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The impact of Covid-19 on the global insurance industry – Canada

Monday 11 July 2022

Donna Spagnolo
Borden Ladner Gervais, Canada
dspagnolo@blg.com

Ross McGowan 

Borden Ladner Gervais, Canada

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​rmcgowan@blg.com 

Sarah Makson 

Borden Ladner Gervais, Canada

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​smakson@blg.com 

Eni Azisllari 

Borden Ladner Gervais, Canada

Canada

General questions

Yes/

No/

N/A

Additional comments, if any.

1

Does the country that you are reporting on follow common law jurisprudence?

Canada’s legal system is based on English common law, applied in nine provinces and three territories; and French civil law, applied in the province of Quebec. Both legal systems are subject to the Constitution of Canada.

2

If the answer to the above question is no, does the country you are reporting on follow a civil code? Please describe the judicial system in short.

Canada is a federal system with powers divided by its constitution between the federal government and Canada’s ten provinces. Most of Canada’s legal system is based on English common law principles, applied in nine provinces and three territories; civil law, based on a French tradition, is applied in the province of Quebec. Both legal systems are subject to the Constitution of Canada, with the Supreme Court of Canada being the highest appellate court for all Canadian jurisdictions.

3

Please provide a brief description of the legal framework applicable to insurance coverage disputes in the country you are reporting on. In so doing, please consider the following questions:

Claims can be made by the insured, against the insurer, seeking a declaration of cover. These claims are typically heard by the provincial superior trial courts (or provincial small claims courts within claims limits). Claims are brought as an action in those courts to seek a declaration of coverage and payout by the insurer to the insured of the amounts due under the policy. Insurers are also susceptible to claims for bad faith denial of cover. Therefore, insurers must apply their duty of utmost good faith in their review of all claims for coverage.

4

Does the insured bear the burden of establishing coverage of a claim, or does the insurer bear the burden of establishing no coverage? Please give a short description of the legal basis in your country.

The party asserting cover (the insured) always bears the burden of proof to bring the events within cover. The standard of proof required is the civil standard of ‘on a balance of probabilities’ regardless of the nature of cover asserted. This is based in the common law.

5

Are coverage provisions in policies interpreted broadly or is there a presumption in favour of coverage? Please give a short description of the legal basis in your country.

Policies are interpreted broadly in favour of cover. Contractual interpretation principles are applied such that in the event of ambiguity, the ambiguity is resolved in favour of finding cover.

6

Are exclusions interpreted narrowly or is there a presumption against finding that an exclusion to coverage applies? Please give a short description of the legal basis in your country.

Exclusions are interpreted narrowly. If an insured identifies facts that establish prima facie cover, then the onus shifts to the insurer seeking to exclude cover, to establish facts that fall squarely within the exclusion.

7

Are there universally accepted definitions for:

  • event
  • occurrence
  • damage
  • cause
  • originating cause
  • natural peril
  • force majeure
  • loss
  • consequential loss

If the answer is yes, please give a short description of each definition and the legal basis for that definition (ie, a rule of law, case law etc).

No

There are no universally prescribed definitions for these words in Canada. They also have not been defined in federal or provincial statues and regulations, or in the guidelines of federal and provincial insurance regulators. In the first instance, specific words used in a policy will be interpreted based on the express contractual definition prescribed by that specific policy. If not expressly defined by the policy, then parties may refer to interpretative assistance for specific words and phrases insofar as courts have judicially considered such in a similar context. For example:

force majeure

Federally (Supreme Court of Canada): ‘An act of God clause or force majeure clause [...] generally operates to discharge a contracting party when a supervening, sometimes supernatural, event, beyond the control of either party, makes performance impossible. The common thread is that of the unexpected, something beyond reasonable human foresight and skill.’

loss

Federally (Supreme Court of Canada): ‘In the context of a life insurance policy, the term “loss” refers to the death of the insured.’

