COVID-19: Support Options For Economic Development Corporations & Indigenous Businesses

Shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11 2020, the Government of Canada shut down the economy to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

Like many other businesses, First Nations Development Corporations, Medium and Small-sized non-essential companies took a big hit; revenues and sales dropped significantly. Some organizations had to layoff employees, and others had to close their businesses permanently.


On March 18, 2020, to minimize the financial impact of COVID-19, the federal government announced its $82B COVID-19 Emergency Response Package for individuals and businesses struggling with the economic effects of the Coronavirus.


If your business has been facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic, we suggest you review the list below that summarizes different types of financial support that are available to your Indigenous business due to COVID-19. It is an excellent source of information that is compiled by the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of BC(AFOABC).


(Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy)

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy


(Emergency Benefit for Business Account)


(Commercial Rent Assistance)

Support for Indigenous via AFIs

What is it?

Covers 75% of an employee’s wage 

(up to $847/week) 

3 month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to CRA 

Interest free loans of up to $40,000 to cover operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced

($10,000 is forgivable if paid back by 2022)

Forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by tenants who are experiencing financial hardship 

Interest free loans of up to $40,000 with a $10,000 forgivable portion 

Who is eligible?

    • Individuals
    • Taxable corporations
    • NPOs
    • Agriculture organizations
    • Boards of Trade
    • Chambers of Commerce
    • Labour organizations
    • Registered charities
    • Partnerships with eligible employees
    • Indigenous government owned corporations

Must have suffered a loss of revenue of 15% in March and 30% in April and May.

  • Individuals
  • Partnerships
  • NPOs
  • Registered charities
  • Canadian-controlled private corporations 

Canadian operating businesses as of March 1, 2020 including Indigenous businesses 

(except government organizations or bodies or an entity owned by a government organization or body)

Businesses whose mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement

Current and previous clients of Aboriginal Financial Institutions 

(please note that Indigenous businesses who apply for CEBA cannot receive this funding as well – it’s either one or the other) 

Eligibility requirements

Eligible employees* being paid eligible remuneration** 

Must continue to be paid during the claim period.

CRA business number

Pay salary, wage, bonuses or other remuneration 

Has a federal tax registration

Annual payroll between $20,000 and $1.5M

Paying less than $50,000 month in rent 

At least a 70% drop in pre-COVID revenue 

Indigenous businesses impacted by the Covid-19 crisis

How to apply?

Through your CRA ‘My Business’ account or use the Web Forms available online

Through a reduction in payroll remittances

Through banks & credit unions

Check with your landlord

Through an AFI in your region

*Eligible employees are individuals employed in Canada during the claim period except if there was a period of 14 or more consecutive days in that period where they did not receive any pay from you. Employee eligibility is based on whether the person is employed in Canada, not where they live.

**Eligible remuneration is salary, wages and other taxable benefits, fees and commissions. Severance pay and items such as stock option benefits or the personal use of a corporate vehicle are not part of eligible remuneration.

Information in this table has been gathered from

Still have questions?

If you need more information, please visit Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and read more detailed information about the financial support options that are available to your business.

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