Overview of Government Responses to COVID-19

Government Financial Supports for Consumers, Workers and Businesses Across Canada
Updated January 8, 2021

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.



Federal Government

The federal government continues to announce measures to support individuals and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently available measures for individuals include:

  • Enhancing the Employment Insurance (EI) program to better support Canadians who need financial assistance. As of September 27, 2020, the minimum benefit rate in most cases is $500 per week before taxes. Application process available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html
  • For those not eligible for EI, the government has introduced the following three new alternative benefits:
    • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) – This benefit provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for EI. Application process available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit/crb-how-apply.html
    • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) – This benefit provides $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who:
    • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) – This benefit provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers:
  • Mortgage payment deferral – While some lenders are no longer offering this benefit, you may still be able to work with your lender or institution to defer your mortgage payments for up to six months. To know if you are eligible for a mortgage payment deferral or to learn what options are available, contact your bank or your mortgage professional
  • The government has reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Requirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020
  • The government has created a mental wellness portal – called Wellness Together Canada – to connect Canadians with services to support their mental health and wellbeing during the current crisis. This portal is available at: https://ca.portal.gs/
  • The government has set up 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 at: https://covid-benefits.alpha.canada.ca/en/start

Current measures available for businesses include:

  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – Through the CEWS, the government is covering up to 65% of an employee’s wages for qualifying eligible employers. The CEWS will run until at least June 2021. Complete details and subsidy rates are available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html
  • Work-Sharing Program - The government has altered the Work-Sharing Program, increasing the maximum duration period from 38 weeks to 76 weeks, due to COVID-19. Work-Sharing is a program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. The program provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada. Complete details available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing/notice-covid-19.html#_Employers
  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) interest-free loans – CEBA provides interest-free, partially forgivable, loans of up to $60,000, to small businesses and not-for-profits, that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19 but face ongoing non-deferrable costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and wages. A percentage of the loan (up to $20,000) is forgivable if the balance of the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022. Business owners can apply for CEBA until March 31, 2021 through their banks and credit unions. More details available online at: https://ceba-cuec.ca/
  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) – This benefit provides a direct rent and mortgage subsidy of up to 65% of eligible expenses to qualifying businesses, charities and non-profits. The subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners (no participation of landlords required). In addition to the base subsidy, the program also provides for additional lockdown support for businesses located in areas significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more. The program will run until at least June 2021. Complete details and application process available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-rent-subsidy.html
  • Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises – Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This financing support is to be used for operational expenses and is available to both exporting and non-exporting companies. The program is available through banks and credit unions until June 2021. Additional details available online at: https://www.edc.ca/en/solutions/working-capital/bcap-guarantee.html
  • Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises – Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues. This program is now available at various banks and  credit unions until June 2021. Additional details available online at: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/co-lending-program.aspx
  • Canada United Small Business Relief Fund – This fund provides relief grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses. The grant can be used for specific efforts: purchasing PPE, renovating physical spaces, or developing website or e-commerce capabilities. Applications are open for PEI and the Territories. Details available online at: https://occ.ca/canada-united-small-business-relief-fund/
  • Mid-Market Financing Program – Through the Business Credit Availability Program, the Business Development Canada's (BDC) Mid-Market Financing Program will provide commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million to medium-sized businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures. BDC anticipates that qualifying companies will have annual revenues in excess of approximately $100 million. This support is available until June 2021. Details online at: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/mid-market-financing-program.aspx
  • Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada’s (EDC) Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues of between $50 million to $300 million, to sustain operations during this uncertain period. EDC will continue to work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75 % of new operating credit and cash-flow loans – ranging in size from $16.75 million to a maximum of $80 million. These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada. The government intends to provide more details in the near future.
  • The government has extended temporary layoff periods in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees. The temporary changes will help protect the jobs of federally regulated private-sector employees and support employers facing economic hardship due to the pandemic
  • The government has made available additional supports for businesses in specific sectors, including:
  • The government is providing specific additional support to Black business owners and entrepreneurs through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. The Fund will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000. The government expects to provide details on eligibility requirements and the application process in the near future
  • The government is providing specific additional supports to Indigenous businesses, including short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions (https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1588079295625/1588079326171) and the Indigenous Community Business Fund (https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1596809415775/1596809469296)
  • For self-employed individuals, the government is directing individuals to use the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CSRB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), as appropriate

