entire Canadian economy. The Department of Finance has released an economic response plan to help businesses through this crisis.
- Emergency wage subsidies to cover 75% of salaries for qualifying law firms for up to three months.
- Extending the work-sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for law firms who have employees affected by COVID-19.
- Allowing firms to defer until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020.
- Businesses, including self-employed individuals, can defer payments of the GST/HST until June 30, 2020
- A Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will provide $40 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
- A new Canada Emergency Business account providing interest-free loans of up to $40,000.
Help for Self-Employed Individuals
For self-employed lawyers, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible lawyers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. Canada Emergency Response Benefit Applications are open for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The CERB is available until October 3, 2020, and is available to workers.
With the onset of the Coronavirus, WorkSafeBC recognizes the unique challenges small businesses and law firms face in maintaining a healthy workplace. Lawyers need to limit exposure to themselves, including maintaining the distance between workers and ensure adequate hygiene facilities. It may mean law firms need to prioritize the work that needs to occur in their offices to avoid business interruptions and consider having people work remotely from home.
When considering working remotely, also consider the implications and what a cyber-attack could mean to your law firm. Law firms hold large quantities of valuable information about their clients containing trade secrets, business strategies, and financial data of their clients. This makes them the perfect target for hackers. Criminal activity online has increased with the onset of Coronavirus. Hackers are shifting their attacks to remote workers by accessing enterprise networks. Attacks on Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been increasing with phishing emails appearing on dial-in details.
Is your law firm as secure as you think? If you are not sure you are appropriately protecting your client data, call 604-986-8170 to enlist the IT security professional from Compunet to help ramp up your cybersecurity measures. We work with law firms and organizations of all sizes to ensure you have access to the proactive tools and technology that will help keep your sensitive data and your confidential client information safe while maintaining streamlined workflows and communication. Our certified professionals have experience in a wide range of technology platforms, too.