Overview of Government Responses to COVID-19

Government Financial Supports for Consumers, Workers and Businesses Across Canada
Updated July 8, 2020

This page provides information on some of the key financial-related measures announced by governments across Canada to support consumers, workers and businesses through the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19. Content will be updated as any significant new measures are announced.


What's New:

  • The federal government expands its support for businesses by extending the Canada Emergency Rent Assistance program, expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account, and providing new funding for Indigenous businesses
  • British Columbia extends its federal EI exemption and the provincial temporary crisis supplement for residents on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors
  • Manitoba creates new Job Restart Program, offering $2,000 incentive to qualified Manitobans who safely return to work and stop collecting federal benefits (including CERB and CESB)



Federal Government

The federal government has continued to announce measures to support businesses, workers and consumers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, the government has announced the following measures:

  • Extending the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program by one month to cover eligible small business rents for July (details are available online);
  • Expanding accessibility by small businesses to the Canada Emergency Business Account. Under this expansion, owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible to qualify for CEBA financing (details are available online );
  • Temporarily extending time periods given to employers to recall employees laid off due to the pandemic (details are available online);
  • Providing $133 million in new funding to support Indigenous businesses through the pandemic (details are available online);
  • As part of Phase 2 of the previously announced COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations, disbursing millions to such organizations to help maintain jobs and support business continuity (details are available online);

Previously announced key supports for businesses include:

  • Launching a new small business hotline to provide eligible small businesses with access to professional financial advice (details are available online);
  • Providing businesses operating in Canada’s parks with access to new rent relief (details are available online);
  • Providing interest relief for First Nations through the First Nations Finance Authority (details are available online);
  • Extending eligibility for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to August 29, 2020, and permitting additional organizations to access the benefit, including partnerships with one or more non-eligible members, Indigenous government-owned corporations, Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations, registered journalism organizations, non-public education and training institutions (complete details are available online);
  • Extending benefits, including the GST/HST credit and/or the Canada Child Benefit, for those who are not able to file their 2019 returns on time, for three months;
  • Launching the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), a program to support Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing (details are available online);
  • Creating a new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), which will provide nearly $962 million to help small businesses and communities across Canada. Funding will be allocated to regional development agencies across the country to support businesses impacted by the pandemic who did not qualify for other measures (details are available online);
  • Changing the Canada Emergency Business Account to increase accessibility by Canadian farmers (details are available online);
  • Supporting charities and non-profit organizations requiring financial assistance to address the pandemic through the $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund (details are available online);
  • Providing emergency support funding for culture, heritage and sport organizations (details are available online);
  • Partnering with the provinces to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses, which will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 (details are available online); and
  • Increasing its funding share on a number of joint federal-provincial programs, including the AgriStability benefit payment for Saskatchewan producers and the Reaching Home program in Quebec.
  • Creating the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which provides a temporary 75 per cent wage subsidy to eligible businesses (details and eligibility payments can be found online);
  • Allowing businesses (including self-employed individuals) to defer all GST/HST payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports;
  • Launching the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions to provide interest-free loans to small businesses;
  • Launching the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable $40 billion in lending for guaranteed loans for small businesses via their financial institutions. This is intended to help small and medium-sized companies meet their operational cash flow requirements;
  • Providing temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans;
  • Extending the eligibility of EI Work-Sharing Program agreements and streamlining application processes; and
  • Deferring payment of certain income tax amounts and temporarily suspending most audits.

Key supports for consumers and workers previously announced include:

  • Launching an online tool called “Find financial help during COVID-19” to assist Canadians in determining which government benefit programs they may be eligible for, and accessing those benefits. This tool can be accessed online;
  • Extending benefits, including the GST/HST credit and/or the Canada Child Benefit, for those who are not able to file their 2019 returns on time, for three months;
  • Establishing a new Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which will provide income support to post-secondary students who lost work opportunities due to COVID-19. Under the benefit, students not receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit would receive $1,250 per month for up to four months. Students with disabilities and students with dependents would receive an additional $750. Full details on the government’s proposed availability and eligibility requirements are available online;
  • Creating a new mental wellness portal – called Wellness Together Canada – to connect Canadians with services to support their mental health and wellbeing during the current crisis.
  • Establishing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), provides $2,000 per month (for up to four months) to workers who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The benefit applies to wage earners, as well as contract-workers and the self-employed who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance;
  • Easing the process and requirements for accessing Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits;
  • Deferring the filing due date for 2019 tax returns of individuals to June 1, 2020, and certain trusts to May 1, 2020. Payment of certain income tax amounts will also be deferred until after August 31, 2020;
  • Deferring repayment of Canada Student Loans for six months;
  • Increasing maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payment amounts by $300 per child for 2019-2020;
  • Through the Goods and Services Tax Credit, doubling the maximum payment amounts for 2019-2020 to qualifying individuals; and
  • Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Requirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.

Complete information on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including additional initiatives, can be found online on the Goverment of Canada website.