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 British Columbia continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures available for individuals include:

  • The B.C. Recovery Benefit – This is a one-time direct deposit payment for eligible families, single parents or individuals. Benefit eligibility is based on net income from 2019 tax returns. The amount you are eligible for will automatically be calculated based on your income when you apply. Families and single parents with a net income of up to $125,000 are eligible for $1,000, with a reduced benefit amount for eligible families and single parents with a net income of up to $175,000. Individuals with net income of up to $62,500 are eligible for $500, with a reduced benefit amount for eligible individuals with a net income of up to $87,500. You must apply to receive the benefit. Applications open now until June 2021. Complete details available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/recovery-benefit
  • B.C. Hydro bill payment support - Residential customers experiencing a temporary financial crisis who have fallen behind on their bill payments may be eligible for a grant of up to $600 from BC Hydro's Customer Crisis Fund. B.C. Hydro encourages anyone struggling to pay their bill to reach out to its customer support team to set up a flexible, catch-up payment plan. For details on what bill payment relief and grants may be available, visit: https://www.bchydro.com/news/conservation/2020/covid-19-updates.html
  • ICBC payment deferral - ICBC clients currently on a monthly Autoplan can defer their payments for up to 90 days with no penalty. Applications for deferrals available online at: https://onlinebusiness.icbc.com/eforms/dotcom/jsp/ACG398.jsp
  • Child care referrals – Parents returning to work whose child care provider does not have available space can use the online Child Care Referral Service to find local child care options. Additional details available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/caring-for-young-children/how-to-access-child-care
  • Rent freeze – The province has extended its freeze on rent increases until July 10, 2021. Increases set to happen on December 1, 2020 were cancelled, along with all pending increases through to July. Additional details available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/covid-19
  • Additional protections for renters – The government has put in place a repayment framework to give renters until summer 2021 to gradually pay back any unpaid rent while staying in their homes. Renters cannot be evicted for any rent unpaid between March 8, 2020 and August 17, 2020, unless they miss a payment on their repayment plan. More information about this and other tenancy rule changes available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/covid-19
  • Job-protected leave – The government has changed legislation to all workers to take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work because of COVID-19, retroactive to January 27, 2020. Workers now have three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year. More details available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards
  • Residential home rebates – The province is doubling CleanBC Better Homes retrofit rebates for select home-heating and energy-efficiency upgrades to support B.C.’s economic recovery and help British Columbians save on energy costs. Applicants must pre-register for a promo code by March 31, 2021 and complete their upgrades by June 30, 2021 to participate. Details available online at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EMLI0068-002140

Measures available for businesses include:

  • Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant - Provides grants of $10,000 to $30,000 to support B.C. businesses that employ between two and 149 B.C. residents and have experienced declines in revenue since March 10, 2020. An additional $15,000 is available to eligible tourism-related businesses. The program runs until March 31, 2021 or until funding is fully allocated, whichever comes first. Details available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/business-recovery-grant
  • ICBC payment deferral - ICBC clients (for businesses those with commercial and fleet vehicles) currently on a monthly Autoplan can defer their payments for up to 90 days with no penalty. Apply online at: https://onlinebusiness.icbc.com/eforms/dotcom/jsp/ACG398.jsp
  • PST rebate on select machinery and equipment – The government has set up a temporary provincial sales tax (PST) program to help corporations recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19. The program acts like a refund but is separate from the existing PST Refund process. Under this temporary program, corporations can apply to receive an amount equal to the PST they paid between Sept. 17, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021 on qualifying machinery and equipment. Qualifying businesses can apply online starting April 1, 2021. Eligibility and additional details available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/sales-taxes/pst/rebate-machinery-equipment
  • Increased Employment Incentive - The B.C. Increased Employment Incentive is a refundable tax credit for employers that encourages the creation of new jobs for B.C. workers or increases in payroll for existing low- or medium-income employees. The tax credit is calculated at 15% of the amount by which the employer’s qualifying B.C. remuneration exceeds the employer’s base remuneration. All private sector employers —including most charities and non-profits—that create new jobs or increase their pay of their existing low- or medium-income employees over the last quarter (October to December) of 2020 may be eligible. Online applications start in March 2021. More details available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/employer-health-tax/employer-health-tax-overview/increased-employment-incentive
  • The government has also established specific programs and supports for businesses in the following sectors: Agriculture, Arts, Forestry, Hospitality (restaurants, breweries, wineries and distillers), and Transportation. Details on these benefits available online: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/financial-benefits#business
  • For restaurants and hospitality businesses, the government has created a temporary cap on fees charged to them from food delivery companies to 15%. An additional cap of 5% is also included for other related fees associated with use of the service, such as online ordering and processing fees. Details available online at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0074-002133

