Government Support for Small Businesses During COVID-19

For those who are unaware, there is support for small businesses during COVID-19. In addition to the financial aid going to individuals and families, the Government of Canada is also offering a variety of programs to small and medium sized enterprises. From interest-free loans to business owners and those in the private sector, to the wage subsidy and more, there are options.

The impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching, so entrepreneurs must determine the eligibility criteria of the many programs available to them and their employees. Learn more about the benefits and support programs in place for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Avoiding layoffs and rehiring employees

If you want to keep your employees working, but you simply cannot afford them, the programs below may keep your workforce going for a while longer.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers affected most by the coronavirus, to protect the jobs Canadian workers need to survive.

  • Must experience a minimum of:
    • 15 per cent drop in March
    • 30 per cent drop in April and May
  • Covers up to 75 per cent of an employee’s earnings up to $847/week
  • Runs from March 15 through June 6, 2020
  • Apply for CEWS starting on April 27

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy

  • Enables employers to reduce payroll deduction remitted to the CRA
  • Read some of the most frequently asked questions on it here.

Extending the Work Sharing program

  • Extends from 38 weeks to 76 for businesses dealing with the coronavirus
  • Apply here

Temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program

The changes enable an employer to:

  • Receive up to 100 per cent of the minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • Move termination date up to the end of February, 2021
  • Hire staff for part-time
  • More information on it here

Access to credit

Some businesses simply need access to credit to maintain operations. Below are some

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Employers may be able to acquire additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

The following programs are available through credit unions, banks, and other institutions:

  • Loan guarantee for small and medium-sized business up to $6.25 million
  • Co-lending program for SMEs up to $6.25 million
  • Find out more here

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

  • Interest-free loans up to $40,000 to small businesses and non-profit companies
  • Must have paid from $20,000 – $1.5 million for payroll in 2019
  • Apply through your bank
  • Find out more here

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

  • Loans (some are forgivable loans) for commercial property owners
  • Owners must then forgo or lower rent for small businesses during
    • April
    • May
    • June

Rural businesses and communities

Assisting innovative and early-stage businesses

Young entrepreneurs

Businesses in the Territories

  • Up to $15 million to businesses in the territories

Small and medium-sized companies unable to access other support measures

  • For small organizations that cannot get help from other programs, there is $675 million in support
  • Contact your Regional Development Agency

Deferred Payments

Support for self-employed individuals

    • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Indigenous Businesses

  • Funding for small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and Aboriginal Financial Institutions
  • More indigenous business support information here

Support for Small Businesses During COVID-19

If your business is experiencing financial hardship in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is help available. Do not allow your business to go bankrupt. Instead, apply for assistance and get the funds you need to keep your operations ongoing indefinitely.

For more information on personal or business finances, speak to a trained credit counsellor from our office today.


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