As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the economy and the day-to-day lives of Canadians, governments of all levels and their agencies, announce programs and take other actions in response. In addition to measures such as emergency measures, tax relief and financial support for individuals unable to work as a result of the pandemic, governments at the federal and provincial levels have announced various types of support for businesses.
In what follows, we summarize some relevant support to businesses that the federal and provincial governments have established. This list is not exhaustive. You should directly consult the government or agency that is responsible for the initiative for specific information. Alternatively, you can contact us for assistance and we would be happy to help.
For information regarding additional measures taken by government, please see the following additional resources:
- State of Emergency and Business Closures: For information on closure of non-essential businesses, see our post here.
- Employment: For information regarding issues facing employers as a result of COVID-19, please see our COVID-19 Quick-Reference Considerations for Employers.
- Tax: For issues and relief related to
taxation, please see our posts regarding:
- Deferral of GST/HST and QST remittances and customs duty payments | Last updated: Apr 2, 2020
- Important Canadian tax updates – Filings and disputes | Last updated: May 29, 2020
- Canadian Tax Update – Collections, audits, objections and appeals | Last updated: June 1, 2020
- Tax compliance and relief update for Alberta and B.C. businesses | Last updated: Apr 8, 2020
- Important provincial tax updates – Filing and Disputes | Last updated: Mar 24, 2020
- COVID-19 Business Wage Loss Subsidies | Last updated: Apr 2, 2020
- Tax Court of Canada closure | Last updated: May 29, 2020
- Important Québec tax updates – Filings and disputes | Last updated: June 5, 2020
- Real Estate: For information on both commercial and residential real estate relief (including rent relief), please see our post on COVID-19: Key developments and considerations for real estate stakeholders.
For further information, please see our page regarding navigating the legal and business impacts of coronavirus.
Highlighted Government Support Initiatives
Federal and provincial governments have pledged various financial supports to businesses to ease the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighted forms of relief announced to date include the following:
Financial relief announced for businesses by the federal government includes the following:
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program provides relief to eligible employers by covering 75% of an eligible employee's wages up to $847 per week. The program will remain in effect until August 29, 2020. For more information on the CEWS please see our post titled Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - A Detailed Review.
- Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers: The federal government is providing a 10% wage subsidy for eligible employers for a three month period (March 18 – June 19, 2020). The subsidy allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions for remittal purposes.
- Work-sharing Program Extension: The federal government has extended the work-sharing program maximum duration from 38 to 76 weeks.
- Waiving Tariffs on Certain Medical Goods: The federal government is waiving tariffs on certain medical goods, such as Personal Protective Equipment.
- Canada Emergency Business Account Loans: The Canada Emergency Business Account loan program provides eligible small businesses with interest-free loans of up to $40,000. Businesses can apply for loans under this program through participating banks or credit unions.
- Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: The federal government is collaborating with financial institution to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to eligible small and medium-sized businesses. Businesses can apply for loans under this program through participating banks and credit unions.
- Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: The federal government is collaborating with financial institutions by co-lending term loans of up to $6.25 million to eligible small and medium-sized businesses. This program is available until September 30, 2020. Businesses can apply for loans under this program through participating banks and credit unions.
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund: The federal government is using the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to assist eligible businesses in sectors that play a key role in regional and local economies. This program is intended to assist eligible businesses that need additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have not been able to access other support measures. The program is delivered through the local Regional Development Agency.
- Mid-Market Financing Program: The Mid-Market Financing Program provides eligible medium-sized businesses with commercial loans that range from $12.5 million to $60 million. This program provides loans to eligible medium-sized businesses that have credit needs that exceed what is available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures. More details on this program will be forthcoming from the government.
- Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program: The Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will provide liquidity to eligible companies that tend to have revenues of between $50 million to $300 million. This program is available to international exporters as well as international investors and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada. Through this program, the government will continue to collaborate with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75% of new operating credit and cash-flow loans that range from $16.75 million to $80 million. More details on this program will be forthcoming from the government.
- Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility: The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility provides bridge financing to eligible large businesses that cannot meet their needs through conventional financing.
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance: The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program provides financial assistance to eligible small businesses that are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Participation in the program requires eligible property owners to reduce their rent by at least 75% for the months of April, May, and June for small business tenants. The government will cover 50% of the rent, the property owner will forgive at least 25% in rent, and the tenant will pay up to 25% of the rent. The application must be submitted by the property owner.