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.



The government of Alberta continues to provide financial support measures to Albertans in response to the pandemic.

Currently available measures include:

  • Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant – The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 30% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers 2 payments to eligible applicants, with up to $20,000 in available funding per eligible application. Businesses, cooperatives and non-profits can use these funds as they see fit to help offset a portion of the impact of new public health measures or their relaunch costs, such as implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission. Applications are open until March 31, 2021. Additional details available online: https://www.alberta.ca/sme-relaunch-grant.aspx
  • Education property tax freeze – The government has announced that residential education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level, reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020
  • The government is allowing hotels and other lodging providers to keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. This extension of the original abatement period, which was to end December 31, 2020, will free up to $10 million in additional cash flow for the sector to employ staff, maintain operations and continue providing valuable services through the winter season. More information available online at: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=75837D35F9E1F-96B7-DCA2-B1E1AF279A44A300
  • The government is providing supports for communities with very high rates of COVID-19 infection and transmission. As of December 15, a number of new programs and supports are available to residents in these communities who test positive for COVID-19, including a free-of-charge hotel room stay of 14 days, complete with culturally appropriate food, and temporary financial aid in the amount of $625 when they have completed their self-isolation. Details available online at: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=7591213FD4097-ACE5-AED2-40355B77AA35E600
  • The government continues to maintain its www.alberta.ca/biz-connect web page which provides information and guidance to businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19. 

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 continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include:

The government is allowing remote witnessing of wills in light of current COVID-19-related physical distancing requirements. Details are available online at: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2020/april/20/witnessing-of-wills

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



The Government of Manitoba continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include:

  • Effective January 1, 2021, the government has introduced tax changes to benefit Manitobans. Changes include:
    • Manitoba personal income tax brackets and the Basic Personal Amount will increase by 2.2 per cent for the 2021 taxation year as they are indexed to the Manitoba Consumer Price Index. As a result, an estimated 3,300 taxpayers are expected to be removed from the 2021 tax rolls
    • Beginning to phase out the Education Property Tax
    • Increasing the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy exemption threshold to $1.5 million from $1.25 million of annual remuneration. In addition, the threshold below which employers pay a reduced rate increases to $3 million from $2.5 million. The new thresholds will benefit approximately 1,000 Manitoba employers including exempting about 220 employers.
    • Making permanent the Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit that was to expire at the end of this year. It supports businesses that acquire qualified manufacturing and processing plant, machinery and equipment for use in Manitoba.
    • Extending the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for three years to Dec. 31, 2023, supporting Manitobans who invest in flow-through shares in qualifying mineral exploration companies engaged in Manitoba with a 30 per cent income tax credit.
    • Extending the Cultural Industries Printing Tax Credit one year, promoting the growth of Manitoba’s print industry with a 35 per cent credit based on salaries and wages paid to Manitoba employees. 
    • Extending the Community Enterprise Development Tax Credit one year, supporting investments in communities and community-based enterprises. Manitoba-resident investors are eligible for a 45 per cent refundable income tax credit on investments in eligible shares.
    • Reducing the interest rate on provincially administered tax debts, such as sales tax, health and post secondary education tax levy, fuel tax and tobacco tax, to prime plus four per cent from the current prime plus five per cent.
    • More information on these tax changes available online at: https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=50124&posted=2020-12-31
  • Caregiver Wage Support Program (CWSP) – This program provides a $5 per hour wage supplement to eligible front-line workers that provide direct patient or residential care to vulnerable Manitobans, between November 1, 2020 and January 10, 2021. The second program intake will open January 11, 2021 and remain open until January 18, 2021. Details available online at: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/programs/caregiver-wage-support.html
  • The Manitoba government is providing $5 million to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce to develop a program that provides financial relief to dine-in restaurants that have been affected financially by the province moving to Critical (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System and resulting public health orders. The $5-million Dine-in Restaurant Relief Program will be delivered by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce in partnership with the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association. The program will be designed to provide a rebate to dine-in restaurants across Manitoba that have shifted to a delivery model as a result of moving to Critical (red) and subsequent public health orders. The rebate will help offset additional costs related to food delivery services, whether a restaurant provides its own delivery service or uses a third-party delivery company. Details available online at: https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=50096&posted=2020-12-22
  • Help Next Door – Manitoba has introduced a web-based application to connect volunteers ready to provide your support with someone who needs a helping hand through these difficult times. For more information, visit: www.HelpNextDoorMB.ca

