COVID-19 Resources for Small-Medium Businesses

Support for Small Business

[1] Federal Government announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will cover up to 75% of wage costs, backdated to March 15, and work-sharing programs to encourage employers to continue employment, have been increased. (More info HERE)

[1a] Calculate your subsidy amount for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) HERE

[2] Federal Government announced the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), allowing banks to offer $40,000 loans guaranteed by the government to eligible businesses that will be interest-free for the first year. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate that they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). Under certain conditions, $10,000 of the loan will be forgivable. This program will be launched on Mid-April. Apply HERE

[3] To read the press conference updates from April 1, 2020, entailing further information about the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). View press announcement HERE.

[4] Federal Government Announces Rent Assistance for Small Businesses. For details on this program, click HERE.

[5] Business Development Bank of Canada is offering new relief measures. Qualified businesses and entrepreneurs can access the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Deferral of GST and HST payments as well as duties and taxes owed on imports until June 30th.

[6] Links to Federal Government Programs:

[7] The Government of Canada has partnered with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to provide clear information to Canadian businesses via the Canadian Business Resilience Network. View announcement HERE.

[8] Federal Government Expands Canada Summer Job Program (CSJ) in response to COVID-19.

[9] Federal Government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

[10] The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is a new relief program aiming to help western Canadian businesses cope with the financial hardship resulting from COVID-19


Support from the Province of BC

[1] Effective immediately, many provincial tax filing and payment deadlines are deferred to September 30, 2020. The following provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced:

  • Deferred Tax Payments for Businesses
  • Delayed PST Budget 2020 Tax Changes
  • Delayed Carbon Tax Increase
  • Delayed Sales Tax
  • Reduced School Tax for Businesses
  • Delayed Employer Health Tax

[2] B.C. government is temporarily reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%. The Provincial government announced further property tax reductions for the Commercial sector. While it varies slightly from sector to sector, the business and non-profit classes will see the full additional 25% reduction in their taxes. The province has also pushed back the late payment penalty to October 1, 2020.


  • Late payment penalties for commercial properties (classes 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) have been pushed back to Oct. 1, 2020.
  • The school property tax rates for classes 4, 5, and 6 were reduced by 50% in the Province’s initial economic response to COVID-19. Further reducing the provincial school property tax and introducing an equivalent tax reduction for classes 7 and 8 will lower the overall commercial property tax bill for most businesses by an average of 25%.

Business/other (property class 6)

  • Budget 2020 mill rate: 3.72
  • March 23 mill rate: 1.86
  • April 16 mill rate: 1.1070
  • Tax cut as a percent of total tax bill: 25%

Recreation & non-profit (property class 8)

  • Budget 2020 mill rate: 2.29
  • March 23 mill rate: 2.29
  • April 16 mill rate: 0.7844
  • Tax cut as a percent of total tax bill: 25%

[3] BC Hydro Relief Fund for Small Business. Eligible business’ electricity use charges waived for up to three months.

[4] Fortis BC Customer Recovery Fund. Small businesses affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for bill credits, deferments or both.

[5] ICBC Deferrals. 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.

[6] Patio, service area expansions support safe reopening. Apply here.


Support from the City of Vancouver

[1] The COVID-19 Business Communications and Support Office is a single point of contact for Vancouver’s local business owners to:

  • Get information about business support programs
  • Learn what City services for businesses are currently up-and-running
  • Make suggestions to the City about business and the economy

[2] Property tax payments are deferred until September 2020.

[3] Get a Patio Permit for a restaurant or cafe from the City of Vancouver


Your BIA is working to support you:

Letters from the Vancouver BIA Partnership (representing 22 Vancouver BIA’s) sent to City of Vancouver Mayor Kennedy


Resource articles for small business


Support for Canadian workers

  • Federal Government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – replacing the previously proposed Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
  • There will be an online portal in place by the first week of April to apply for this benefit, with applicants receiving their aid ten days after applying.
  • The Government of Canada will provide $2,000 a month for the next four months to people whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19 to help with rent, mortgage, and food.
    • The Federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will aid: Canadians who have lost their jobs, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is ill with COVID-19
    • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures
    • Wage-earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and have been impacted by COVID-19
    • Workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19
  • Apply HERE


Canada Child Benefit and GST Tax Credit

  • Federal Government will support Canadians with a special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and by increasing the Canada Child Benefit.
  • Additional assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments by $300 per child for the month of May.
  • In early May will provide a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax for low- and modest-income families.
  • The average additional benefit will be approximately $400 for individuals and $600 for couples.


Extending tax filing deadline

  • The Government of Canada will relieve the pressure of tax season by extending the tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020 and allow taxpayers to defer owed amounts until after August 31, 2020.


B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers

The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people who lost income because of COVID-19.


  • The BC Government has added $500 per month for 4 months to renters in financial distress and a ban on all evictions for this emergency period.
  • The Government of Canada will provide increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured (CMHC) mortgage loans to borrowers who are experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak of COVID-19. For more information, click HERE.
  • Canada’s large banks have committed to showing flexibility in helping their customers whose personal finances are impacted by COVID-19. Contact your local bank for assistance.


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