British Columbia

The Government of BC continues to announce new and extended support measures in response to the pandemic. Recently announced measures include:

  • Extending federal EI exemptions and the provincial temporary crisis supplement for people on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors (details are available online);
  • Extending a number of previously announced measures, including the Emergency Relief Support fund for children and youth with special needs and their families, which will provide a direct payment of $225 per month for up to three months to eligible families (details of this program and other related measures are available online);
  • Extending the temporary rental supplement until the end of August and continuing the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent (details are available online);
  • Extending the Temporary Emergency Funding Program for licensed child care centres until August 31, 2020 (details are available online); and
  • Introducing legislation to enable courts to accept electronic wills and to permit the remote witnessing of wills.

Other supports announced by the government for consumers, workers and businesses to date include:

  • Strengthening the federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program for B.C. businesses by restricting evictions where landlords have chosen not to apply for this benefit program (details are available online);
  • Providing temporary pandemic pay to health and social service workers who deliver in-person, front-line support services. More than 250,000 front-line workers are expected to receive temporary pandemic pay, a lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period, starting on March 15, 2020. Eligible workers will receive the payment directly through their employer (further details are available online); and
  • Providing funding through the B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program to enable agriculture, seafood and food processing businesses in the province access consulting and planning services to help with COVID-19 recovery (details are available online).
  • Extending the temporary layoff period for businesses to 16 weeks for COVID-19 related reasons, aligning with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit period (details are available online);
  • Providing new COVID-19-related funding as part of the Connecting British Columbia program to help internet service providers with immediate upgrades to improve capacity and internet speeds in underserved communities throughout the province (details are available online);
  • Deferring a number of fees for specific business sectors in the province, including the forestry sector (in the form of deferred “stumpage” fees) and the liquor industry (in the form of deferred liquor license renewal fees for certain licensees);
  • Providing additional spaces in communities across the province for people leaving violent or unstable situations among the lockdown (details are available online); and
  • Doubling funding for Family Caregivers of British Columbia, which will allow for the enhancement of caregiver support services to seniors in the province.
  • Further reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average 25 per cent reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses;
  • Through BC Hydro, providing targeted relief on power bills to consumers, small businesses and industries affected by COVID-19 (details are available online);
  • Protecting those on income or disability assistance by temporarily exempting federal employment insurance benefits (including CERB) to prevent any reductions in monthly assistance benefits, and providing those not eligible for federal programs with a $300-monthly COVID-19 crisis supplement;
  • Making an additional $3.5 million in student emergency financial assistance available to post-secondary students experiencing emergency financial pressures; and
  • Providing a new Emergency Relief Support Fund for children and youth with special needs and their families. The fund will provide a direct payment of $225 per month to eligible families for the next three months. Details are available online);
  • Protecting renters through a temporary rent supplement, a moratorium on eviction orders and a freeze on annual rent increases (details are available online);
  • Creation of the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers, which will provide a one-time tax-free $1000 payment to qualifying British Columbians whose ability to work has been impacted by the outbreak;
  • Increasing and expanding the BC Climate Action Tax Credit. Eligible families of four will now receive up to $564 and eligible individuals up to $218;
  • Suspending required payments for provincial student loans for the next 6 months; and
  • Introducing a number of provincial tax changes for businesses, including:
    • Deferring (until September 30, 2020) filing and payment deadlines for the following taxes: the employer health tax, PST (including municipal and regional district tax), carbon tax, motor fuel tax, and tobacco tax;
    • Postponing certain tax changes announced in the 2020 provincial budget;
    • Delaying any increase in the carbon tax rate until further notice; and
    • Reducing school tax rates by 50% for business and light- and major-industry property classes.

The government has also established an all-in-one resource page for all things COVID-19, with information on programs and supports currently available for consumers, workers and businesses.



In recent weeks, the Government of Alberta has announced new COVID-related support measures, including:

  • Introducing the Commercial Tenancies Protection Act to protect eligible commercial tenants from having their leases terminated due to non-payment of rent (additional details are available online); and
  • Introducing the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act, which proposes a number of new measures (and extension of existing measures) to support Albertans as the province reopens. Key measures proposed under the Act include:
    • Extending to August 2021 the unpaid job-protected leave specific to COVID-19, which allows employees to take leave to care for a child due to school or daycare closures or to care for an ill or self-isolating family member;
    • Allowing for remote signing and witnessing of estate and care documents through two-way video conferencing; and
    • Extending the maximum time for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 from 120 days to 180 days.

Additional details and measures are available online.

