COVID-19 Resources & Information Centre

Last updated: 2020-06-18

We like to be helpful. We’ve curated a ton of information and updates relevant to Canadian startups and scale-ups as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The information on this page has been curated from our network hubs, as well as other relevant third parties.

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The CEOs of Canada’s innovation hubs wrote a letter to the federal government on amendments needed by the startup ecosystem to the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy act on April 15, 2020.

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Quickly navigate to the sections on this page using the buttons below, or continue scrolling.


General Information
Funding, Loans, Benefits & Subsidies
How Businesses Can Help

General Information

  • Overview of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
    • Support for individuals
    • Support for businesses
    • Support for industries
  • More details on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses (via Department of Finance Canada)
    • On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.
  • Canada Business App
    • A Government of Canada mobile app for businesses to navigate government services, get recommendations tailored to your business, set up personalized notifications and find the answers you need to start up, scale up and access new markets.
  • Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS): COVID‑19 and Canada’s international trade
    • Now more than ever, Canada is committed to supporting Canadian exporters and the free flow of essential goods and services across international borders. A new dedicated web page contains specific information related to COVID‑19 and Canada’s international trade.
    • Topics include: Keeping supply and trade links open, financial support and services for exporters, international business travel and events, customs and borders, and Canada’s food supply.

Funding, Loans, Benefits & Subsidies

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit
    • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide those laid off as a result of COVID-19 with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) — 75% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
    • To help businesses hold on to their employees, the federal government is providing, for up to 3 months, a temporary wage subsidy equal to 75% for the first $58,700 of salary, up to a maximum $847 per week. All businesses—the number of employees on the payroll doesn’t matter—that have seen revenue drop by 15% or more in March, and by 30% or more in subsequent months, relative to (1) the corresponding month in 2019 (e.g. March 2020 vs March 2019) OR (2) the average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020, are eligible for the wage subsidy. The choice of benchmark is left to a company’s discretion.
    • The government has created this calculator to help you estimate the amount of your wage subsidy.
  • Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers — Frequently Asked Questions
    • The Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • NRC-IRAP Innovation Assistance Program
    • Beginning on April 22, 2020, startups and scaling firms unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Business Credit Availability Program can apply for financial assistance through NRC-IRAP. Funding is open to new clients, not just existing NRC-IRAP clients. More information on applying can be found here. New funding has also been made available through Regional Development Agencies to support local startups. More details to come in the following days.
  • Small Business Wage Subsidy — 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
    • Eligible small businesses will have access to a temporary wage subsidy for 3 months. Businesses that do not qualify for the 75% Wage Subsidy can qualify for this 10% Wage Subsidy. If you are eligible for both subsidies, you are not able to stack the two programs.
    • This subsidy is intended to be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer, and businesses can reduce their remittance of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration.
  • Canada Small Business Financing Program
    • Most start-ups and existing for-profit small businesses in Canada with gross revenues of $10 million or less are eligible to apply for loans under this program.
  • Canada Emergency Business Account
    • Provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses to help cover operating costs during a period where revenues have been temporarily reduced.
    • To qualify, companies must demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Roll out expected in mid-April. Companies should work with their current financial institutions.
  • Work-Sharing Program
    • Designed to help businesses and employees avoid layoffs when there is a reduction in the amount of business activity. Instead of being laid-off, multiple workers’ hours and pay are reduced, while the Government of Canada compensates for the shortfall in the workers’ income.
  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
    • More credit is available to Canadian businesses through this new program. You can access the BCAP via BDC or EDC.
  • BDC Co-Lending Program
    • BDC partners with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to businesses for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25M, 80% of which would be provided by BDC, with the remaining 20% by the financial institution.
  • BDC Capital Bridge Financing Program
    • BDC may match, with a convertible note, a current financing round being raised through qualified existing and/or new investors made in an eligible company. The program is ideal for high potential companies who have investor syndicates that are willing to support them. BDC will invest alongside these groups. In addition, BDC Capital will accelerate more capital into General Partners across the country and increase its co-investment activity.
    • Companies must have raised at least $500,000 in external capital before applying for the program, and must be specifically impacted by COVID-19.
  • EDC Guarantee Program
    • EDC guarantees a new one-year term loan or operating line of credit for 80% of its value, up to $6.25M, allowing businesses to deal with payroll and operating cost issues and enabling their financial institution to take on less risk. Available for all Canadian companies, including non-exporting businesses that sell domestically.
  • Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGEN) Funding
    • NGEN will invest $50 million to support companies as they prepare to produce medical equipment and products to join the fight against COVID-19. The fund will be used towards the rapid production of critical items identified by the Government of Canada such as virus screening kits, gloves, gowns and masks, amongst others.
  • Support for Indigenous Businesses
    • The Government of Canada announced it will provide funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses. Funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions. Program details will be provided when available.
  • HST/GST Remittances and Customs Duty Deferrals
    • The Canada Revenue Agency and Canada Border Services Agency are permitting businesses to defer all HST/GST remittances as well as customs duty owing on their imports until June 30, 2020.

