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 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 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
  • Covers a portion of wages for qualifying employers to help keep employees on payroll
  • Taxable income
  • FAQs are available
Retroactive to March 15, 2020, and continues 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. For subsequent claim periods, no minimum revenue decline is required, and employers who were hardest hit may qualify for an additional top-up Through CRA’s My Business Account or Represent a Client 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 (subsidy rates in effect until Dec. 19, 2020)
  • Businesses can make claims retroactively for the period starting Sept. 27, 2020
  • A top-up subsidy of 25% is available to businesses temporarily shut down by a mandatory health order
To June 2021 Businesses that suffered a revenue drop (among other criteria) Through CRA’s My Business Account or Represent a Client
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 $60,000
  • No interest until Dec. 31, 2022
  • On the full loan, $20,000 will be forgiven if the balance is repaid by Dec. 31, 2022
Application extends to Mar. 31, 2021 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
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.