COVID-19 Response: Resources for Small Business

July 7, 2020

We recognize the tremendous strain the current situation is putting on Canadian entrepreneurs.

In an attempt to keep you informed of programs and supports available for Canadian businesses, we’re happy to share this list of federal and regional resources.

If you are aware of other programs in your region, please let us know. 


  1. Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Get the latest information on supporting your employees, managing financial risk, contingency planning, business travel and events, and international trade during the pandemic. READ MORE>>

2. Canada Emergence Response Benefit (CERB)

Supports employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19 and provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks. READ MORE>>

3. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. READ MORE>>

4. 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy

Provides a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the CRA. READ MORE>>

5. Work-Sharing Program – COVID-19: Income support to avoid layoffs – (ESDC)

If your employees are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, and your business is suffering a downturn due to COVID-19, you can apply for a work-sharing agreement. The agreement would allow them to work a temporarily reduced work week while receiving EI benefits. READ MORE>>

6. Support for tourism operators and SMEs (Regional Development Agencies e.g. WD)

If the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting your operations, contact your local Regional Development Agency office to get a review of your situation and guidance on getting funding, support and/or flexible arrangements, on a case-by-case basis. READ MORE>>

7. COVID-19 Challenge Procurement Program:

NRC IRAP and Innovative Solutions Canada have funding opportunities available to develop new solutions or test existing innovations that can help fight COVID-19, including:

  • Call for prototypes to help combat COVID-19 (TRL 7 to 9). Application closing date April 21, 2020. READ MORE>>
  • COVID-19 Challenge: Made in Canada filtration material for the manufacture of N95 respirators and surgical masks. Application closing date April 17, 2020. READ MORE>>
  • COVID-19 challenge – Low-cost sensor system for COVID-19 patient monitoring. Application closing date April 20, 2020. READ MORE>>
  • COVID-19 Challenge – Point of Care and Home Diagnostic Kit for COVID-19. Application closing date April 20, 2020. READ MORE>>

8. NRC Pandemic Response Challenge Program

This Program will accelerate the development of diagnostics and medical countermeasures for a rapid front-line response to protect and treat Canadians. This Challenge Program, composed of teams of government, academic, and private-sector partners will address a range of medium-term Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada needs, including:

  • Rapid detection and diagnosis
  • Therapeutics and vaccine development, and
  • Digital health


9. Additional Support for Canadian Businesses form the Economic Impact of COVID-19 (Dept of Finance Canada) READ MORE

  • Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments
  • New Loan Programs for Businesses (Canada Emergency Business Account and A New Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises)
  • CRA’s Additional Measures for Individuals and Businesses


Are you a business that can supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19?

The Government of Canada needs items such as masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, and services such as security, nursing, food, laundry, accommodation maintenance and IT support. READ MORE>>


  1. BDC – Support for entrepreneurs impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19

As announced by the Minister of Finance, BDC puts in place additional measures to provide relief for Canadian entrepreneurs.

Effective March 18, 2020, new relief measures for qualified businesses include:

  • Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to 6 months for qualifying businesses;
  • Postponement of payments for up to 6 months, free of charge, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less;
  • Reduced rates on new eligible loans;
  • Additional details regarding Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) measures, including industry specific support, to be announced in the coming days.
  • These new measures aim to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on business activity and complement services offered by other financial institutions, with whom BDC will continue working. For BDC, eligible businesses needed to be financially viable entities prior to the impact of the coronavirus.


  • Start-ups – must have 2 years externally prepared financial statements.
  • Companies with weak financial performance/balance sheets etc.   The loan is to support clients who were negatively affected by COVID-19 but financially healthy prior to COVID-19.
  • Companies that never met BDC eligibility criteria (Cannabis, Bars, Anything to do with Residential complexes/housing, money exchanges etc.)
  • Cannot be used to payout other banks or creditors.

Amount: Minimum commitment with BDC of $100K including the BCAP up to $2M.

2. BDC: Small Business Loan – $10 – $100K

Up to $100,000. No application fees. Online application process. Repayable over 5 years.
Use to: buy equipment, purchase extra software or hardware, apply for a patent, trademark or, other intellectual property protection.
Eligibility: Canadian company in operation for at least 24 months.
Apply online. Provide all required information and get approved within 5 days. Receive results or funds in 2 to 5 business days. READ MORE>>

  • BDC: Working Capital Loan

Get a loan to complement your line of credit in order to boost inventory and take advantage of supplier discounts. READ MORE>>

  • EDC-BDC: Purchase Order Financing

Loans to fulfill large international orders.
Get financing to cover up to 90% of the purchase order amount of contracts with international buyers. The loan is dispersed directly to you, allowing you to pay your suppliers on time and fulfil contracts as promised. You can pay the loan back as you get paid by the buyer. READ MORE>>


NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grants – NSERC is providing up to $15 million in total support to stimulate collaborations between academic researchers and the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address pandemic-related research and technical challenges. Support for up to $50,000 for one-year projects is being made available immediately. READ MORE>>


  1. What Canadian exporters need to know about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Export Development Canada
  2. COVID-19 Canadian Tax Relief – Summary by Gowling WLG
  3. Manage Impact of COVID-19 on your Business – Grant Thornton
  4. Implications for Canada and Economic Impact – Conference Board of Canada – updated daily
  5. COVID-19 Knowledge Centre – Fasken resource for clients and other companies
  6. OCE COVID-19 Collaboration Platform – Led by Ontario Centres of Excellence but open to all companies lookig to collaborate