How Businesses Can Help

  • COVID-19 Supplier Purchasing Program
    • The Government of Canada is seeking to purchase goods from suppliers based on a growing list of needs to support our frontline workers. If you think your company can support the fight against COVID-19, click here.
    • Items of critical need include:
      • Disposable N95 masks
      • Disposable surgical masks
      • Nitrile gloves
      • Vinyl gloves
      • Gowns
      • Bottles of hand sanitizer
      • Other prevention products
    • The Government is also asking for a number of support with services:
      • Guard/security services
      • Nursing services
      • Food services
      • Laundry services
      • Accommodation maintenance services
      • Personal services
      • IT support services
  • National Research Council of Canada (NRC) – COVID-19 Challenge
    • This program is composed of government, academic, and private sector partners, seeking to address a range of needs. Medium-term needs include:
      • Personal protective equipment
      • Sanitization products
      • Diagnostic and testing products
      • Therapeutics
      • Disease tracking technology
  • Innovative Solutions Canada
    • Innovative Solutions Canada has dedicated funding to help combat current and future outbreaks of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and other similar threats. There are 2 streams is designed to fund R&D and testing prototypes in real-life settings that can help protect Canadians.
    • COVID-19 Challenge Stream — Seeks to develop new solutions from an early stage of development to combat COVID-19 and other similar threats. Funding amounts are identified in each individual challenge.
    • COVID-19 Testing Stream (formerly the Build in Canada Innovation Program) — Seeks to find and buy pre-commercial prototypes that are ready to be deployed and tested to combat COVID-19 and similar threats in an operational setting. Innovators can receive up to $550K – $5M in funding.
    • UPDATE: Innovative Solutions Canada has introduced two new funding opportunities for Canadian innovators who can help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more here.
  • Call to action: Canadian manufacturers needed to help combat COVID-19
    • The government is looking for businesses who are able to manufacture medical equipment. Many businesses across Canada are pivoting their manufacturing facilities to help provide for our front line workers. Those who are looking to help can find more information here.
    • If you can say yes to the following, the Government of Canada wants to hear from you:
      1. You manufacture in Canada and/or have ready access to necessary inputs through your supply chain.
      2. You have equipment or facilities that can be rapidly re-tooled to meet medical needs, including for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks and surgical gowns; sanitizers; wipes; ventilators; and other medical equipment and supplies.
      3. You have skilled workers who are able to respond and who could be available for work in the current circumstances.
  • MedTech Canada — COVID-19 Product Pathways
    • There are multiple initiatives surrounding securing the appropriate products to diagnose, treat and prevent infection with COVID-19 in Canada. This web page aims to direct readers to the appropriate resources and will be updated as new information is obtained.
  • CENGN (Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks): Call for COVID-19 Projects
    • CENGN is now accepting validation and testing projects from businesses seeking to validate a networking product that addresses COVID-19 issues, including cloud computing and big data solutions as well as solutions that enable remote work.
  • Department of National Defence (DND) — Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program
    • The IDEaS Program supports, increases and sustains science and technology (S&T) community capacity external to DND that can generate new ideas and formulate solutions to Canada’s current and future defence and security Innovation Challenges.
    • In this call for proposals, DND is looking for novel ideas and innovative solutions to resolve science and technology challenges under the following areas:
      1. Rapid response: Real-time insights for pandemic decision-making;
      2. Scrubbing your scrubs: Finding ways to re-use COVID-19 protective gear; and
      3. Super sanitize: Cleaning sensitive equipment and workplaces.
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada — Supply Hub
    • Public Services and Procurement Canada have created a new online Supply Hub for (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic:
      • Buyer’s page: Guidance and sourcing for buying PPE for companies and employees
      • Seller’s page: Guidance on making supplies available for sale


Should you be looking for information at the regional or local level, we have summarized below some key sources of information on COVID-19 from each provincial government and the Hubs on the CTN Network across Canada. For more information and support in this regard, please contact your local technology hub or support centre.