Supports for Businesses and Community Organizations

COVID-19 Related Resources for NS Businesses
CUA continues to monitor the programs and resources being made available to businesses and community organizations in response to COVID-19. Updates to government programs are continuing to occur and we will ensure to place the most current information available on this page.

CUA Programs

  • Financial Assistance Program. Since the onset of COVID-19, our team has been working with members on a case-by-case basis to determine the best supports to help them through this period. The Financial Assistance Program provides options for businesses and organizations who have had their income affected by this situation, including access to new funds. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and you are a member of CUA, please reach out to your account manager to discuss your options. We are here to help.
  • Benefits for Halifax Chamber of Commerce members (website). CUA is proud to be an Affinity Partner of the Chamber. Chamber members have access to a variety of banking solutions and preferred rates, including six months of waived account package fees for new business accounts.
  • SONA Merchant Solutions (website). CUA continues to partner with SONA, a leader in payment processing solutions, to offer you easy and affordable merchant processing programs to meet today’s consumer demands. In addition to their everyday competitive pricing and tailored approach, SONA has taken the following steps to further support businesses during this period, including waiving setup fees and suspending monthly fees for e-commerce gateway. For details on SONA’s relief offerings, download their COVID-19 Merchant Survival Toolkit.
  • Support for CUA Credit Card Holders (website). CUA's credit card provider, Collabria, is committed to supporting your needs during this challenging time. If you are experiencing credit card related financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic please call their Contact Centre at 1-855-341-4643 and they will work with you to discuss how they may be able to help you.

Municipal Government Program

  • Halifax Regional Council approved changes to the tax system (website), including:
    • NSF Fees. Fees typically associated as the result of non-sufficient funds (NSF) have been temporarily suspended.
    • Interest Rates on Arrears. The annual interest rate charged on arrears has been decreased from 15% to 10%.
  • Free 15-Minute Parking in HRM (website). HRM is providing 15-minutes of free parking at paid parking locations for the month of December to facilitate short-term curbside pick-ups and loading, providing more flexibility for business owners and customers. This option is available through both the HotSpot app as well as the on-street pay stations. Residents can input the amount of time they will be parked in a parking zone, and the first 15-minutes will be automatically free.

Provincial Government Programs

The Province of Nova Scotia has announced a number of programs to support businesses and community organizations. A description of each is listed below and additional information can be obtained by accessing (website).

  • The Small Business Impact Grant Part 2 – Restaurant, Bar, and Fitness Facility & Leisure Establishment Stream (website). This stream of the Small Business Impact Grant supports eligible businesses in parts of Halifax and Hants County that have been ordered to close or reduce operations effective November 26, 2020. The Program provides a grant of up to $5,000 to help cover operating expenses. To apply, visit the Nova Scotia Government's website.
  • NS Small Business Credit and Support Program (NS Government News Release). Launched in late April, the Program supported qualifying Nova Scotia entities impacted by COVID-19 with: 1. access to credit up to $25,000 through participating credit unions; 2. a one-time non-repayable cash grant of 10% of the loan amount to a maximum of $1,500; and, 3. a Business Continuity Voucher of a maximum of $1,500 to support the acquisition of a private sector consultant for assistance in adapting or recovering from the impact of COVID-19.  Applications to the Program are now closed as the funds have been fully accessed. The Province of Nova Scotia has postponed payments of principle and interest amounts until January 1, 2021, subject to conditions. If you have questions about your financing, please contact us. The Nova Scotia Small Business Loan Guarantee Program remains available to qualifying businesses.
  • Small Business Reopening and Support Grant (website). The provincial government was providing grants of up to $5,000 to help eligible businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises reopen safely. Eligible organizations were given a business continuity voucher of up to $1,500 for advice and services to help their business become more resilient. Applications were due by July 17, 2020 and questions can be directed to OpenSafeResilient@novascotia.ca.
  • Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program (website). The Program offers a 25% rebate that helps owners of registered hotels, motels and inns with their 2020-2021 commercial property tax. To receive the rebate, eligible operators must have paid their commercial property tax bill in full or have entered into a payment plan with their municipality and incurred a year over year loss of room revenue of at least 30% for the period from 1 April 2020 to 31 October 2020 compared to 2019. Applications will be accepted until December 11, 2020. Apply here.
     