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.

Currently available supports include:

  • COVID-19 Emergency Assistance – Individuals not already on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program, who need help paying for food and housing, can apply for short-term emergency financial assistance. Information is available online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-emergency-assistance
  • Rent freeze – The government has passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. For the vast majority of renters, rents will not increase in 2021. For more information visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/renting-ontario-your-rights#section-3
  • Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) – Through LEAP, low-income customers can get direct support to pay bills and ensure electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those behind on bills and at risk of having their service disconnected could qualify for $500 for electricity and natural gas bills. Information available online at: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/help-low-income-consumers/low-income-energy-assistance-program
  • The government is providing rebates on fixed costs such as property taxes and energy bills for businesses in modified Stage 2 regions (control or lockdown). Information on eligibility available online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs
  • Main Street Relief Grant: PPE support – The government is providing eligible small businesses with one-time grants of up to $1,000 for costs associated with PPE. Eligibility information available online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs
  • Pension contribution deferral and extension – Employers who sponsor defined benefit pension plans can defer their contributions due between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Businesses must file an application and pay deferred contributions, with interest and following a set schedule, by March 31, 2022. Application and eligibility details available online at: https://www.fsrao.ca/media/2311/download
  • Employer Health Tax relief – The government increased the Employer Health Tax exemption for businesses for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million. Details available online at: https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/bulletins/eht/eht-exemption-2020.html
  • Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit – Corporations building, renovating or acquiring an eligible commercial or industrial building in a designated region in Ontario may eligible to claim a tax credit of up to $45,000 in a year. The tax credit will be available to claim on your corporate income tax return. More information about the credit and eligibility requirements available online at: https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/annex.html#section-3
  • The Ontario government is providing $77 million to help people who were laid off due to the impact of COVID-19 find in-demand jobs in their local communities. This funding is being provided through the redesigned Second Career grant program and will help more than 2,750 job seekers with up to $28,000 for tuition, training materials and living expenses. The updated initiative will help jobseekers train for careers in sectors including: advanced manufacturing, life sciences, information and communication technology, and supportive health services. Additional details available online at: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59739/second-career
  • Ontario Small Business Support Grant - The government is providing a new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help eligible small business owners. Small businesses required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown on December 26, who have fewer than 100 employees and have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019, will be able to apply for this one-time grant (note – for small businesses not in operation in April 2019 or April 2020, eligibility criteria will be announced in January 2021). Each small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business. More details will be announced in January 2021. Current details are available online at: https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/59788/post-4
  • For employers, the government has extended previous regulatory changes put in place at the outset of the pandemic and through the introduction of a new regulatory change. Specifically, for employers with non-unionized employees, the government is extending regulatory changes brought forward under the  Employment Standards Act to July 3, 2021.The regulation's changes include putting non-unionized employees on job-protected leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to the pandemic to prevent temporary layoffs from becoming permanent. Under the Act, temporary layoffs become terminations when they exceed the permitted period. Previously set to expire on January 2, 2021, the extension of this amendment ensures that workers remain employed while providing relief to employers. Additionally, to support the hospitality industry and other hard-hit industries, the government is creating a special industry regulation allowing employers to negotiate alternative arrangements with unions for putting termination and severance pay into trust for laid-off employees. Complete information available online at: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59745/ontario-supports-employers-and-employees-impacted-by-covid-19 As of January 1, 2021, a number of legislation and regulation changes across multiple ministries came into effect. These changes primarily affect businesses and employers. The changes span multiple government ministries, including:
    • Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
    • Ministry of the Attorney General
    • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
    • Ministry of Colleges and Universities
    • Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
    • Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
    • Ministry of Finance
    • Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
    • Ministry of Health
    • Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
    • Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
    • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
    • Ministry of Transportation
    • Treasury Board Secretariat

