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.


Benefits Finder 

The Benefits Finder is a tool that can help you find Federal and Provincial 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

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.

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 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

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.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

CERS provides direct, targeted, and accessible rent support to organizations without going through landlords.

Organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority will received a top-up of 25% in addition to the 65% subsidy

Business Credit Availability Program

EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Provides credit and cash flow term loans. Canadian businesses in all sectors that were otherwise financially viable and revenue generating prior to COVID-19 outbreak are eligible to apply

Eligibility is subject to additional requirements from your financial institution

How to Apply Learn More Learn More
Agriculture Response Program

Application Period: April 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021

For Farms, agri-businesses, agricultural industry associations.

Stream 1: COVID-19 Mitigation and Adaption for Health Protocol

Steam 2: COVID-19 Strategic Projects

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program

Businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 can access guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs.

Available until December 31, 2021

Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

*This is to be reintroduced with more information to come. Applications are not expected to open until sometime in May*

Credit unions can provide financing up to $500,000 in the form of term loans, working capital and lines of credit.


Learn More Learn More Learn More

Work Sharing Program-COVID-19

Helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when their is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond control of the employer.

  • Allows employers to:
    • retain qualified and experienced workers
    • avoid recruiting and training new employees
  • Allows employees to:
    • keep their jobs and,
    • maintain their work skills
  • Businesses must have experienced a recent decline in business activity of at least 10%
  • Work-sharing can be up to 76 weeks
  • There is no longer a requirement to apply at least 30 days before commencement of a work sharing program

Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program Part 2:

Businesses applying for this program must meet the definition of a roofed accommodation as set out in the Tourist Accommodation Registration Act, be registered as a host under the act, have more than five rooms available to rent, not be in arrears of property taxes or property tax installment payments and have experienced a year-over-year revenue loss of at least 30 per cent from April 1 to Oct. 31, 2020

Applications open May 4, 2021


How to Apply How to Apply

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.

Extended to Sept 4, 2021

How to Apply Learn More Apply for EI

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

CRSC provides $500 a week for a maximum of two weeks for workers who:

  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week due to contracting COVID-19
  • Are self isolated for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sickness that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19

Deadline: September 4, 2021

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Provides $500 per week 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 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 of serious health implications because of COVID-19

Deadline: September 4, 2021

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

Provides $500 per week for 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.

Extended to Sept 4, 2021

How to Apply Learn More Apply for Canada Recovery Benefit 


Support for Tourism Industry

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

Click to expand


Additional Support

Click to expand

Latest Updates

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.