May 7, 2020

With recent models suggesting the virus has hit its peak, and Premier Ford’s statement that Victoria Day may be when the province eases some of its social distancing measures, many Ontarians are champing at the bit to resume their normal lives.


Despite this news, however, the economy continues to be adversely impacted at unprecedented levels. Some of those most impacted include small business owners, who risk having to permanently close operations with every day the pandemic remains and they are unable to resume full operations.


With small businesses being critical to overall economic recovery, and in order to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19, the Federal Government has offered various forms of relief to ease the burden of the pandemic, including the following:




Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)


For more information click here.


Those who have lost income due to COVID-19, including self-employed individuals, may receive a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks.


Requirements include earning income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the past 12 months pre-application.


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)


For more information click here.



The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee’s wages – up to $847 per week – for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.


If the employer qualifies for CEWS for one claim period, the employer will automatically qualify for the following claim period.


Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy


For more information click here.



This subsidy is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.


10% of wages may be covered, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and to a maximum of $25,000 per employer.


The subsidy applies to wages paid to employees between March 18 and June 19, 2020.


Work-Sharing Program


For more information click here.


Work-Sharing is a program that helps employers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer.


The program provides EI benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers.


To be eligible for a Work-Sharing agreement, your business must: be a year-round business in Canada for at least 1 year; be a private business or a publicly held company; or have at least 2 employees in the Work-Sharing unit.


Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)


For more information click here.


BCAP provides additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).


This program includes loan guarantees and a co-lending program for small businesses.


All credit-worthy businesses with viable business models whose activities fall within the mandate of either BDC and/or EDC are eligible to benefit from BCAP.


Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)


For more information click here.


CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.


To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.


Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)



This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.


The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.


The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.


Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 a month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in revenues.


It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May, and further details will be announced soon.