COVID-19 Relief Funds

This section is designed to provide an overview of emergency financial relief programs available to businesses, and more. (NOTE: This information is intended to be educational in nature only, and is not to be construed as legal or financial advice. The MCC recommends you consult with your legal and accounting partners before making any decisions. The following links are current as of April 7/2021.)

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) - Federal

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is designed to enable Canadian employers to re-hire workers, prevent further job losses, and ease business back into normal operations by covering part of employee wages, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

To be eligible for CEWS, you must meet all three of the following criteria. You must:

  • Have had a CRA payroll account on March 15, 2020. (NOTE: Even if you didn’t have a payroll account on March 15, 2020, you may still qualify if another person or partnership made remittances on your behalf or you purchased all (or almost all) of another person’s or partnership’s business assets.
  • Be an eligible employer. Click here to view CRAs instructions for determining eligible employers.
  • Have experienced a drop in revenue. Eligible revenue generally includes revenue earned in Canada from selling goods, rendering services, and others’ use of your resources. Click here to view CRA instructions on calculating drop in revenue

Know what you’re doing already? Go straight to CEWS on the Government of Canada website.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) - Federal

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) is designed for Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities which have seen a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. This subsidy provides payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords. You may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your commercial rent or property expenses, subject to certain maximums, starting on September 27, 2020 until June 2021.

If you are eligible for the CERS base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lock-down support if you must close or cease certain activities at one or more of your locations because of a public health order for a week or more. Through lock-down support you may be eligible for up to 25% of eligible expenses per affected location. The base subsidy rate applies to a maximum of $75,000 in eligible expenses per location and an overall maximum of $300,000 in expenses for you and any affiliated entities per claim period.

Know what you’re doing already? Go straight to CERS on the Government of Canada website.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) - Federal

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is intended to support businesses by providing financing for their expenses that cannot be avoided or deferred as they take steps to safely navigate a period of shutdown, thereby helping to position businesses for successful relaunch when the economy reopens.

CEBA is an interest-free loan program of up to $60,000 (original loan program of $40,000 plus a $20,000 financing expansion implemented in December 2020) to small businesses and not-for-profits. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 33 percent (up to $20,000). CEBA is available from more than 220 financial institutions across the country, and the deadline to apply for a new $60,000 loan or the $20,000 financing expansion has been extended to June 30, 2021.

If you haven’t yet applied for CEBA, you should first assess your eligibility using the CEBA Pre-screen Tool. This tool is designed to provide information regarding your potential eligibility under the CEBA eligibility criteria based on inputs you provide, and many financial institutions may require that the Pre-screen Tool be successfully completed before opening a business chequing/operating account for the purpose of applying for CEBA.

Go to the CEBA website to review the FAQ.

 Ready to pre-screen your CEBA eligibility? Click here.

Regional Relief & Recovery Fund (RRRF) - Federal

The Government of Canada’s RRRF is a $2 billion fund designed to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access other support measures. This expanded funding allows the RRRF to continue to be a backstop for eligible applicants, mirroring the support offered by other federal support programs such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) or the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) as they evolve to meet the needs of businesses.

There are four application processes based on business location, type, and amount of loan requested. These four streams are:

1) Community Futures Stream – Loans of up to $60,000 for rural businesses administered through Community Futures offices

2) Women’s Enterprise Initiative Stream – Loans of up to $60,000 for women-owned or women-led businesses administered through Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI) offices

3) RRRF funding for all other small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) not eligible under stream 1 and 2 above – Initial loan of $40,000 plus a $20,000 expansion

4) RRRF funding – Loans of $60,000 up to $1 million administered by WD

Read to apply? Go straight to Western Economic Diversification Canada’s RRRF website.

Business Credit Availability Program for SMEs - Federal

Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada have been mandated to work with financial institutions across the country to provide loan guarantees as well as financing to SMEs affected by COVID-19.

  • The BCAP Loan Guarantee is administered by Export Development Canada. EDC has partnered with financial institutions to help businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions address the financial impacts of COVID-19. Qualified applicants can quickly improve their cash flow through their bank or credit union to help manage day-to-day expenses like buying inventory and paying suppliers, or for new costs a business bears due to COVID-19.
  • The BCAP Co-lending Program is administered by the Business Development Canada (BDC). BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues.

Ready to investigate the BCAP Loan Guarantee via EDC? Click here.

Ready to investigate the BCAP Co-lending Program via BDC? Click here.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) for Mid-Market - Federal

Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada have been mandated to work with financial institutions across the country to provide loan guarantees as well as financing to mid-market organizations affected by COVID-19.

  • The BCAP Loan Guarantee is administered by Export Development Canada. EDC’s Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues of between $50 million to $300 million, to sustain operations during this uncertain period. EDC will work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75% of new operating credit and cash-flow loans – ranging in size from $16.75 million to a maximum of $80 million. These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada.
  • The BCAP Mid-Market Financing Program is administered by the Business Development Canada (BDC). The loan program (jointly funded by BDC and your primary financial institution) is designed to bring operational liquidity and cashflow to medium-sized companies negatively impacted directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or by the recent decline in oil and gas prices. Mid-Market and Oil & Gas Financing Programs are merged to facilitate coordination and the processing of loan requests. Eligible companies must have annual revenues in excess of approximately $100 million and up to $500 million. Term loans range between $12.5 million and $60 million each.

Ready to explore EDC’s BCAP Loan Guarantee? Click here.

Ready to Explore BDC’s Mid-Market Financing Program? Click here.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) - Federal

Small to medium-sized businesses heavily affected by COVID-19 can now access guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is providing a guarantee to financial institutions for 100% of the value of a new term loan to increase your company’s ability to access new credit. Through HASCAP, your business can benefit from a 4% interest rate and a repayment term of up to 10 years, as well as up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan.

To be eligible, you must have received payments either from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) by having demonstrated a minimum 50% revenue decline for at least 3 months* within the 8-month period prior to the date of the HASCAP Guarantee application. If your business does not qualify for CEWS and CERS, but otherwise meets all HASCAP eligibility criteria, you must provide 3 months* of financial statements, that shows monthly year-over-year revenue decreased by at least 50% within the 8-month period prior to the date of the HASCAP Guarantee application.

Ready to apply? Go to the BDC’s HASCAP website.

Watch an “intro to HASCAP” webinar from BDC here.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) via AccordFinancial for Small Businesses - Federal

Backed by the Business Credit Availability Program, Accord Financial has designed AccordExpress, loans ranging from $20,000 to $250,000, advanced in one single advance for small businesses. Comapanies can apply online and complete the process within three business days.

Loan proceeds may be used for ongoing business operating expenses including rent, inventory purchases, working capital to manage timing differentials between collections of accounts receivable and payment of accounts payable, scheduled debt servicing payments, operating expenses and in some cases the purchase of capital assets required to adjust to operating in a COVID-19 environment. There are  two structures, a 36-month term loan and a 48-month term loans. Loans are interest-only during the first 6 months, and this payment is deducated from your loan advance. Blended payments of principal and interest start in month 7, minimizing the cash flow impact of the new loan on your business.