SMBs: Canadian government grants for digital commerce and development during the COVID pandemic

9 March 2021

Hey Canadian business owners, here’s some great news: your federal and provincial governments have small business grants, loans and subsidies available to help small-to-medium Canadian businesses grow as we continue to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are a number of programs for different industries, specific business costs and varying amounts. Canadian government grants for small business help stimulate our economy and keep our SMBs secure and profitable in times of hardship. There are also a variety of small business loans available at both the federal and provincial levels.

Small business grants from the Federal Government

The Canadian Federal Government subsidizes commercial building owners and tenants with the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). This program pays a portion of either the commercial rent or of the costs associated with building maintenance, as applicable, for a fixed period of time.

For Canadian SMBs who have been losing revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is a similar program which helps employers to pay their staff’s wages during difficult periods, allowing you to retain your workers and hire new staff as needed.

You can see a full list of the small business grants and loan available from the Canadian Federal Government here.

Small business grants from the Government of Quebec

For SMBs in Quebec, the provincial government offers the Emergency Assistance Program for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (PAUPME). This initiative lets business owners finance and revive their company activities with support from loans of up to $50,000, for cash-flow issues stemming from impaired fulfillment and delivery logistics, or hampered supply chains.

Loans of more than $50,000 are available from Investissement Québec’s Concerted Temporary Action Program for Business.

The Fonds Entrepreneuriat Commercial is a Montreal-based organization that helps local startups and growing retail businesses. They award small business grants of up to $25,000 (or 25% of the total project cost), particularly for retail and food and beverage companies.

There are also specific programs like the Innovation Program and Productivité innovation Financing that focus on funding the technology and innovation needs of SMBs, including e-commerce investment. These programs make it much easier for smaller businesses to catch up with the steep digital commerce curve brought on by the pandemic, and to continue developing their online channels through times of difficulty.

You can see a full list of small business grants and loans available from the Quebec government here.