For consumers, relevant changes include extending certain energy rate reductions and providing a Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit, a temporary refundable tax credit worth 25 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses for a senior's principal residence in Ontario. The maximum credit would be $2,500. This credit will be available for the 2021 taxation year. For complete information, visit: https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/59842/regulations-and-statutes-to-support-people-and-businesses



The Government of Quebec continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include:

  • PACTE Temporary Concerted Action Program for Businesses (PACTE) - This new emergency funding aims to provide exceptional and circumstantial support to businesses in Quebec whose liquidity is affected by COVID-19. Details available online at: https://www.investquebec.com/quebec/fr/produits-financiers/toutes-nos-solutions/programme-daction-concertee-temporaire-pour-les-entreprises-pacte.html
  • Aid for Businesses in Regions on Maximum Alert (AERAM) – This measure is designed to support businesses in regions on maximum alert (those targeted by closure orders due to COVID-19). Under this program, which was created as an add-on to PAUPME, eligible businesses can receive loan forgiveness to loans granted under the PAUPME from October 1, 2020. Loan forgiveness may reach 100% of eligible fixed costs, up to a maximum of $ 15,000 per month of closure. It may not exceed 80% of the amount of the loan granted under the PAUPME. Businesses must be in the government’s red zone and belong to a sector targeted by a closure order, and have gone out of business (in whole or part) for a period of at least 10 days in a single month since October 1, 2020, in accordance with a decree or ministerial order. Complete details available online at: https://www.quebec.ca/entreprises-et-travailleurs-autonomes/aide-urgence-pme-covid-19/
  • For workers and self-employed individuals, the government has created an assistance finder web tool, available online at: https://www.quebec.ca/en/government-assistance-programs-covid19/

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


Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Currently available provincial financial support measures include:

  • Tourism and Hospitality Support Program – The government has created a support program to assist eligible tourism and hospitality-based operators impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible tourism operators may apply for a one-time, non-repayable contribution of either $5,000 or $10,000, dependent on gross sales. Eligibility guidelines and application process available online at: https://www.gov.nl.ca/tcar/funding-programs/tourism-and-hospitality-support-program
  • Water use fee deferral and waiving – Payment of water use charges for 2019 related to microbreweries and wineries and aquaculture due in the 2020-21 fiscal year have been waived. Payment of water use charges for all other industries will be deferred until March 31, 2021
  • The interest-free payment plan for workplace injury insurance is extended beyond 2020 to March 31, 2021 to allow employers more flexibility to pay
  • Artist Support Program – This program, open to current residents who are at least 18 years of age, provides non-repayable, one-time contributions of up to $5,000 to eligible professional artists who have experienced a loss of at least 25 per cent in opportunities and earnings from their artistic activities since March 16, 2020. Application period is open until January 29, 2021. Details available online at: https://www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2021/tcar/0107n03/.

