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. The deadline to submit a new application and opt-in for the July and August extension is September 30, 2020.
- Digital Mainstreet Platform: The Government of Ontario, in partnership with the federal government, has announced a new suite of funding programs that help small businesses reach more online customers. Complementary funding will also be made available to municipalities, chambers of commerce and business improvement areas (BIAs).
- 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.
- 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 has extended the payment date for the current tax year to September 30, 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 – Collections activities on new debts will be suspended until further notice, and flexible payment arrangements will be available. The CRA is resuming a full range of audit work and adapting their practices to reflect the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. In addition, the CRA has started working on the post-payment audit program for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
- 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 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.
- Insurance Bureau of Canada Business Insurance Coverage – Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vis-à-vis commercial business insurance.
- Reopening Ontario in Stages – Information about what can reopen in each stage and where.
- Ontario Government Electricity Relief – The Ontario government supports provincial electricity consumers by providing stability and greater customer choice, while helping those struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- 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.
- CRA income tax filing and payment dates – CRA has extended the payment date for the current tax year September 30, 2020. However, payroll deductions payments and all related activities are excluded.
Businesses with Employees
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – This federal government initiative provides wage subsidies to eligible employers. This program has been expanded and extended until November 21, 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.
- 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.
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 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.
- COVID-19 travel restrictions, exemptions and advice – Government of Canada’s information for travel.
- 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 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.