Corporate Assistance Programs

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Updated: May 19, 2020


Corporate Assistance Programs

[click on the program title to jump to details]




Business Development Corporation – BDC 

Two financing programs are available through the BCAP:

    1.  Canada Emergency Business Account

    2.  SME Loan and Guarantee Program

Both programs are administered by private-sector financial institutions.

In order to be eligible, your business must have been impacted directly or indirectly by recent events and have been financially viable prior to the impact of COVID-19.


Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

  • Up to $40,000

  • Zero-interest for the first year

  • To qualify, organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 (formerly $50,000) and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019, based on their 2019 T4SUM Summary of Remuneration Paid

  • If the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, 25% (up to $10,000) will be forgiven
  • Available through your primary financial institution


Expansion to the eligibility criteria for the CEBA  (announced May 19, 2020)

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

  • A business operating account at a participating financial institution
  • A Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • Eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

Further details will be announced. 


SME Loan and Guarantee Program

  • BDC co-lending (with financial institutions)
  • Up to $6.25 million

  • Commercial interest rate

  • 10-year repayment period

  • Available through your primary financial institution


Application procedure

Both the Canada Emergency Business Account and SME Loan and Guarantee program will be administered by private-sector financial institutions.




Export Development Canada EDC

EDC BCAP Guarantee

Effective March 24, 2020, EDC is supporting all exporting companies by offering their bank a guarantee on loans of up to $6.25 M so that companies can access more cash immediately. 


Application procedure

Available through your primary financial institution.


Other EDC Measures

For credit insurance customers, effective immediately EDC will:

Cover losses for goods shipped even if the buyer has not accepted the goods, subject to terms*.

Waive the 60-day waiting period for claims*.

*This does not apply to Domestic coverage. 


EDC access instructions:

  •  New to EDC and seeking more information call 1-800-229-0575 or click here.
  •  Current EDC Customer needing working capital and financial solutions should contact their account manager.
  •  Existing customers needing any assistance with insurance products and online portals should contact 1-866-716-7201 and





Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy  (CEWS)   [75% wage subsidy]

Click here for CEWS FAQ’s

May 15, 2020 extension of CEWS program to August 29, 2020 – see below.


The government of Canada is providing wage subsidies for a period of three months equal to 75% of remuneration paid during that period, subject to a number of limits and restrictions.

Businesses, charities and non-profit organizations whose revenues have decreased by at least 30% because of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

The subsidy is retroactive to March 15, 2020, and covers up to 75% of wages (up to a specified threshold) for up to 3 months.

Employers may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 100% of the first 75 per cent of pre-crisis wages or salaries of existing employees. These employers would be expected where possible to maintain existing employees’ pre-crisis employment earnings. 


10% Wage Subsidy

On March 18, the Canadian government introduced a 10% federal wage subsidy for small businesses (the “10% Wage Subsidy”). 

The 10% measure is restricted to individuals, registered charities, non-profit organizations, Canadian-controlled private corporation under the Income Tax Act (Canada) that are eligible for the small business deduction, and partnerships that meet certain criteria.

It covers 10% of wages paid from March 18, 2020, to June 19, 2020, for up to 90 days and up to $1,375 for each eligible employee to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer.

Employers are responsible for manually calculating the 10% subsidy and can “claim” it by reducing their current payroll remittance of federal, provincial or territorial income tax by the subsidy amount.


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)  [75% wage subsidy]

On April 1, the Canadian government introduced the “Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy” available to all businesses, charities and non-profit organizations that experienced a 30% decrease in revenue due to COVID-19.


