Federal Support Package: Links and Resources (COVID-19)

Associated Areas of law

Last Updated April 15, 2020

On March 25, 2020, the Federal Government passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, which, along with Part 2 of the Emergency Response Act, passed April 11, 2020, implements many of the economic measures announced by the Government in recent weeks. Other measures were previously announced, such as changes to the Work-Sharing Program. We will make best efforts to keep this document updated with the most current information, but are not responsible for any incorrect or changing information. We recommend that you use this document as one tool to help you locate the official government information.

The Department of Finance has a website dedicated to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan that contains further details regarding many of the programs listed below. We have also included links to other published government information where available.

Employers and Businesses

  • Further details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) were announced on April 11, 2020. The CEWS will provide a 75% wage subsidy, up to $847 per week, for up to 12 weeks, for eligible employers (individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non-profit organizations and registered charities) whose revenues have dropped by at least 15% in March 2020, and 30% for April and May 2020. It will run from March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020. There is no maximum cap on the total amount that may be paid to a single employer. Employers are not yet able to apply, but will be able to do so through the CRA’s My Business Account portal. Further details have been published by the Department of Finance.(Updated April 15, 2020)
  • Employers who do not qualify for the CEWS may qualify for the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWSE). The TWSE will provide subsidies of up to 10% of wages (to a maximum of $1,375) per employee, on wages paid between March 18, 2020 and June 20, 2020. The maximum total TWSE subsidy per employer is $25,000. Eligible employers can start reducing current federal, provincial or territorial income tax by this amount, in their next regular remittance. Eligibility and further information has been published by the Canada Revenue Agency. (Updated April 2, 2020)
  • Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, special temporary measures allow for longer agreements under the Work-Sharing Program, increasing from a maximum of 38 weeks to a maximum of 76 weeks. Further details, including eligibility criteria and an employer toolkit, can be found on the Employment and Social Development COVID-19 page.
  • Service Canada has clarified Record of Employment coding for COVID-19 related interruptions of earnings
  • Announced March 13, 2020, the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will help business obtain financing by providing more than $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support. It will be administered by Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada, through a list of financial institutions. Further information is available on the Department of Finance website. A variety of previously-announced programs will fall under the BCAP: (Updated April 2, 2020)
    • The Canada Emergency Business Account, announced March 27, 2020, will provide up to $25 billion to allow banks to offer $40,000 loans guaranteed by the government to qualifying small businesses, including not-for-profits. These loans will be interest-free for the first year, and 25% of the loan (up to $10,000) will be forgiven if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022. If the loan is not repaid by December 31, 2022, it will be converted to a 3-year term loan at 5% interest. To be eligible, organizations must have paid between $50,000 and $1 million in total payroll in 2019. They can now apply through various financial institutions and credit unions. (Updated April 15, 2020)
    • The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan Guarantee program includes up to $40 billion in lending to small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Government, through EDC, is now providing loan guarantees for new credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to existing clients, to be used for operational expenses. Eighty percent will be guaranteed by EDC.(Updated April 15, 2020)
    • Through the Co-Lending Program, BDC is working to co-lend term loans to SMEs for operational and liquidity requirements. Maximum loan amounts will be based on business revenue, and vary between $312,500 and $6.25 million. These loans will have a 12-month interest-free period, and a 10 year repayment period. Applications are not yet available, but are coming soon. (Updated April 15, 2020)
  • Up to $5 billion in increased funding is available to farmers and agri-food sector businesses through Farm Credit Canada (FCC). Further details about recently-announced FCC measures such as deferral of payments and additional credit lines is available here.
  • Tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended for businesses and trusts. Specific information is available on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
  • On March 27, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that all GST and HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports, will be deferred until June, through existing authorities. (Updated April 2, 2020)


  • On March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which simplifies and replaces the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. It is intended to provide $2,000 every 4 weeks, for up to 16 weeks, to any worker who loses their income as a result of COVID-19, for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020 (including those who would not be eligible for EI). As announced April 15, 2020, seasonal workers, workers who have exhausted their EI after January 1, 2020, and workers with reduced hours (those now making under $1,000 per month) are now also eligible for CERB. Affected individuals will need to apply for each four-week period, and can apply either here (with Service Canada) OR here (with the Canada Revenue Agency). FAQs from the CRA are available here. (Updated April 15, 2020).
  • Sick and quarantined employees, and those directed to self-isolate, do not currently have to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits. As announced on March 18, 2020, the one week waiting period has been waived for those who are sick or quarantined with COVID-19. (Updated April 15, 2020).
  • Employees who fall under the Canada Labour Code are now entitled to up to 16 weeks of unpaid Leave Related to COVID-19, if they are unable or unavailable to work for reasons related to the novel coronavirus. A doctor’s note may not be requested. This leave may interrupt certain other types of leaves of absence, and employees may postpone vacation until after they take this leave. Employees are also entitled to up to 16 weeks of unpaid medical leave as a result of quarantine. The text of COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, showing the amendments to the Canada Labour Code, is available here.
  • Tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended for individuals (including self-employed individuals). Specific information is available on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
  • Temporary changes have been announced for the Canada Summer Jobs program, to provide an additional wage subsidy to employers to cover student wages, extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021, adapt projects/activities and/or hire part-time staff. Additional details are available here. (Updated April 15, 2020

Select Other Subsidies and Credits

  • For Families: By early May, there will be a one-time additional payment made to low- and modest-income families through the GST/HST tax credit. The Department of Finance estimates payments for low- and modest-income families as close to $400 for single individuals and $600 for couples.
  • For Students and Apprentices: From March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020, no interest is accrued and no payments are required for loans under the Canada Student Loans Act, Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, and the Apprentice Loans Act. Further information is available on the Employment and Social Development website.
  • For Seniors with Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs): Minimum required withdrawals from RRIFs will be reduced by 25% for 2020.

This document contains general information based on published Government of Canada sources and was authored by Patterson Law’s Labour and Employment lawyers, Dennis J. James, Q.C., Anna-Marie Manley and Jennifer Singh. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.