Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Businesses

Updated December 1, 2020

Please see below for all the various programs available.

The Government of Canada has also set up a website to help you determine what programs your company could be eligible for at the following link:

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses

CMHC administers CECRA for small businesses on behalf of the Government of Canada. This program will offer unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to:

  • reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants
  • meet operating expenses on commercial properties

Please read our blog post for full details about this program:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – 75% Wage Subsidy

This program would provide a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, from March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. There is no cap on this subsidy.

On July 17, 2020, the government announced proposed changes to the CEWS. The proposed changes include:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30% and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30% revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

Current CEWS Information


  • Funding will be in the form of direct deposit to the employers bank account.  If direct deposit is not set up, cheques will be mailed out.


  • Canadian Business – Taxable Corporation, Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Charity, or Not for Profit
  • Public Bodies are not eligible.
  • NOT driven by number of employees.
  • NOT driven by size of payroll.
  • Applies to existing or new arm’s length employees.
  • For employees who are non-arms length to the business (ie, owners, shareholders, family members), the maximum amounts that can be claimed will be determined by pre-crisis salaries paid to these individuals.
  • The non-arms length individuals must also have been on payroll prior to March 15th.
  • It is not mandatory for the business to pay the remaining 25% of the wage, however it must be attested that every effort was made to do so.
  • It does not matter if the business has closed its doors or is still operating. To qualify, you must demonstrate that your revenues in March, April and May have dropped by at least 30% over the same period last year as a result of COVID-19.
  • For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for a period, any benefit from the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period will generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

Calculation Process:

  • To qualify, you must demonstrate that your revenues in March fell by 15%, and April and May revenues have dropped by at least 30% as a result of COVID-19
  • The period of revenue comparison is either over the same period last year or vs. the average of January and February of this year.
  • The second comparison metric was designed to address those businesses that are start ups, or have been in high growth mode.

Subsidy Calculation:

Payroll amounts are being driven by pre-crisis amounts paid to employees

  • Payroll amounts are being driven by pre-crisis amounts paid to employees.
  • The subsidy amount is 75% of wages paid to employees to a maximum of $847/employee/week.

Application Process:

  • Businesses will be able to log into “My Business Account” beginning April 27, 2020 to apply. Make sure your business details and direct deposit information for your payroll accounts (RP) are up to date. This will ensure that any payments to you will be processed quickly and easily.
  • We may be able to apply on behalf of our clients through “Represent a Client”.
  • If you are unable to register for My Business Account, make sure you have an online web access code so you are prepared to use the alternative application.
  • Must reapply every month

Full details on the program on the website This link includes all the most current information including an online sample calculator find out how much your wage subsidy may be.

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy

Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may qualify for the previously announced 10% Wage Subsidy paid from March 18 to before June 20, 2020. Please see our blog post: 10% Wage Subsidy for additional information and how to calculate this subsidy.

The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

You are an eligible employer if you:

  • are a(n):
    • individual (excluding trusts),
    • partnership.
    • non-profit organization,
    • registered charity, or
    • Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation) eligible for the small business deduction;
  • have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and
  • pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.

Note: Partnerships are only eligible for the subsidy if their members consist exclusively of individuals (excluding trusts), registered charities, or Canadian-controlled private corporations eligible for the small business deduction.

Year end reporting – Please follow this link for our latest post regarding reporting requirements: 10% temporary Reporting Post

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Loan

A new loan program that will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with EDC (Export Development Canada).  The program will provide interest free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover fixed operating costs (payroll, rent, utilities, property taxes) during a period of reduced revenues. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% or up to $10,000.


  • The program is now available and application is through your current financial institution.


The CEBA application process follows one of two streams: (i) the Payroll Stream (Applicants with employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year between Cdn.$20,000 and Cdn.$1,500,000) or (ii) the Non-Deferrable Expense Stream (Applicants with Cdn.$20,000 or less in total employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year).

Every applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Has an active CRA Business Number (BN) with an effective date of registration on or prior to March 1, 2020.
  • Has an active business chequing/operating account with the Lender at the time of applying for CEBA. Note: If Borrower currently does not have a business chequing/operating account the Borrower must create one at their primary financial institution before applying for CEBA.
  • Has not previously used the Canada Emergency Business Account Program (the “Program”) and will not apply for support under the Program at any other financial institution.
  • Intends to continue to operate its business or to resume operations.

If you fall into the Payroll Stream and once you have completed the application with your financial institution, the Government of Canada will assess the application and inform your financial institution of the approval or decline of the loan. If approved, your financial institution will provide the funds into your business chequing / operating account.

