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Maintaining Small Businesses

March 23, 2020

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. During this extraordinary time, the Government of Canada is taking strong action to help Canadian businesses as COVID-19 is affecting them, their employees and their families.


The Government and public health officials are urging all Canadians to:

  • stay home unless it is absolutely essential to go out

  • practice social distancing and good hygiene


For businesses, this means:











1. Support for employees

No Canadian should have to worry about losing their job, paying their rent or putting food on the table because of COVID-19. That's why the Government is:

  • waiving the one-week waiting period and the requirement for a medical certificate for employment insurance (EI) sickness benefits to provide immediate support for workers in quarantine

  • temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments to ensure working families have enough money to support their kids

  • introducing an Emergency Support Benefit to provide support to workers facing unemployment who are not eligible for EI

  • extending the tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020

  • and much more


2. Support for businesses

Canada's strong fiscal position means we are well positioned to respond to challenges such as COVID-19.

Canada's coordinated approach to supporting the economy and the financial sector includes the Governor of the Bank of Canada cutting the interest rate to 0.75% and the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announcing an additional $300 billion in lending capacity by the major banks.

No employer should feel like they have to lay off a worker in the face of COVID-19. To further support businesses and their employees, the Government has announced:


  • the Canada Revenue Agency will defer tax payments until August 31, 2020, to help businesses with cash flow

  • immediate relief for small businesses with a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer

  • a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks for self-employed people and others who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits

  • increased credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada



Assistance for tourism operators, small businesses or organizations

If you are a tourism operator, a small business or an organization affected by COVID-19 and need pressing assistance, the regional development agencies (RDAs) could assist you with access to federal funding and services.

Contingency plans

It is also vital for Canadian businesses to have contingency plans in place to manage potential financial risk. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has developed a comprehensive preparedness guide for businesses in the face of COVID-19.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is also providing information to help businesses through these difficult times.


3. Business travel and events

The Government is advising Canadians to:

  • avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice

  • if outside of Canada, return home and self-isolate for 14 days

To help bring Canadians home, the Government has created the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad.

When it comes to business conferences and events, the Government is advising against large gatherings of people.


4. Business in international markets

Canada and the United States are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across our border. Essential travel will continue unimpeded to preserve supply chains between both countries and ensure that food, fuel and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border.

The Trade Commissioner Service has experts in 160 cities worldwide who can provide small businesses with market-specific insights and guidance to help you mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, as well as access to funding to help you in global markets.


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