Overview of Government Responses to COVID-19

Government Financial Supports for Consumers, Workers and Businesses Across Canada
Updated June 18, 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


Support for Individuals:

  • Employment Insurance (EI) Changes – Since the end of CERB, the government has made changes to enhance access to EI. Through EI, eligible individuals who still need financial assistance can receive a minimum taxable benefit of $500 per week. Additional information and application process available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html
  • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) – This benefit provides $500 per week for up to 50 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for EI. Additional information and 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 four weeks, for workers who:
    • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19;
    • Are self-isolating for reasons related to COVID-19; or
    • Have underlying conditions, are going through treatments or have contracted other illnesses that, in the opinion of a medical professional, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

    Additional information and application process available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-sickness-benefit/crsb-how-apply.html

  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) – This benefit provides $500 per week for up to 42 weeks per household for workers:
    • Unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12, or another family member, because schools, daycares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19; or
    • Because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19.

    Additional information and application process available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit/crcb-how-apply.html

Support for Businesses

  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – This program provides eligible employers who have seen a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic with a subsidy of up to 75% of employee wages to support re-hiring of workers and prevention of further job losses. Additional information and application details available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html
  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support – This program provides a rent and mortgage subsidy of up to 65% to qualifying businesses and non-profits. Organizations that have been significantly restricted by a mandatory public health order issued by a public health authority can receive an additional 25% of rent support through the Lockdown Support. Additional information and application details available online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-rent-subsidy.html
  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Interest-Free Loans The CEBA provides interest-free, partially-forgivable loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to cover ongoing, non-deferrable costs (rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and wages). Up to $20,000 may be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Available through banks and credit unions until June 30, 2021. Additional information and application details available online at: https://ceba-cuec.ca/
  • Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) – This program provides businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 with access to guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs. HASCAP is available to businesses that operate in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, restaurants, and those primarily relying on in-person services. Complete details available online at: https://www.bdc.ca/en/special-support/hascap?ref=shorturl-hascap
  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Export Development Canada (EDC) and Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) are working with banks and credit unions to provide small and medium-sized businesses with loans and financing for operational expenses. Various programs are available through banks and credit unions until June 2021. Additional information available online at: https://www.edc.ca/en/solutions/working-capital/bcap-guarantee.html and https://www.bdc.ca/en/special-support/special-support-co-lending-program
  • Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund – This program provides loans up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs. Additional information and applications available online at: https://facecoalition.com/en
  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund – Businesses in regions across Canada impacted by the pandemic and require additional help to recover from the pandemic, and who have been unable to access other support measures, may be eligible for funding through a local economic development agency. Information on the various regional agencies available online at: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/icgc.nsf/eng/h_07682.html

British Columbia

  • The B.C. Recovery Benefit – This program provides a one-time, tax-free direct deposit payment for eligible B.C. families and individuals. Benefit eligibility varies based on 2019 net income, as follows:
    • Up to $1,000 for families and single parents with incomes under $125,000. Families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount. Single-parent families also qualify for these benefit amounts.
    • Up to $500 for other eligible individuals earning up to $62,500. Individuals earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount.

    Applications are open until June 30, 2021 and can be submitted online at:www.gov.bc.ca

  • Paid Sick Leave – The government is providing up to three days of paid sick leave to workers who need to stay home because of COVID-19. Applies to full and part-time workers who:
    • Are diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Are waiting for COVID-19 test results
    • Need to self-isolate or self-monitor
    • Are following a public health order
    • Are directed to stay home by their employer

    Complete information available online a https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/paid-sick-leave

  • ICBC payment deferral – ICBC clients currently on a monthly Autoplan payment plan can defer their payments for up to 90 days with no penalty upon request. Additional information available online at: https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/contact-us/Pages/covid-19.aspx
  • Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant – The government is providing grants of $10,000 to $30,000 to support eligible small and medium-sized B.C. businesses that have experienced declines in revenue since March 2020. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 is available specifically to tourism-related businesses. The program runs until August 31, 2021. Complete information available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/economic-recovery/business-recovery-grant
  • Launch Online Grant Program – The government is providing up to $7,500 to eligible B.C. businesses to create an online shop and/or improve their e-commerce experience to attract new local customers and expand to new markets. The grant will pay for up to 75% of eligible expenses. Applications are open until September 30, 2021, or until funds are fully subscribed. Complete information available online at: https://launchonline.ca/
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs

Alberta

  • Paid Vaccination Leave – All working Albertans can access 3 hours of paid, job-protected leave to get each dose of the vaccine.
  • Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant – This program offers financial assistance to Alberta organizations (businesses, cooperatives and non-profits) that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 30% as a result of the pandemic. The current intake aims to support organizations affected by April and May 2021 public health measures. The payment is calculated as 15% of the eligible organization's revenue from the chosen month to a maximum of $10,000. Organizations can use these funds in a variety of ways to help offset a portion of the impact of the public health measures or their relaunch costs (e.g. PPE and cleaning supplies, rent and employee wages, replacing inventory, etc.). The spring application period is open until June 30, 2021. Complete details available online at: https://www.alberta.ca/sme-relaunch-grant.aspx
  • Alberta Jobs Now Program – Intended to help unemployed and underemployed Albertans, this program provides private and non-profit businesses with funding to reduce the costs of hiring and training new employees. Employers can apply for a grant to offset salary and/or training costs, equal to 25% of a new hire’s salary, up to $25,000 per employee. There will be three intake periods, employers can apply for up to 20 full-time new hires per period. The first intake period is open now until August 31, 2021. Applications can be submitted online through the program webpage at: www.alberta.ca/jobsnow
  • Edmonton and Calgary Business Grants – Both the cities of Edmonton and Calgary are providing grants to local businesses:
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs. 

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

  • Pandemic Sick Leave – This program provides employers with up to $600 per employee for up to five full days of COVID-19 related sick leave, which do not have to be taken consecutively. Eligible sick leave related to COVID-19 includes testing, vaccinations and side effects, self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms, or care for a loved one in any of the previously mentioned circumstances. Private-sector, non-profit and charitable employers with eligible employees are able to qualify to receive the assistance. Eligible employees are those who reside in Manitoba and work and receive wages in Manitoba on a full or part-time basis. Complete information available online at: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/programs/pandemic-sick-leave.html
  • Manitoba Youth Jobs Program – This program provides wage subsidies to permanent Manitoba-based non-profit organizations and private sector employers that hire eligible employees aged 29 and younger. Employers receive a 50% wage subsidy on all eligible wages earned by eligible employees up to a maximum funding of $25,000 per employer. The wage subsidy covers full pay periods that fall between May 1 and September 5, 2021. Applications are open until August 31, 2021. Complete information available online at: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/programs/youth-jobs.html
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs.

Ontario

  • COVID-19 Emergency Assistance – Individuals in a crisis or emergency situation who need help paying for things like food and housing, and who are not already on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), can apply for COVID-19 emergency assistance. Applications 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 majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act. Complete information available online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/residential-rent-increases#section-0
  • COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program – The government is providing assistance to help residential customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19. Residential customers should contact their electricity and/or natural gas utility to apply.
  • Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit – The government has proposed a new temporary personal income tax credit for 2021. The eligible training expenses would be the same as those available to claim under the Canada Training Credit (including tuition and fees paid to an educational institution or occupational training body). Additional details available online at: https://budget.ontario.ca/2021/annex.html#section-1
  • Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebates – Businesses that are, or were, required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures can apply for rebates, provided in the form of grants, to help with their fixed costs. Additional information available online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs
  • COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business – Small business and charitable organization customers may be eligible for up to $1500 towards their electricity and natural gas bills. Additional information available online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs
  • Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit –– The government has proposed to enhance the existing Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit, which is available to private corporations that make qualifying investments in eligible geographic areas of Ontario. The enhancement would allow corporations to claim a 20 per cent credit for eligible expenditures in excess of $50,000 and up to $500,000 for property that becomes available for use in the corporation’s taxation year, and in the period beginning on March 24, 2021 and ending before January 1, 2023. Complete information available online at:2021 Ontario Budget | Annex

Québec

  • Please refer to the federal government’s available supports.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Tourism and Hospitality Support Program – The government has committed in the 2021 provincial budget to launch a new Tourism and Hospitality Support Program to assist eligible tourism and hospitality based operators impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The full scope of the program including eligibility criteria will be released in the coming weeks and will be outlined on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website at: www.gov.nl.ca
  • Small Business and Community Organization Support – The government has committed in the 2021 provincial budget to provide $20 million for small business and community organization assistance to help with increased costs and losses as a result of the pandemic. Details are still to follow.
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs.

Nova Scotia

  • COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program - Nova Scotians who need to take time off work because of COVID-19 may qualify for up to 4 paid sick days through the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program. Businesses can apply for reimbursement for an employee’s pay when an employee needs to take time off. Self-employed people can also apply. The 4 sick days don’t need to be taken consecutively. The program will cover eligible sick days taken between May 10 – July 31, 2021. Complete details available online at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/paid-sick-leave-program/
  • Tourism Accommodations Restart Customer Attraction Program - This program provides a one-time grant to eligible accommodations operators. The grant amount is $1,000 per room for the first 10 rooms and $500 per room for each additional room. The grant can be used for marketing expenses like advertising and packages, incentives and upgrades for customers. Complete details available online at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/tourism-accommodations-restart-customer-attraction-program/
  • Small Tourism Operators Restart Program – This program provides a one-time grant of $5,000 to help tourism businesses that were affected by COVID-19 restrictions. The funding can be used for advertising or other restart expenses like personal protective equipment or cleaning supplies. Complete details available online at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/small-tourism-operators-restart-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/
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs.

