COVID-19 Small Business
Support Centre

Everything small business owners need to know to navigate the crisis

During the COVID-19 crisis, there inevitably is a lot of confusing and changing information. At E&E we want to give you the support you need to get through this uncertain time to guide you through to the recovery phase.

Our COVID-19 Small Business Support Centre is dedicated to assembling the most relevant news, resources and support from various Governments and other business-related agencies, to keep you as informed as possible.

We are updating this page regularly as new information is announced. We try to ensure that the information on this website is as accurate as possible, but please consult the Government of Canada’s website for verification.

COVID-19 Small Business Support Centre

Avoiding layoffs and rehiring employees

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Canada Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy

Extending the Work-Sharing program

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic and protect the jobs Canadians depend on.

The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee's wages – up to $847 per week - for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

The program will be in place for a 24-week period, from March 15 to August 29, 2020.

Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.

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.

Apply for the CEWS: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html

Want to learn more about CEWS? Read our more in-depth article about this benefit here .

Temporary 10% Wage 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.

Learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html

Extending the Work-Sharing program

The Government is extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. This measure will provide income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.

Apply to the Work-Sharing program: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html#h4.04

Access to credit

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

Assisting Innovative and Early-Stage Businesses

Young Enterpreneurs

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

The Government has established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.

This program includes:

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.

These programs are now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.

Learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/programs/financial-sector-policy/business-credit-availability-program.html

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.

To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.

Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.

Learn more about CEBA: https://ceba-cuec.ca/

Want to learn more about CEBA? Read our more in-depth article about this benefit here .

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

The Government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of 3 monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.

The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.

Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

Program details including how funds will be disbursed and how to apply are being finalized and will be available soon.

Want to learn more about CEBA? Read our more in-depth article about this benefit here .

Assisting Innovative and Early-Stage Businesses

The Government is investing $250 million to assist innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access other COVID-19 business supports through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

IRAP provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.

Learn more: https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-development/research-collaboration/nrc-covid-19-programs

Young Entrepreneurs

The Government is providing $20.1 million in support for Futurpreneur Canada to continue supporting young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19. The funding will allow Futurpreneur Canada to provide payment relief for its clients for up to 12 months.

Learn more: https://www.futurpreneur.ca/en/>

Deferred payments

More time to pay income taxes

Sales Tax Remittance & Customs Duty Payments

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.

New tax and payment dates: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments

The Government is allowing businesses to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the GST/HST, as well as customs duty owing on their imports.

Any GST/HST payment that becomes owing from March 27 until the end of May can be deferred until the end of June. 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 March 2020.

Learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-gst-hst.html

Support for self-employed individuals

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Income Taxes

Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payment

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • have not voluntarily quit their job
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

On April 15, the Government announced changes to the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.

Apply for CERB: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

More Time to Pay Income Taxes

The Government is allowing all businesses, including self-employed individuals 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.

New tax and payment dates: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payment

We are allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the GST/HST as well as customs duty owing on their imports.

Any GST/HST payment that becomes owing from March 27 until the end of May can be deferred until the end of June. 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 March 2020.

Learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-gst-hst.html

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.

 

Announced on May 19, the program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.

 

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution.
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

 

Learn more about CEBA for sole proprietorships here: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/05/19/prime-minister-announces-expansion-support-workers-and-small

Supporting financial stability

Relief for Federally Regulated Pension Plan Sponsors

Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program

Bank of Canada’s actions

Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions actions

Relief for Federally Regulated Pension Plan Sponsors

The Government is providing immediate, temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans.

This relief will help ensure that employers have the financial resources they need to maintain their operations and their pension plans, and to protect the retirement security of their workers and retirees.

Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program

The Government launched an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, in which they 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.

Learn more: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2020/cmhc-expands-insured-mortgage-purchase-program

Bank of Canada’s Actions

The Bank of Canada is acting in several ways to support the economy and financial system and stands ready to take any and all actions that it can to protect the well-being of Canadians during this difficult time. The Bank has responded by lowering interest rates, intervening to support key financial markets and providing liquidity support for financial institutions.

Learn more: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/markets/market-operations-liquidity-provision/covid-19-actions-support-economy-financial-system/

Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Actions

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets. This action will allow Canada's large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending into the economy.

Learn more: https://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/osfi-bsif/med/Pages/nr_20200313.aspx

Government of Ontario (Only)

Employer Health Tax (EHT)

Employer Health Tax (EHT)

The Government of Ontario is increasing the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million. As an employer, this means relief of up to $9,945.

What this means for you

The annual tax return form is not changing. Only the amount for the exemption claimed will change. Eligibility for the tax exemption, tax rates and everything else remains the same.

You will begin making your instalment payments after your payroll has exceeded the new $1 million exemption level.

If your business no longer needs to make instalment payments as a result of the increased exemption amount, you do not need to notify the Ministry of Finance.

If you have already filed a final or special return for 2020

The ministry will be reviewing all 2020 EHT returns and correcting the returns for the new exemption level.

Learn more: https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/tax/eht/index.html

Individuals & Families

Salary Top-Up

Canada Child-Benefit

Special GST Tax Credit

Tax Returns

Mortgage Support

Temporary Salary Top-up for Low-Income, Essential Workers

To provide additional support for frontline workers fighting COVID-19, the government is providing a temporary pandemic pay of $4/hour worked on top of their regular wages. In addition, the government will be providing monthly lump sum payments of $250 for four months to eligible frontline workers who work over 100 hours per month. The pandemic pay will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020, and is expected to support over 350,000 frontline workers.

Eligible workers include staff in the following settings:
  • Long-term care homes
  • Retirement homes
  • Emergency shelters
  • Supportive housing
  • Social services
  • Congregate care settings
  • Corrections institutions
  • Youth justice facilities
  • Some staff in hospitals, including registered nurses and auxiliary staff


At this time, who exactly gets paid and how much will be decided by individual province. A full list of eligible workers in Ontario can be found here. https://www.news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/04/pandemic-pay-provides-support-for-frontline-workers-fighting-covid-19.html

The details on how this benefit will be paid has not yet been revealed.

Increasing the Canada Child Benefit

Families with children under 18 will receive an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.

This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply.

Apply for the Canada Child Benefit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview/canada-child-benefit-apply.html

Special Goods and Services Tax Credit Payment

The Government will be providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.

The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

Extra Time to File Income Tax Returns

The filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.

Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you not to delay filing your 2019 income tax return to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

Income tax filing and payment dates: CRA & COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This gives flexibility to be available − when needed − to those who need it the most. You are encouraged to visit your bank's website for the latest information, rather than calling or visiting a branch.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.

Canada's mortgage insurers are committed to providing homeowners with solutions to mitigate temporary financial hardship related to COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Deferred payments are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.

For more information, contact your bank or financial institution, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or your mortgage insurer to find out what options are available to you.

People Facing Loss of Income

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Emergency Leave

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • have not voluntarily quit their job
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

On April 15, the Government announced changes to the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.

Apply for CERB: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

Want to learn more about CERB? Read our more in-depth article about this benefit here .

Emergency Leave Due to COVID-19

The Government of Ontario has created a new unpaid, job-protected infectious disease emergency leave. Workers can take this leave if they are not able to work due to COVID-19. Learn more about the new leave and the Employment Standards Act.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.

This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).

From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of:
$1,250 For each 4-week period or $2,000 For each 4-week period, if you have dependants or a disability.

Get the details here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news.

Subscribe

Subscribe To Our Newsletter