Other key supports for consumers, workers and businesses previously announced by the government include:

  • Expanding mental health supports for Albertans by investing $21.6 million in online and local resources and virtual supports (details are available online);
  • Providing up to $17.8 million in grants to child care centres and approved family day home agencies to support their reopening;
  • Launching www.alberta.ca/bizconnect, a new resource webpage aimed at supporting business owners in the province as they relaunch;
  • Creating a new Agriculture Training Support Program, in partnership with the federal government, which will provide up to $5 million in support to farmers, agri-businesses and food processors, the program helps offset the cost to train new employees safely in new agri-food roles, and ultimately encourage new jobs (details are available online);
  • Matching charitable donations to Alberta-based charities and non-profit organizations with COVID-19-related fundraising campaigns;
  • Providing $53 million in new funding for mental health and addiction recovery support services (details are available online); and
  • Providing free advice and coaching to small businesses in the province via Business Link (information is available online);
  • Job-protected leave for those required to self-isolate or those caring for a dependent required to self-isolate;
  • A one-time emergency isolation support payment of $1,146 for eligible working Albertans required to self-isolate
  • Deferral of corporate income tax balances and installment payments;
  • Deferral of utility payments for 90 days for residential, farm and small commercial customers;
  • Deferral of Alberta Student Loan repayments for 6 months; and
  • Establishing a number of protections for renters, including moratoriums on evictions for non-payment of rent and/or utilities, prohibitions on rent increases and late fees and requirements to establish payment plans where necessary (more information is available online).

The government is providing weekly updates on its COVID-19 response, including new measures enacted. These updates can be found online at www.alberta.ca.



The Government of Saskatchewan’s most recently announced COVID-related support measures include:

  • Expanding the previously announced Temporary Wage Supplement Program to include more workers who help vulnerable Saskatchewanians. The program is being expanded to include anyone, regardless of income level, who is working at licensed public or private long-term care facilities, which are under public health orders restricting visitations. In addition, workers at assisted living facilities which also are under public health orders, will now be eligible for the wage supplement if they earned a wage less than $24.00 per hour in the four-week period for which the worker has applied for the supplement. Private day cares and approved private service homes will also be eligible for the payments (complete details are available online);
  • Creating temporary commercial eviction protection for small business tenants during the pandemic. The moratorium on evictions applies to landlords that are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but choose not to (additional details are available online); and
  • Creating a new Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy Program to help businesses train employees to enhance safety protocols and adjust business models as they re-open. Under the program, eligible private-sector employers can be reimbursed for up to $10,000 for such costs (details are available online).

Other key measures to support consumers, workers and businesses announced to date include:

  • Providing additional respite funding for caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities during the pandemic. The funding will provide $100 per month from June until September 2020 to pay for respite or respite activities (complete details can be found online);
  • Introducing a temporary wage supplement for lower-income, essential workers at senior-care, group homes, childcare facilities and emergency transition shelters. The supplement consists of a flat $400 per month benefit for up to 16 weeks (details are available online); and
  • Allowing remote witnessing of wills in light of current COVID-19-related physical distancing requirements (details are available online).
  • Creating a new Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP), providing financial support to small and medium-sized businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SSBEP provides a one-time grant to businesses based on lost sales revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000. Since announcing this program, the government has amended the program to expand eligibility (recent updates can be found online);
  • Providing relief measures to the province’s oil and gas industries (details can be found online);
  • Providing emergency financial aid to at-risk post-secondary students. Emergency bursaries will be available from April 1 to September 30 to students who meet specific eligibility requirements; and
  • Financial support for those forced to self-isolate ($450 per week for a maximum of two weeks);
  • A three-month PST remittance deferral for small businesses, and suspension of certain audit programs and compliance activities;
  • A crown utility interest deferral program;
  • A six-month student loan repayment moratorium;
  • Introduction of a new unpaid public health emergency leave and removal of the 13-week employment requirement to access sick leave; and
  • Other changes to Employment Standard Regulations, including new notice/pay in lieu of notice requirements for short term lay-offs.

Complete information on these and other initiatives is available on the Government of Saskatchewan website.



In recent days, the Government of Manitoba has announced several new support measures in response to the pandemic. These new initiatives include:

  • Introducing the Manitoba Job Restart Program, which will provide direct payments to a maximum of $2,000 to qualified Manitobans who return to work. The program will provide one initial payment of $500 plus three additional bi-weekly payments for $500 each, for a total of $2,000 over six weeks. Program participants must voluntarily stop collecting CERB or CESB support from the federal government (additional details are available online);
  • Introducing a temporary ban on commercial evictions during the pandemic, specifically where landlords (and tenants) are eligible for the federal Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program, but have not applied (details are available online);
  • Opening intake for the Non-Profit Summer Student Incentive Grant, which will provide an additional $6,000 to charities and other non-profit organizations who apply for the Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program and hire summer students;
  • Launching the new ‘Manitoba Back to Work This Summer’ initiative to help Manitoba-based businesses rebound for the pandemic. Employers can apply to receive funding for up to five employees hired or rehired after June 18. The program will reimburse 50 per cent of the total wages paid from June 18 until Aug. 30, to a maximum of $5,000 per worker and $25,000 per business (additional details are available online); and
  • Extending previously announced tenant protection measures until September 30, including specifically the current freeze on rent increases, prohibition on late fees for failure to pay rent, and postponement of non-urgent eviction hearings.

