Economic supports for businesses
Access economic recovery and financial benefits for your business, industry, organization or community groups from the federal and provincial governments. This list is updated on an ongoing basis.
Last updated: March 4, 2021
On this page:
- Loans and grants
- Bill relief
- Wage and rent support
- Help with business operations and safety
- Supports for business sectors and community groups
B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service
The B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service provides information and support to business owners to help navigate challenges from COVID-19.
Advisors are ready to help, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
COVID-19 Supports for Businesses Guide
The COVID-19 Supports for Businesses Guide is a comprehensive resource about government and private sector financial supports.
This guide is updated regularly to reflect new supports and information.
Loans, grants and flexible financing solutions are available to businesses affected by COVID-19.
The CEBA loan provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to eligible small businesses and not-for profits. Applicants who have received the previous $40,000 CEBA loan may apply for an additional $20,000 in financing. All applicants have until March 31, 2021 to apply for the $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion.
Includes a loan forgiveness amount of up to $20,000, if repaid on or before December 31, 2022
Eligibility for CEBA has expanded to allow more small businesses to qualify, including 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
CEBA is also available to businesses operating out of a non-business bank account
Contact your bank or credit union to learn more
If you applied for CEBA and have questions, check your application status online or contact the CEBA Call Centre at 1-888-324-4201
Small- and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits
Provides loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19 and are, in some cases, not eligible for federal funding programs.
Applications are assessed as they are received, with funding subject to availability.
Four loan options are available to qualifying businesses:
Businesses within the Community Futures network: Interest-free loans of up to $40,000, with up to $10,000 forgivable if repaid before December 31, 2022, to small- and medium- sized businesses and social enterprises in rural communities. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, social enterprises and similar organizations may qualify. Rural businesses requesting more than $40,000 should apply through Western Economic Diversification Canada
Businesses outside the Community Futures network: Interest-free loans of up to $60,000, with up to $20,000 forgivable if repaid before December 31, 2020. Sole proprietorships and not-for-profits are not eligible. Applicants who previously received RRRF funding must apply separately for the $20,000 expansion
Women-run businesses: Interest-free loans of up to $60,000, with up to $20,000 forgivable if repaid before December 31, 2020. Sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations are eligible. Applicants who previously received RRRF funding must apply separately for the $20,000 expansion
Funding requests over $40,000: Interest-free loans of up to $1 million, with no scheduled monthly repayments required until after December 31, 2022
Businesses affected by COVID-19 and, in some cases, are not eligible for other federal supports such as the Canada Emergency Business Account
The HASCAP supports the hardest hit businesses, including those in sectors like tourism and hospitality, hotels, arts and entertainment.
Offers 100% government-guaranteed loans ranging from $25,000 to $1 million
Loans are low-interest and include terms of up to ten years
There is up to a 12-month postponement on principal repayments at the start of the loan
The HASCAP is available at participating financial institutions from February 1 - June 30, 2021.
The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is available at various financial institutions and credit unions to support businesses in all sectors and regions to obtain financing.
BCAP is available until June 2021.
For small- and medium-sized enterprises:
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to small and medium enterprises, for their operational cash flow requirements. The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues. Eligibility has been extended to all legal businesses, including cannabis businesses and those in the hospitality sector operating bars and lounges.
Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to issue operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Support is available to both exporting and non-exporting companies.
For mid-sized companies with larger financing needs:
BDC's Mid-Market Financing Program provides commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million to medium-sized businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the BCAP and other measures.
EDC Mid-Market Financing Program guarantees 75% of new operating credit and cash-flow loans – ranging in size from $16.75 million to a maximum of $80 million to companies with revenues of between $50 million and $300 million. These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada.
Small and medium sized enterprises
Provides bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers in order to keep their operations going during the pandemic.
Pending implementation: The federal government intends to enhance the LEEFF program to respond to the specific liquidity needs of a greater number of large Canadian businesses. Details are expected soon.
Large Canadian employers that
- Have a significant impact on Canada’s economy, as demonstrated by having significant operations in Canada or supporting a significant workforce in Canada
- Can generally demonstrate approximately $300 million or more in annual revenues
- Require a minimum loan size of about $60 million
The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) provides assistance to innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access other COVID-19 business supports.
The program provides advice, connections and funding to help Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.
Small and medium-sized businesses
Call toll-free 1-877-994-4727
- Business Innovation and Growth (Streams 1-3): Funding helps support R&D and commercialization, the growth and expansion of firms and the attraction and retention of large scale investments in Canada
- Collaboration and Networks (Streams 4-5): Funding helps support industrial research, development, and technology demonstration through collaboration between academia, non-profit organizations, and the private sector
Large business projects
The Small Business Relief Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 to help small businesses offset the cost of expenses to open safely or adopt digital technologies to move their business online.
For-profit and not-for-profit organizations
The Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant provides grants of $10,000 to $30,000 to support eligible B.C. businesses that employ between two and 149 B.C. residents, or sole proprietorships and partnerships with fixed costs related to tangible assets, and have experienced declines in revenue since March 2020.
