The following news comes from our national office – just a caveat, this information is fluid and changing every day and will be updated again next week, but it gives us the direction the church is taking:
1. Minister’s Salary: In the package adopted by the Federal Government is a provision called the Federal Temporary Wage Subsidy will provide for each employee made up of 10% of the remuneration you pay between March 18, 2020, and June 20, 2020, up to $1,375 per employee. The United Church is in discussions with ADP, our payroll administration company, to do this automatically which means there is nothing we need to do to access this benefit.
2. Cash flow Help: The church makes the following suggestions: a) Ask for a moratorium on loan payments. This would apply toTUC’s interest free payment to Toronto United Church Council on our furnace loan. b) Delay assessment payment. We don’t have to pay our annual assessment until the end of the year. c) Ask insurance providers to allow monthly premium payments rather than one lump sum. For TUC who is with HUD, these requests are being granted. RH would have to contact their insurance company.
3. Employment Insurance changes: The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide $2000 per month to laid off employees then regular EI kicks in. The church suggests you wait (if you can) to lay off staff so that they don’t get caught up in the rush of people trying to apply for this program. The application portal won’t be up and running for another week or so.
4. Loan and Loan Guarantees: Although the church is not in a position to provide grants, it is working on a way to provide low to no interest loans and will provide a loan guarantee to churches applying for a line of credit.
5. Mission and Service Fund: Mission grants for this year have already been paid out to the ministries its supports, so the church asks that we continue to donate to the Mission and Service Fund.
6. Donations to Tottenham Rich Hill. Because we are no longer meeting and we can’t be in the building, we need to develop new ways for people to donate if they can. I will be speaking with our treasurers today about setting up ways for people to do that (ie post-dated cheques, getting on PAR, electronic transfer and using Canada Helps). We will need to use tools we are not familiar with in this new reality.
Like all of us, the United Church has been hit hard by the stock market crash, but they are doing everything they can to help local congregations. They continue to hold us in their prayers, and I ask that you say a prayer for the staff who are trying to do their jobs from home (they too have been locked out of their office building by the provincial legislation) under difficult circumstances. Eric Mathieson, our chief financial officer says “The church has never moved faster” to address the needs it sees before it. Our General Council Executive is meeting via ZOOM this weekend, so I will have more to share in the coming days.
Thank you again for your faithfulness and dedication to our community of faith.
Warm regards, Patti