Federal Government Programs

The Federal Government has announced a number of programs to support businesses and community organizations. A description of each is listed below and additional information can be obtained by accessing (website).

  • Urban Main Street Loan Initiative (UMSLI) (website). Recognizing that COVID-19 has created significant challenges for small, locally owned urban businesses—known as “main street businesses”— CEED is proud to administer the Urban Main Street Loan Initiative (UMSLI), provided by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). These loans are used to finance day-to-day business operating costs. Such costs may include sales and marketing, product development, wages, and other qualified expenses. UMSLI loans are intended for retail shops, restaurants, corner stores and businesses with strategic importance to the community. The deadline to apply March 31st .
    • Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) (website). The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. HASCAP is available to businesses across Canada, in all sectors, that have been affected by the pandemic. This includes restaurants, businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and those that rely on in-person service. Eligible businesses can apply starting on February 1 at principal financial institutions and more widely by February 15.
    • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) (website). The Program will provide additional support to businesses including small and medium-sized enterprises with viable business models whose access to financing would otherwise be restricted. The Program is administered through Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). The BCAP is currently available and interested businesses can access application details through their financial institution.
    • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) (website). The CEBA is an interest-free loan for qualifying businesses and not-for-profits, including a feature of loan forgiveness. The loan is interest free and no principal repayments are required during this period unless you are seeking to repay the minimum amount to qualify for the forgiveness feature. If not repaid by this date, it can be converted into a term loan. Learn more and access the CEBA application process »
    • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (website). The Program provides direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support directly to tenants and property owners. Qualifying business, charities and non-profits will receive a subsidy of up to 65% of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Claims can be made retroactively to September 27, 2020, and support will be available until June 2021. Applications are available here.
      • Lockdown Support – Additionally, qualifying organizations that have been significantly impacted by mandatory public health orders can receive an additional 25% though the Program. This means that heavily impacted businesses could receive support of up to 90%. This Lockdown Support will be available until June 2021.
    • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (website). Helping businesses keep and return workers to their payroll by providing a 75% wage subsidy (to a max of $847 weekly) to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Eligibility is determined by a demonstrated drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May as compared to the same timeframe in 2019 or to the average monthly revenue for January and February 2020. Eligible employers can apply through CRA’s My Business Account portal.
      • November 2020: The Government of Canada has announced the Wage Subsidy will be extended until June 2021. 
    • CanExport SMEs Program (Website). Founded in 2016, the CanExport SMEs program has changed to support eligible small businesses with up to $75,00 to help develop and expand their e-commerce presence, attend virtual trade shows and navigate new COVID-19 related trade barriers. Businesses can apply here.
    • Deferred income tax (website). The CRA further extended the payment due date for 2019 individual tax returns and 2019 or 2020 corporation, or trust returns, as well as for instalment payments, from September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020.
    • Deferred tax arrears interest (website). The CRA waived arrears interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporation, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020, for GST/HST returns.
    • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) (website). The Government of Canada has provided additional support for small and medium-sized businesses experiencing financial hardship. This support is distributed by Canada’s regional development agencies, including $110 million allocated to Atlantic Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Atlantic Association of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs). To be eligible, businesses must have applied for other federal relief measures and were not been able to secure funds, or have accessed relief measures and continue to experience hardship. RRRF contributions are repayable as of January 1, 2023. Additional details, as well as an online application, can be accessed via the program website.

    Halifax Partnership Resources

    • Halifax Partnership’s Program Assessment Tool (website). The Halifax Partnership has created an easy-to-use Program Assessment Tool that helps you navigate the funding and support programs available to your business and employees. The tool can assist you in determining which programs you are eligible for and provides guidance on how to access them.
    • Virtual Advisor Program (website). This free program, offered in partnership with BoomersPlus.com, will match 25 qualified companies with an advisor to help them manage and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Businesses can apply through the Partnership’s website.
    • Connector Program (website). This program provides businesses access to a pool of individuals looking for employment, while also matching employers to people looking for work in their sector. An online portal for both businesses and workers has been developed and can be found on the Partnership’s website.
    If you have questions about the available programs and the best solution to meet your unique needs, please reach out to us at 902-492-6500. You can also send us a message using our online submission form and we will respond to you within 24 hours.
     

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