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Support for Clean Technology Businesses during COVID-19

The Clean Growth Hub has prepared the following information to support clean technology stakeholders with information on federal COVID-19 response measures.

Please note that efforts are made to keep the following websites up to date; however, the situation evolves quickly and some measures may not yet be described, may lack details, or details may shift.

What's new?

1. Where can clean tech companies find information about the Government of Canada's COVID-19 response measures?

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is the central repository of federal COVID-19 response measures from across departments and agencies and outlines measures for individuals, businesses and industry.

2. What support is available to help businesses avoid layoffs?

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides up to 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, retroactive to March 15, 2020, and available until June 6, 2021. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll.

  • Available to qualifying employers of all sizes, including individuals, taxable corporations and partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non-profit organizations and registered charities.
  • Available to eligible employers that saw a drop of at least 15% of their revenue in March 2020, and 30 per cent for the months of April, May, June 2020 (consult website for Eligible Periods), with some additional flexibility for businesses established in February, not-for-profits and charities. There is no minimum revenue drop required to qualify for the subsidy for claim periods that cover July 2020 and later; the subsidy rate will vary depending on how much the revenue dropped, etc.
  • Each CEWS claim period is a specific period of 4 weeks. The wage subsidy does not renew automatically.
  • Applications for claim period 10 (November 22, 2020 to December 19, 2020) are now open.  An eligible employer may now be able to claim the wage subsidy for one or more of claim periods 1 through 10.
  • Eligible employers can apply via the Canada Revenue Agency.

The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy (TWS) for Employers is a three-month measure for eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.

The NRC IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) offers $250 million in funding to provide payroll support to small and medium-sized Canadian enterprises (SMEs) pursuing technology-driven innovation that have been unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

  • November 6, 2020: The Government of Canada announced over $155 million to extend IAP funding for existing recipients. The eligible claim period for the IAP extended program is June 24, 2020 to December 19, 2020. To access the extended IAP funding, a firm must have qualified for and received IAP funding during the period of April 1 to June 23, 2020.
  • Over the coming weeks, existing IAP recipients will be contacted with more information.

The Work-Sharing Program (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer.

  • Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the Government of Canada is introducing temporary special measures such as an extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
  • For employers and employees that are participating in a Work-Sharing program, Employment Insurance benefits received by employees through the Work-Sharing Program will reduce the benefit that their employer is entitled to receive under the CEWS.

The government of Canada is providing $450 million in funding to help Canada's academic research community.

  • This funding will be provided through Canada's three federal granting agencies to:
    • Provide wage supports to universities and health research institutes, so they can retain research staff who are funded from industry or philanthropic sources and are unable to access some of the government's existing COVID-19 support measures. This would apply even if their work has been temporarily suspended. The government will provide up to 75 per cent per individual, with a maximum of $847 per week.
    • Support universities and health research institutes to maintain essential research-related activities during the crisis, and to ramp back up to full research operations once physical distancing measures are lifted. This will cover up to 75 per cent of total eligible costs, and will support activities such as the safe storage of dangerous substances, and restarting data sets that were interrupted during the pandemic.
  • All Canadian universities and health research institutes that are eligible for funding through Canada's federal granting agencies — Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) - and ineligible for other COVID-19 emergency wage measures, will be able to access this temporary support. The funding will be delivered as a block grant, so institutions can access help quickly.
3. What should businesses do if they are concerned that they will not have the financial resources to get through the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent recovery period?

Businesses that are concerned about not having financial resources to continue through the crisis and recovery period should start by talking to their local financial institutions (commercial banks and credit unions) to assess their positions.

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) provides $65 billion of additional liquidity to Canadian businesses facing challenges brought on by COVID-19. Under BCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) work with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses. BCAP is available until June 2021.

