Man buying fresh vegetables at farmer's market

The federal government rolled out a massive aid package for businesses affected by Covid-19, including billions in wage subsidies and credit.

See the table below for a summary of programs that continue to be available to business owners during the pandemic.

The deadline to opt in for the final three months of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program is Oct. 30, 2020 (for July, August and September).

The program provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of monthly rent payments payable by eligible small-business tenants experiencing financial hardship. The tenant pays up to 25% of the rent, and the property owner forgives at least 25%. To be eligible, property owners must reduce rent for pandemic-impacted small-business tenants by at least 75%.

The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, shown in the table, will provide rent and mortgage support until June 2021.

The Canada Emergency Business Account and loan programs listed are part of the government’s Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) that provides direct lending to small and medium-sized businesses. BCAP is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), with loans co-ordinated through banks or other financial institutions.

Also note that the government extended layoff periods by up to six months in response to Covid-19 to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees.

For targeted business funding, including support for Indigenous and Black-led businesses, businesses in the territories and certain sectors, and women and youth entrepreneurs, see the government’s economic response plan for Covid-19.

Table: Support for business owners during Covid-19

Support/program Amount/details Period Eligibility How to apply
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Periods 1 to 4 (March 15 to July 4, 2020): 75% of wages of the first $58,700 normally earned by eligible employees, up to $847/week per eligible employee
  • Periods 5 to 9 (July 5 to Nov. 21, 2020): subsidy rates apply to wages of up to $1,129 per eligible employee; employers most adversely affected by Covid-19 may qualify for a top-up
  • Taxable income
  • FAQs are available
Retroactive to March 15, 2020, and proposed to continue to June 2021 Periods 1 to 4: businesses must meet a minimum of a 15% (period 1) or 30% (periods 2 to 4) revenue drop; periods 5 to 9: subsidy rate varies based on business’s revenue drop Through CRA’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
  • Rent support for Covid-19-affected eligible businesses
  • A percentage of the business’s eligible expenses would be subsidized, on a sliding scale, up to a max of 65% of eligible expenses until Dec. 19, 2020
  • Businesses would be able to make claims retroactively for the period of Sept. 27 to Oct. 24, 2020
  • A top-up subsidy of 25% would be available to businesses temporarily shut down by a mandatory health order
To June 2021 Businesses that suffered a revenue drop More information will soon be available
Work-sharing program (provides EI benefits to workers with reduced hours, helping avoid layoffs)
  • Extended to 76 weeks from 38
March 15, 2020, to March 14, 2021
  • Any sector or industry
  • The business must have been in operation for one year (instead of the usual two)
Submit applications to Service Canada at least 10 business days prior to the requested start date (instead of the usual 30)
Canada Emergency Business Account
  • Loans of up to $40,000
  • No interest until Dec. 31, 2022
  • Loan forgiveness of 25% if repaid on or before Dec. 31, 2022
  • Government proposes to provide additional loans of up to $20K with half forgivable if repaid by Dec. 31, 2022
Application extends to Dec. 31, 2020 Employers with $20K to $1.5M in payroll in 2019, as well as sole proprietors, owner-operated small biz with no payroll, and family corporations that pay employees through dividends; applicants with $20K or less in payroll must demonstrate they have eligible non-deferrable expenses (such as wages, rent, insurance, property taxes and debt service) between $40K and $1.5M in 2020 With your current financial institution; details are forthcoming on the additional loans of up to $20K
Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Up to $6.25M in new operating credit and cash flow term loans Available until June 2021 Credit-worthy businesses impacted by Covid-19 and in operation as of March 1, 2020 With your current financial institution
Co-lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
  • Up to $12.5M for operational cash flow
  • Commercial interest rate
  • Payments may be postponed for up to 12 months
Available until June 2021 Credit-worthy businesses impacted by Covid-19 With your current financial institution

Farmers can receive credit through Farm Credit Canada.

Large and medium-sized businesses can apply for support through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility if they have $300 million or more in revenues and maintain employment and investment activities.

For mid-sized companies with credit needs that exceed BCAP support, the BDC’s mid-market financing program provides commercial loans between $12.5 million and $60 million.

Read our summary of all government aid for individuals and businesses.