Government Support Update for Small Business Owners

December 22, 2021 Zoé Paradis

Canada’s road to economic recovery remains a bumpy one as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and many small businesses face significant challenges. Since March 2020, the federal government has introduced numerous support programs to help business owners cover employee wages, promote hiring, and strengthen operations.

These funding programs continue to provide eligible hard-hit businesses and their staff with financial relief during the pandemic recovery period.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – Extended

CEWS helps businesses subsidize their employees' wages, allowing owners to bring back staff, prevent further job losses, and keep workers on payroll and consistently employed. The government recently proposed this targeted support be extended for select employers until March 13, 2022, through two new streams:

  • Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program,which would provide support to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a wage subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
  • Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program,which would offer financial relief to other businesses that are facing deep revenue losses, with a wage subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent.

Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) – Extended

The government is planning to extend the CRHP subsidy until May 7, 2022 to encourage hard-hit employers to hire back workers, create new jobs, and grow their business at a pace that works for them. Business owners who have seen a drop in revenue of more than 10% can use the subsidy to hire new workers, increase workers' hours, or increase salary or wages as operations start to recover.

What program should you apply for?
CEWS was launched to help businesses keep their employees on their payroll, while CRHP encourages businesses to hire and grow as the economy recovers. Both funding programs are based on similar eligibility criteria, including payroll account requirements and required revenue drops. Employers that are eligible for both subsidies can apply for a different program each four-week claim period but cannot receive funding from both in one claim period.

Additional funding and support programs for SMBs:

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) – Extended

CERS provides funding for small business owners to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses. To qualify for the rent subsidy, your revenue must have dropped by more than 10%.

Canada Small Business Financing Program Ongoing

This funding program makes it easier for entrepreneurs to apply for loans from financial institutions. Small businesses or start-ups operating in Canada with gross annual revenues of $10 million or less are eligible to apply.

Canada Worker Lockdown BenefitAvailable until May 2022

The Government of Canada is proposing a new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which would provide up to $300 per week to individual workers whose employment is interrupted as a direct result of a government-imposed lockdown.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) – Available until March 2022
HASCAP offers business owners access to low-interest loans from $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs. The program is open to businesses operating in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, restaurants, and those that primarily rely on in-person services.

Indigenous Community Business Fund - Ongoing

First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities and collectives can access dedicated funding to support businesses that have experienced revenue loss due to COVID-19. Applications for financial support are accepted on an ongoing basis, and the program was recently renewed with an additional $117 million.

Small business owners are encouraged to visit the Government of Canada’s website for the latest updates on federal and regional funding and loan programs. Not sure what government programs are right for your business? Use the Business Benefits Finder tool to access a personalized list of support options for you.

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