- An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses
- As of March 4, 2021, a business is required to demonstrate only a 30% revenue loss in any one month between March 2020 to the point of application
- The program runs until Aug. 31, 2021
Qualifying small and medium sized businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19
Learn more about the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant and other eligibility requirements
The Launch Online Grant program provides grants 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
Up to 25% of the $12 million grant will be reserved for Indigenous businesses and rural businesses
The funds must be used to hire B.C.-based companies to do the online store development
Applications are open until March 31, 2021 or until the funds have been fully subscribed.
Small- and medium-sized business owners and entrepreneurs
Service providers are offering businesses flexible payment plans and other supports:
- BC Hydro is providing residential and commercial customers the option to arrange flexible payment plans
- FortisBC is offering bill deferrals and interest free repayment schedules to impacted business clients
- ICBC customers on a monthly Autoplan payment plan, who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, can defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty
Programs are available to help employers avoid layoffs, rehire employees and temporarily reduce rent.
A wage subsidy is available to employers that are experiencing a decline in revenue until June 2021.
This helps businesses keep and return workers to the payroll
The subsidy amount varies depending on the scale of revenue decline
A top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% is available to employers most adversely affected by COVID-19
The CEWS maximum subsidy rate has increased to 75% of eligible wages until June 5, 2021.
Businesses and non-profits
Apply online for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or call 1-833-966-2099 Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time) to speak with an agent.
Use the CEWS calculator to find out how much your wage subsidy may be.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Registry to identify which employers are using the wage subsidy to support jobs.
The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) provides a rent subsidy directly to qualifying organizations that have experienced a decline in revenue until June 2021.
Until March 13, 2021, a rent subsidy of up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses is available
Organizations may make claims retroactively to September 27, 2020
Organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order, or have activities significantly restricted for a week or longer due to a related public health order, may be eligible for the Lockdown Support, which provides a top-up rent subsidy of 25%, in addition to the 65% subsidy
The current subsidy rates of CERS and the Lockdown Support are in effect until June 5, 2021.
Businesses, charities and non-profits
Eligible expenses for a location for a qualifying period include commercial rent, property taxes (including school taxes and municipal taxes), property insurance, and interest on commercial mortgages (subject to limits) for a qualifying property, less any subleasing revenues.
The EI work sharing program provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers
- Eligibility of these agreements has been extended to 76 weeks, eligibility requirements have been eased, and the application process has been streamlined
Workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers
The B.C. Increased Employment Incentive offers a refundable tax credit for all private sector B.C. employers to encourage the creation of new jobs for B.C. workers or increased payroll for existing low or medium-income employees.
The tax credit is calculated at 15% of the amount that the employer's qualifying B.C. remuneration exceeds the employer's base B.C. remuneration
Remuneration increases over the last quarter of 2020 (October to December) are eligible
Applications open online starting March 2021
Private sector businesses
The grant helps eligible, provincial non-profit organizations and federally registered charities provide 12-week work experience opportunities for people with disabilities and multiple barriers who are eligible for disability benefits from the Province and Government of Canada.
Non-profit organizations can also partner with businesses for work experience placements.
Applications are open and accepted until midnight on March 8, 2021.
Eligible participants include:
- People with the provincial Persons with Disabilities designation
- Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers status
- Indigenous peoples on reserve who have the equivalent federal designation
The eligibility list has been expanded to include:
- Organizations can increase the number of participants they provide work experience to from five to 10
- Private-sector businesses, social enterprises and non-profit organizations can apply
- Any person qualified to receive income assistance or disability assistance, as well as Indigenous peoples on reserve qualified to receive federal assistance
The BC Employer Training Grant offers employers 100% of eligible training costs, up to a maximum of $10,000 per participant per fiscal year, to support British Columbians that are employed or have been employed in sectors impacted by COVID-19.
Some provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced:
- PST rebate on select machinery and equipment is a temporary provincial sales tax (PST) program to help corporations recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19
- Provincial payment deferrals. The scheduled increase to the carbon tax rate and the application of PST to e-commerce transactions and sweetened carbonated drinks are delayed until April 2021
- Employer Health Tax (EHT) deferrals. Employers required to make quarterly instalment payments for the 2020 calendar year can defer these payments
Programs and resources to help manage your business operations and safety procedures through COVID-19.
The CanExport SMEs program is pivoting to now help small businesses develop and expand their e-commerce presence, attend virtual trade shows and other business-to-business events, and navigate new COVID-19-related trade barriers.
- Small businesses are encouraged to apply for up to $75,000 in funding to break into new international markets
Essential service organizations can apply for temporary, urgent access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies, including KN95 respirators, surgical masks, non-medical cloth and disposable masks, gowns, face shields, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and gloves.
Organizations identified as essential service providers as defined by Public Safety Canada
Visit the Public Services Procurement website for more information or to apply
The PPE Marketplace connects businesses with suppliers of non-medical safety equipment. PPE suppliers interested in being listed as a vendor in the non-medical PPE Marketplace can submit a request to be part of the digital marketplace directory.
The Alacrity Digital Marketing Bootcamp provides digital marketing knowledge, tools and resources to help businesses grow.
