A Guide to Canadian Government Support

This guide provides information on how the Canadian government is offering support to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how you can access that aid.

The spread of coronavirus in Canada and around the world has posed a major disruption to business operations and caused significant impact on the Canadian economy.

Government and financial institutions in Canada have announced measures to make credit available, boost cash flow, and protect jobs, providing support for businesses during this extremely challenging time.

We will continue to update this guide with new announcements and developments that may help during and after the crisis.

Please note, the following information is meant to serve as a guide. Please check with official government sources (listed below) to obtain the most up to date and accurate information on Canadian government support programs.

Federal government support

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) supports access to financing for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions with $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support. The program was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the BCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) are launching credit and financing programs in coordination with lenders in the private sector to provide assistance for individual businesses, particularly in industries such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports, and tourism.

The Business Credit Availability Program includes the following initiatives (outlined in detail below):

Interest-free credit facilities

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is providing credit for small businesses to pay for immediate operating costs such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax, and debt service.

Funded by the government of Canada, the program is offering interest-free loans up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit companies that had $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019 and were operating as of March 1, 2020.

The loan terms include 0% interest until December 31, 2022. If the loan is repaid by that date, 25 per cent (up to $10,000) will be forgiven. If the loan is not repaid by that date, the remaining balance will be converted to a 3-year term loan at 5 per cent interest.


Your business must:

How to apply

Contact your primary financial institution for more details on the Canada Emergency Business Account.

Lending from the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee Program

The EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises will provide lending for small businesses that need help meeting their operational cash flow requirements.

Eligible SMEs can receive credit and cash flow term loans up to $6.25 million to be repaid within one year. The loans will be issued by financial institutions, with 80 per cent guaranteed by the EDC.


Your business must:

How to apply

Contact your financial institution directly for more information about the application process.

The BDC Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises is collaborating with financial institutions to provide term loans for operational and liquidity needs of businesses, which could include interest payments on existing debt.

Loan amounts depend on business size:

These loan terms will be interest-only for the first 12 months, with a 10-year repayment period.


Your business must:

How to apply

Contact your financial institution directly. Application details continue to be released.

Helping businesses retain and rehire employees

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy aims to prevent job loss and encourage employers to rehire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, helping companies resume normal business operations.

The subsidy will be in place for a 12-week period (from March 15 to June 6, 2020) and covers 75 per cent of an employee’s wages (up to $847 per week). There is no overall limit on the subsidy amount an eligible employer can claim.

Your business must demonstrate revenue loss starting in the March 2020 claiming period. Revenue in this case is defined as revenue in Canada earned from arm’s length sources. You can calculate your revenue under the accrual method or the cash method, but not both.


Your business must:

How to apply

You can apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency's My Business Account portal. You’ll need to keep records demonstrating your reduction in arm’s length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process are still being released; learn more here.

The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) over a three-month period.

Businesses can start reducing payroll remittances of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax in the first remittance period that includes remuneration paid from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020.

The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay during this period—up to $1,375 for each eligible employee, for a maximum of $25,000 total per employer.

Any individual who is employed in Canada is an eligible employee. The subsidy must be calculated manually by your business and is based on the total number of eligible employees employed at any time during the three-month period.


Your business must:

How to apply

There is no application for the subsidy. You should continue to deduct income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, and Employment Insurance (EI) premiums from salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration paid to your employees as usual. The subsidy is calculated when you remit these amounts to the CRA.

When you’ve calculated your subsidy, you can reduce your current payroll remittance of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that you send to the CRA by the amount of the subsidy.

Additional resources

There are a number of resources to help your business adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 in Canada, including:

We’ve seen optimistic results from businesses that have quickly added e-commerce capabilities. Learn how to accept your first online payment with Stripe and how to send one-time or recurring invoices.

You can also visit Stripe’s COVID-19 resources page for products, programs, and resources to help your business adapt.