Previously announced supports for consumers, workers and businesses include:

  • Increasing provincial investment in the Canada-Manitoba job Grant program to better assist recovering businesses with staff training costs (details are available online);
  • Supporting low-income Manitobans with disabilities through a new Disability Economic Support Program. This program will provide Manitobans under the disability category of Employment and Income Assistance with a one-time, $200 payment, to be mailed directly in early June; and
  • Launching Student Jobs MB, an online tool to match students looking for job opportunities with employers throughout the province (details are available online);
  • Lowering vehicle registration fees by 10 per cent;
  • Increasing funding for students and post-secondary institutions by increasing funding to the Manitoba Bursary program, and providing more matching funding for the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative (MSBI) for the 2020-21 academic year. By temporarily matching contributions from universities and colleges under the MSBI for 2020-21 with a 1:1 instead of a 1:2 ratio, the province will better ensure students receive financial supports amid fundraising challenges faced by post-secondary institutions due to the pandemic (details are available online);
  • Increasing funding for organizations delivering Green Team projects this summer, to encourage the hiring of teens and young adults this summer (details are available online); and
  • Unveiling the new Manitoba Works Capital Incentive to encourage business development during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic (details are available online).
  • Providing $45 million in direct financial support to seniors in the province through a new Seniors Economic Recovery Credit. This new initiative will deliver a one-time, refundable tax credit of $200 to each Manitoban aged 65 and older (details are available online);
  • Launching the Summer Student Recovery Plan, a new wage subsidy program to support high school and post-secondary students employed in the private and non-profit sectors. Under the program, the government will allow employers to access a $7.00 per hour wage subsidy (up to a maximum of $5,000 per student) to support the employment of students this summer. Complete details are available online;
  • Creating the Manitoba Gap Protection Program, which will make $120 million available to small and medium-sized businesses in the provinces who have been affected by COVID-19, but do not qualify for the various federal government supports that are available (full details and eligibility requirements are available online);
  • Disbursing a $37 million surplus from the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba back to employers who fund the WCB;
  • Re-configuring Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) benefits to ensure clients who are receiving CERB continue to qualify for the benefits they need (details are available online); and
  • Providing rebates from Manitoba Public Insurance back to policyholders. Rebates will be based on what policyholders paid last year, with the government stating it expects an average rebate of $140-160 per policyholder, with cheques being distributed at the end of May or early June.
  • Deferring several business-related fees and charges, as well as income tax and corporate income tax filing deadlines and payments (details are available online);
  • Suspending repayment of provincial student loans for six months;
  • Providing COVID-19-related job protection for workers (details are available online);
  • Postponing evictions and freezing rent increases scheduled to take effect on April 1 or later. Eviction orders will only proceed when they relate to issues affecting health and safety (e.g. such as unlawful activities); and
  • Providing assistance to small and medium-sized businesses in the form of extended tax filing deadlines for those with monthly remittances of less than $10,000. Businesses are also being given additional time to remit retail sales taxes and the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy (more information on this is available online).
Complete information on available government supports can be found on the Government of Manitoba website.



The Government of Ontario has continued to announce new supports for consumers, workers and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The government’s most recently announced supports include:

  • Passing legislation to temporarily halt or reverse evictions of commercial tenants and to protect them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19 (details are available online);
  • Increasing annual funding for the Seniors Community Grant Program to help organizations develop programs for seniors that focus on combatting social isolation, promoting seniors’ safety, improving financial security and making communities age-friendly (details are available online); and
  • Making available $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers (details are available online);

Previously announced supports for consumers, workers and businesses include:

  • Extending Infectious Disease Emergency Leave for workers. Under the new regulatory change to the Employment Standards Act, non-unionized employees who have had their hours reduced or eliminated because of the pandemic will be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs (additional details are available online);
  • Supporting hospitality workers and apprentices by establishing a Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and helping apprentice by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and work-related clothing, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools (details are available online); and
  • Introducing additional programs to support electricity consumers:
    • $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support consumers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic. CEAP will provide one-time payments to consumers to help pay down any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID 19 period.
    • $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of the outbreak
    • An extension of the Ontario Energy Board's winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020 to ensure no one is disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.
  • Providing relief for Ontarians using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program by not requiring any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments. Additionally, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak (details are available online); and
  • Extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses (until October 31) by billing at the lowest time-of-use rate (off-peak price) at all times, and establishing a new, lower COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour (details are available online);
  • Providing eligible frontline staff in the province with a temporary pandemic payment and expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive free childcare during the COVID-19 outbreak (details are available online here and here);
  • In partnership with the federal government, providing $2.5 million in targeted investment to the agri-food sector through the new Agri-Food Open for E-Business Initiative (details are available online);
  • In partnership with the federal government, providing $241 million in relief to small businesses and landlords struggling with the pandemic through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) (details are available online); and
  • Providing new financial support targeted toward vulnerable Ontarians, including creation of a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand access to food and medicine deliveries (details are available online).
  • Deferring a portion of Global Adjustment charges for certain industrial and commercial electricity consumers;
  • Amending a regulation under the Insurance Act to permit auto insurance companies to provide premium rebates to consumers;
  • Deferring property taxes for businesses and people in parts of Northern Ontario located outside of municipal boundaries (more details are available online); and
  • Prohibiting child care centres from charging parents fees where care is not being provided while protecting their space.
  • Doubling maximum Guaranteed Annual Income System payments for seniors for the next six months ($166 per month for individuals; $332 for couples)
  • Providing families with a one-time payment of $200 per child (up to age 12), and $250 for those with special needs, to help cover extra costs associated with school and daycare closures;
  • Deferring student loan payments for six months;
  • Expanding family eligibility for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program;
  • Cutting taxes for 57,000 employers by temporarily increasing exemption to the Employer Health Tax (from $490,000 to $1 million for eligible private-sector employers with annual payrolls of less than $5 million);
  • Creating a new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit to support regions lagging in employment growth;
  • Providing a six-month deferral for employer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments; and
  • Providing a five-month deferral on the payment period for certain provincially administered taxes



