Minister Fortier Highlights Government Support for Businesses in Digital Town Hall with Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce

News release

April 16, 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 took part in a digital town hall with the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce for Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody to discuss the challenges facing the region’s businesses and how the Government of Canada is supporting them 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), with a 75 per cent subsidy for up to 12 weeks for qualifying employers, retroactive to March 15;
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account, with $25 billion of interest-free loans through private financial institutions to qualifying organizations will now be available for businesses that paid between $20,000 to $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 to meet operational cash-flow requirements;
  • Deferral of all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as GST and customs duty payments owed for imports;
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will provide $2,000 monthly for up to 4 months to eligible workers who have lost employment because of the COVID pandemic.

Earlier today, the Government announced its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon. 

The government of Canada is also working with provinces and territories to cost-share a temporary top up to the salaries of low-income essential workers that the provinces and territories have deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19. The Government of Canada will cover a portion of the cost of providing temporary financial support to these low-income workers, thereby helping to support employers in keeping their workers on staff, while also ensuring fairness.

The government continues to assess and respond to the impacts of COVID-19, and 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 is also comprehensive -- with effective support measures for individuals and businesses across the economy and across the country. We will continue to closely monitor the impacts of the outbreak on individuals and on businesses in all sectors and in all regions, and to take action where it is required to ensure that everyone gets the help they need and is positioned for success in the post-pandemic recovery.”

-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.
    • 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. The government is allowing all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, 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.

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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