If you fall into the Non-Deferrable Expenses Stream you must also meet the following criteria:

  • Have eligible non-deferrable expenses between Cdn. $40,000 and Cdn. $1,500,000. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance. Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada.
  • Filed an income tax return with the CRA with a tax year ending in 2019 or, if its tax return for 2019 has not yet been submitted, 2018.

CEBA applications under the 2020 Eligible Non-Deferrable Expenses Stream will follow a three-step process:

Step 1: Complete the online Pre-Screen Tool. The Pre-Screen Tool is not a CEBA application and is solely intended to provide a non-binding indication of eligibility to inform your decision of whether to open a business account (if needed) and apply for CEBA at your financial institution. If you are declined at this step you can still apply for CEBA and therefore still need to complete the next two steps as identified.

Step 2: Businesses will initiate applications directly at their primary financial institution where they hold their primary business chequing /operating account. The financial institution will then direct applicants to Step 3 of the application process.

Step 3: Following the initial application through your financial institution, applicants will be directed to a CEBA website to provide supporting documentation of the 2020 Eligible Non-Deferrable Expenses and to complete the application.

The Government of Canada will assess application information submitted via financial institutions together with the supporting documentation and information provided in Step 3. If successful, the Government of Canada will notify your financial institution and provide funding for your CEBA loan.

Use of Funds:

  • There are restrictions around the use of the funds being made available. Funds are to be used for operating costs that cannot be deferred – ie. payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax.


  • 0% interest until Dec 31, 2022
  • No minimum monthly principal payments until Dec 31, 2022
  • No fees until Dec 31, 2022. If there is an outstanding balance at that time, interest and service charges will be applied
  • Principal payments can be made at any time
  • $10K loan forgiven if the outstanding balance is fully paid on or before Dec 31, 2022.

Extending the Work-Sharing program

The government is extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.

Apply to the Work-Sharing program

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.

Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.

Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

If you are concerned about your cashflow in the coming weeks or months, we would highly recommend that you apply for the loan assistance that the government is currently offering for small businesses.  It may help alleviate some cashflow issues, as currently, there is no known timeline for how long there will be self-isolation or quarantine requests.  The application process has moved away from through the BDC links originally provided and are now to be applied through your bank.  Contact your bank representative to apply.

The application process is fairly straightforward and would take you about 30 minutes to complete.  A couple of things to note on these loans:

  • They are looking for personal guarantees from the business owner(s)
  • They do request information about the personal net worth of the business owner(s)
  • You must have been in business for 2 years.
  • They are requesting financial and tax information for the last two years of the business (if they approve your initial application)
  • This is a loan and not an operating line of credit.  We have not received any information yet as to the structure of the loan and whether there are early repayment plans with no penalty if you end up not utilizing the funds.  
  • There is currently no information available on the interest rates, if any, which apply to the loan.
  • Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to 6 months for qualifying businesses;
  • Postponement of payments for up to 6 months, free of charge, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less.

Learn more about the Business Credit Availability Program

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

On April 16, 2020, the Federal Government introduced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses that, will seek to provide loans and/or forgivable loans to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.

Implementation of the program will require a partnership with provincial and territorial governments who are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.

More details will be available soon.

Support for farmersIncreasing credit available

The government is supporting Farm Credit Canada by allowing an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time.

The government will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory isolation.

The government has granted an exemption for temporary foreign workers from travel restrictions to Canada, along with other foreigners with student and work visas, provided they adhere to a strict 14-day isolation protocol upon arrival.

Learn more

Insured Mortgage Purchase Program

The government launched an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, in which the government will purchase up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market.

More time to pay income taxes

The government is allowing all businesses 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. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.

No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. 

Learn more

Deferral of GST Remittance and Customs Duty Payments

The government will allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), as well as customs duties owing on their imports.

The deferral will apply to GST/HST remittances for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods for monthly filers; the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period for quarterly filers; and for annual filers, the amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and installments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.

For GST and customs duty payments for imported goods, deferral will include amounts owing for March, April and May.

These amounts were normally due to be submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency as early as the end of this month.

Phone Numbers

BDC – the Canadian government has set up a $10 Billion fund to assist businesses in this period.  The funds for entrepreneurs are currently being administered through the BDC. – More Info

EDC  – The EDC has set up a toll free number number for anyone with any questions relating to exporting as the pandemic and its effects evolve, 1-800-229-0575.

CFIB – Has opened their helpline to all business owners including non-CFIB members for advice on managing COVID-19 situations in the workplace. Call them at 1-888-234-2232.