In recent weeks, the Government of Quebec has continued to announce new funding and programs in response to COVID-19, including:

  • Making several changes to provincial tax and fiscal measures in recognition of the current COVID context, including adjusting the small business deduction and harmonizing Quebec tax legislation with federal legislation to incorporate the measure allowing a 25% reduction in minimum RRIF withdrawals in 2020 (full details are available online);
  • Providing $753 million through the new Tourism Recovery Plan to help the sector weather the crisis and prepare for resumption of tourism activities (details are available online);
  • Reducing the school tax to provide residents across the province with savings of nearly $173 million;
  • Providing an additional $100 million for the existing Emergency Assistance Program for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (details are available online);
  • Enhancing the provincial portion of the benefit for the Canada Emergency Assistance Program for Commercial Rent (details are available online);
  • Extending protections for commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19 (details are available online);
  • Providing dedicated financial support for the province’s book and publishing sector, as well as for writers (details are available online); and
  • Providing $54.9 million to support youth unemployment projects across the province (details are available online).

Previously announced supports for consumers, workers and businesses in the province include:

  • Extending several deadlines to assist employers, including pushing the employer contribution credit for employees on paid leave until August 29, 2020 and extending certain deadlines for trusts (details are available online);
  • Providing new financial support to help non-subsidized daycare centers and recognized childcare providers resume service (details are available online);
  • Through the AMF, increasing support to frontline organizations that are dedicated to helping consumers and seniors; and
  • Providing new funding to support the psychological wellbeing of health and social service employees (details are available online).
  • Contributing $137 million in support of the federal government’s newly announced Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program to support small businesses in the province; and
  • Providing $3 million in funding to support long-term accommodation services (details are available online)
  • Providing temporary financial assistance ($573 per week) to workers who are in isolation due to COVID-19, who are unable to earn all their work income and are not eligible for another financial assistance program;
  • Following the federal government in reducing the amount of mandatory withdrawal from RRIFs by 25% in 2020;
  • Postponing the individual tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020 and the payment date for tax balances owing to September 1, 2020; and
  • Committing at least $2.5 billion to help companies facing liquidity issues in the form of low-interest loans and loan guarantees of at least $50,000

More information on these measures can be found on the government’s website.


Newfoundland and Labrador

In recent weeks, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced new measures to support residents, including:

  • Further extending provincial tax return filing deadlines to August 20, 2020. All tax returns, with the exception of tax returns required from interjurisdictional carriers, falling under the purview of the Revenue Administration Act and Regulations, which would otherwise be due March 20, 2020 to July 31, 2020, are now due August 20, 2020 (details on the tax returns applicable to this extension are available online);
  • Providing $25 million in funding to tourism and hospitality operators impacted by COVID through the Tourism and Hospitality Support Program. The Program will allow eligible tourism operators to apply for a one-time non-repayable working capital contribution of $5,000-$10,000 (details are available online);
  • Helping employees stay connected to their jobs by extending the temporary lay-off period under the Labour Standards Act to 26 weeks in a period of 33 consecutive weeks (details are available online);
  • Further extending Fuel Tax Exemption Permits, allowing permit holders to purchase tax-exempt marked gasoline and light fuel oil, to August 31, 2020.