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


Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include:

  • Protection for renters – A 2% cap on rental increases for existing tenants and a ban on renovictions is in place until 1 February 2022 or until the state of emergency is lifted (whichever comes first). Under the protections, rents can’t increase by more than 2% for existing tenants; the rent cap is retroactive to September 1, 2020; and landlords are not able to get an eviction order for renovations. More information is available online at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/Introducing-Protection-for-Renters-and-a-New-Affordable-Housing-Commission.pdf
  • COVID-19 Support Grant for Students - All students receiving Nova Scotia Student Assistance in 2020/2021 will receive a COVID-19 Response Grant. This one-time $750 grant will help students cover lost earnings and other unexpected costs related to their studies. Students do not need to apply for the grant. Most students will receive their grant in January 2021. Students who start their studies in the spring or summer of 2021 will receive their grant then
  • Small Business Loan Guarantee Program - This program is a joint initiative of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, Atlantic Central, local participating credit unions, and the Province of Nova Scotia. The program delivers financial assistance for the start-up and expansion of qualifying small businesses. Loans may be granted for a term of up to of 10 years. The maximum guarantee supplied by the Province of Nova Scotia will be 90 percent of the value of all term loans. The guarantee will remain at 75 percent on lines of credit but a 90 percent guarantee may be available to those that qualify under our special financing streams. All types of businesses are eligible except residential and commercial real estate, beverage rooms and taverns, or any venture of a questionable ethical or legal nature. Full details available online at: http://www.novascotia.coop/programs/small-business-loan-guarantee-program/
  • Pharmacare changes – The government is covering additional dispensing fees for Pharmacare (drug coverage) program prescription refills. This covers the extra fees for prescriptions that are usually filled for longer periods and are now only being filled for 30 days at a time. The government is also waiving the $5.00 prescription co-pay for people in the Income Assistance Program and the Low Income Pharmacare for Children Program
  • COVID-19 Agriculture Response Program – This program is designed to help Nova Scotia's agriculture industry mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry's competitiveness, productivity and profitability. There are a number of different funding streams, including streams for health protocol compliance; marketing, product movement and distribution; strategic projects; and abattoir efficiency and development. Complete information available online at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/agriculture-response-program/
  • Emergency On-Farm Support Fund Program – This program provides funding to help farms improve their workers’ health and safety by limiting the spread of COVID-19 in agriculture operations. Complete details available online at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/emergency-on-farm-support-fund-program/
  • Small Business Impact Grant Part 2 (Restaurant, Bar, and Fitness and Leisure Business Stream) – This grant supports certain small businesses in parts of Halifax and Hants County that have been ordered to close or reduce operations under public health directives in effect from November 26, 2020. The program provides a grant of up to $5,000 to help cover operating expenses. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2021. Application details available online at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/small-business-impact-grant/

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


New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include:

  • Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program - Small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for working capital loans up to $100,000. Eligible small businesses will not be required to pay interest for the first six months. Interest payments will be required in months 7-12 (at a rate of 4% per annum), and principal and interest payments will begin in month 13. Complete eligibility and application details available online at: https://www.cbdc.ca/en/gnb-small-business-emergency-working-capital-program
  • Opportunities New Brunswick is making available working capital loans to assist employers respond to the challenges associated with COVID-19. Working capital in excess of $100,000, up to a maximum of $1 million is available. Examples of sectors that would benefit from this support are manufacturing and processing industries, information technology and related sectors, business-to-business service sectors engaged in export, or import replacement activities, and cultural enterprises. Business can apply directly to Opportunities New Brunswick at: https://onbcanada.ca/
  • Community Investment Fund – Originally announced in 2019/2020, for this fiscal year only the government is providing enhanced assistance and relief to non-profits impacted by COVID-19, creating a new category under the Community Investment Fund. Under this new category, small to medium-sized non-profits may receive financial support in the form of a grant between $500 and $10,000. Application forms and guidelines are available online at: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/regional_development/services/services_renderer.201492.Community_Investment_Fund_(CIF)_.html
  • COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Sport Organizations – Sport and recreation organizations that have been impacted financially by the pandemic can apply for short-term financial relief to help them maintain jobs, support business continuity and provide short-term operational viability. Applications can be submitted until January 22, 2021. Application and additional details available online at: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/thc-tpc/pdf/SportRecreation-SportLoisirs/Covid-19-Emergency-Support-Fund-Attestation-Application-Form1.pdf