consequential loss

British Columbia: In the law of contracts, the term ‘consequential loss’ denotes ‘that loss which is special to the circumstances of the particular Plaintiff. In contract, the normal loss can generally be stated as the market value of the property, money or services that the Plaintiff should have received under the contract less either the market value of what he does receive or the market value of what he would have transferred but for the breach. Consequential losses are anything beyond this normal measure, such as profits lost or expenses incurred through the breach, and are recoverable if not too remote’.

damage

Ontario: The word ‘damage’ in R 25(1)(h) of O Reg 106/75 is equivalent to the word ‘loss’ or ‘detriment’ or ‘injury’ or ‘harm’, as opposed to the word ‘damages’ meaning ‘recompense’ or ‘compensation’.

occurrence

Alberta: The term ‘occurrence’ in a general liability insurance policy means ‘accident’. Accident has been judicially defined as ‘denoting an unlooked-for mishap or untoward event which is not expected or designed’.

Loss causation

Yes/

No/

N/A

Additional comments, if any.

8

Did the country that you are reporting about issue lockdown, stay-at-home or no-travel restrictions in response to Covid-19?

Yes

9

If the answer to the question above is yes, were such orders issued nationally, by state/region or by local city/town. Please give a short description of the issuing authority and the orders issued.

Travel restrictions were issued both nationally (ie, international border closures) and by province (eg, the Quebec-Ontario border was closed on 19 April 2021.).

Lockdown and stay-at-home orders were issued by the provincial governments but may have varied by municipality or region within each province depending on the severity of the situation.

Orders issued included border closures, halting non-essential travel, quarantine requirements, phased lockdowns (ie, from stringent to more relaxed) and stay-at-home orders. The province of Quebec also issued a curfew.

10

If the answer to the above question is yes, were the lockdown, stay-at-home or no-travel restrictions mandatory or recommended?

Public health orders were generally mandatory, but varied across Canada’s provincial jurisdictions issuing the order or directive. Directives (less than an order) varied by date and circumstances, such that some directives in some locales were truly ‘recommendations to stay at home, subject to permutations to permit limited travel, all subject to exceptions’. For example, after May 2020, British Columbia’s approach did not rely heavily on ‘lockdowns and no travel orders’ and no curfews were ever imposed. Instead, British Columbia mostly applied targeted directions on travel and capacity limits on venues that changed frequently in response to changing conditions of the pandemic.

11

If the country that you are reporting about did issue lockdown, stay-at-home or no-travel restrictions, were those orders suspended or revoked at any point in time? If the answer is yes, please give a short description of the timeline.

Yes

Restrictions began in March 2020 but varied widely by province and within each province by region. The restrictions were imposed with time limits that were sometimes extended. Generally, reopening measures came about in ‘stages’, with a ‘stage’ indicating the types of businesses and activities that were open or restricted. Stay-at-home orders did not ban going for walks, or otherwise leaving your home, but some parks were often closed at these times.

A broad example of the timeline in Toronto:

Ontario initially closed some businesses, including libraries, schools, day care centres, theatres, restaurants on 17 March 2020, with further restrictions announced throughout March and early April 2020. Reopening plans were announced on 4 May 2020, with different parts of Ontario in different stages of reopening over the next months. In late November Toronto moved back into lockdown measures, with a stay at home order going into effect in mid-January. The stay at home order was lifted for Toronto in early March 2021. Over the next months and into 2022, regions went into and out of various ‘stages’ of reopening, with stay-at-home orders instituted and removed, as case numbers increased and fell.

12

If the answer to the above question is yes, were subsequent lockdown, stay-at-home or no-travel restrictions issued at any point in time? Please give a short description of the timeline.

Yes

Yes. Please see above explanation which indicates that lockdown or stay-at-home orders would lapse and be reinstated as case numbers increased and fell.

13

Has the country that you are reporting about issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is a ‘cause’ of insured loss?

