The purpose of this list of resources is to guide small and medium-sized businesses during and post-COVID-19.
In Canada, a small business is generally defined as one with less than 100 employees (98.2% of all businesses), while a medium-sized business has between 100 and 499 employees (1.6% of all Canadian businesses). There are approx. 1.1 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Canada, and more than half (55%) have fewer than 4 employees.
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) – This program provides financing to businesses through operating credit and cash flow loans and is administered by private-sector financial institutions. There are two initiatives under the BCAP: 1) The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) which provides government-funded interest-free loans – for the first year – through financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC), to help cover operating costs during a period where revenues have been temporarily reduced. 2) There is the Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Enterprises which provides loans through EDC guarantees and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) co-lending with financial institutions.
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) – This federal/provincial program provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover a portion of rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardships during April, May and June 2020.
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program – Provides cash grants and ad credits to eligible small businesses with less than 50 employees, to help them keep their workforce, pay rent, connect with more customers, and cover operational costs.
- Google Ad Credits – Helps alleviate some of the cost for small businesses to stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time. Google is committing $340 million in ad credits to small businesses, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020.
- Hockeystick Startup Network – A resource for businesses looking for funders in Canada.
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) – This federal program – delivered through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies – helps businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology and tourism, that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the pandemic but have been unable to access existing support measures.
- Relief Measures for Indigenous Businesses – The federal government provides short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses.
- Administrative Income Tax Measures – CRA’s tax-filing deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020 for individuals and June 15, 2020 for self-employed. While the payment date for the current tax year has been extended to September 1, 2020. However, payroll deductions payments and all related activities are excluded.
- City of Ottawa 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program – The City of Ottawa is offering a Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for residential property owners and small business property owners that have been financially affected as a result of COVID-19. The program will extend the interim property tax and final property tax deadlines of March 19, 2020 and June 18, 2020 to Friday, October 30, 2020.
- CRA Audit Activity – CRA will not contact any small or medium businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the CRA will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.
- Farm Credit Canada (FCC) COVID-19 Support Program – This program provides support for producers, agribusinesses and food processors. FCC is deferring principal and interest payments and providing access to additional lines of credit to help them remain focused on business-critical functions.
- FedDev Ontario Repayment Deferral – FedDev Ontario will apply a three-month deferral for all clients currently in the repayment phase of their projects to relieve some of the pressure businesses may be facing during this difficult time. The deferrals will be in effect from April 1, 2020, through to June 30, 2020.
- GST/HST Sales Tax Remittance Deferral – Payment deadlines have been deferred to June 30, 2020.
- Insurance Bureau of Canada Business Insurance Coverage – Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vis-à-vis commercial business insurance.
- Ontario Essential Workplaces – List of essential businesses that can remain open.
- Ontario Government Electricity Relief – The government has suspended time-of-use rates and are holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate. This discount has been applied automatically to electricity bills for a 45-day period.
- Support for Tourism Operators – Federal Regional Development Agencies are available to be contacted on a case-by-case basis for guidance on getting funding, support and/or flexible arrangements.
Support for Workers
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – The federal government is providing temporary support for those whose income has been affected by COVID-19. The CERB provides $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks.
- CRA income tax filing and payment dates – The filing date for 2019 is June 15, 2020, while the payment date has been extended to September 1, 2020.
- GST/HST Remittance Deferral – Payment deadlines have been deferred to June 30, 2020.
Businesses with Employees
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – This federal government initiative provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 24 weeks – retroactive to March 15 – till August 29, 2020.
- Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) – This Government of Canada program provides wage subsidies to eligible private sector and non-profit employers to assist them with the cost of hiring students.
- Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy – This federal program is a three-month wage subsidy to allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the CRA.
- Work-Sharing Program – This federal government program intends to help employers and employees avoid layoffs by providing income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. This program is not limited to one specific sector or industry.
- Customs Duty Payments – Payment deadlines have been deferred to June 30, 2020.
- EDC Canada Account for Exporters – This account is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and is used by the government to support exporters when deemed to be in the national interest.