BCAP includes:

  • BDC Co-Lending Program: BDC with financial institutions will co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $12.5 million, 80 per cent of which would be provided by BDC, with the remaining 20% by a financial institution.
  • EDC Business Credit Availability Program Guarantee: EDC guarantees new operating lines of credit or new term loans, 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.
  • BDC Mid-Market Financing Program: BDC provides commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million each, available until or before September 30, 2020, to medium-sized businesses with annual revenues in excess of about $100 million to $500 million, and whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures.
  • EDC Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program: will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues of between $50 million to $300 million, to sustain operations during this uncertain period. EDC will continue to work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75 per cent of new operating credit and cash-flow loans — ranging in size from $16.75 million to a maximum of $80 million.
    • These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada. More details will be made available soon.
  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to pay for immediate operating costs such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax, or debt service.
    • As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans for eligible businesses will increase from $40,000 to $60,000.
      • Applicants who have received the $40,000 CEBA loan may apply for the $20,000 expansion, which provides eligible businesses with an additional $20,000 in financing.
    • All applicants now have until March 31, 2021, to apply for the $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion.
    • Funded by the Government of Canada and delivered in partnership with financial institutions (banks and credit unions). Applications are administered through financial institutions.
    • Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 33 percent (up to $20,000).
    • To qualify for CEBA, all applicants must have:
      • an active Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number with an effective date of registration on or prior to March 1, 2020;  and either:
        • meet the payroll eligibility criteria; or
        • demonstrate a minimum of $40,000 in eligible non-deferrable expenses, and have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
    • If you have already applied for CEBA and have questions, please contact the CEBA Call Centre at 1-888-324-4201 to receive a status update on your CEBA application. The CEBA Call Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm EST.
4. What other emergency relief is available for businesses?

The Government is providing emergency financial relief to qualified businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

Companies can be referred to BDC/EDC by financial institutions (commercial banks or credit unions) and can access them directly via their respective websites where they will be directed according to whether they are new or existing clients.

BDC's COVID-19 resource for businesses

  • In addition to the BCAP supports, BDC can provide working capital loans of up to $2M with flexible terms for qualified businesses, as assessed on their pre-COVID financial viability, as well as reduced rates on new eligible loans.
  • Existing BDC clients (with loan commitments below $1M) may be eligible for payment deferrals up to 6 months and are encouraged to reach out to their account manager.

EDC's COVID-19 resource for businesses

  • In addition to the BCAP supports, EDC's Credit Insurance program will cover losses for goods shipped even if the buyer has not accepted the goods, subject to term (does not cover domestic support), as well as waive the 60-day waiting period for claims.
  • EDC can also be reached at 1-800-229-0575. Current EDC customers needing working capital and financial solutions should contact their account manager.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

The RRRF helps businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. It is specifically targeted towards those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but have been unable to access existing support measures.

This fund includes two components:

  • $675 million to support regional economies, businesses, organizations and communities in regions all across Canada;
  • $287 million to support the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations, which will specifically target small businesses and rural communities across the country.

On October 2, 2020, it was announced that an additional $600 million will be invested in the fund, with more information to follow.

The support will be delivered through the appropriate local Regional Development Agency (RDA):

Canada Infrastructure Bank's (CIB) Growth Plan

On October 1st, a $10 billion investment in new infrastructure initiatives was announced with details to follow in the coming weeks.

The Growth Plan will invest in five major initiatives:

  • $2.5 billion for clean power to support renewable generation and storage and to transmit clean electricity between provinces, territories, and regions, including to northern and Indigenous communities.
  • $2 billion to connect approximately 750,000 homes and small businesses to broadband in underserved communities, so Canadians can better participate in the digital economy.
  • $2 billion to invest in large-scale building retrofits to increase energy efficiency and help make communities more sustainable.
  • $1.5 billion for agriculture irrigation projects to help the agriculture sector enhance production, strengthen Canada's food security, and expand export opportunities.
  • $1.5 billion to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure so Canadians can have cleaner commutes.