Qualifying Criteria

  • It will apply at a rate of 75% of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees, representing a benefit of up to $847 per week.
  • Employers eligible for the subsidy are required to make their best effort to top-up employees’ salaries to bring them to pre-crisis levels.
  • Employers will also obtain a 100% refund of certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. This refund covers 100%  of employer-paid contributions for eligible employees for each week throughout which those employees are on leave with pay and for which the employer is eligible to claim for the CEWS for those employees.
  • This refund is not subject to the weekly maximum benefit per employee of $847 that an eligible employer may claim. 
  • The subsidy program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
  • There will be no overall limit on the subsidy amount that an eligible employer may claim.
  • Eligible employers include individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non-profit organizations and registered charities.
  • Public bodies are not eligible, including municipalities and local governments, crown corporations, public universities, colleges, schools and hospitals.
  • For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government announced that it will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances and determine whether additional support is needed.
  • The entitlement to the wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary, wages or other remuneration actually paid to employees. 
  • Employers will also be eligible for a subsidy of up to 75% of salaries and wages paid to new employees.
  • Eligible employers will need to apply for the subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal or through a web-based application. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.
  • The first payments of the subsidy should be available approximately May 15, 2020.


Calculating Revenues

Employers are allowed to calculate their revenues under either the accrual method or the cash method, but not a combination of both.

Eligible employers that experienced a decline in gross revenues of at least: 

  • 15% in March 2020 (compared to March 2019)
  • 30% in April 2020 (compared to April 2019)
  • 30% in May 2020 (compared to May 2019)

Eligibility would generally be determined by the change in an eligible employer’s monthly revenues, year-over-year, for the calendar month in which the period began.


Employers are allowed to calculate their change in revenue using an alternative benchmark to determine their eligibility. Under this alternative approach, employers are allowed to compare their revenue using an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.

  • In order to provide certainty to employers, once an employer is found eligible for a specific period, the employer would automatically qualify for the next period.
  • Employers would select the general year-over-year approach or this alternative approach when first applying for the CEWS and would be required to use the same approach for the entire duration of the program
  • Once an eligible employer is found eligible for a specific period, it will automatically qualify for the next period of the CEWS program.
  • An employer’s revenue for this purpose will be revenue from the business carried on in Canada earned from arm’s-length sources.
  • Revenue will be calculated using the employer’s normal accounting method and will exclude revenues from extraordinary items and amounts on account of capital.
  • Special rules for the computation of revenue will be provided to take into account certain non-arm’s length transactions, such as where an employer sells all of its output to a related company that in turn earns arm’s length revenue.
  • Affiliated groups are allowed to compute revenue on a consolidated basis.


Integration with the 10% Wage Subsidy

Organizations that do not qualify for the new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may still qualify for the previously announced 10% Wage Subsidy if they meet the separate criteria for this program.

In addition, it is possible for some employers to qualify for both the 10% Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. If that is the case, any amount under the latter will be reduced by any 10% subsidies claimed for the same period.

Employers that qualify for both subsidies may consider that the 10% subsidy is available immediately as an offset against payroll remittances, while the government has announced that the first payments for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy should not be expected before May 15, 2020.


Anti-abuse Warning

The Canadian government warned of “severe” consequences for any party that tries to take advantage of the CEWS and indicated potential penalties for fraudulent claims and the introduction of new offences if an employer provides false or misleading information in relation to the program.

In addition, employers will be required to repay amounts paid under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy if they are discovered not to meet the eligibility requirements or pay their employees accordingly.


Tax Treatment of CEWS

The usual treatment of tax credits and other benefits provided by the government to employers will apply to the CEWS.

Accordingly, the wage subsidy received by an employer will be considered government assistance and will be included in the employer’s taxable income (if the employer is taxable).


How to Apply:

  • Most businesses may apply using My Business Account
  • If you represent a business, you may apply using Represent a Client
  • Alternatively, you may apply using a separate online application form (available April 27)


Extension to CEWS to August 29, 2020  (announced May 15, 2020)

Currently, the CEWS is in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

On May 15, 2020, the Canadian government announced that the program is extended for an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020.

The government will consult with key stakeholders on adjustments to the program, including the 30% revenue decline threshold.

Further details will be announced. 



Assistance line for CEWS and CERB questions: 1-833-966-2099


Click here for access to the CEWS Application Guide




Work Share Program

Work-Sharing is a program to avoid lay-offs when there is an uncontrollable temporary decrease in business activity. The program provides EI benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours.