Small to medium sized businesses based in and registered in BC that employ less than 149 B.C. residents and have been directly impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible to have their tuition covered
Registration is open.
Innovate BC and the BC Acceleration Network have expanded the Digital Economic Response (DER3) program to six regions in the province. The program helps businesses transition into the digital economy or expand their digital footprint. Businesses with less than 500 employees and are located within one of these regions in British Columbia are encouraged to apply:
Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands
Central Interior B.C.
North Central B.C.
Support for mandatory isolation of temporary foreign workers
Farmers, fish harvesters and all food production and processing employers will receive $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker to ensure that mandatory 14-day isolation period requirements are fully met.
The program has been extended until March 31, 2021
Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund
The Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund has been reopened to support the industry in accessing new consumer markets in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $42.85 fund enables the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial partners to support industries’ priority projects and help people working in the fish and seafood sector by creating jobs and developing more opportunities for products.
In general, not-for-profit industry organizations operating on a national or sector-wide basis
Loan deferrals and financing through Farm Credit Canada
Through an additional $5 billion received from the Federal government, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is offering loan payment deferrals and other financing products to the agriculture and food industry.
- A deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans
- A deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
Local food infrastructure fund, COVID-19 fund
The Local Food Infrastructure Fund aims to strengthen food support organizations and to help improve access to safe and nutritious food for Canadians at risk.
Funding will support small and large community-led projects at facilities such as urban gardens, community kitchens, food banks and greenhouses.
- Community or charitable organizations
- Indigenous groups
- Not-for-profit co-operatives
Farm Credit Canada (FCC)
FCC is offering loan payment deferrals and other financing products.
FCC loan recipients
B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program
Agriculture, seafood and food processing businesses in B.C. that have had their revenues decrease by at least 30% as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for up to $5,000 in business planning services and coaching from a qualified business consultant for individuals, and up to $20,000 for groups, to develop an immediate and long-term recovery plan.
- Applications will reopen in April 2021
Agriculture, seafood and food processing businesses
Support for animal care facilities
Funding is available for animal hygiene, habitat upkeep, veterinarian care, limited transportation and repairs to equipment required to ensure the welfare of the animals in care.
B.C. shelters, animal refuges, aquariums and rehabilitation centres that lack the revenue to ensure animals in their care will not be in distress
To find out more about funding eligibility, email: BRMB.General.Inquiries@gov.bc.ca
Accelerating Manufacturing Scale-Up Grant
Supports eligible small- and medium-sized manufacturing businesses with funding up to $250,000 to prototype, pilot or demonstrate new technologies, commercialize new technologies and/or products, improve market access, and identify and implement operational improvements
- Grant applications for businesses open spring 2021
Rural, remote and Indigenous communities
Indigenous businesses initiative
Supports available to help small- and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal financial institutions that offer financing to these businesses.
The funding provides short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses.
Small- and medium-sized Indigenous businesses
Community Futures BC
Business-related resources and supports for rural small businesses, including how to move businesses online.
Rural small businesses
Support for Métis businesses
Business Support Grants are available to Métis microbusinesses, small, medium, new businesses and community-owned businesses in B.C. that have been impacted by COVID-19.
BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund
Provides $45,000 to Indigenous tourism businesses that have experienced revenue losses of at least 50% in 2020.
Businesses which experienced losses of less than 50% may be considered on a per applicant basis.
Applications are open until March 31, 2021.
Qualifying Indigenous tourism businesses
Strengthening Communities’ Services Funding
$100 million in grants to address the impacts of homelessness, support people and strengthen communities’ health and safety.
The program provides grants to temporarily support communities to meet emerging health and safety needs on the ground. This can include projects like:
- Temporary services
- Work to reduce community concerns about public health and safety and foster communication and co-operation
- Improving service co-ordination and capacity building
Applicants must show their projects respond to a demonstrated need in the community and are a temporary-surge response to immediate needs.
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) is administering the program on behalf of the Province and will accept applications until April 16, 2021, with approvals expected in spring 2021.
Local governments and Treaty First Nations
Local tourism infrastructure investment
$53 million provincial investment through StrongerBC: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan to create jobs and grow economic development for tourism businesses. This includes:
- Support for tourism-dependent municipalities to build, adapt and diversify their tourism infrastructure
- Identifying projects to create jobs and attract new businesses
- Developing local tourism experiences, infrastructure and services
British Columbia Tourism Resiliency Network
One-on-one support for tourism businesses to navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapt and work towards eventual recovery. The BC Tourism Resiliency Network is led by the Regional Tourism Secretariat.
Tourism Relief Funding Stream
The Province has responded to three of the priority recommendations in the B.C. Tourism Task Force final report and has created a dedicated relief funding stream to support B.C.’s tourism sector.
The Province has allocated $100 million in relief funding for B.C.’s tourism sector.
In addition, the Province is also allocating $5 million to Indigenous Tourism BC to administer relief grant funding targeted for Indigenous businesses.
The $100-million dedicated relief funding for the tourism sector will be delivered through the existing Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program.
Tourism sector businesses