To accelerate the delivery of projects in which the CIB intends to invest, it will also allocate $500 million for project development and early construction works.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

  • The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides direct rent and mortgage interest relief to qualifying businesses, non-profits, and charities that continue to be economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rent subsidy is available retroactive to September 27, 2020, until June 2021.
  • CERS provides qualifying organizations with support up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses. If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.
  • The program provides benefits directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.
  • Claim period 3 (November 22, 2020 to December 19, 2020) is now open for application. You may apply for the rent subsidy retroactively for any period up to 180 days after that period has ended. How to apply for CERS.
  • The CERS online calculator guides applicants through a step-by-step process that allows them to determine the subsidy amount they can claim, based on the information they enter.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

  • LEEFF provides bridge financing to companies with revenues in excess of $300 million a year.
  • Eligible companies could receive $60 million or more to boost liquidity and prepare for a post-COVID-19 recovery.
  • Large enterprises that meet the qualifying criteria for LEEFF may begin an application by completing the LEEFF enquiry form and sending it to leeff-cuge@cdev.gc.ca.

Sector-specific measures include:

  • Up to $1.72 billion to the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, and to the Alberta Orphan Well Association, to clean up orphan and inactive oil and gas wells.
  • Up to $750 million for a new Emissions Reduction Fund to support workers and reduce emissions in Canada's oil and gas sector, with a focus on methane.
    • Details on when the Fund will open have not been released; however, the website has a sign-up to receive updates and notifications about the program.
    • This fund will provide primarily repayable contributions to conventional and offshore oil and gas firms to support their investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of this amount, $75 million will be allocated to the offshore sector.
  • An enhancement to Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.

The Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF) provides short-term support, in the form of a non-repayable grant, for ongoing operational costs to small- and medium-sized territorial businesses impacted by economic disruptions due to COVID-19.

Support for Indigenous businesses

  • Up to $306.8 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.
  • Financial support for Indigenous businesses will be provided through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association and the Métis capital corporations in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada.
    • Up to $40,000 will be available to small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses:
      • an interest-free loan up to $30,000
      • a non-repayable contribution up to $10,000
  • For more information, please contact:

Support for young entrepreneurs

  • $20.1 million in support for Futurpreneur Canada to continue supporting young entrepreneurs across Canada. The funding will allow Futurpreneur Canada to provide payment relief for its clients for up to 12 months.

Support for youth – Green Jobs in the Natural Resource Sectors

  • $15.8 million to create green jobs and training opportunities for Canadian youth in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the energy, forestry, mining, earth sciences and clean technology sectors.
  • Organizations will provide 500 green job internships, ranging from six to 12 months in length, for youth to gain valuable on-the-job experience and explore careers in the natural resources sectors.

Foresight's COVID-19 Restart and Resilience

  • Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, a leading industry accelerator for the cleantech industry in Western Canada, has a new program for the growing number of early-stage cleantech companies navigating challenges related to the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. Funded by the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), National Research Council Canada / Government of Canada, the program is free and available immediately to qualifying Canadian cleantech companies.
    • Includes increased business Executive-in-Residence mentorship support, curated information series, specialized training, working groups to support key issues around financing, grant writing and supply chain challenges and proactive investor readiness planning and profiling.
5. Are there any changes to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) services, due dates and programs affected by the pandemic?

Extension to filing and payment deadlines for submitting some 2019 and 2020 income tax returns of corporations and trusts.

Extension of some Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive reporting deadlines.

  • The CRA has extended the filing due dates for submitting some 2019 and 2020 income tax returns, which resulted in the extension of certain SR&ED reporting deadlines. Additionally, the minister of national revenue under the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19), issued an order to extend SR&ED deadlines normally occurring from March 13, 2020, through December 30, 2020, for six months, but no later than December 31, 2020.
  • Consult the CRA website for more information on changes to the SR&ED filing requirements.
  • Learn more about SR&ED tax incentives, including eligibility and how to make a claim.
  • Update on SR&ED Program service standards: The SR&ED Program is returning to normal activities. Claimants will be contacted by phone to proceed with reviews. Currently, most claims are being processed, and refunds are being issued in a timely manner.
  • Contact the SR&ED Program in your regional tax services office if you would like to discuss your SR&ED claim.

