The Government of Canada is maximizing financial support to individuals and businesses. These steps aim to overcome the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic and stabilize the economy.
For small and large businesses, certain provisions for employers enable them to apply for loans and get funds quickly. If you fit the eligibility criteria of the program, you can look at these government benefits and choose accordingly.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, but they continue to face challenges because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canada Emergency Business Account provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small business and not-for-profit organizations. Originally launched in April, the program will support businesses by financing expenses. This covers unavoidable or deferred expenses as they take steps to safely navigate a period of shutdown. This may help businesses for successful re-launch when the economy reopens.
To receive this benefit, your business should be a Canadian operating business as of March 1, 2020. A federal tax registration with an employment income between $20,000 and $1, 50,000 in 2019 are eligible. There are several other conditions to qualify for governmental benefits.
Banks and credit unions in collaboration with Export Development Canada have implemented this initiative. The expanded CEBA is available to more than 230 financial institutions across the country.
Paying off the remaining loan amount by December 31, 2022, is incentivized by a 25% waiver (up to $10,000).
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
The government has provided funds to the Export Development Canada (EDC) and Business Development Canada (BDC). The goal is to allow them to pair with private financial institutions and provide loans. The target would be small and medium-sized businesses affected by the pandemic.
Export Development Canada has partnered with financial institutions with the same motive. The main aim is to provide loans to small and medium-sized businesses.
Through EDC BCAP, your business can gain access to better cash flow, required to keep your operations running. EDC guarantees the financial institution for its lending and encourages them to increase access to credit. The size of your loan is decided by the financial institution.
Your business may have to fulfill certain requirements in order to gain access to this guarantee.
The Co-Lending Program
Another program which the SMEs can look at is The Co-Lending Program. The BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to businesses.
You can apply for this program if your business has been directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financially stable business at the onset of the pandemic is eligible. However, it can use this funding solely for the operational needs of the business.
The program offers maximum finance amounts based on business revenues. It is available at various banks and trade unions.
Mid-Market Financing Program
Another program available through the BCAP is the BDC’s Mid-Market Financing Program. This will provide commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million to medium-sized businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures.
The BDC expects qualifying businesses to have annual revenues over approximately $100 million.
Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program
Similarly, EDC’s Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will bring liquidity to companies. Eligible companies should earn revenues 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. The specified range is between $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.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
To bring the local economy back on track, the government has provided $1.5 billion through the RRRF. If applications for other benefits do not meet eligibility criteria, then one should apply for this program. Businesses that have received other benefits and are still struggling to operate can also apply.
This program aims at filling the gaps for businesses belonging to multiple sectors. These include technology, tourism, manufacturing, etc. that are key to the local economy.
This program is complementary to other federal programs like CECRA, CEBA, and the Wage Subsidy Benefit. Applicants have to attest that they have applied to these programs and were approved, rejected, or deemed ineligible.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) provides relief to small business in their rental money. Property owners will reduce the rent for small business owners by at least 75% for months from April to September.
CECRA will pay 50% of the rent. The tenant will foot up to 25% and the property owner is forgiving at least 25% of it.
Other Benefits in Canada
The government has provided a non-repayable $15 million for businesses in the territories to address the impact of COVID-19. This will support businesses with operating costs that were not covered by the other relief measures.
The government has also started two programs as a part of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, with nearly $93 million in support.
In order to support Black-led business organizations across the country, the government has invested up to $53 million to develop and implement the National Ecosystem Fund. This will help black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.
In the same way, black business owners and entrepreneurs will be able to receive loans between $25,000 and $250,000 through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. Information regarding the eligibility and process of Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund will be available soon.
Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)
This facility provides short term financial assistance to large Canadian employers whose needs are not fulfilled through the conventional financing to keep their operations running. The LEEFF provides additional liquidity to Canada’s largest businesses which helps them to remain active during this difficult time.
Sectorwise additional support in Canada:
Apart from the benefits that can be received by businesses irrespective of which sector they belong to, like the CEWS, the Work-Sharing Program, Student Work Placement Program, and the above-mentioned benefits, the government of Canada has also released several benefits and programs pertaining to specific sectors. You can understand a little about them below.
Agriculture and Agri-Food
Certain steps aimed to keep workers in the food supply chain safe. A one-time provision of $50 million will help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers.
This is the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP) and it will assist Canadian employers with some of the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the on temporary foreign workers upon entering Canada.
The MISTFWP will give a maximum of $1,500 to each temporary foreign worker.
Farm Credit Canada has also provided an additional $5 billion in lending to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors to increase their credit availability. This will offer increased flexibility to those who have been affected by lost sales, cash-flow issues, and in turn, help them remain financially sound.
The launch of a special national AgriRecovery initiative for producers will focus on those facing additional costs due to the outbreak. It includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, because of the temporary closure of food processing plants.
With a $200 million hike in the borrowing limit, the Canadian Dairy Commission can support associated costs. Especially with the temporary storage of cheese and butter and avoid food wastage.
The AgriStability program supports producers facing a significant decline in revenue and this work has been going to increase the interim payments from 50% to 75% in various provinces and territories. This change has already is in effect across some territories.
