May 20, 2020

Canada’s Economic Response to Covid- 19

Below are the latest updates to the Canadian government’s economic response to the current crisis, with a focus on Business Owners, Students and a few minor changes for Individuals.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
  • On April 15, the government announced the following additions to the eligibility rules:
  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.


Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

  • Would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance or unable to work due to COVID-19.
  • This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.
  • This benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
  • More details will be made available soon

Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)

  • Will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic.
  • For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new CSSG will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.

Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP)

Changes would include:

  • Doubling the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. (the Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled)
  • Broadening eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.
  • Raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
  • Support for student researchers and post-doctoral fellows
  • They are also providing $291.6 million to support student researchers and post-doctoral fellows through the federal granting councils.
  • Funding would support a one-semester extension for eligible students whose research scholarships or fellowships end between March and August 2020 and who intend to continue their studies.

Student Loans

  • All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020.
  • Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Business Owners:

Canada Emergency Wage Program

  • Launched April 27, 2020
  • 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.
  • The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
  • Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy

  • The Temporary 10% Wage 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 (CRA).

You are an eligible employer if you are a(n):

  • individual (excluding trusts),
  • partnership
  • non-profit organization
  • a registered charity
  • Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation) eligible for the small business deduction
  • have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.

*TIP if you use Quickbooks, the option is embedded and can be done on monthly remitter

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • 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.
  • Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.
  • Easy and fast application process!

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

  • 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 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
  • It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May, and further details will be announced soon.

Business Credit Availability Program

  • For businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.
  • This program includes:
  • 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.

These programs are now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.