Stay up-to-date on changes to CRA services, due dates and programs affected by the pandemic.

Call 1-833-966-2099 if you have questions about COVID-19-related benefits administered by the CRA.

6. My company has the ability to produce and/or to sell medical equipment and would like to work with the Government of Canada on the COVID-19 response efforts. What can we do?

The Government of Canada issued a Call to action for Canadian manufacturers needed to help combat COVID-19.

Goods and services for COVID-19 requirements will be procured through tender opportunities posted on Buyandsell.gc.ca: Find opportunities to sell goods and services related to COVID-19.

If your company is working on pre-commercial technologies or research with potential relevance to the fight against COVID-19, you can find out more information and/or register to participate in challenge-based initiatives.

The Department of National Defence is looking for novel ideas and innovative solutions, under the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program, to resolve specific COVID-19 challenges.

Innovative Solutions Canada has dedicated funding to develop new solutions or test existing innovations that can help fight COVID-19.

7. My company has a contribution agreement and/or work agreement with a federal department and may be unable to fulfill this agreement. What should we do?

If your company has a contribution agreement or work commitment with a federal department or agency and is concerned about fulfilling that agreement, you should talk to your advisor/officer in the program or service as soon as possible.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the COVID-19 crisis has created significant strain on Canadian businesses and is enabling flexibility wherever possible.

You should be aware of any changes to the requirements/schedules of your existing financial agreements when developing your continuity plan and/or asks for any emergency capital.

8. Where can I go for additional information on support for businesses impacted by COVID-19?

Managing your business during COVID-19 is a compilation of federal supports for businesses.

Innovation Canada's Business Benefits Finder provides links to measures targeted at businesses affected by COVID-19. This platform links to the federal measures described in the main site, and includes some of those offered by provinces and territories.

ExploreIP, an online resource for businesses to explore possible licensing and collaboration opportunities with public sector patent holders, now has a "COVID-19 related" category to help users find patents and licences for technologies that could help combat COVID-19.

Canada's Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has experts in 160 cities worldwide who help Canadian businesses navigate international markets. Given the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 on international trade, Canadian firms may face disruptions to their international business and supply chains, or experience unforeseen border, regulatory and transportation issues. For guidance related to specific countries and markets, businesses should send a message through TCS general enquiries.

  • TCS's CanExport Program provides financial support and personalized advice to connect with potential foreign partners, pursue new business opportunities abroad or attract foreign investment into Canadian communities.
  • CanExport SMEs has adapted its services and introduced new measures to support Canadian businesses to navigate the current challenges and continue to grow into the global marketplace.
  • With international travel restricted due to COVID-19, the CanExport SMEs program is pivoting to help small businesses:
    • develop and expand their e-commerce presence by covering partial costs associated with online sales platforms and digital strategy consulting, as well as advertising and search engine optimization
    • attend virtual trade shows and other business-to-business events
    • navigate new COVID-19-related trade barriers by helping pay for new international market certifications and requirements

Canada Revenue Agency

Bank of Canada

Standards Council of Canada

Canadian Business Resilience Network

Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses

Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)

Public Health Agency of Canada

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

The Government of Canada announced a partnership with private sector organizations to help businesses reopen safely amid COVID-19: People Outside Safely Together (POST).

9. Can I get more information through webinars?

Clean tech accelerators and associations are holding free informational webinars to support innovators and businesses:

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Past

Export Development Canada (EDC)

Upcoming

Past

GLOBE Series

Upcoming

  • Stay tuned to the Globe Series page for future online events.

Past

Foresight Companies Webinar Series

Upcoming

Past

MaRS Cleantech Webinar Series

Upcoming

Past

Écotech Québec

Upcoming

Past

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