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

The Government of PEI continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include:

  • Employee Gift Card Program – This is a temporary program put in place to offer a $100 grocery gift value to any employee, living and working on PEI, who has received a lay-off notice as a direct result of the impacts associated with the public health measures announced on December 6, 2020 (workers must have received a lay-off notice between the dates of December 7-21, 2020). The application form is to be completed by the employer, who will then distribute the gift card letters to affected employees. Complete details available online at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/employee-gift-card-program
  • COVID-19 Local Advertising Fund – This fund provides support to PEI businesses that provide goods or services to PEI consumers, through a non-repayable contribution toward the cost of advertising to the PEI market. PEI businesses that have incurred direct costs to advertise their goods or services to PEI consumers through advertising spots may be eligible for funding. The fund contributes to direct advertising costs incurred from November 15 to December 31, 2020. The maximum fund contribution is $2,500. The application period will open in January once the eligibility period has ended. Complete details available online at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/covid-19-local-advertising-fund
  • Emergency Working Capital Financing – A financing program has been developed to provide emergency working capital financing to assist PEI’s small business during the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new loan program is to assist qualifying companies in maintaining normal business operations during these difficult times. Eligible applicants can apply to receive a working capital loan of up to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4% per annum to be used to assist with fixed operating costs (including payroll, rent, utilities, etc.) with principal and interest payments deferred for a minimum of 12 months. Complete details available online at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/emergency-working-capital-financing 
  • The government has announced a number of tax changes within the 2020-21 Operating Budget. The changes include the increase of the Low-Income Reduction Threshold from $18,000 to $19,000, the increase in the Basic personal Amount from $10,000 to $10,500, and a reduction in the small Business Tax from 3 per cent to 2 percent, effective January 1, 2021. New this upcoming year is the $500 Children’s Wellness tax credit that parents and guardians can claim for their children's activities throughout the year to promote their wellness. For more information, visit: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/news/tax-changes-leave-more-money-hands-islanders-and-businesses.
  • The government has launched a new online mental health service in partnership with Canada Health Infoway called Bridge the gapp. This online resource will help Islanders to find mental health and substance use support information and select what best meets their needs.  People can connect with local clinicians, find tools and services, and share personal stories with others, all from the comfort of home. Details available online at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/news/new-online-mental-health-program-connects-islanders-mental-health-and-substance-use-services.

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



The Yukon Government continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include:


Northwest Territories

The Government of Northwest Territories continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include:

  • NWT Wage Top-Up Program – Extended through February 28, 2021, the government has implemented this program to support low income workers during the pandemic. The program provides temporary financial assistance to NWT workers aged 15 and over and earning less than $18 per hour. This financial relief is a taxable benefit for the recipient. The program is delivered to eligible employees through a partnership with businesses (businesses are administering the program for their eligible workers on behalf of the government). For more information visit: https://www.fin.gov.nt.ca/en/services/nwt-wage-top-program
  • BDIC Deferred Loan Payments - Clients (borrowers) of the Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) can apply to have their loan repayments reduced or deferred until March 31, 2021 without penalty or additional interest charges. Regular interest will still be charged. Clients will need to make their request by the 24th of the month prior to which they want to start their deferral period. The last date for such requests will be Feb. 24, 2021. For more information see: https://www.bdic.ca/
  • Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Program Funding Changes – In response to COVID-19, the government has made changes to its program guidelines for 2020/21 to prioritize funding proposals supporting local employment and community investment that will promote economic recovery. Funding is still available under a number of program schedules. For complete information visit: https://www.iti.gov.nt.ca/en/services/support-entrepreneurs-and-economic-development-seed
  • Tourism Licensing Fees – The government has waived tourism insurance requirements and licensing fees for the 2021-22 fiscal year in response to the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector.



The Government of Nunavut continues to provide financial support measures to individuals and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Measures currently available include: