Small businesses have been facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so as they take steps toward reopening.
To help them get through this crisis, the federal government has introduced a wide range of supports to help businesses retain their employees, keep their costs low and pay their operating expenses.
The smallest businesses may face the additional challenge of accessing tailored financial planning advice to help them survive this difficult period.
Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced that the federal government will support the launch of a four-week hotline service called the Business Resilience Service. This service will help entrepreneurs and small business owners in need of financial planning advice, particularly those who may not have access to an accountant. The service will also be open to not-for-profit organizations and charities.
The hotline is a national, bilingual service operated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. As of today, small business owners with pressing financial needs can call 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).
Business advisors—125 members of Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada)—will be available to provide customized financial guidance to the smallest business owners in the most urgent need and help them make the best decisions for their business as they navigate this crisis. Advisors can answer questions about tax regulations and the implications of COVID-19, inform business owners about government support programs that best fit their unique circumstances, and provide strategic financial planning for their road to recovery.
“We understand the incredible difficulties all business owners are facing during these challenging and uncertain times. That is why our government has rolled out the largest relief effort in Canadian history to give direct support to the businesses that need it. We want to ensure they can weather this period and bounce back once we’re on the other side of this. The Business Resilience Service will help the smallest businesses in pressing need of finance planning advice as they weather this pandemic and plan for their recovery,” said Ng.
The federal government has introduced the largest relief package in our country’s history. This includes major programs such as:
*The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which is providing businesses with a $40,000 interest-free loan, through participating Canadian financial institutions. If the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, up to $10,000 will be forgiven.
*The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), which provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers—up to $847 per week per employee—to help businesses keep workers on the payroll and rehire those previously laid off.
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses, which will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners who in turn would lower or forgo the rent of impacted small businesses for three months.