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UPDATED: COVID-19 Economic Support for Businesses

COVID-19 Economic Support for Businesses 

Supporting Employees and Self-Employed Individuals

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a new taxable benefit that combines the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

Applicants must have had $5,000 in employment income, self-employment income, or maternity or parental leave benefits in 2019 or in the 12-month period proceeding the day you make the application.

It will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic including:

  • People sick with COVID-19 and those caring for people sick with COVID-19
  • People who are in quarantine due to COVID-19
  • Those who have lost their job due to COVID-19
  • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
  • Wage earners, contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for EI
  • Workers who are still employed but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19.


The CERB will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number. I will continue to update my website and social media as information becomes available.

If you’ve already applied for EI you do not need to reapply for the CERB. Your claim will be automatically moved over to the CERB, and benefits will be paid from this program first.

You must apply on-line through your CRA account (https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html) or Service Canada account (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account.html) Phone numbers for CERB-related support will be available soon. 

Preventing Layoffs

To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities

EI Work Sharing Program

EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process.

Business Tax Filing

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today 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. 

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

BDC and EDC are cooperating with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism. The near-term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada.

Canada Account

The government is changing the Canada Account so that the Minister of Finance would now be able to determine the limit of the Canada Account in order to deal with exceptional circumstances. This will allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian companies through loans, guarantees or insurance policies during these challenging times.

Support for Small Businesses

The changes made to BDC financing are on Friday March 13 are effective immediately. The temporary business wage subsidy program will provide a subsidy equal to 10% of an employees wage, for three months, up to $1375 per employee and $25, 000 per business. This requires royal assent, and the legislation will be passed when the House is recalled.

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

BDC is offering flexible and tailored solutions for entrepreneurs:

Small Business Loan

Get up to $100,000 through a completely online application process. Postpone capital payment for the first 6 months and repay your loan over 5 years. Interest rate of 5.05% (variance ranging between 1% and 12%).

Note: "The Small Business Loan is offered at BDC's Floating Base Rate* of 5.05% (effective March 17, 2020) plus a variance ranging between 1% and 12%, which is confirmed once the loan is approved. The interest rate is subject to change without notice.

 Working Capital Loan

Apply for additional funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support operations.

Purchase Order Financing

Cover up to 90% of a Purchase Orders (PO) amount with shorter term financing options.

 Advisory Services for Financial Managementand Operations

For more information and support, please contact a BDC representative:

Call: 1-877-232-2269 (Mon-Fri 7:30am to 8:00pm ET / Sat-Sun 9:00am to 5:00pm ET)