- Businesses in the Territories: The federal government is providing non-repayable support for eligible businesses in the territories. The program is intended to provide eligible businesses with assistance in relation to their operating costs that are not already covered by other federal government measures.
- Sectoral Support: The federal government is providing specific support for a number of sectors, including: agriculture and agri-food; aquaculture and fisheries; culture, heritage and sport; air transportation; tourism; energy; as well as academic and research.
Financial relief introduced by the Ontario government includes the following:
- Interest and Penalty Relief: Businesses will get five months of interest and penalty relief to file and make payments for certain provincially administered taxes.
- Employer Health Tax Relief: The Ontario government is increasing the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million. This relief is only available for eligible employers.
- Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit: The Ontario government is providing a tax credit of up to $50,000 to certain types of corporations if they build, renovate, or acquire commercial or industrial buildings in designated regions.
- Rent Assistance for Small Businesses: In partnership with the federal government, the Ontario government is delivering the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program to assist eligible small businesses and commercial landlords who are experiencing financial difficulties. The application deadline is August 31, 2020.
- Pausing Commercial Evictions: The Ontario government is temporarily providing relief to commercial tenants that are eligible for, but not participating in, federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions. It is doing so by: (1) halting and reversing evictions; (2) providing protection from being locked out by the landlord; and (3) providing protection from the seizure of assets. This relief applies from May 1 to August 31, 2020.
- WSIB Payment Deferrals: Employers can defer their Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments for up to six months.
- Electricity Rates: As of June 1, 2020 and until October 31, 2020, Time of Use Regulated Price plan customers will be charged a rate of 12.8¢/kWh 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Financial support announced for businesses in Québec includes the following:
- Online Tool for Finding Assistance: The Quebec government has created an online tool that businesses can use to find the type of assistance best suited for their situation.
- Emergency Assistance for Small and Medium Enterprises: The Quebec government has an emergency assistance program for small and medium-sized enterprises that are experiencing financial difficulties during the pandemic.
- Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses: The Quebec government is providing financial support for eligible businesses who are facing liquidity problems and operate within specified industries.
- Concerted Action Program for Job Retention: The Quebec government has created a program that provides financial assistance to eligible businesses to support them in retaining their employees.
- Flexibility Measures for Existing Loans and Loan Guarantees: The Quebec government has implemented a program that would provide flexibility with regards to capital and interest payments of certain loans.
- Extension of Deadline for Annual Registration Fees: The Registraire des entreprises has extended the deadline for annual registration fees for the current year. The deadline has been extended to September 1, 2020 for all enterprises with a filing deadline between March 13, 2020 and August 31, 2020.
Financial support announced for businesses in Alberta includes the following:
- Corporate Income Tax Changes: Alberta is providing a deferral for Alberta income tax balances and instalment payments that were due between March 18, 2020 and August 31, 2020. These are deferred until August 31, 2020.
- ATB Financial Support: ATB small businesses customers can apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to six months. They can also access additional working capital. Other business and agriculture customers can seek support on a case-by-case basis.
- WCB Premium Payment Deferrals: The Alberta government is allowing small, medium and large businesses to defer paying their Workers' Compensation Board premiums until 2021. For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021. Businesses that have already paid 2020 premiums are eligible for a rebate or credit.
- Protecting Commercial Tenants: The Alberta government is in the process of passing legislation that would provide protection for eligible commercial tenants from lease terminations as well as late payment fees, penalties, and rent increases.
- Relaunch Funding: The Alberta government is creating a funding program for eligible small and medium-sized businesses as well as non-profit organizations to assist in their relaunch costs. More details are to be announced as the program as finalized.
- Deferral of Timber Dues: Alberta is allowing for the deferral of certain timber dues for up to six months.
- Suspension of Certain Reporting Obligations in the Energy Sector: Alberta has suspended specific reporting requirements for energy companies under the Coal Conservation Act, the Oil and Gas Conservation Act, and the Oil Sands Conservation Act.
- Relief for the Child Care Sector: Alberta is providing relief to the child care sector through a three-phased approach. The first phase will provide some assistance with overhead costs. The second phase will provide some assistance to cover enhanced cleaning costs, training, and recruitment. The third phase will provide some assistance with deferred bills and unforeseen operational issues.
