Business in the Time of COVID-19


COVID-19 Resources

This is an unprecedented time in the world and our business community.

The health and well-being of our business community is our top priority. We are monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and are committed to offering up-to-date information. The resources and information below are meant to support you in making informed decisions for your business and will be updated as information becomes available.


During the COVID-19 crisis, the landscape of business services is changing by the hour and keeping track of it is challenging. This page is updated frequently. Contact the Western REN directly at for navigation supports. The Western REN team commits to a response time of one business day.


We have also organized these resources and supports into an easy to navigate Frequently Asked Questions format


Western REN COVID-19 Supports: Frequently Asked Questions Page



Continuing Operations

How do I maintain a clean and safe environment for my business?
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has released guidance sheets with health and safety tips and good practices for employers and workers, specific to multiple industries: COVID-19 Safety Tip Sheets

The Certified Nursing Assistants website includes a handwashing guide page taken from their training resource materials. It contains handwashing steps that are relevant for the public that will help prevent the spread of infection disease.

Support for Businesses


The Government of Canada has created a COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. Under this plan, there are new programs and measures to support Canadian businesses and workers facing hardship as a result of the outbreak.

Federal Government Supports

Access Financial Support

Both the federal and provincial governments have put policies, programs and initiatives in place to assist small businesses. There is an additional $300 billion in lending capacity by the major banks and the Bank of Canada has cut the interest rate to 0.25%. Looking to access direct lending and other types of financial support?

Contact your financial institution

They will assess your financial situation to provide tailored, flexible solutions including access to the newly announced Canada Emergency Business Account.

Access additional resources

If needed, your financial institution will refer you to Business Development Bank of Canada or Export Development Canada to access the Business Credit Availability Program.

Benefits Finder

The Benefits Finder is a tool that can help you find Benefits and Services that you may be eligible to receive. It asks a few questions and uses your answers to search. It does not collect or track your information. The more questions you answer, the more customized and accurate your results will be. To find benefits that will help you, click here

Digital Adoption Program

The Digital Adoption Program supports Nova Scotia businesses to adopt digital tools and innovation. The program provides:

This program contributes up to 50% of eligible costs to a max of $10,000 CAD. Deadline to apply is December 31, 2020

Agriculture Response Program

For farms, agri-businesses, agriculture industry associations and other organizations involved with agriculture business

For more details regarding the streams and eligibility requirements head to Agriculture Response Program

Deadline is December 31, 2020


Co-op Education Incentive (CEI)

This program helps employers hire post-secondary co-operative education students for work placements across Nova Scotia. This program allows organizations to hire a student for a work term of 12-16 weeks and receive a subsidy of $7.50 an hour. Due to COVID-19 there have been some changes to the program

For more details on SWPP Partners and CEI Program click here

Apply between December 15, 2020 – January 15, 2020

Small Business Development Program

For more information about applications click here 

Deadline to apply is January 15, 2021

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

CERS provides direct, targeted, and accessible rent support to organizations without going through landlords until June 2021 

For more information on the program click here 

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

For more information please click here. Deadline is June 2021

Support your Employees

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

A wage subsidy of up to 75% of salaries for qualifying businesses will be available for up to 3 months. Eligible employers can apply through the Canada Revenue Agency online portal.

Temporary Wage Subsidy

If you do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, your business may qualify for a 10% temporary wage subsidy. You do not need to apply for this subsidy.

Employment Insurance (EI)

The one-week waiting period for EI has been waived. Additionally, a medical certificate for EI sickness benefits is no longer required. Workers can apply online through Service Canada.

How to Apply Learn More Apply for EI



Additional Support

Work-Share Program

The maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements has been increased from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. The mandatory waiting period has also been waived so that employers may immediately apply for a new agreement. This is eligible until March, 2021.

Farm Credit Canada

Credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector has been increased. An additional $5 billion was announced to increase Farm Credit Canada’s lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.

Employment Insurance (EI)

Temporary changes have been made to EI as of September 27, 2020.

Canada Recovery Benefit 

Provides $500 per week up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19 and who are not eligible for EI

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Provides $500 a week for a maximum of two weeks for workers who

  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
  • Are self isolating for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sickness that, would make them susceptible to COVID-19

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers who:

  • Are unable to work at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or a family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19
  • Because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk or serious health implications because of COVID-19


Preparing your Business

It’s important for businesses to have contingency plans in place to manage potential risk. A number of organizations have developed helpful and comprehensive guides to help you prepare:


Support for Employees, Individuals & the Self-Employed

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

A taxable temporary emergency income support of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months will be available for workers facing unemployment due to COVID-19, including those who are self-employed. The CERB has ended, but retroactive applications for CERB are being accepted until December 2nd, 2020.


Support for Tourism Industry

To keep Nova Scotia’s Tourism Industry up-to-date on how the industry is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) has developed the Tourism Strong platform. TIANS has also launched a dedicated Facebook page that may provide some additional resources, and an opportunity to discuss the issue with others.


Tourism Nova Scotia has prepared a “What you need to know” page along with a “Frequently Asked Questions” list.

Updates and Resources

Frequently Asked Questions


Canada’s Regional Development Agencies are closely monitoring the COVID-19 global challenge and the impact it is having on businesses and workers, as well as the broader economy. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is this region’s Regional Development Agency. If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization and have received ACOA funding and COVID-19 is affecting your operations, you are encouraged to contact your local ACOA office to review your situation and provide guidance.

Learn More


Tourism Human Resources Canada has developed a COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit, a practical, no-cost, web-based program that includes tools, downloadable content and presentations, all designed to give tourism operators the knowledge resources they need to rebound and succeed. The curated content presented in the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit leverages myriad public-domain academic and business sources. The Toolkit is dynamic and will be updated and amended on a regular basis to reflect new information and market changes.

Learn More


Immigration Resources

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), along with other government departments and international allies, continues to closely monitor COVID 19 and any impacts on people and operations.

IRCC Newsroom and Press Release Updates



Manufacturers and Innovators Help with COVID-19 Crisis

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Thank you to our partner organizations the Halifax Partnership and the Cape Breton Partnership for allowing us to adapt their resources pages to match the needs of our community in many sections of the page above.