Other supports for consumers, workers and businesses in the province announced by the government to date include:

  • Opening applications for businesses seeking funding through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (details are available online);
  • Enhancing the Provincial Student Loans Program for the 2020-21 academic year, including increasing the weekly loan limit to $100 per week of study from $40, and exempting student and spousal contributions when assessing applications for provincial student aid (additional details are available online); and
  • Establishing a new Residential Construction Rebate, providing financial support for home renovation projects and new home construction to help stimulate the economy (details are available online).
  • Launching a new Students Supporting Communities Program, which will encourage the hiring of students by organizations to help seniors and other vulnerable groups facing social isolation during the pandemic through a $3,500 grant (details are available online); and
  • Providing financial relief to electricity customers in the form of a one-time credit to those whose rates are based on Holyrood fuel costs, as well as up to $2.5 million to waive interest on overdue accounts for residential and general service customers throughout the province (details are available online).
  • Extending deferral of certain government loan payments (specifically those under the Innovation and Business Corporation’s Business Investment Fund) to six months
  • Providing compensation for private sector employers (including the self-employed) for continuation of pay to employees who were required to self-isolate for 14-days due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions (details are available online); and
  • Enabling credit unions in the province to access the Canada Emergency Business Account Program on behalf of their member businesses (details are available online).
  • Extending (until May 31) the tax return filing deadlines for a number of provincial taxes, including the Gasoline Tax, Carbon Tax, Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax, Insurance Companies Tax, Mining and Mineral Rights Tax, Tax on Insurance Premiums and Tobacco Tax (details are available online);
  • Providing employees with protected leave in COVID-19-related circumstances;
  • Protecting renters from eviction if they have lost income due to COVID-19;
  • Introducing $200 million in contingency funding to address the impacts of COVID-19 and reduced oil prices;
  • Suspending required payments for provincial student loans for the next 6 months; and
  • Subsidizing families’ payments to regulated childcare centres and family childcare homes that have closed due to COVID-19.

Information can be found as it is released on the government’s website.


Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia has continued to unveil COVID-related benefits and funding over the past few weeks. Recently unveiled initiatives include:

  • Increasing the Nova Scotia Child Benefit for people living on lower incomes. Under the expansion, families with incomes below $34,000 will now be eligible, and the amount of the benefit will increase from $625 to $925 annually for the first child (details are available online); and
  • Investing $750,000 to help startup businesses seize opportunities emerging from COVID-19. Business incubators in the province will receive funding to help startup companies through a variety of support services, including physical space, access to technology, coaching, shared services and networking (details are available online).

Other announced supports for consumers, workers and businesses include:

  • Providing new support to the agricultural sector in the form of a new COVID-19 Response and Mitigation Program, which will help food producers with the costs of meeting extra health requirements due to COVID-19, as well as other business aspects (additional details can be found online);
  • Creating a Small Business Reopening and Support Grant to provide funding to help some small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises open safely (details are available online);
  • Providing health-care workers with a bonus of up to $2,000 after a four-month period (beginning March 13) through the new Essential Health Care Workers Program;
  • Creating a COVID-19 Small Business Credit and Support program to help bridge the gap for small businesses that do not qualify for COVID-related federal benefit programs (details can be found online);
  • Creating a Worker Emergency Bridge Fund to support people who are self-employed or laid-off who don’t qualify for EI and are waiting on CERB. The government will provide a one-time gap payment of $1,000 (eligibility requirements can be found online); and
  • Creating a new Small Business Impact Grant, providing eligible small businesses and social enterprises with a grant of 15 per cent of their revenue from sales (either from April 2019 or February 2020), up to a maximum of $5,000 (eligibility details can be found online).
  • Deferring payments until June 30 for all government loans and small business fees, including renewal fees and workers compensation premiums;
  • Making changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program including deferring principal and interest payments, enhancing access to credit and making loan qualification easier;
  • Suspending required payments for provincial student loans for the next 6 months;
  • Increasing income assistance benefits and funding for programs that help vulnerable older adults.

Complete information on these and other government initiatives can be found online on the Government of Nova Scotia website.


New Brunswick

On June 30, the Government of New Brunswick opened student financial assistance applications for the 2020-21 academic year. The government previously announced other COVID-related supports for students, including a six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment of student loans, and reduced interest rates on the provincial portion of student loans. Application details, and information on other student supports, are available online.

Other support measures for consumers, workers and businesses in the province previously announced by the government include:

  • Creating the new Emergency Bridging Fund for Vulnerable Post-Secondary Students, which will provide a one-time payment of up to $750 to post-secondary students who meet needs-based eligibility requirements; and
  • Suspending evictions on the basis of non-payment of rent.
  • Creating the New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit, a one-time $900 benefit for workers or self-employed New Brunswickers who have lost their job due to the province’s COVID-19-related State of Emergency;
  • Introducing job protection for workers required to take leave due to COVID-19;
  • Deferring interest and principal payments on existing Government of New Brunswick loans;
  • Providing small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with working capital loans of up to $100,000 through the NB Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program (details are available online). The government is also making available working capital loans in excess of $100,000 through Opportunities NB. Details on these larger loans are also available online;
  • Suspending required payments for provincial student loans for the next 6 months;
  • Subsidizing childcare fees for certain individuals, including those who have lost income due to COVID-19 and those who have been deemed essential workers (more information is available here); and
  • Deferring WorkSafeNB premiums for businesses for three months.

For the business community, the government has also published extensive guidance on how to navigate the current crisis. This guidance includes a comprehensive FAQ and information on available financial assistance for business owners, and is available online on the Government of New Brunswick website.