New Brunswick

  • NB Small Business Recovery Grants – The Government of New Brunswick, through Opportunities NB, is making available a non-repayable grant of up to $5000 to help eligible business owners offset the impacts of COVID-19. Complete details available online at: https://onbcanada.ca/covid-19/
  • 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
  • Working Capital Loans – 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/
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs.

Prince Edward Island

  • COVID-19 Special Relief Fund – This program is a temporary support for workers and self-employed people who are unable to schedule a vaccination appointment outside of work hours, or unable to work due to illness or COVID-19 testing or self-isolation requirements, and who do not qualify for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit or have access to paid sick leave. This program will reimburse employers and/or a self-employed person without a paid sick leave program for sick time of an employee/person who missed less than 50% of scheduled time in a one-week period:
    • To attend a COVID-19 vaccination appointment
    • Due to illness
    • Due to COVID-19 testing, and/or
    • Due to the need to self-isolate

    Complete details available online at: COVID-19 Special Leave Fund | Government of Prince Edward Island

  • Tourism Assistance Loan Program – This program provides funding in the form of a repayable loan to eligible tourism businesses. Interest payments on loans approved through this program will qualify for interest relief (interest payment made behalf of the client) from Tourism PEI for a period of 18 months with Finance PEI offering principal deferrals to match the same 18 month period. Complete details available online at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/tourism-assistance-loan-program
  • Tourism Activation Grant – This program provides tourism businesses with a non-repayable financial contribution toward eligible expenses to assist with capital and/or maintenance costs associated with opening for the 2021 season. The program will provide amounts from $2,500 to $50,000. Complete details available online at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/apply-tourism-activation-grant
  • Tourism Interest Relief Program – This program provides assistance to Island tourism operators. Assistance provided will equal the amount of interest expense incurred or paid on term debt, for each month from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2022 in which the tourism operator demonstrates either:
    1. a minimum 30% decrease in tourism related revenues from operations located in Prince Edward Island compared to the same month in the prior year; or
    2. that the operation had no tourism revenue.

    The program will also include reimbursements on interest payable for property tax bills until December 31, 2021. Complete information available online at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/tourism-interest-relief-program

  • 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
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs

Yukon

  • Yukon Business Relief Program – This program provides relief to Yukon businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a dedicated top-up for certain businesses in the tourism sector. The program provides non-repayable grants to cover specific fixed costs. The program was recently renewed, and is now covering costs from April 1 to September 30, 2021. Businesses may receive up to $30,000 per month and up to $60,000 total during this period. Complete details and application form available online at: https://yukon.ca/en/health-and-wellness/covid-19-information/economic-and-social-supports-covid-19/yukon-business-relief
  • Paid Sick Leave Rebate –This rebate allows allows Yukon workers without paid sick leave to stay at home if they are sick, self-isolating, or caring for other household members affected by COVID-19. Self-employed people are also eligible for this rebate. The rebate covers a maximum of 10 days of wages per employee to allow for sick leave and/or for a 14-day self-isolation period, at a maximum daily rebate of $378.13 per day per employee. The program is in effect to September 31, 2021. Complete details, and application process (for employers) available online at: https://yukon.ca/en/health-and-wellness/covid-19-information/economic-and-social-supports-covid-19/paid-sick-leave#apply-for-a-paid-sick-leave-rebate-for-employers
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs.

Northwest Territories

  • Wage Top-Up Program – To support low wage workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has implemented the Wage Top-up Program that provides temporary financial assistance to NWT workers earning less than $18 per hour. This financial relief is a taxable benefit for the recipient. There are two ways to apply for wage top-up:
    1. Participating businesses apply for the benefit on behalf of their eligible workers;
    2. Individuals can apply directly if their employer is not participating. Applications for the benefit covering the period from April 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021 will be accepted starting March 1, 2021. The employees are required to submit copies of their pay slips to support their claims.

    The program is open until August 31, 2021. Information available online at: https://www.fin.gov.nt.ca/en/services/nwt-wage-top-program

  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs.

Nunavut

  • Small Business Support Program – The Small Business Support Program provides small businesses, community organizations and individuals with funding to invest in new business attraction, retention, expansion and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Until September 2021, the Small Business Support Program is offering up to $5,000 in non-repayable Business Relief Funding for small businesses in Nunavut who continue to be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Information and application form available online at:https://www.gov.nu.ca/economic-development-and-transportation/programs-services/small-business-support-program
  • For additional supports, please see the federal government’s available programs.