Financial support announced for businesses in British Columbia includes the following:
- Tax Deferral and Relief: British Columbia has deferred a number of tax-related obligations until September 30, 2020 and reduced some tax rates, including those that relate to commercial property.
- Protection for Commercial Tenants: For the duration of the state of emergency in British Columbia or until the federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program ends (whichever occurs first), British Columbia has provided additional protections (e.g. against re-entry, termination, and distraint by the landlord) to commercial tenants in certain circumstances.
- BC Hydro Relief: BC Hydro is providing relief for eligible small business customers who needed to close because of COVID-19 by waiving up to three months of their electricity charges. For commercial customers who do not qualify for the waiver relief, they may qualify for another form of relief that allows for the deferral of bill payment or flexible payment arrangements with no penalty. BC Hydro has also stopped disconnections for non-payment.
- FORTIS BC Relief: FORTIS BC is providing relief for eligible small businesses. The relief can be (1) for bill credits to offset charges while the business was closed; (2) payment deferrals for the period from April 1 to June 30, 2020 (a repayment plan that will be spread out over the next 12 months will be automatically entered into when this type of relief is granted); (3) depending on the situation, both relief options may be available.
- WorkSafeBC Relief: WorkSafeBC is allowing employers to defer payments for the first and second quarter without penalty or interest. Payment for these two quarters will not be due until October 20, 2020.
- Waiver of Furloughed Workers Premiums: British Columba is waiving the premium on wages paid to furloughed workers for eligible businesses. The waiver is retroactive to March 15, 2020 and will continue for the duration of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidies program.
- Support for Regional Businesses: British Columbia is providing support for eligible businesses that are in Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Islands, the Columbia Basin, and central and northern British Columbia.
- Support for Liquor Licensees: British Columbia is providing relief to eligible liquor licensees through a deferral of renewal fees to September 30, 2020. Further, from July 2020 until March 31, 2021, liquor licensees can purchase beer, wine and spirits at a reduced cost.
- Deferral of Stumpage Fees: The government has taken steps to help the forest sector by deferring stumpage fees (with interest) for: Tree Farm Licence, Replaceable Forest Licence, and First Nations' Woodlands Licence holders who are in good standing with the province.
- Support for Oil and Gas Sector: British Columbia has announced support for oil and gas companies. This support includes $120 million in funding for oil and gas sites to clean up orphan wells. The province will do this through three programs: the Dormant Sites Reclamation Program, the Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation Program, and the Legacy Sites Reclamation Program.
Financial support announced for businesses in Saskatchewan includes the following:
- Provincial Sales Tax Relief: The Saskatchewan government is providing assistance to businesses that are unable to submit their Provincial Sales Tax returns due to cash flow concerns. The relief comes in the form of allowing affected businesses to submit payments by July 31, 2020 without incurring a penalty or interest.
- Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment: The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment program provides up to $5,000 for eligible small and medium-sized businesses that have been directly affected by the government's COVID-19 public health orders. The program also applies to seasonal businesses that meet the eligibility criteria.
- WCB Premium Waiver: The Workers' Compensation Board is waiving penalties and interest charges for late premium payments. This waiver is effective April 1 until June 30, 2020.
- Commercial Eviction Protection for Tenants: For the duration of the state of emergency in Saskatchewan or until the federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program ends (whichever occurs first), Saskatchewan has provided additional protections (e.g. against re-entry, termination, and distraint by the landlord) to commercial tenants in certain circumstances.
- Provincial Utilities: All Crown utilities will provide zero-interest bill deferral programs for up to six months for Saskatchewan customers whose ability to make bill payments has been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.
- Support for the Oil and Gas Sector: The Saskatchewan government is providing a number of relief programs for the oil and gas sector, including: extending a series of filing and other deadlines; extending mineral rights that were due to expire in 2020; reducing the Oil and Gas Administration Levy by 50 per cent for the current fiscal year and delaying invoicing for remaining balances until October 1, 2020; and implementing the Accelerated Site Closure Program for the abandonment and reclamation of inactive oil and gas wells and facilities.
Financial support announced for businesses in Manitoba includes the following:
- Manitoba Gap Protection Program: The Manitoba Gap Protection Program provides eligible businesses with $6,000 in financial assistance.
- Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Plan: The Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Job Plan provides a wage subsidy to eligible employers who hire eligible students between May 1 and September 4, 2020. The subsidy provides a reimbursement of $7 an hour and can be up to a maximum of $5,000 per student. The maximum number of subsidized positions is 5 students.
- Manitoba Back to Work this Summer Program: The Manitoba Back to Work this Summer Program provides a subsidy to eligible businesses of half the wages paid for up to 5 employees up to a maximum of $5,000 per employee. The program covers a 10-week period (June 1 – August 30, 2020).
- Commercial Rent Assistance Support: The Manitoba government is providing financial assistance to enhance the federal rent assistance program to commercial operations in Manitoba.
- Waiver of Penalties and Interest: The Manitoba government is not charging interest or penalties for Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas, Workers Compensation Board and Manitoba Public Insurance payments. Manitoba is also not charging interest on Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries receivables from restaurants, bars, and specialty wine stores. No interest is also being charged on education property taxes.
- Manitoba Works Capital Incentive: The Manitoba Works Capital Incentive program provides eligible property investments with a tax rebate of the incremental education property taxes that are generated as a result of capital investment over the property for a period of up to 20 years or until education property taxes are eliminated, whichever is earlier.
Newfoundland & Labrador
Financial support announced for businesses in Newfoundland & Labrador includes the following:
- Extension of Tax Return Filing Deadlines: The Newfoundland and Labrador government is extending the filing deadlines for many tax returns to August 20, 2020. These include: Gasoline Tax; Carbon Tax; Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax; Insurance Companies Tax; Mining and Mineral Rights Tax; Tax on Insurance Premiums; and Tobacco Tax.
- Employer Compensation for Workers in Self-Isolation: The province has made compensation available for private sector employers with staff that have had to self-isolate if certain outlined conditions are met.
- WorkplaceNL Relief: WorkplaceNL is deferring the collection of employer assessment payments and waiving interest charges or penalties until August 31, 2020.
- Electricity Relief: Newfoundland Power is providing its customers with a one-time credit, which will be reflected in the July 2020 electricity bill. The Newfoundland and Labrador government has also created an Interest Assistance Program that can provide relief for eligible businesses.
- Relief for Liquor Licensees: The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation is implementing a number of relief measures for liquor licensees. These include the waiver of liquor license fees for the 2020-2021 fiscal year; the temporary waiver of warehousing service fees for eligible microbrewers; and the provision of wholesale pricing discounts in relation to specific products.
- Tourism and Hospitality Support Program: The Tourism and Hospitality Support Program provides eligible operators with a one-time non-repayable contribution of either $5,000 or $10,000, depending on the operator's gross sales.
- Additional Relief from Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation: The Department has announced additional relief, which includes the deferral of loan payments under the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation's Business Fund for 6 months and increased support under the Research and Development program.
Financial support announced for businesses in Nova Scotia includes the following:
- Fee Deferrals: The Nova Scotia government is deferring many program and service fees, including workers compensation premiums, until June 30, 2020.
- Loan Payment Deferrals: The Nova Scotia government is deferring payments on all government loans until June 30, 2020. Further, The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, which still continues to provide access to credit through provincial credit unions, is also deferring all principal and interest payments until June 30, 2020.
- Small Business Reopening and Support Grant: The Small Business Reopening and Support Grant provides eligible small businesses with a one-time grant of up to $5,000 to help them reopen safely. Eligible small business may also qualify for a voucher of up to $1,500 for advice and services to help them adapt and become more resilient in a COVID-19 world.
- Agriculture Response Program: The Agriculture Response Program provides 4 streams of funding for eligible agricultural participants. The streams are: COVID-19 Mitigation and Adaptation for Health Protocol (75% funding assistance up to $50,000 per program year); COVID-19 Marketing, Product Movement and Distribution (50% funding assistance up to $20,000 per project); COVID-19 Strategic Projects (funding assessed on a case-by-case basis); COVID-19 Abattoir Efficiency and Development (75% funding assistance up to $50,000 per program year).
Financial support announced for businesses in New Brunswick includes the following:
- Business Property Tax Relief Program: The Business Property Tax Relief Program provides relief for eligible businesses in relation to their property taxes for the months of June and July 2020. The application deadline is July 31,2020.
- Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program: The New Brunswick Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program provides eligible businesses with loans up to $100,000.
- Opportunities New Brunswick Loans: The Opportunities New Brunswick Loans program provides loans that range from more than $100,000 to $1,000,000 to eligible businesses.
- Loan and Interest Payment Deferrals: New Brunswick is allowing for the deferral of some loan and interest payments on existing provincial loans for up to six months. The determination for eligibility is conducted on a case-by-case basis.
- WorkSafeNB Premium Deferral: WorkSafeNB has announced that assessment premiums related to employer payrolls for specified months will be deferred for three months without interest charges.
Prince Edward Island
Financial support announced for businesses in Prince Edward Island includes the following:
- Property Tax Relief: Prince Edward Island is providing a number of property tax relief measures, which include the ability to defer property tax payments.
- Support for Essential Workers: Prince Edward Island is providing a temporary wage top-up for eligible employees who are providing an essential service. Only employers can submit applications on behalf of employees. The program runs from April 6 to July 26, 2020. However, applications can be submitted until August 28, 2020. Employers are permitted to submit multiple applications to support their business requirements.
- COVID-19 Workspace Adaption Assistance Fund: The Workspace Adaption Assistance Fund provides a non-repayable contribution of up to $2,000 to eligible businesses to offset the cost of implementing a COVID-19 operational plan. Applications must be submitted by July 15, 2020 and are subject to budget availability.
- Emergency Working Capital Financing: The Emergency Working Capital Financing program provides loans of up to $100,000 for eligible businesses.
- Fisheries Emergency Loan: The Fisheries Emergency Loan program provides loans of up to $25,000 to eligible applicants in the fisheries sector.
- Fisheries Interest Relief Program: The Fisheries Interest Relief Program provides interest payment relief for up to 12 months for eligible applicants in the fisheries sector. The availability of this program is limited by the government's budget constraints.
- Tourism Assistance Loan Program: The Tourism Assistance Loan Program provides eligible tourism operators with loans of up $1 million. This program is limited by the government's budget constraints.
- Tourism Interest Relief Program: The Tourism Interest Relief Program provides interest relief for eligible tourism operators. The program will be in effect from April 1 to September 31, 2020.
Financial support announced for businesses in Yukon includes the following:
- Yukon Business Relief Program: The Yukon Business Relief Program provides non-repayable grants to eligible businesses to cover specified fixed costs. Under this program, businesses may be able to receive grants that cover between 75-100 per cent of their fixed costs up to a maximum of $30,000 per month. The program runs until July 31, 2020.
- Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program: The Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program provides eligible businesses that employ eligible essential workers with the ability to apply for a wage top-up. Only employers are allowed to submit applications. The deadline to apply for the program is November 3, 2020.
- Paid Sick Leave Rebate: The Yukon is providing eligible businesses that pay their employees to take sick days and self-isolate with a rebate under specified circumstances. The program runs from March 11 to September 11, 2020.
- Temporary Support for Cancelled Events: The Yukon is providing eligible businesses who have been affected by the cancellation of eligible major events with temporary support to cover specified costs. Applications to this program must be submitted before August 31, 2020.
- Support for Aviation Industry: The Yukon is providing a number of relief measures for eligible businesses in the aviation industry, including the waiver of specified landing, parking, loading, and commercial aviation fees.
- Support for Tourism Organizations: The Yukon is providing a number of measures to assist the tourism industry, including facilitating access to the Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund.
Financial support announced for businesses in the Northwest Territories includes the following
- SEED Program Funding: Funding guidelines for the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development program have been changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Northwest Territories published new guidelines that seek to assist businesses in their recovery.
- BDIC Loans: The Business Development and Investment Corporation is providing a number of relief initiatives to eligible businesses, including: (1) the reduction or deferral of loan payments without penalty or additional interest charges and (2) the provision of low interest loans.
- Wage Top-up Program: The Northwest Territories is providing a temporary wage top-up for eligible employers and employees. Only employers can submit applications.
- Land Lease Rent Relief: The Northwest Territories is waiving rent on some existing surface dispositions on public lands for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
- Support for Tourism Industry: The Northwest Territories is waiving tourism licensing fees and insurance requirements for eligible tourism operators for the 2020-2021 seasons.
Financial support announced for businesses in Nunavut includes the following:
- Essential Workers Wage Premium: Nunavut is providing a temporary wage top-up for eligible employers and employees.
- Economic Relief: The Nunavut territorial government has established a number of financial support programs for eligible businesses.
Last updated on June 26, 2020
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