To be eligible your business must:

  • Be a year-round business in Canada for at least 1 year
  • Be a private business, a publicly held company or a not-for-profit organization, and
  • Have at least two employees in the work-sharing unit


To be eligible for work-sharing benefits, your employees must:

  • Be year-round, permanent, full-time or part-time employees needed to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business ( “core staff”)
  • Be eligible to receive EI benefits, and
  • Agree to reduce their normal working hours by the same percentage and to share the available work





Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

The CECRA is expected to launch mid-May and apply retroactively.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will administer and deliver the CECRA – details to be publicized in the near future.

The CERA program will lower rent by 75% for the months April/May/June for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

The information provided suggest that eligibility for CECRA will have both tenant and landlord components:

  • Tenants must pay less than $50,000/month in rent and have temporarily ceased operations or experienced a minimum of a 70% decrease in pre-COVID-19 revenues.
  • Landlords must have a mortgage loan in respect of the property.*



  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June. 
  • The forgivable loans will be disbursed directly to the mortgage lender.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.
  • The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.
  • This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.


Who is Eligible to Apply for the CECRA

To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the property owner must meet the following requirements:

  • You own property that generates rental revenue from commercial real property located in Canada.
  • You are the property owner of the commercial real property where the impacted small business tenants are located.
  • You have entered or will enter into a rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May, and June 2020, that will reduce impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%.
  • Your rent reduction agreement with impacted tenants includes a moratorium on eviction for the period of April, May and June 2020.
  • You have declared rental income on your tax return (personal or corporate) for tax years 2018 and/or 2019.


CECRA for small businesses is applicable to commercial property owners with:

  • eligible small business tenants 
  • eligible small business subtenants 
  • residential components and multi-unit residential properties with commercial tenants (i.e. mixed usage)


What is an impacted small business tenant or subtenant?

Impacted small business tenants are businesses, including non-profit and charitable organizations who:

  • Pay no more than $50,000/monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement),
  • Generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level), and
  • Have temporarily ceased operations (i.e. generating no revenues), or has experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues.**

** To measure revenue loss, small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same month of 2019. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020. 


Points of interest

  • The program is available to landlords with properties that have no mortgage. 
  • Mixed-use properties with commercial and residential tenants are eligible for the program with respect to their qualifying small business tenants.
  • A qualifying tenant that is in a sub-tenancy arrangement is also eligible, if the lease structure meets program criteria.
  • A qualifying landlord can apply for all qualifying tenants at once, in which case it will need to provide attestations for each qualifying tenant.
  • A qualifying tenant that has multiple locations with multiple qualifying landlords must work with each of its respective landlords that are applying for the program.



Under a rent forgiveness agreement, which includes a moratorium on eviction, the mortgaged commercial property owner would reduce the small business tenant’s monthly rent by at least 75%. The tenant would be responsible for covering 25%, the property owner 25%.





GST/HST/QST Remittance Deferral

Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments are deferred to June 30, 2020.

The GST/HST amounts collected are generally due by the end of the month following the vendor’s reporting period: e.g., for a monthly filer, the GST/HST amounts collected on its February sales are due by the end of March.

The Minister of National Revenue will extend until June 30, 2020, the time that:

  • Monthly filers have to remit amounts collected for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods;
  • Quarterly filers have to remit amounts collected for 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.

Businesses in need of information about their particular obligations may contact the Canada Revenue Agency or refer to its website.

Québec is following the federal government’s lead and allowing businesses to postpone filing until June 30, 2020, their returns and payments in respect of the March 31, April 30 and May 31 QST remittances, without interest or penalties.




Deferral of Customs Duty and Sales Tax for Importers

Imported goods by businesses are generally subject to the 5% GST, as well as applicable customs duties, which vary by product and country of origin. While the vast majority of imports enter Canada duty-free, some tariffs remain, especially on consumer goods.

Typically, payments owing for customs duties and the GST on imports are due before the first day of the month following the month in which the Statements of Accounts are issued.

Payment deadlines for statements of accounts for March, April, and May are being deferred to June 30, 2020.

Businesses in need of information about their particular accounting and payment obligations on imported goods may contact the Canada Border Services Agency for more details.




