Understanding economic measures in relation with Covid-19

Understanding economic measures in relation with Covid-19

by Startup Montréal
21 April 2020

This page aims to gather all information related to measures taken by various government bodies to ensure economic resilience in relation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As the situation evolves, we will update this section to make sure that the startup community can find as many answers as possible to questions and concerns.

Check and add your contribution to our collaborative document gathering resources for entrepreneurs.

You can also check our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Federal government

Measures for companies

  • Up to $40,000 in loans (free of interest for one year) for companies with wages inferior to $1 million. Date of implementation still to be determined.
  • Wage subsidy for small enterprises: this subsidy is equal to 10% of wages for the next 90 days and up to $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Companies have to be eligible to the deduction granted to small enterprises as well as non-profit and charity organizations.
  • Emergency Wage subsidy: raise of the temporary wage subsidy from 10% to 75% of the usual wage for a 3 months period. This measure is retroactive since 15 March 2020. Originally, this subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 30% of their revenue. Since 8 April 2020, a drop of 15% of revenue makes a company eligible.
  • Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19 directly supports  businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Industrial Research Help Programme from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) launching challenges seeking near-to-market solutions from small and medium-sized businesses to fight against COVID-19. The most promising solutions will be selected with Innovative Solutions Canada. More information.
  • Futurpreneur Canada: A $20 million fund has been granted by the Federal government to support innovators and other startups that are not eligible to the wage subsidy. More details to come soon
  • Canada Emergency Help for Commercial Rent: A release from the Office of the Prime minister mentions that this programme will provide loans, including forgivable loans to commercial properties owners. In return, they will have to lower or cancel April rent (retroactive measure), May and June for tenants that are small businesses. More details to come soon.

Measures for workers

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit: $2,000 per months allocated for the next four months to workers deprived of wages in relation to the current crisis. The subsidy should be provided “within 10 days after the request is made”. Requests should be done on the Internet through the dedicated web portal launched on 6 April. More information.
  • Work-Sharing Program Special Temporary Measures: These measures extend the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing agreements of 38 weeks for a total of 76 weeks. The mandatory waiting period is no longer active so that employers can immediately file a request for a new agreement when facing a downturn in business.
  • Waive on the one-week waiting period for people who are in quarantine or have been directed to self-isolate and are claiming for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits, at an estimated cost of $5 million.
  • Extension of the deadline for producing and filing income tax return for 2019: for individuals, to June 1, 2020 and for companies to May 1, 2020. For individuals and individuals in business, the deadline for applying balances due related to income tax returns for the 2019 taxation year is postponed to July 31, 2020.
  • Mental health support Portal: Wellness Together Canada is a free service providing online resources, applications tools and connecting you with trained volunteers and skilled professionals when necessary.

BDC/EDC Measures

  • Bank of Canada slashes policy rate from 1.25% to 0.75% in surprise cut to facilitate access to credit
  • Exportation and Development Canada (EDC), in relation with the federal government and Canadian banks will make sure that its corporate clients facing economic issues related to COVID-19 can get access to financing. A toll-free phone line has been launched (1-800-229-0575) to answer any questions related to the pandemic. You can also fill an online request
  • Working capital loans (BDC): up to $2 million along with flexible terms and deferral of reimbursements for a period up to 6 months for eligible companies
  • Deferral of reimbursements (BDC): for a period up to 6 months, with no fee, for existing clients with a loan commitment of at least $1 million.
  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP): $ 10 billion credit program to help Canadian businesses hard hit by COVID-19. Loans are for a maximum value of $ 40,000 interest-free for 1 year (interest-free for the first year), and a quarter of the value of the loan granted may be non-repayable, subject to certain conditions. Requirement: to have paid $ 20,000 to $ 1.5 million in wages in total in 2019

Provincial Government

  • Concerted Action Program for Maintaining Employment (officially the Programme d’actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi) (“PACME”): This programme aims to provide direct support to companies that experience a drop in their activities in relation to COVID-19 including independent workers. The financial aid will provide funds for training and implementing best practices in human ressources management. It also aims to optimize the operation of businesses on the labour market and help them get back on their feet more quickly once the situation has stabilized. More information.
  • Emergency help for Small and Medium Enterprises: This programme aims to support for a limited period the companies that are eligible, experience financial difficulties in relation to COVID-19, and have cashflows needs for a sum inferior to $50,000. To be eligible, the company needs to be temporarily closed or likely to close in relation to COVID-19. More information (in French).
  • Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE): This financial assistance is available to businesses operating in Québec, including cooperatives and other social economy enterprises with commercial activities. Eligible businesses are those that find themselves in a precarious situation and temporary difficulty as a result of COVID-19. They must show that their financial structure offers realistic prospects for profitability. Businesses must show that their cash flow issues are temporary and that the liquidity shortage stems from a problem involving the supply of raw materials or products (goods or services) or delivery goods. The financial aid will be a minimum sum of $50,000 through a loan guarantee. More information on Investissement Québec or by dialing 1 844 474-6367.
  • Ongoing loans and loan guarantees: Measures to make the terms of loans more flexible are already taken by Investissement Québec. A three-month moratorium has been put in place for the repayment (capital and interest) of loans already made through local investment funds. Interest accrued during this period will be added to the loan balance.
  • Abandonment of theTemporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT): Since the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is accessible to most of eligible workers to PATT, it was abandoned on 10 April 2020 in order to avoid duplicating financial help.

Ville de Montréal

Ville de Montréal has announced several economic measures to reduce the consequences of COVID-19 on the population and on business communities (companies, non-profit organizations, independent workers):

  • Help for Montreal SMEs: a $50,000 financing is offered by PME MTL with a 3% rate. In addition to this, the city will cover interest for the first six months of the loan. More information.
  • Free support towards an accelerated digital shift. Form to fill before 17 April.
  • Emergency financial aid: $5 million in a fund to help companies and sustain the most impacted sectors in the short term (retail, social economy, creative and cultural industries, tourism)
  • Extension of the deadline for the 2nd payment of the tax account for owners and businesses. Initially planned for 1 June it is extended to 2 July 2020 which allows to free $2 billion in cashflow.
  • Moratorium offered by PME MTL interest free (in partnership with FTQ): six months offered to reimburse capital and interest to all companies for loans with PME MTL and  Fonds locaux de Solidarité et Fonds de commercialisation des innovations.
  • New communications tools for entrepreneurs: 
    • a land line accessible from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday: 514 394-1793.
    • an information request form for entrepreneurs to ask questions and get answers from an economic advisor within 4 hours on open days
  • Support services: almost 300 professionnals from the Service du développement économique de la Ville de Montréal,  PME MTL network, boroughs and linked cities as well as 21 Sociétés de développement commercial are mobilised
  • Ongoing payments: installments for grants related to the usual municipal programmes are not affected.

Useful links (in French)



Autres Ressources et Guides

#covid-19 Channel

The #COVID-19 channel on Bonjour Startup Montréal’s  slack allows to share your concerns and best practices in relation with the economic impact of COVID-19