COVID-19 (coronavirus) has disrupted people’s lives, workplaces, the flow of business and the global economy. Our local economy is not immune to these economic shocks. The WindsorEssex Small Business Centre is monitoring the situation closely. We are assessing the impact to our economy and we are in the process of compiling actions to help businesses mitigate the current situation. The resources provided on our website will be updated regularly and are intended to provide business owners with available government and community supports. Please visit the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation website for additional COVID-19 updates and resources.

The Government of Ontario province issued an emergency order to close at-risk workplaces and encourage non-essential businesses to help their employees work from home. Visit the Government of Ontario's website to see if your business is deemed to be an essential service. Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Last update: April 9, 2020 at 4:55 p.m.


Government Support for Businesses & Workers


Eligible small businesses can receive a 75 per cent wage subsidy for a period of up to three months for employees. The subsidy applies to the first $58,700 in salary earned for a maximum of $847 a week. Eligible companies must have suffered a 15%+ revenue loss as a result of COVID-19, and include those already eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Businesses can benefit immediately by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. The wage subsidy will be backdated to March 15.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy


EI Eligible

The one-week waiting period for sickness benefits is removed for those who have been told to self-isolate or quarantine. Applicants can be paid for the first week of their claim. The maximum amount paid out for EI is $573 a week.

EI Ineligible (includes self-employed)

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) - Taxable benefit providing $2,000 a month for up to four months.

Who's eligible?

  • Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
  • Wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for EI.
  • Workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation.

EI eligible applicants - Apply for EI benefits by visiting the website. Afterwards, you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling 1-833-381-2725.

EI ineligible applicants - Canada Emergency Response Benefit applications will open in April. CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020. Apply through the CRA website.


Employers may be entitled to an EI Premium reduction for Short-Term Disability Benefits - Premium Reduction Program

Work Sharing - The eligibility period for the Work-Sharing program is increased from 38 to 76 weeks.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) - The Ontario Government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief for employers covered by the WSIB's workplace insurance. Employers are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. They will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit. The WSIB will also cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments, and will not charge penalties during this six-month deferral period. The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.

Visit the Short-Term Disability Benefits - Premium Reduction Program website or call 1-800-367-5693

Work Sharing COVID-19 Changes


Income Tax

All businesses can defer the payment of income tax amounts until after August 31, 2020 with no interest or penalties for balances and instalments.

Flexibility for businesses filing taxes


GST and HST payments as well as duty taxes owned on imports will be deferred until June 2020.  


Increase credit available to small, medium and large Canadian businesses. The Business Credit Availability Program will provide additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

BDC relief measures for qualified businesses include:

  • Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to 6 months for qualifying businesses
  • Postponement of payments for up to six months, for existing BDC clients
  • Reduced rates on new eligible loans

Farm Credit Canada - Augment credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.

Canada Emergency Business Account - Banks are offering $40,000 loans which will be guaranteed by the government and interest free for the first year. To qualify, businesses will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

BDC COVID-19 Support



EDC COVID-19 Support





Farm Credit Canada COVID-19 Support


For the CEBA, contact financial institutions directly for details


Launch an Insured Purchase Program to purchases up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers.

CMHC COVID-19 Update


Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit. The Canada Account is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and is used by the government to support exporters when deemed to be in the national interest. This will allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian companies through loans, guarantees or insurance policies during these challenging times.  

Other Public/Private Sector Support Programs

Canadian Financial Instutitions

Canada's six largest financial institutions (Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank) have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges.

This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

Contact financial institutions directly for details

Mitacs Accelerate Internship

For a limited time, small- and medium-sized businesses responding to federal and provincial requests can solve COVID-19 research and development challenges with academic expertise, enhanced leveraged funding and one-to-one support from Mitacs. Through Mitacs, companies can access the Accelerate internships which start at four months. For COVID-19-related work, companies' financial contribution may be eligible to start at $3,750, which turns into a $15,000 research award through this funding. Opportunities also exist for virtual interaction between participants.

Accelerate Internship

Ad Credits for Google

Google is giving small and medium-sized buisnesses worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across its Google Ads platforms.These businesses who have been active advertisers since the beginning of 2019 will see a credit notification appear in their Google Ads account in the coming months.

Visit Google Ads for details

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where we operate. Full details have yet to be release. Visit Facebook for Business to sign up for updates