CERB – Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The benefit:

$2,000 per month paid monthly

  • Maximum: 16 weeks


This benefit applies to:

  • Employees who have lost their job because of the pandemic, are sick, quarantined, working from home without pay because of school closures or caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • Contract or self-employed individuals are eligible
  • Workers must cease work for 14 consecutive days before they are eligible for this payment. They do not need to be laid off or terminated. They can remain as employees, but just not be paid.


Workers become ineligible if they receive:

  • Employment income
  • Self-employment income
  • EI benefits
  • QPIP benefits (maternity/paternity/parental benefits)

When submitting subsequent claims, one cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.


Duration, payments, and applications

  • Applications will open early April (goal Apr 6)
  • Payments will start 10 days after applications received
  • Eligibility period: March 15 to Oct 3, 2020


Interaction with EI

  • Individuals who have made claims for EI that have not been processed will not have to reapply for the CERB. Their applications will automatically roll-over to the CERB.
  • Individuals who became eligible for EI prior to March 15, 2020, will be processed under EI, through the pre-existing rules.
  • Claims filed by individuals who become eligible for EI sickness benefits or EI regular benefits on or after March 15, 2020, will be processed under the CERB.
  • Individuals who have access to the CERB will be paid $2,000 for every 4-week period ($500/week) regardless of the amount they may have been eligible to receive through EI.
  • Individuals retain their EI eligibility after they stop receiving and/or exhaust the CERB. Prior receipt of the CERB will not impact their EI entitlement.


Tax Treatment

The CERB is taxable in the hands of recipients.

However, taxes will not be deducted from the CERB at source; recipients will be expected to report the CERB as income when filing their income tax returns for the 2020 tax year.


Would I qualify for CERB if I get a salary or dividend from my corporation?

If you terminate the salary from your corporation, yes you might be covered.


Important update: April 6, 2020:

  • If you draw dividends from a CCPC, it could be considered towards $5,000 eligibility requirement.
  • If you received $5,000 or more in dividends from a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation which is paid out of income on which taxes are paid at the small business income tax rate [“non-eligible dividends”] you qualify for CERB. 


How to apply

The CERB is being jointly delivered by Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency.

Please read these questions and answers for more details. To apply:


Thinking about your main source of income in the last year – were you an employee or self-employed?


Assistance line for CEWS and CERB questions: 1-833-966-2099




Investissement Québec (IQ) Supporting Financial Market Liquidity


For more information about Investissement Québec’s support, click here [English]. 

For more information about Investissement Québec’s support, click here [French]. 


IQ has introduced the “Programme d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises” (PACTE).

This new emergency funding measure provides support for businesses affected by the repercussions of COVID-19.


Eligible Businesses

This financial assistance is available to businesses operating in Québec, including cooperatives and other social economy enterprises with commercial activities.

Eligible businesses are those that find themselves in a precarious situation and temporary difficulty as a result of COVID-19. They must show that their financial structure offers realistic prospects for profitability.


Eligible Projects

  • Businesses must show that their cash flow issues are temporary and that the liquidity shortage stems from:
  • A problem involving the supply of raw materials or products (goods or services)
  • An inability, or a substantially decreased ability, to deliver goods, products or services
  • Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, according to the business’s circumstances and Investissement Québec’s management practices.


Eligible Industries

All industries are eligible, except for the following:

  • Weapons manufacturing or distribution
  • Games of chance and gambling, combat sports, bars, racing, and other similar activities
  • Production and sale of tobacco and drugs along with services related to their use, except for projects involving pharmaceutical-grade products approved by Health Canada and has a DIN, or their ingredients, as well as R&D projects licensed by Health Canada
  • Any activity whose main purpose is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (religion, politics, human rights advocacy, etc.)
  • Any other activity that may offend public morals


  Details of Financial Assistance

  • A loan guarantee is the preferred form of financing. Financing can also take the form of a loan from Investissement Québec.
  • Investissement Québec aims to work in close cooperation with financial institutions and federal authorities to share risks
  • The minimum funding amount is $50,000.
  • Refinancing is prohibited.
  • This measure is designed to shore up the business’s working capital.




Québec Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW)

The Québec government introduced a financial assistance program for individuals working essential jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assistance amount will make up the difference between the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and an eligible individual’s wages.

