Federal Economic Relief Programs and Updates

Highlights from Canada Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

  • Both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will be extended until September 25, 2021, with the possibility of extension till November depending on the economic and public health situation.
  • Introducing the Canada Recovery Hiring Program: This $595-million-dollar investment will help businesses pivot to recovery with incentives to hire back, grow hours, or increases wages.
  • Announced a historic $4-Billion-dollar investment into a Digital Adoption Program to help Canadian small businesses become more competitive, go digital, take advantage of e-commerce, and become more competitive in Canada and around the world. This investment will help 160,000 businesses become more competitive and will create jobs for 28,000 young people.
  • Establishing a Canada-wide early learning and child care system: government will invest $30 billion over the next five years to establish a $10 per day Canada-wide early learning and child care system which will help all families access affordable, high-quality, and flexible childcare no matter where they live. This is the largest initiative to increase the size of Canada’s labour force since NAFTA.
  • Lowering Credit Card Fees: The federal government committed to engaging with stakeholders to lower the average overall cost of interchange fees for small businesses.
  • Supporting Women through COVID-19: Building on the initial $5-billion-dollar investment in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy through a suite of federal investments and activities totaling $146.9 million to address remaining persistent barriers, and support growth opportunities. 
  • Starting and Scaling up: The federal government wants Canadian companies to start-up, scale-up, access new markets and be global leaders for innovation. To do this they need access to financing. That is why they are expanding loans to include start-up costs and intangible assets, increasing the maximum loan for the Canada Small Business Financing Program to $500,000 and extending the coverage period to 15 years.
  • Meeting the Moment – Increasing support for Black entrepreneurs: Based on the overwhelming need demonstrated by the Black Canadian business community for additional support, they are investing an additional $51.7 million in the Black Entrepreneurship Program, on top of the previously invested $221 million, to further strengthen the Black entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  • Creating the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program: The Federal government will invest over $100 million dollars to ensure Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is supporting inclusive growth. This program provides new funding for national organizations to support diverse entrepreneurs and small businesses across Canada with financing, mentorship, and advisory services, and will help all Canadians have an equal chance to succeed and contribute to economic recovery and growth.
  • Supporting Asian Canadians: The federal government recognizes that the pandemic has had an unequal impact on Canadians, with the increase in reports of harassment and attacks against Asian Canadians being an especially disturbing trend. That is why in budget 2021 we are investing $11 million over two years, to expand the impact of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
  • Strengthen the Diversity of our Entrepreneurs: To ensure all entrepreneurs recover and thrive into the future, in this budget we are investing $42 million over three years to expand the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program. We also announced an additional $52.7 million over four years into the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s Knowledge hub to support the success of Black-owned businesses.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) Guarantee

The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) Guarantee loans are for small and medium-sized businesses that have seen their revenues decrease by 50% or more as a result of COVID-19. The guarantee covers amounts ranging from $25,000 to $1 million to ensure a degree of continuity for your business through the pandemic. Benefit from a 4% interest rate and a repayment term of up to 10 years. Up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan. For more information and to apply, click here.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021. This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords. If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The Government of Canada is expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs. Since the launch of the CEBA on April 9, 2020, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, extending more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses.

Updates to Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The federal government announced changes to CERB to help more Canadians benefit from the program. The changes will allow people to earn up to $1,000 a month while collecting the CERB. Benefits will also be extended to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the pandemic, and for workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or work because of COVID-19. The changes are retroactive to March 15, 2020. Details will be posted on the portal.

Changes to Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The government introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to protect Canadian jobs, encourage employers to quickly rehire workers previously laid off because of COVID-19, and help bridge the Canadian economy to the other side of this unprecedented crisis. The wage subsidy program was put in place for an initial 12-week period from March 15 to June 6, 2020, providing a 75 per cent wage subsidy to eligible employers. On May 15, 2020, the government announced a 12-week extension, to August 29, 2020. On July 17, 2020, the government unveiled a redesign allowing more employers to access wage subsidy support while ensuring that support is better targeted to their needs, and proposed a further extension to December 19, 2020.

The government is proposing to further extend the wage subsidy program until June 2021 and implement other enhancements to the program to better respond to the evolving economic and health situation. These proposed changes will make the program more flexible and more generous, and ensure that the program provides continued support to employers. Details of the program until December 19, 2020 are provided here. The government will provide details for the upcoming periods in advance of the current terms’ expiry and will ensure the wage subsidy program continues to be responsive to the economic situation.

Ecosystem Fund

The Government of Canada is working closely with Black business owners and Black-led organizations across Canada to ensure the new Black Entrepreneurship Program reflects the realities and needs of Black Canadians. The Ecosystem Fund program builds on the Government’s work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians. This includes taking steps to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards, and enhanced local community supports for young Black Canadians. The goal of the Ecosystem Fund is to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs and business owners across Canada. It will allow not-for-profit Black-led organizations to develop new services or expand those they already offer such as mentorship, networking, financial planning, and business training for Black entrepreneurs.