Government Financial Resources
There are a myriad of federal and provincial government programs, more being announced daily, that are designed to help provide emergency financial relief to individuals and businesses during these exceptionally challenging times. We’ve brought the links to a number of these programs together, to save you time and simplify your research in these stressful times.
Details of all the government programs listed below are subject to ongoing change as we all continue to adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Please check these sites regularly for the most up-to-date information.
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Personal: Relief for individuals and families
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
This Federal program provides temporary financial assistance to workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) who have lost their income for reasons related to COVID-19, including sickness and childcare needs. This benefit can apply to wage earners, contract workers, and self-employed individuals.
- Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
A Federal program, Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits provide financial assistance (a percentage of earnings, up to a maximum weekly cap) for those unable to work due to illness or quarantine. Applicants are advised to check with their employers first for details of sick leave and short-term disability benefits.
- Employment Insurance (EI)
If you were recently laid off or have reduced hours and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, the Government has removed wait times.
- CRA Flexibility for Individuals
CRA is deferring the tax filing date for individuals until June 1, 2020 and allowing deferral of tax payments, under certain conditions, until September 2020
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.
This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).
- BC Emergency Benefit for Workers
Provides a one-time payment to people who have lost income because of COVID-19.
- Support for Renters and Landlords
A BC Provincial program that introduced a new temporary rental supplement, halts evictions and freezes rents, among other actions.
- BC Rate Relief Program (BC Hydro)
- The Provincial government has announced a rate relief program from BC Hydro. Residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 will receive a credit to help cover the cost of their electricity bills. Visit gov.bc.ca
Business: Relief for entrepreneurs and business owners
The Government of Canada has created a centralized source of information that contains comprehensive resources regarding the country's COVID 19 response.
- Canada Emergency Business Account Loan Program (CEBA)
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides a $40,000 loan for eligible small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. This federal program is designed to help cover operating costs for organizations experiencing temporary revenue reductions. Learn more
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) offers 75% of employee wages retroactive from March 15, 2020. On May 15, CEWS was extended for an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020 and expanded to include additional types of employers. On July 13, the program was further extended to December.
This will enable businesses to rehire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses and free up funds to support other areas of your business. Applications are now being accepted. Businesses are encouraged to have a CRA My Business Account set up in order to complete an application. Clients are now able to setup Direct Deposit for their business account. There is also a calculator to help you estimate the amount of your wage subsidy.
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
This includes a series of Federal initiatives to assist businesses with access to credit. Visit canada.ca
- CRA Flexibility for Businesses
- The CRA recently announced that it will allow all businesses to defer T2 corporation income tax returns otherwise due in June, July or August, to September 1, 2020. As previously announced, any income tax balance due on or after March 18 and before September 1 will also be due by September 1, 2020.
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
CECRA is intended to provide rental relief to qualifying small businesses and commercial property owners. The program provides forgivable loans to commercial property owners to cover 50% of rent otherwise payable by their small business tenants. It will cover April (retroactive), May, and June.
The loans are forgiven if the owner reduces tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three months. As a result, the tenant pays 25% of the rent owed, the property owner covers 25%, and the federal and provincial governments share the responsibility for the remaining 50%. The owner also agrees not to evict the tenant during this term. The rent relief applies to gross rent, not base rent.
There are a number of conditions owners must meet in order to quality, and the commercial property must have ceased operations or experienced a significant decline in business. Visit the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Crown corporation administering the CECRA, for full details and how to apply
The CECRA application portal is now open
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) will provide eligible small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with an interest-free repayable contribution of up to $40,000 to help alleviate financial hardship resulting from COVID-19. The objective of this program is to assist western Canadian SMEs that do not qualify for the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program or the RRRF – Community Futures Stream.
Applications will be taken directly online through the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) website.
Examples of business that are eligible to apply to the RRRF:
- Pre-revenue firms (e.g. a company that has not had any sales to date)
- Businesses that do not have salaried employees (e.g. a company with a workforce of contract employees)
- Businesses with no payroll that do pay their owners a salary (e.g. a company that pays its owners through dividends)
Learn more about RRRF eligibility and how to apply
The Province of BC has created a very useful summary of all the supports available both federally and provincially. Visit gov.bc.ca
- BC Business COVID-19 Support Service
Small Business BC will act as a one-stop resource centre for questions about support from provincial and federal programs. Businesses can call M-F 8am-6pm and Sat 10am-4pm (1.833.254.4357), email or connect with advisors through Live Chat.
- BC Rate Relief Program (BC Hydro)
- The Provincial government has announced a rate relief program from BC Hydro. Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months. BC Hydro is waiving bills for these customers from April to June 2020. Visit gov.bc.ca