By Bob Peters
Cornwall Ontario – Businesses across Canada continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Whether they are operating at limited capacity, switching to online-only services or suspending their operations entirely, many businesses have been strongly affected.
The Government of Canada is looking to provide financial support to businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic via the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP).
“Since day one of the COVID-19 crisis, our government has been there to support Canada’s businesses and the millions of Canadians they employ. We know that even the most resilient businesses continue to face incredible challenges,” says Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade . “We are launching the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program to help those businesses hit hardest by the pandemic with low-interest, government-backed loans. By investing in Canada’s businesses, as well as workers and their families, we are investing in our shared recovery and a better future for all.”
Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. Hard-hit businesses, like a chain of hotels or restaurants with multiple locations under one related entity, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million. HASCAP will help businesses with their day-to-day operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis and enable them to invest in their longer-term prosperity.
HASCAP is available to businesses across the country, in all sectors, that have been hit hard by the pandemic. This includes restaurants, businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and those that rely on in-person service.
To be eligible for HASCAP, businesses need to show a year-over-year revenue decline of at least 50% in three months, within the eight months prior to their application. They must also be able to show their financial institutions that they have previously applied for either the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
Eligible businesses can start applying as early as February 1 at principal financial institutions and more widely by February 15. Interested businesses should contact their primary lender to get more information and to apply.
More information is available at www.bdc.ca/hascap.
To support Canadians during COVID-19, the Government of Canada introduced the largest relief package in history, which includes the following major programs for business owners and their employees:
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is helping businesses by covering up to 75% of payroll. It has been extended until June 2021.
- The expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides an interest-free loan of up to $60,000 with 25% forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022.
- The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), available directly to business owners, covers up to 65% of rent. It has been extended until June 2021. Businesses will receive the new lockdown support of an additional 25% where a shutdown is required by a public health order. This means they can have up to 90% of their rent covered.
- The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) has more than $2 billion to support small businesses across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. It is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies.