By Laura Rhodes

The COVID-19 pandemic raises significant workplace issues. Small business is being called to rethink rapidly during this extraordinary time.

  • Valued employees may be concerned
  • Remote work arrangements may be required
  • Normal planning cycles may be disrupted
  • Key partners may be shifting
  • Customer bases may be changing
  • Credit may be tight
  • New technological approaches may need to be implemented

For all of these reasons, owners may not have the time right now to fully understand how to make the best use of Canada’s / Nova Scotia’s support package for small business.

Our condensed guide below hits the major highlights and provides links for learning more / taking advantage:


1. If you have current employees who are not being paid between March 15 – October 3, 2020, they can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) of $2,000 paid monthly for up to four (4) months of support. Let your employees know the CERB application portal and telephone hotline will be available in early April, and they can be informed of its announcement here.

2. You may also be eligible for a wage subsidy of up to 75% of the total remuneration paid to your employees (up to a maximum of $847/week) for a period of up to three (3) months, backdated to March 15, 2020. To be eligible for this subsidy, your business revenue must have decreased by 30% due to COVID-19. The details of the subsidy program are still developing and information from the Federal Government is forthcoming.


3. The provincial government is encouraging landlords to defer rent for commercial tenants affected by a Health Protection Act Order (e.g. gyms, day cares and restaurants) for three months between April 1 – June 30, 2020. Your landlord must register a qualified deferral agreement that is signed by both parties by April 1, 2020. Uncollected rent gets added to future rent payments in instalments. The program provides a government-backed guarantee for landlords of up to $5,000 per month, per tenant, for each of the deferred months, with a recovery cap of $50,000 per landlord. More information is available here.


4. You may defer payment until after August 31, 2020 of all corporate income tax amounts that become due for the period March 26 – August 31, 2020 under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate during this period.

Similarly, GST/HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports, will be deferred until June.


5. The new Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is rolling out $65 billion in direct lending at market rates to address any gaps that credit-worthy small businesses may face. The Government of Canada has specifically made available guaranteed bank loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses that are interest-free for the first year. Your financial institution is prepared to advise you on these new opportunities for credit.

Special loans, guarantees and insurance policies are also now available specifically for exporters through the Canada Account. Learn more here.

Small business owners need trusted advisors now more than ever.

Pink Larkin is committed to providing tailored legal advice as you need it. We are always standing by to help you successfully navigate any business dispute that arises during these challenging times.

COVID-19 is an ongoing and developing situation. We recommend you stay alert to new developments and government measures.

For further information, contact us at (902) 423-7777, toll-free at 1-800-565-4529, or [email protected].

* This information is not legal advice.  The answers to these questions will vary, depending on the circumstances of each case. Consult legal counsel for information and advice relevant to your individual circumstances.