Minister Fortier Highlights Government Support for Businesses in Digital Town Hall with the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce

News release

April 24, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada is taking strong, immediate, and effective action to protect Canadians and businesses from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Minister Fortier participated in a digital town hall with the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce to discuss challenges facing the region’s businesses and how the Government of Canada is delivering support through these difficult times with its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Some of the key measures in the Plan, which address the needs of Canadians and businesses during this time of global uncertainty, include:

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), which provides a 75 per cent subsidy for up to 12 weeks for eligible employers, retroactive to March 15;
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account, providing interest-free, partially forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations with between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019;
  • The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending by providing businesses with access to flexible term loans of up to $12.5 million to help cover immediate, operational cash-flow requirements;
  • Deferral of all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments, as well as GST and customs duty payments owed for imports, until June; and
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will provide $2,000 monthly for up to 4 months to eligible workers who have stopped working because of the COVID pandemic.

Last week, the government also introduced targeted measures to preserve jobs in the energy sector. These include:

  • Up to $1.72 billion, including funding to the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, and the Alberta Orphan Well Association, to clean up orphan and/or inactive oil and gas wells – creating thousands of jobs and having lasting environmental benefits; and
  • Up to $750 million for a proposed Emissions Reduction Fund to provide repayable contributions to create jobs while accelerating emissions-reducing investments, with a focus on methane in the conventional oil and gas sector.

The Government of Canada is also working with provinces and territories to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of essential workers that provinces and territories have deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19.

The government continues to assess and respond to the impacts of COVID-19. It stands ready to take additional actions as needed to stabilize the economy and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.


“Canada's economic response plan to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the largest and most rapidly deployed peacetime investment in Canadian history. It provides effective support measures for businesses and the Canadian families they provide employment for here in the city of Regina. We will continue to closely monitor the impacts of the outbreak on individuals and businesses in all sectors and regions, and do what it takes to ensure that everyone gets the help they need during this unprecedented time of crisis.”

Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • The government has taken many actions to support Canadian businesses through the outbreak of COVID-19, with targeted new initiatives that:

    • Extend eligibility of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to individuals who earn up to $1,000 per month, to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
    • Provide approximately $9 billion towards various measures to support to post-secondary students and recent graduates who are unable to secure or retain employment in order to help them overcome the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
    • Increase credit available for farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.
    • Extend the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program, from 38 weeks to 76 weeks, for workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
    • Defer the payment of income taxes until after August 31, 2020 for the payment of income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020. This relief will apply to new 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.
    • Launching the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator to support employers as they prepare to apply for the CEWS.

Associated links


Media may contact:

Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada

General enquiries

Phone: 613-369-3710
Facsimile: 613-369-4065
TTY: 613-369-3230

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Twitter: @financecanada


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