Prince Edward Island

On June 17, the Government of PEI released its 2020-21 budget, outlining $2.2 billion in new and ongoing initiatives. Notable initiatives include:

  • a Small Business Tax Reduction that will bring the province to the lowest levels in the region;
  • an increase to the Island Advantage Bursary that will make post-secondary education in Prince Edward Island more affordable; and
  • creation of a Social Sector Community Partners Fund that will provide more secure core support to key provincial partners and advance special projects.

Additional details about the budget can be found online.

Other announced support measures for consumers, workers and businesses include:

  • Providing funding for an additional 200 employment positions to businesses in rural PEI, through the Rural Jobs Initiative (details are available online);
  • Creating a new Opportunities in PEI Seafood Initiative, to connect Islanders looking for work with seafood processing businesses;
  • Providing a temporary wage top-up for workers in the province employed by any business or organization providing essential services. Essential workers who have been working through the pandemic and make less than $3,000 per month will receive a one-time payment of $1,000 through their employers. Employers should apply on behalf of their workers online and
  • Announcing a new COVID-19 Workspace Adaption Assistance Fund to help small businesses purchase and install up to $2,000 worth of protective measures to safeguard employees and customers (details are available online).
  • Establishing the new “COVID-19 Agriculture Labour Support Initiative” to connect individuals seeking work with employment opportunities in the agriculture industry. The government is also providing additional financial incentives for students who choose to work in the sector (details can be found online);
  • Providing millions in support to the agricultural sector, including $4.7 million towards shipping and storage costs of potatoes for processing and up to $8.8 million in support for farmers through the government’s Business Risk Management Program (details about these and additional initiatives can be found online);
  • Creation of a new Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit specifically to assist households currently renting who have seen an unexpected loss of income due to COVID-19; and
  • Creation of a new Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program to support small and medium-sized businesses who have closed due to COVID-19. Landlords who defer rent because of tenant business closure(s) are eligible for up to a maximum of $50,000 and $15,000 per tenant if the deferred rent cannot be recovered.
  • Providing financial support to the tourism sector in the form of new financing options, interest relief and additional funding for marketing (details can be found online);
  • Providing financial assistance to businesses in the agriculture and trucking industries to help them adapt to the pandemic (details can be found online);
  • Deferring property tax and fee payments until December 31, 2020 and providing other tax and interest relief (details can be found online);
  • Creation of a new COVID-19 Special Situations Fund, which will provide up to $1000 to Islanders who have experienced urgent income loss but are not eligible for other federal and provincial support;
  • Creation of the new COVID-19 Income Support Program, which provides a one-time, taxable payment of $750 to qualifying individuals waiting on EI or CERB;
  • Putting a moratorium on the enforcement of eviction orders during the pandemic;
  • Creation of a new Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit specifically to assist households currently renting who have seen an unexpected loss of income due to COVID-19;
  • Creation of a new Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program to support small and medium-sized businesses who have closed due to COVID-19. Landlords who defer rent because of tenant business closure(s) are eligible for up to a maximum of $50,000 and $15,000 per tenant if the deferred rent cannot be recovered;
  • Providing a temporary allowance of $250 per week to those who have experienced a significant drop in their working hours through an Emergency Relief Worker Assistance Program;
  • Establishing the Emergency Income Relief Fund for self-employed individuals, providing those who have been impacted by COVID-19 with up to $500 per week;
  • Providing $4.5 million to Community Business Development Corporations across the province to deliver financing to small businesses and entrepreneurs;
  • Deferring scheduled loan payments for clients of Finance PEI, Island Investment Development Inc., and the PEI Century Fund for the next 3 months;
  • Providing emergency working capital financing (up to $100,000) to assist qualifying small businesses in maintaining normal operations; and
  • Suspending required payments for provincial student loans for the next 6 months.

Complete information on these and other government supports can be found on the Government of Prince Edward Island website.



On June 12, the government announced additional protections for residential tenants. Specifically, tenants who under a health protection measure after June 25 or who need to breach their tenancy agreement because they are under a COVID-19 health protection order will be permitted to defer outstanding rent until December 31. Tenants who owe unpaid rent from March 26 to July 1 because of COVID-19 loss of income also have until December 31 to repay the outstanding amount. Complete details are available online.

