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COVID-19: A focus on sub-national Canadian policies

Information outlining some of the significant program offerings which can assist businesses in continued operation during this time

May 1, 2020  By Cushman & Wakefield

The federal government of Canada revealed initial measures to support individuals and businesses impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March 2020. This effort included an $82 billion aid package with $27 billion in direct support and an additional $55 billion to help business liquidity through tax deferrals.

A primary goal was to support everyday expenses for the impacted portion of the Canadian population and to assist businesses in meeting their payroll and operation costs.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy was announced on April 1 in order to slow further job losses by subsidizing up to 75 per cent of employee wages for eligible Canadian companies for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

This program was designed to encourage employers to re-hire workers that had been laid off and ensure companies are better positioned to resume normal operations once the crisis has passed.


During this same period in March, the provincial and territorial governments of Canada have declared either a state of emergency or public health emergencies allowing access to resources and government powers to ensure critical supplies could be made available to the local populations.

All provincial governments have set up websites to help both individuals and businesses navigate the provincial and federal government assistance programs.

The government response is continuing to evolve, with the federal and provincial governments modifying their financial support and assistance programs as they better understand the impact of the crisis on Canadian businesses.

The information below outlines some of the significant program offerings which can assist businesses in continued operation during this time. This is not an exhaustive list. For more information, please contact Cushman & Wakefield’s business incentives experts or visit,


  • Emergency isolation support for anyone self-isolating or who is the sole caregiver of someone who is self-isolating ($1,146 one-time).


  • One-time payment of up to $1,000 to workers.
  • Low-medium income families will receive a larger-than-usual Climate Action Tax Credit in July 2020.
  • Renters who are at risk of losing their homes receive up to $500 a month.


  • Workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, including self-employed, are eligible for one-time payment of $900.


  • Private-sector employers’ compensation to ensure employees do not go without pay during the pandemic.


  • Increase in funding for income assistance program.


  • Small Business Impact Grant ($20M) to provide small businesses and social enterprises with 15% of sales revenue (up to $5,000).8
  • Worker Emergency Bridge Fund ($20M) to help the self-employed and laid-off workers who do not qualify for employment insurance.
  • One-time payment ($1,000) to bridge the gap between layoffs / closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit.


  • Parents of children affected by school and daycare closures provided with one-time payments ($200 per child9 up to the age of 12).
  • Low-income seniors will see increases in their usual payments for six months.
  • Some families will be newly eligible to receive support paying hydro bills
  • Expansion of access to Ontario Works income support program.


  • One-time payment ($750) to bridge the gap between layoffs and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • Worker payments ($250 per week) for workers who have kept their jobs, but at reduced hours.
  • Self-employee fund payments (up to $500 per week).


  • Temporary Aid for Workers program for those who are unable to work due to COVID-19 and do not qualify for federal assistance ($573 per week for up to four weeks).


  • Residents who have been ordered to self-isolate, and are not eligible for federal support, can receive province’s self-isolation support (a maximum of $900 over two weeks).


  • Employer rebates to cover workers’ time off due to self-isolation requirements (up to a maxi


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