COVID-19: New Measures for Small Businesses - March 27, 2020

Posted on 27 March, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the federal government has implemented a number of new measures in support of small businesses in Canada. As of March 27, 2020, the following initiatives have been introduced:


Temporary Wage Subsidy

  • The temporary wage subsidy previously announced by the federal government last week has increased from 10 percent to 75 percent.
  • This subsidy will provide relief for up to three months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.
  • Eligibility requirements will be detailed by the end of the month. This blog post will be updated accordingly.

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • The federal government will be providing up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions who will, in turn, provide loans to small businesses in Canada (with payrolls of less than $1 million).
  • The maximum loan amount under this program will be $40,000, with up to $10,000 eligible for complete forgiveness.
  • These loans are fully guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada and will remain interest-free for one year.
  • Further details will be released on Monday, March 30.

Payment Deferrals - Income Tax, GST/HST Payments and Customs Duties

  • Businesses and self-employed individuals are able to defer all GST/HST payments as well as customs duties for imports until June 30, 2020.
  • According to the Department of Finance Canada, by June 30:
    • Monthly filers have to remit amounts collected for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods;
    • Quarterly filers have to remit amounts collected for the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period; and
    • Annual filers, whose GST/HST return or instalment are due in March, April or May 2020, have to remit amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year. 
  • Income tax deferrals are also available for all taxpayers on amounts owed between March 18, 2020 and September 2020.
    • This applies to tax balances and instalments.
    • No interest will accrue during this period, and no penalties will be administered for the deferred payments.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee Program

  • This initiative enables up to $40 billion in lending through Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
  • EDC is to provide guarantees to eligible financial institutions, who will then be able to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans up to a maximum of $6.25 million directly to small and medium-sized businesses.
    • These loans will be 80 percent guaranteed by Export Development Canada, and are to be repaid within one year.
  • Alternatively, businesses will be able to apply for term loans through the new Co-Lending Program; a joint venture through BDC and additional Canadian financial institutions to co-lend to small and medium-sized businesses. 
    • Loans will be provided at a maximum of $6.25 million and distributed in incremental amounts.
    • These loans will be guaranteed up to 80 percent, and risk will be shared between BDC and the co-lending institution.

Additional measures

  • For workers who agree to reduce their working hours due to COVID-19 developments, the work-sharing program can be extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
  • Additional credit has been made available for farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.

If you are a small business owner experiencing cash flow difficulties, our brokers may also be able to help. Give our office a call at 780-416-1085 or submit a contact request through our website.


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