- EDC Market Insights – Managing COVID-19 business risks in China.
- EDC Market Insights – Managing COVID-19 business risks in Southeast Asia.
- EDC Market Insights – Managing the business impacts of COVID-19 on South America.
- EDC Market Insights – Monitoring the business impacts of COVID-19 on Australia.
- EDC Trade Insights – Tips on running your export business remotely during the pandemic.
- Government of Canada Trade Commissioner Service – The government’s actions towards international trade in light of COVID-19.
- Sales Tax for Importers – Payment deadlines have been deferred to June 30, 2020.
Additional Programs and Services
- CRA Filing Deadline for Charities – The filing deadline for all charities with a T3010 form has been extended to December 31, 2020.
- Federal Government Support for Sectors: Additional resources available from the government for the agriculture, agri-food, aquaculture, fisheries, culture, heritage, sport, air transportation, tourism, energy, non-profit and charitable sectors.
- Indigenous Services Canada – A community guide on accessing additional support.
- Mitacs and the Business/Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) – This federal funding supports Mitacs to help create new job placements.
- NGen – They are investing $50M in supercluster funding to support companies as they rapidly respond to the COVID-19 crisis by building a Canadian supply of essential equipment, products, and therapeutics.
- NRC IRAP COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program – This program will post challenges seeking near-to-market solutions from SMEs (fewer than 500 staff) that need financial support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to refine and sell their product or solution to meet a COVID-19 related need.
- Ontario Together – An initiative to aid businesses or organizations who want to help support the response to COVID-19.
- Sprott School of Business’ Crisis Management and Recovery Initiative (CMR) – This initiative helps SMEs and non-profit organizations respond to challenges brought on by COVID-19, while providing students with a unique opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience. Through Sprott’s Project-Based Service Learning enterprise, teams of CMR-trained students, under the supervision of experienced faculty, are available to provide consulting services – free of charge – to help organizations manage through the immediate crisis and develop a plan for recovering and maintaining their business when the crisis is over.
- Youth Employment Program – This NRC program offers financial assistance to offset the cost of hiring a student or a young graduate by an incorporated and for-profit SME to work on business, technical, or technology-related projects.
Associations and Organizations Available to Help
- Business Council of Canada – The Business Council of Canada is a non-profit, non-partisan organization representing business leaders in every region and sector of the country.
- City of Ottawa Business Improvement Associations – A Business Improvement Area (BIA) permits local businesses and property owners within a defined district to join together and – with the support of the municipality – organize, finance, improve and promote the area as a business and shopping district.
- Ottawa Board of Trade – The single largest independent voice of business in Ottawa, advocating for the economic prosperity of its community.
- Ottawa Community Loan Fund (OCLF) – An incorporated non-profit charitable organization working for financial empowerment in the Ottawa area.
- Ottawa Public Library – Directory of business services in Ottawa.
- Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale (RGA) – The organization works to boost economic growth in the region.
Guides and Additional Resources
- BDC – Seven steps to sustain your business through the disruption.
- Canadian Business Resilience Network – In partnership with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has established the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery.
- Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness for Business – A brief guide to help businesses manage through COVID-19.
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) – A guide that provides expert advice to help small businesses navigate through this difficult time.
- Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) – COVID-19 Resources.
- City of Ottawa – The City’s initiatives to support the local business community.
- Free software during COVID-19 – Forbes’ list of free business software to support working from home.
- Futurpreneur Canada – List of resources for small businesses.
- Invest Ottawa’s COVID-19 Response and Resources – List of resources for companies and community.
- Lenny’s Newsletter – COVID-19 Q&As about leading your company through a pandemic.
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce – COVID-19-related FAQs.
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce – List of Mental Health Resources.
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit.
- Ottawa Arts Council Information – Information of regional, provincial and national arts funding for organizations in response to COVID-19.
- Ottawa Board of Trade – COVID-19 Guidance & Resources.
- Shopify – Resources for business owners.
- The Conference Board of Canada – A resource for insights and analysis on COVID-19.