No

14

Has the highest court in the country you are reporting about issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is a ‘cause’ of insured loss? If the answer is yes, please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

No

15

If the answer to the question above is yes, did the highest court in the country you are reporting about determine that losses related to Covid-19 were ‘caused’ by the virus? Please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

16

If the answer to the above question is no, did the highest court in the country you are reporting about determine that losses related to Covid-19 were ‘caused’ by government lockdown or stay-at-home orders? Please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

No

17

Has the country that you are reporting about issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is an ‘originating cause’ of insured loss? If the answer is yes, please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

No

18

If the highest court in the country you are reporting about has not issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is a ‘cause’ of insured loss, have other courts in the country issued such opinions?

Yes

In Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board v 231846 Ontario Limited, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that that there was a force majeure event which prevented the parties from performing their obligations pursuant to the contract, however the triggering event was deemed to be the government lockdowns, not Covid-19 itself (2021 ONSC 3040).

The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed two appeals and upheld the trial judge’s rulings in relation to class actions commenced by dentists against various insurers. The basis for dismissing the appeals was that business interruption coverage was only available where losses resulted directly from an occurrence that caused direct physical damage to the insured property.

In Centre de santé dentaire Gendron Delisle inc c La Personnelle, assurances générales inc 2021 QCCS 3463, the court granted the authorisation to commence a class action because there was a possible interpretation of the policy that the property damage was not required if damaged by a loss (ie, loss of income).

19

If the answer to the above question is yes, have courts in the country you are reporting on interpreted this issue consistently? In other words, is there uniformity in jurisprudence as to whether Covid-19 is a ‘cause’ of insured loss? Please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

No

Decisions seem to turn on the specific language, definitions and exclusions contained in each individual policy.

20

If the answer to the above question is yes, do courts in the country you are reporting about hold that losses related to Covid-19 were ‘caused’ by the virus? Please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

No

In Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board v 231846 Ontario Limited, the court held that the losses related to COVID-19 were caused by the government mandated lockdowns. Similarly, in Braebury Development Corporation v Gap (Canada) Inc (2021 ONSC 6210), the court noted that the force majeure clause was triggered by the Covid-19 restrictions.

21

If the answer to the above question is no, do courts in the country you are reporting about determine that losses related to Covid-19 were ‘caused’ by government lockdown or stay-at-home orders? Please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

Yes

In Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board v 231846 Ontario Limited, the court held that the losses related to Covid-19 were caused by the government mandated lockdowns. Similarly, in Braebury Development Corporation v Gap (Canada) Inc (2021 ONSC 6210) the court noted that the force majeure clause was triggered by the Covid-19 restrictions.

22

Has the highest court in the country you are reporting about issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is an ‘originating cause’ of insured loss?

No

23

If the highest court in the country you are reporting about has not issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is an ‘originating cause’ of insured loss, have other courts in the country issued such opinions. If yes, please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

No

24

Has the country that you are reporting about issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is a covered ‘event’?

No

25

Has the highest court in the country you are reporting about issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is a covered ‘event’? Please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

No

26

If the answer to the question above is yes, did the highest court in the country you are reporting about determine that losses related to Covid-19 were covered ‘events’? Please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

27

If the highest court in the country you are reporting about has not issued judicial opinions or guidance analysing whether Covid-19 is a covered ‘event’, have other courts in the country issued such opinions?

No

28

If the answer to the above question is yes, have courts in the country you are reporting on interpreted this issue consistently? In other words, is there uniformity in jurisprudence as to whether Covid-19 is a covered ‘event’? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

29

If the answer to the above question is yes, do courts in the country you are reporting about hold that losses related to Covid-19 are covered ‘events’? Please give a short description of the conclusions in the judicial opinions or guidance.

No

30

If the answer to any of the above questions regarding your country’s jurisprudence was no, please comment on whether there are any other official sources or authorities that have issued contributions to the interpretation of Covid-19 in the context of loss causation.

No other official sources or authorities have issued contributions to the interpretation of Covid-19 in the context of loss causation.

Aggregation of claims

Yes/

No/

N/A

Additional comments, if any.

31

Does the country you are reporting on permit aggregation of claims arising out of a single originating cause? Please give a short description of the legal basis.

