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More financial support, rent assistance for businesses impacted by COVID-19: federal government

April 17, 2020  By Ground Water Canada

Ottawa – The federal has announced new measures to help protect businesses from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a town hall in B.C., Mona Fortier, minister of middle-class prosperity and associate minister of finance, announced the following measures:

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), with a 75 per cent subsidy for up to 12 weeks for qualifying employers, retroactive to March 15;
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account, with $25 billion in interest-free loans through private financial institutions to qualifying organizations will now be available for businesses that paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019;
  • The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending to meet operational cash-flow requirements;
  • Deferral of all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as GST and customs duty payments owed for imports;
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will provide $2,000 monthly for up to four months to eligible workers who have lost employment because of the COVID pandemic.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance


The government also will introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. More details will be available soon on this and on work among federal, provincial and territorial governments to increase rent support for businesses heavily impacted.

The government of Canada is also working with provinces and territories to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of low-income essential workers that the provinces and territories have deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19. The federal government will cover a portion of the cost of providing temporary financial support to these low-income workers, thereby helping to support employers in keeping their workers on staff, while also ensuring fairness.

For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.

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