Resources for Canadian businesses: COVID-19
Keep informed with the latest COVID-19 health and safety updates
Call to action
During this extraordinary time, the Government of Canada is taking strong action to support Canadian businesses, their employees and their families.
The Government and public health officials are urging all Canadians to:
- stay home unless you must go out for essential items
- practice physical distancing and wash your hands
For businesses, this means:
- offering flexible work arrangements
- taking necessary steps to prepare your workplace
- understanding how to keep your employees safe
- Support for employees
- Support for businesses
- Business travel and events
- Business in international markets
1. Support for employees
No Canadian should have to worry about losing their job, paying their rent or putting food on the table because of COVID-19. That's why the Government has:
- introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers and entrepreneurs who are not receiving a paycheque as a result of COVID-19
- waived the one-week waiting period and the required medical documents for employment insurance (EI) sickness benefits
- boosted Canada Child Benefit payments to ensure working families have enough money during this crisis
- extended the tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020
- cancelled the penalties for Canadians who can’t file tax returns or make tax payments on time
- and much more
2. Support for businesses
No employer should have to lay off a worker because of a loss of business due to COVID-19. To provide immediate relief for businesses and entrepreneurs and to ensure our economy is best positioned to quickly return to strength after this crisis, the Government has:
- introduced the Canada Emergency Business Account, which provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits through their financial institutions. Up to 25% of the loan will be forgiven if repaid by December 31, 2022. More details to follow.
- offered employers the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) applied at a rate of 75% on the first $58,700 earned by employees, representing a benefit of $847 per week. The program will be in place for a 12-week period, retroactive to March 15 and ending June 6, 2020. Eligible businesses of all sizes and from all sectors of the economy, regardless of the number of workers they employ, that suffer a drop of at least 30% in gross revenues due to COVID-19 in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy. This will help businesses to keep paying their employees and to bring laid-off workers back on the payroll.
- created a new loan guarantee through Export Development Canada (EDC), which provides operating credit and cash-flow term loans of up to $6.25 million. More details to follow.
- introduced a new co-lending program through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which will team up with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to support cash-flow requirements.
- deferred all payments of GST/HST and import duties for all businesses, including individuals who are self-employed, until June 30. This amounts to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. More details to follow.
- reduced the administrative burden on businesses by extending the filing deadlines for returns for charities, trusts, partnerships and NR4 information.
- enhanced the Work-Sharing program to support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business.
- worked with the financial sector to ensure an additional $300 billion in lending capacity.
- created the new Business Credit Availability Program to make more than $10 billion available to Canadian businesses in financing and credit insurance solutions through EDC and BDC.
- ensured the Canada Revenue Agency will defer tax payment obligation until August 31, 2020, to help businesses with cash flow.
- made an additional $5 billion available to farmers, producers, agribusinesses and food processors through Farm Credit Canada, as well as giving farmers more flexibility in repaying outstanding Advance Payments Program loans.
Assistance for tourism operators, small businesses or organizations
If you are a tourism operator, a small business or an organization affected by COVID-19 and need pressing assistance, the regional development agencies (RDAs) could assist you with access to federal funding and services.
It is also vital for Canadian businesses to have contingency plans in place to manage potential financial risk. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has developed a comprehensive preparedness guide for businesses in the face of COVID-19.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is also providing information to help businesses through these difficult times.
3. Business travel and events
The Government is advising Canadians to:
- avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice
- return home if outside of Canada and self-isolate for 14 days, which is mandatory due to an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act
To help bring Canadians home, the Government has created the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad.
When it comes to business conferences and events, the Government is advising against large gatherings of people.
4. Business in international markets
Canada and the United States are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across our border. Essential travel will continue unimpeded to preserve supply chains between both countries and ensure that food, fuel and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border.
For questions or the most up-to-date information on cross-border travel and business, please call the Canada Border Services Agency at 1-800-461-9999.
Canada is working with our international partners to maintain open and connected supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that Canadian businesses can continue to deliver essential goods to people that need them.
The Trade Commissioner Service has experts in 160 cities worldwide who can provide small businesses with market-specific insights and guidance to help you mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, as well as access to funding to help you in global markets.
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