Last updated: February 26, 2020
With constant updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping on top of all the information available can be overwhelming, especially when you’re also trying to run a small business.
Our team has collected some details on the benefits and supports available to small business owners, as well as a number of helpful resources and guides. We will continue to update these resources with new information as it becomes available.
Government of Canada – Overview of COVID-19 Economic Support
Financial Support for Businesses and Workers
- Covers up to 75 per cent (as of December 2020) of an employee’s wages for qualifying employers. Note that benefit amounts vary depending on which time period you are applying for.
- Available retroactive to March 2020; available until June 2021
- In November 2020, the federal government announced a number of changes to the program designed to make it more accessible.
- Provides $1,000 ($900 after taxes) per two-week period to employed and self-employed individuals not entitled to EI benefits.
- Administered by the Canada Revenue Agency
- Replaced the previously-announced Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Recipients must reapply for each period, and can apply for up to a total of 13 two-week periods (or 26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
- Provides small businesses and not-for-profits with interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to help cover operating costs. (In October 2020, the federal government announced plans to increase this amount to $60,000.)
- Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).
- Businesses must have paid total employment income of between $20,000 to $1.5 million in 2019.
- As of October 2020, eligible businesses operating through a personal bank account will also be able to apply.
- Deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.
- Businesses must apply through their current financial institution:
- Available to eligible businesses, non-profits or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the pandemic
- Directly available subsidy meant to help cover commercial rent or property expenses
- Eligible expenses can be claimed up to a max of $75,000 per business location or $300,000 for all locations
- Benefits available retroactive to September 27, 2020 and will extend until June 2021.
Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)
- Regional Development Agencies provide federal funding for tourism operators, small businesses or organizations.
- The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), implemented by the six regional development agencies in collaboration with the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations, supports businesses that are unable to access other government relief measures. For details, see the region closest to you:
- Helps employers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond their control.
- Provides Employment Insurance benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers.
- A WS agreement has to be at least 6 consecutive weeks long and can last up to 26 consecutive weeks. Employers may be able to extend their agreements up to a total of 76 weeks.
Access to Capital for Small Businesses
- Increases the credit available to small, medium and large Canadian businesses.
- Businesses must have been generating revenues for at least 24 months.
- Businesses must work with their existing financial institution to access it.
- If their needs exceed the level of support the financial institution is able to provide, the financial institution will work alongside BDC or EDC to access additional resources available under BCAP.
- Through BCAP, BDC and EDC will provide more than $65 billion in loans and other forms of credit at market rates to businesses with viable business models.
- Provides additional financing for farmers, agribusinesses and food processors.
- Cover up to 90% of the purchase order amount to ease cash flow to your suppliers.
- Easier access to loans for small businesses from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lender
- Up to a maximum of $1,000,000 for any one borrower
- financial institutions deliver the program and are solely responsible for approving the loan
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Resources
- Templates and tools to help entrepreneurs create and maintain their business continuity plans.
- Advice for entrepreneurs on how to manage their business through this crisis period.
- Resources intended to offer a range of services on mental health and well-being.
- A guide (PDF) summarizing practical advice for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your business
- Tools and tips to help you map out your next steps, identify new opportunities, mitigate risk and create resilience in your company, so you can emerge strong in recovery
Third-Party Tools and Resources
Digital Marketing and eCommerce
COVID-19 – FAQs
Regional Support Programs
In addition to federal support measures, each region of Canada offers special support programs for small business owners.
Government of Alberta
City of Calgary
Government of British Columbia
British Columbia Chamber of Commerce
City of Vancouver
Government of Manitoba
Manitoba Chamber of Commerce
Newfoundland and Labrador
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s Board of Trade
Government of Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce
Government of Nova Scotia
Government of Ontario
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
City of Toronto
Prince Edward Island
Government of Quebec
Government of Saskatchewan
Government of Yukon