COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Support

Business Support

Access to Capital

*NEW March 27* Canada Emergency Business Account  

The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide 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 $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.

Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.

How to Access: These programs will roll out in the three weeks after March 27. Contact your financial institution for more information.

Farm Credit Canada’s lending capacity has been increased to provide further support to primary producers, food operations and agribusinesses affected by COVID-19

Western Economic Diversification Canada  can help businesses access federal funding to help businesses stay open. They can also provide advice on other federal programs and services. Tourism operators or small- or medium- sized organizations that are impacted by COVID-19 and have received RDA funding may be eligible to receive additional funding and/or flexible arrangements.

Tax flexibility: Businesses can defer paying income tax until September 1, 2020. GST payments, duties, and other remittances can be deferred until June

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) allows the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support.

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has resources available including: 

  1. Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online in as little 48 hours from time of approval.
  2. Working capital loan: Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations.
  3. Purchase Order Financing: Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with very flexible terms.
  4. BDC’s Advisory Services experts are offering tools and support to review your financial management and operations.

Capital for Exporters through Export Development Canada

EDC stands ready to support Canadian exporters impacted by COVID-19. The best first step is to call EDC to start the process today 1-800-229-0575.

Farm Credit Canada 

FCC lending capacity has been increased by $5B to alleviate industry financial pressure. FCC provides loans and services for primary producers, food operations and agribusinesses.  

  • FCCis prepared to assist – speak to your local FCC contact through their Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 or visit their online service portal to work with FCC.

Regional Development Agencies – Western Economic Diversification Canada  

If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, the RDAs could assist you with:

  • Access to federal funding to help you stay in business.
  • Advice and pathfinding services to other federal programs and services available.

If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization and have received RDA funding and COVID-19 is affecting your operations: 

  • You may be eligible to receive additional funding and/or flexible arrangements.
  • Further support will be determined on a case-by-case basis as the situation evolves.

The best way to contact the Western Economic Diversification Canada for support is to call them at: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)

Resources for Workers

*Updated April 1, 2020The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy 

To support businesses and help prevent layoffs, the government is providing eligible business and non-profits a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy has been increased to 75% (from the initial 10%) retroactive to March 15, 2020. Businesses and not-for-profits can apply through an online CRA portal, which will be available in 3-6 weeks.

  • The subsidy covers up to $847 per week per employee
  • The 30% or more decrease in revenue will be based on a year-over-year comparison for March, April and May. Businesses and NFP’s will have to reapply for the subsidy each month.

The Work Sharing Program helps eligible employers to retain skilled employees and workers to remain employed.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide individuals $2,000 per month for four months to wage earners, contract workers, and self-employed individuals due to disruption in income, sickness, quarantine, taking care of those with COVID-19, and working parents needing to stay at home with children.

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit For those that are eligible for the Child Tax benefit, there will be an additional $300 per child available on top of what is already received.

Employment Insurance  changes to the EI program include waiving the one-week waiting period for and priority application processing for COVID-19 related claims.

GST Credit: Credits available will be increased up to $400 for single adults and $600 for couples (more details will be available closer to the rollout date).

Provincial Support for Workers

Tax Remittance Deferrals  

The provincial government is extending tax filing and payment deadlines to September 30th, 2020, including:

  • Employee Health Tax (EHT)
  • Motor Fuel Taxes
  • Carbon Tax (the scheduled increase of carbon tax has been canceled)
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST)
  • Municipal & Regional District Tax
  • Tobacco Tax

Additional Provincial Measures

  • Business and light and major industrial property classes will see a 50% cut to provincial school tax. The expectation is businesses will pass the savings on to tenants in triple-net leases
  • The new PST increase for e-commerce and sweetened beverages has been deferred, and will be reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020.
  • The Province has dedicated $1.5 billion for economic recovery

Provincial Support for Individuals 

General Information

Canadian Chamber of Commerce: COVID-19 Business Resilience: Tools, templates and resources

Government of Canada:


B2B Support

ICBC is offering payment plan deferrals for up to 90 days with no penalties.

BC Hydro: The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program allows customers to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376)

FortisBC is waiving late payment fees and ensuring no customer is disconnected and will discuss flexible payment options.

WorkSafeBC will be allowing employers to defer payment of their Q1 2020 payments by three months.

Pacific Northern Gas is maintaining service for all customers during this time and is available to work with customers on flexible payment options.

Vancity Credit Union will provide emergency working capital, buy back foreign currency at the same rate it was sold (for customers impacted by travel disruption), waive INTERAC e-Transfer and ATM fees until April 30th

Hootsuite is offering free access to their Professional Plan to help small businesses and non-profits stay connected to their customers and audiences.

Uber Eats has created a support package to promote “contactless” delivery from local restaurants, which includes waiving delivery fees, and a daily payout option to assist restaurants with cash flow.

Mental Health Resources

For many, the pressure and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a serious toll. Please see the materials below that will help business, employers, and employees manage their anxiety during this time:

Response and Recovery page: www.unitedwaysibc.com/covid19

Information Lines

COVID-19 Information Lines:

  • Government of Canada novel coronavirus information line: 1-833-784-4397
  • BC COVID Information Line for non-medical information on the virus, from travel recommendations to social distancing:
    1-888-COVID-19 (1-888-268-4319) seven days a week 7:30 am until 8:00 pm
    or text 604-630-0300

For those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

You can also call the Health Information Line 8-1-1.