During his daily news conference outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced additional new measures to support small businesses dealing with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This help for small and medium-sized businesses is aimed at keeping employees on the payroll, including a 75 per cent wage subsidy and guaranteed interest-free loans.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and an important source of good jobs across this country,” Trudeau says. “They are facing economic hardship and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is why we are taking action now to help them get the financial help they need to protect their workers and pay their bills.”
Trudeau said the wage subsidies will be backdated to March 15, 2020.
Today’s announcement is a part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which already commits $107 billion in support to Canadians so they can buy groceries, pay rent, and care for their loved ones, and also supports businesses through this difficult time.
To support small businesses, the Government of Canada will:
- Announce a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
- Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
- Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans — guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada — will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
- Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.