Financial Relief for Small Business during COVID-19

August 31, 2020 Zoé Paradis

The global pandemic has created financial hardship for Canada’s small business community. Federal and provincial governments have responded with a series of economic support measures including emergency loans, grants, tax relief, income support, and help financing payroll and commercial rent.

Yet with all levels of government routinely updating or adding new programs for business owners, it can be difficult to keep up. Follow the links below for the latest updates on eligibility and application details and to learn which programs may be available to help support your business through these challenging times.

  1. Learn more about Canada’s key financial support programs

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – Wage subsidy designed to help businesses keep or re-hire employees. Calculated on a sliding scale corresponding to the employer’s drop in revenue.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) – Interest-free loans for small businesses and not-for-profits of up to $40,000, administered by financial institutions. Forgivable up to $10,000 when paid back by December 31, 2022.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – Temporary income support of $2,000 per month for workers, including the self-employed, who have lost income because of COVID-19.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) – Forgivable loans for commercial property owners to enable rent reductions for eligible small business tenants. Administered through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) – Access to working capital for businesses impacted by COVID-19. Administered by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), in collaboration with financial institutions.

Support for Businesses – A complete list of federal financial support programs, including those available to specific sectors of the economy.


  1. Determine which solutions work for your business

Not sure where to start? The federal government created this tool to help business owners determine which assistance programs apply to their situation. Answer a few questions to receive a personalized list of financial aid resources that may work for you.


  1. Discover provincial business support programs

Many provincial and territorial governments have introduced financial aid measures that complement federal programs. Find the latest information at the following links:

British Columbia






New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island



Northwest Territories



Many local agencies have also introduced financial aid measures for small businesses. Check with your municipal government and local chamber of commerce for more information.

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