Yes

If a single originating cause leads to coverage claims either under multiple policies or multiple terms of cover within a policy, the insured’s right to advance claims for coverage will be determined by the policy language for each applicable contract of insurance. Multiple claims for cover under a single policy can be aggregated in a cover declaration claim, all subject to the express policy language that may condition, limit or exclude such aggregation of claims. Canevada Country Communities Inc v GAN Canada Insurance Co, 1999 BCCA 339; and Wynward Insurance Group v MS Developments Inc, 2016 BCCA 513).

32

Does the country you are reporting on permit aggregation of claims arising out of a single cause? Please give a short description of the legal basis.

Yes

If a single cause leads to claims either under multiple policies or multiple terms of cover within a policy, the insured’s right to advance claims for coverage will be determined by the policy language for each applicable contract of insurance. Multiple claims for cover under a single policy can be aggregated in a cover declaration claim, all subject to the express policy language that may condition, limit or exclude such aggregation of claims. Onex Corporation v American Home Assurance Company, 2014 ONSC 6918 (CanLII).

33

Does the country you are reporting on permit aggregation of claims arising out of a single event? Please give a short description of the legal basis.

Yes

If a single event leads to claims either under multiple policies or multiple terms of cover within a policy, the insured’s right to advance claims for coverage will be determined by the policy language for each applicable contract of insurance. Multiple claims for cover under a single policy can be aggregated in a cover declaration claim, all subject to the express policy language that may condition, limit or exclude such aggregation of claims. Onex Corporation v American Home Assurance Company, 2014 ONSC 6918 (CanLII).

34

Does the country you are reporting on use an accepted test for determining whether claims can be aggregated? For example, does the country you are reporting on apply to four unities test to determine whether aggregation is appropriate? Please give a short description of the legal basis.

No

35

Have courts in the country you are reporting on issued jurisprudence concerning whether insureds can aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the legal basis.

No

36

Has the highest court in the country you are reporting about issued judicial opinions or guidance concerning whether insureds can aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

No

37

If the answer to the question above is yes, did the highest court in the country you are reporting about determine whether insureds can aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

38

If the highest court in the country you are reporting on has not issued such jurisprudence, have other courts in the country you are reporting on interpreted this issue consistently? In other words, is there uniformity in jurisprudence as to whether insureds may aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

No

39

If the answer to the above question is yes, do courts in the country you are reporting about permit insureds to aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

40

Do the courts in the country you are reporting on permit an insured to aggregate claims related to multiple properties or business locations arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

Yes

In 202135 Ontario Inc, et al v Northbridge General Insurance (2021 ONSC 4299), the insured shut down seven day care centres for three months due to the pandemic. The insurer approved coverage in respect of the insured’s business income losses under the policy for CAD50,000 (approximately US$39,000) on the grounds that the policy did not state ‘each’ location meaning that the CAD50,000 limit of liability applies to all locations in aggregate. The insured sought a declaration that the maximum sum of CAD50,000 is payable for each of their seven locations, in the aggregate sum of CAD350,000, which was granted. The court held that the omission of the word ‘each’ created an ambiguity and the reasonable expectation of the parties was that the coverage was to be subject to a limit of liability calculated per location and not in the aggregate for one policy period. The court also noted that in the alternative, due to the ambiguity, the doctrine of contra proferentum would lead to the same result because the ambiguity would be resolved in favour of the plaintiff, rather than the party that drafted the contract.

41

Do the courts in the country you are reporting on permit an insured to aggregate claims related to multiple lockdown or stay-at-home orders arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

Not considered.

42

Have courts in the country you are reporting on issued jurisprudence concerning whether cedents can aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the legal basis.

No

43

If the answer to the above question is yes, have courts in the country you are reporting on interpreted this issue consistently? In other words, is there uniformity in jurisprudence as to whether cedents may aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

44

If the answer to the above question is yes, do courts in the country you are reporting about permit cedents to aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

45

If the answer to any of the above questions regarding your country’s jurisprudence was no, please comment on whether there are any other official sources or authorities that have issued contributions to the interpretation of Covid-19 and aggregating claims.

