Covid Toolkit

COVID-19: Government Support for Businesses

Financial and other measures to help your business

The Government of Canada and Government of Alberta have announced a range of supports for businesses and entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following is a list of key provisions for businesses and their employees, including information about how to access these programs.

Funding, Credit and Financing

Government of Canada

Regional Development Agency Funding

Tourism operators and other small-or medium-sized businesses or organizations that have received RDA funding and are affected by COVID-19, are encouraged to contact their local RDA office. Your local RDA can review your situation and provide guidance; you may be eligible to receive additional funding and/or flexible arrangements, including funding through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. In response to the effect that COVID-19 may have on rural communities and businesses, the government is also providing $287 million for the Community Futures Network, funded through the RDAs, to support rural businesses and communities, including access to capital.

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Government of Canada

Canada Emergency Business Account

Provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits through their financial institutions. Up to 25% of the loan will be forgiven if repaid by December 31, 2022. The federal government recently expanded the criteria to include sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll. Contact your financial institution or Export Development Canada at 1-800-229-0575 or by email

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Government of Canada

New Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Provides new operating credit and cash flow term loans up to $6.25 million through financial institutions and guaranteed by Export Development Canada (EDC). Contact your financial institution or EDC at 1-800-229-0575 or by email

New Co-Lending program for SMEs

Term loans up to $5 million for operational cash flow requirements through a co-lending arrangement between the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and eligible financial institutions. Contact your financial institution or BDC at 1-877-232-2269, or visit the BDC website to find your regional business centre

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Government of Canada

Federal Stimulus Funding for SME Indigenous Businesses

The federal government is committing $306 million dollars in stimulus funding to support the 6000 small-medium Indigenous businesses across the country flowing through 59 different Aboriginal financial institutions in Canada.

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Government of Canada

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

The program is designed to help Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions obtain financing during the current period of significant uncertainty. Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will provide $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support at market rates to businesses with viable business models whose access to financing would otherwise be restricted.

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Government of Canada

Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations

The new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations will provide $500 million to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors. The fund will be administered by Canadian Heritage via contribution agreements. Support will be provided in a manner consistent with other COVID-19 supports such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

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ATB Financial

COVID-19 Customer Relief Program

ATB is offering relief measures for small business customers, other business and agriculture customers, and personal banking customers. Small business supports include payment deferrals on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months and access additional working capital. ATB also offers a summary of key government relief programs for businesses.

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Support for Small Business

Government of Canada

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)

The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.  To help support these innovative firms, the government is investing $250 million through IRAP.

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Government of Alberta

Business Link Pandemic Supports

Small businesses can seek free advice, coaching and information on COVID-19 resources and supports based on their business needs.

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Government of Alberta

Rent relief for Alberta small businesses

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will give certainty to small businesses by providing support of monthly commercial rental costs.

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Support for Employers and Employees

Government of Alberta

Workplace Guidance for Business Owners

This document outlines the criteria that should be addressed in individual, written workplace policies and procedures established to address the COVID-19 pandemic response. All workplaces are expected to develop and implement these policies and procedures prior to re-opening or continuing operations after May 1, 2020. More information specific to industry on Alberta's relaunch strategy.

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Government of Canada

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would provide a 75 per cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a revenue decline of at least 30 per cent. Eligible employers would include individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships consisting of eligible employers as well as non-profit organizations and registered charities.

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Government of Canada

Canada Summer Jobs program

The federal government has announced program changes to support businesses in the hiring of summer staff and creation of good jobs for young Canadians.

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Government of Canada

Work-Sharing Program

Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The federal government has introduced temporary special measures to extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks due to COVID-19.

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Government of Canada

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Canadians who have stopped working because of COVID-19 should apply for the CERB, whether they are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) or not. The benefit provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

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Government of Canada

Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents

For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or must stay home to care for children, the Government is waiving the waiting period for EI sickness benefits, waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits and introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks.

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Government of Canada

Income Support for Low- and Modest-Income Families

The Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC), doubling maximum GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The Government is also proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payment amounts by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year.

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Tax and Payment Measures

Parks Canada

Commercial Lease Payments Deferral

Parks Canada is contacting tourism operators in national parks and historic sites to defer commercial lease payments without interest until September 1, 2020.

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Government of Canada

Support to Canada’s Air Transportation Sector

The Government is waiving ground lease rents from March 2020 to December 2020 for the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to the federal government.

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Government of Canada

More Time to Pay Income Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing before September 2020.

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Government of Canada

GST and Customs Duty Payments

Businesses and self-employed individuals can defer payments of GST and customs duty owing on their imports until June 30, 2020.

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Government of Alberta

Tourism Levy Deferral

Hotels and other lodging providers can delay paying the tourism levy until August 31, 2020 for amounts that become due to the government on or after March 27, 2020. Payments deferred will not be subject to penalties or interest.

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Government of Alberta

Corporate Income Tax Changes

Corporate income tax balances and instalment payments due between March 18, 2020 and August 31, 2020 are deferred until August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash to pay employees, address debts and continue operations.

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Other provincial tax and payment deferral measures include:

  • Education property tax deferral – Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses will be deferred for six months, and education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level–reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.
  • WCB premium payment deferral – Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.

Covid Toolkit