Minister Fortier and Minister Joly highlight government support for business in virtual town hall with Franco-Ontarians

News release

May 20, 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 of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance Mona Fortier took part in a virtual town hall with the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario, the organization that represents the economic and socio-cultural interests of the province’s almost 750,000 French-Canadians. Joining Minister Fortier to answer questions was Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly.

Both ministers discussed challenges facing businesses and pointed to the Government of Canada’s ongoing support for companies and workers through its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

It was the 13th such outreach event in which Minister Fortier has participated since the beginning of April. Her meetings with business associations have spanned the country.

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

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which provides a 75% subsidy 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.
  • Expanding the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs by providing loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million.
  • The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), which provides bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.
  • The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses, which will provide a forgivable loan to qualifying commercial property owners, who in turn give a rent reduction of at least 75% for April and May (retroactive) and June, to impacted small business tenants who have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. The application process for these loans will begin on May 25, 2020.
  • 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.
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will provide $2,000 monthly for up to four months to eligible workers who have stopped working because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Providing a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.

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 all Canadians, including Franco-Ontarian businesses and families. 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 get everyone the help they need during this unprecedented time of crisis.”

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

As our government rolls out a series of concrete, tangible measures to support Canadians affected by COVID-19, the defense of our two official languages remains at the forefront of all we do. This means hearing directly from Franco-Ontarian businesses and individuals about the challenges and opportunities they face, and I want to thank the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario for sharing their important perspectives during today’s virtual townhall.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Quick facts

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

    • Expand the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses with payroll lower than $20,000. This extended measure will help small businesses protect the jobs that Canadians rely on.
    • 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 Employment Insurance (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 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, amounting to $55 billion in liquidity support, 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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