Eligible workers can apply for the program online beginning on May 19. The program provides $100 for each week of qualifying work beginning March 15, 2020 and extending for a maximum of 16 weeks.

This means that, in addition to their wages, a worker could receive a taxable benefit of $400 per month, for a total of $1,600 for the full 16-month period. Payments will be made every two weeks starting on May 27, 2020.



To be eligible under the program, you must:

  • Work part-time or full-time in one of the essential service sectors during the program period;
  • Receive gross wages of $550 or less per week;
  • Have an annual employment income of at least $5,000;
  • Have a total annual income of no more than $28,600;
  • Be at least 15 years old when you apply for assistance under the IPREW; and
  • Have been resident in Québec on December 31, 2019, and plan to reside in Québec throughout 2020.
To receive this assistance for a given week covered by the program, you must not have received amounts under the CERB or the temporary aid for workers program for that same week. Note that you are eligible for the program even if your employer receives assistance through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.


How to apply for assistance as an eligible worker

You can apply for the IPREW online in the period from May 19 to November 15, 2020.


To apply:





Québec – Training – Concerted Action Program for Maintaining Employment (PACME) 

This program is for employers with employees in Quebec which have been disrupted by COVID-19. This program reimburses up to $100,000 of employer’s eligible training expenses. Projects will be accepted until September 30, 2020, or until the budget of $100 million is exhausted.


Eligible expenses are:

Reimbursement of salaries up to a maximum of:

  • 25% of the payroll of workers in training (maximum eligible wage of $25/hour), if the business receives Canada’s emergency wage subsidy of 75%
  • 90% of the payroll of workers in training, if the company receives the temporary 10% wage subsidy from Canada
  • 100% of the wages of the workers in training, if the firm does not receive a federal government wage subsidy

Up to 100% of eligible training and human resources management expenses, depending on the applicable schedules (e.g., professional fees)


Eligible training: 

  • Basic employee training
  • Francization
  • Digital skills training
  • Continuing training related to the company’s activities, whether or not directly related to the position held by the trained employee
  • Training recommended by professional orders
  • Training made necessary for the resumption of the company’s activities
  • Training related to a strategy for adjusting or modifying company activities in the context of economic uncertainty related to COVID-19 that makes it possible to maintain or diversify the company’s activities (health, teleworking, etc.)
  • Training to enable the retraining of workers


The following expenses are reimbursable at their actual cost:

  • Indirect costs for trainers (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.)
  • Indirect costs for workers in training (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.)
  • Development, adaptation and purchase of teaching and learning materials
  • The equipment and supplies needed to carry out the activities
  • Development and adaptation of training content
  • The transfer from face-to-face training to online training
  • Registration fees or other costs related to the use of a platform





Montréal – Small Business Support Program

This initiative is supported by Québec’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du gouvernement du Québec, which has allocated $40 million to the Montréal agglomeration in the form of a loan to assist small businesses in all sectors of activity.

This assistance is available to all Montréal businesses that are temporarily closed or likely to close as well as those that are trying to maintain or resume their operations during this crisis.

All Montréal companies, including social economy businesses such as co-ops and nonprofits that carry out market activities, can take part in this program.

The money will be distributed through the PME MTL network, Montréal’s business assistance network.

It will take the form of a loan of $50,000 maximum at a 3% interest rate after the six-month moratorium. The city will assume interest fees incurred during the first six months of the loan.

Due to the crisis situation, companies will have a 36-month payback period, excluding the moratorium, to reimburse their loan. Under exceptional circumstances, this payback period can be extended to up to 60 months.



Montréal companies can find out about terms and conditions on the Emergency Fund page (in French) of the PME MTL Web site. 





Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) – Mortgage Deferral Plan

The Canadian Bankers Association announced that the six Canadian major banks have introduced programs to offer deferral of mortgage payments.

Customers impacted economically by the COVID-19 can apply for mortgage relief to their respective banks.

A mortgage deferral implies an interruption of payments in this period of time, during which interest which would otherwise be part of the deferred payments is added to the outstanding balance of the mortgage. The added interest is incorporated into the monthly payment, either when payments resume at the end of the deferral period or upon renewal at the end of the mortgage’s term.


For more information directly from the banks, please visit:



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