There has also been work going on to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. This would insure against lost production due to an insufficient workforce, if producers cannot find enough labor to harvest their crops.
Aquaculture and Fisheries
Similar to the agriculture sector, the MISTFWP and the option to increase credit availability are also available for the aquaculture and fishery sector. An additional $62.5 million of assistance is being provided by Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund.
This will help businesses in the fish and seafood processing sector to add storage capacity for unsold products, comply with new health and safety measures for workers, support new manufacturing/automated technologies to improve productivity and quality of finished seafood products and adapt products to respond to changing requirements and new market demands.
For self-employed fish harvesters and share persons crew who cannot access the CEWS, the Fish Harvesters Benefit has been launched. This will cover 75% of income losses beyond a 25% threshold for the 2020 tax year. The maximum benefit is $10,164.
The Fish Harvesters Grant is also available for self-employed fish harvesters with a valid commercial fishing license in 2020 and non-deferrable business costing up to $40,000. People not eligible under CEBA can apply for this grant. You will receive a non-repayable grant of up to $10,000.
The fishing benefits for self-employed fish harvesters and shares persons will be calculated using either their actual fishing earnings for their current claim or their fishing earnings from their claim for the same season from the previous year, whichever is higher.
Culture, Heritage, and Sports in Canada
An Emergency Support Fund of $500 million established to provide some financial help will cover cultural, heritage, and sports organizations that have faced significant losses because of the pandemic.
Apart from this, an amount of $50 million will form part of the Short-Term Compensation Fund. This aims to support independent production companies with insurance coverage for COVID-19 related filming interruptions and production shutdowns.
The government has also provided $25.7 million to help Canada’s six national museums and the National Battlefields Commission. It will help to maintain essential services and prepare them to reopen their doors to the public after easing of precautionary measures. It will also protect the jobs on which many Canadians depend.
A similar investment of $18.6 million will ensure continued operations and prepare the National Arts Center of Canada for reopening.
Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will receive the necessary funds to support its operations. They will not be issuing letters requesting payment for Part I license fees by private broadcasters for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
New measures will support essential air access in remote communities. Bilateral agreements with territories and provinces ensure continuity of service for at least six months.
Along with this, established funding programs of $75 million for a federal contribution for the first six months and maintaining these essential services through an investment of up to $174 million over 18 months, if needed.
The governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut will rececive up to $17.3 million to ensure the continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services to remote and fly-in communities.
Waiver of ground lease rents of 21 airport authorities by the federal government from March to December 2020 are also included.
CEWS, CEBA, and the Work Sharing Program cover most benefits in the tourism sector.
RRRF is another viable option for this sector as this program aims to fill the gaps for businesses belonging to sectors such as technology, tourism, manufacturing, etc. that are key to the local economy but have not been able to claim any benefit from anywhere or are in need of additional help.
In this sector, $1.72 billion is directed to the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and to the Alberta Orphan Well Association, to clean up orphan and inactive oil and gas wells. This will help maintain approximately 5,200 jobs in Alberta alone.
A provision is made in order to launch a new Emissions Reduction Fund. This will support workers and reduce emissions in Canada’s oil and gas sector with a special focus on Methane. The fund will provide non-repayable contributions to oil and gas firms, to support investments made by them in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Academic and Research
Extended wage support for up to 75% of wages for individuals working in universities and health institutes. This amount can be a maximum of $847 per week per employee, and it will ensure that universities and health research institutes can retain research staff.
Other steps will ensure that universities and health institutes maintain essential research activities until their operations are back to normal. The coverage will include 75% of total eligible costs for research activities and other activities supporting them.
Infrastructure in Canada
The accelerated onetime payment of $2.2 billion under the Gas Tax Fund will help communities quickly move forward with infrastructure projects. This will improve our quality of life and help restart local economies. This funding will focus on meeting local needs like access to high-speed broadband, improvements of water and road systems, and the building of cycling and walking paths.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is another response to control the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new COVID-19 Resilience stream has a broader outreach including many types of projects.
Approximately $31 million will support community-led initiatives that are in response to the needs of the ongoing pandemic. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will support local projects under three themes. These themes are Creating safe and vibrant public spaces, Improving mobility options, and Digital solutions.
Non-governmental not-for-profit organization or a group of organizations are eligible for the funding. An application process will mobilize these organizations for selection.
Mining in Canada
In order to protect jobs and continue safe operations of junior mining explorations and other flow through share issuers, the government has proposed an extension of timelines for spending raised capital via flow-through share by 12 months.
Companies will get additional time to incur eligible expenses and plan their timeline. At the same time, avoiding costs from not meeting original flow-through share timelines.
To help this sector, Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) has been introduced for vulnerable Canadians who are in urgent need of housing. The aim is to rapidly create affordable housing. The initiative will cover construction of modular housing, acquisition of land, and conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing.
Canada Federal’s Government has come up with several initiatives to help revive individuals and businesses. If you are a small business owner, check if your business is eligible for these initiatives and avail these benefits.