Previously announced government supports for consumers, workers and businesses include:

  • Providing additional support to Disability Services families. Eligible families will receive an additional $250 to $400 per month to help pay for supports (details are available online);
  • Extending the Yukon Business Relief Program until July 23, 2020. The Program provides businesses that have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in revenue with a grant of up to $30,000 per month to cover fixed costs. Details about the program extension can be found online;
  • Establishing the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program to provide low-income essential workers with a wage subsidy of up to $400 per hour to a maximum of $20.00 per hour for up to 16 weeks. Employers may choose when the 16 week benefit is applied between March 15 and October 3, 2020. Complete details can be found online;
  • Providing funding to help Yukon employers hire students for critical and essential services this summer (details are available online;
  • Providing eligible families with children in Kindergarten to Grade 12 who have been impacted by COVID-19 with $250 per student (details are available online);
  • Providing tenants and landlords affected by income losses during the COVID-19 pandemic with support through the government’s new COVID-19 Rent Assistance program. Tenants living in private non-subsidized market rental housing in Yukon who have lost 30 per cent or more of their income due to COVID-19 are eligible for a grant to help cover rent from April to June 2020. Eligible households can receive 50% of median market rent based on unit size (additional details are available online); and
  • Permitting annual general meetings for societies, business corporations and cooperatives to be held online;
  • Support for the aviation industry in the form of additional funding for Air North and waived commercial fees for aviation businesses;
  • Extending property tax payment deadlines for residents and businesses until September 2; and
  • Exempting CERB payments from Social Assistance benefit calculations, ensuring those on Social Assistance do not experience a reduction in their benefits as a result of the federal government’s new payments.
  • Establishing a Temporary Support for Events Funding Program, which will help businesses recover certain costs from the cancellation of major events due to COVID-19;
  • Providing paid sick leave to those workers in 14-day isolation. Yukon announced a Paid Sick Leave Rebate for employers and self-employed individuals, which covers 10 days of wages per employee, up to a maximum of $378.13 per day (more information is available online);
  • Deferring Workers Compensation Health and Safety premium payments and reimbursing fees paid up front; and
  • Waiving, reimbursing or delaying certain government fee collection.


Northwest Territories

On July 6, the Government of Northwest Territories announced the extension of several COVID-19 economic relief measures that were set to expire in June. Specifically:

  • Funding initiatives to support licensed child care programs, including funding to pay up to 75% of eligible fixed costs for child care operators, and funding supports for enhanced cleaning of child care spaces, have been extended until September 30, 2020; and
  • The waiving of certain fees for residents and businesses, including truck permits, NWT airport landing fees, Deh Cho Bridge tolls, and leases, licenses and concession fees at all NWT airports.

Details of these extensions are available online.

Other previously announced measures include:

  • Through the NWT Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC), extending the three month Payment Deferral/Reduction initiative for BDIC clients until March 31, 2021 (details are available online);
  • Opening the province’s Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) program to businesses for funding. SEED program funding will be available to businesses to cover costs associated with re-opening, including structural changes to protect employees, capital improvements, investments related to shifting operations online, and purchase of PPE (details are available online);
  • Providing $2.9 million in funding to airlines and rotary wing operators in the province;
  • Providing increased safety funding to commercial fishers working in certain areas of the province through the new Commercial Fisheries Industry Safety Support Program (details are available online);
  • Waiving tourism insurance requirements and licensing fees for the 2020-21 to assist provincial tourism operators;
  • Extending expiration dates on NWT driver’s licenses, general ID cards and motor vehicle certificates of registration until August 1, 2020;
  • Providing funding for artists in the province impacted by COVID. The government will make up to $3,000 available to NWT artists or commercial film and media arts producers, and up to $5,000 to registered NWT arts businesses, not-for-profit organizations and collectives (details are available online);
  • Allocating up to $6.2 million in temporary wage top-ups for workers making less than $18 per hour, for a maximum of 16 weeks between April 1 and July 31, 2020. The program will be delivered through partnering businesses (details are available online);
  • Opening the province’s Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) program for applications, with new specific focus on post-COVID recovery;
  • Exempting CERB and CESB benefits for Income Assistance clients; and
  • Launching a new, standalone, cross-government website with all information and resources about the government’s pandemic response.
  • Providing tenants with a mechanism to defer rent payments if they have been impacted by COVID-19;
  • $1.5 million for aviation businesses, tax and rental car businesses, tourism and service businesses;
  • $1.617 million in Income Assistance to current Income Assistance Clients, including a one-time allowance of up to $500 for individuals and $1000 for families; and
  • Waiving interest charges on all late tax returns between March 15 and June 30.
  • $5 million for low-interest business loans through the territory’s Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) and deferral of BDIC loan payments for up to three months;
  • Due date extension for employer Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission payments;
  • Increased funding for the province’s income assistance program;
  • Deferral of student loan payments for six months; and
  • Suspension of certain government-collected fees.



Nunavut has continued to make progress toward lifting public health measures and re-opening the province. On June 29th, Nunavut announced that restrictions around public gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, would further be eased.

Nunavut also announced on June 29th that the province’s Essential Workers Wage Premium would be expanded to include more sectors, including essential infrastructure, transportation, food, accommodation, retail and professional sectors. The program was first announced on June 1st for workers in health and social services, as well as licensed daycares. Details can be found online.

Nunavut’s Department of Economic Development and Transportation Services previously announced it would provide short-term relief to Nunavut businesses through its Small Business Support Program.

Under the Program, eligible businesses could apply for up to $5,000 in support in the form of a non-repayable contribution. More information about the program is available on the Government of Nunavut’s website.