N/A

Property damage

Yes/

No/

N/A

Additional comments, if any.

46

Have courts in the country you are reporting on issued jurisprudence concerning whether losses arising from Covid-19 qualify as property damage losses? Please give a short description of the legal basis.

No

47

Has the highest court in the country you are reporting about issued judicial opinions or guidance concerning whether losses arising from Covid-19 qualify as property damage losses? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

No

48

If the answer to the question above is yes, did the highest court in the country you are reporting about determine whether losses arising from Covid-19 qualify as property damage losses? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

49

If the highest court in the country you are reporting on has not issued such jurisprudence, have other courts in the country you are reporting on interpreted this issue consistently? In other words, is there uniformity in jurisprudence as to whether losses arising from Covid-19 constitute property damage? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

No

Lower courts have not necessarily considered whether losses arising from Covid-19 constitute property damage, however three cases from the Superior Court of Quebec considered coverage for business interruptions. The cases were determined based on the specific policy wordings and facts of the case. There was no uniformity. In accordance with these cases and general principals of insurance/contract law, decisions will likely be case-specific and focused on the words of each respective insurance policy (Ledcor Construction Ltd v Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co, 2016 SCC 37, [2016] 2 S C R 23).

50

If the answer to the above question is yes, do courts in the country you are reporting about permit insureds to aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the conclusions in such judicial opinions or guidance.

N/A

No judicial opinions or guidance issued regarding aggregate claims arising out of Covid-19.

51

If the answer to any of the above questions regarding your country’s jurisprudence was no, please comment on whether there are any other official sources or authorities that have issued contributions to the interpretation of Covid-19 and property damage.

No

Exclusions

Yes/

No/

N/A

Additional comments, if any.

52

Has Covid-19 been deemed a ‘natural peril’ in the country you are reporting on? Please give a short description of the legal basis and relevant jurisprudence.

No

53

Has Covid-19 been deemed force majeure in the country you are reporting on? Please give a short description of the legal basis and relevant jurisprudence.

No

Canadian courts have consistently held that whether a force majeure clause is triggered depends on the interpretation of the particular clause. (Domtar Inc v Univar Canada Ltd, 2011 BCSC 1776, 98 B L R (4th) 316, at para 78. See also Atcor Ltd v Continental Energy Marketing Ltd (1996), 178 A R 372, at para 6).

In Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board v 231846 Ontario Limited, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that that there was a force majeure event which prevented the parties from performing their obligations pursuant to the contract, however the triggering event was not Covid-19 itself but rather the government lockdowns. (2021 ONSC 3040, see also Braebury Development Corporation v Gap (Canada) Inc 2021 ONSC 6210).

54

Is Covid-19 acknowledged as a notifiable disease in the country you are reporting on? Please give a short description of the legal basis and relevant jurisprudence.

Yes

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has developed a passive, population-based surveillance system to monitor Covid-19 activity in Canada. PHAC should be notified of any confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19. Provinces and Territories voluntarily report confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 to PHAC. The legal basis is International Health Regulations by the World Health Organization. (Management of Cases and Contacts of COVID-19 in Ontario (gov.on.ca) – see 4.1 Initial Case Reporting).

55

Is it common for insurance policies issued in the country you are reporting on to include a pandemic or virus exclusion? Please give a short description of the legal basis and common insurance practice.

No

Insurers have begun adding pandemic exclusions as a result of Covid-19 in order to avoid any ambiguity.

56

Have any courts in the country you are reporting on determined that a pandemic or virus exclusion is void as against public policy in the context of Covid-19? Please give a short description of the legal basis and relevant jurisprudence.

No

57

Have any courts in the country you are reporting on otherwise determined that a pandemic or virus exclusion is unenforceable in response to Covid-19? Please give a short description of the legal basis and relevant jurisprudence.

No

58

If the answer to any of the above questions regarding your country’s jurisprudence was no, please comment on whether there are any other official sources or authorities that have issued contributions to the interpretation of Covid-19 in the context of exclusions.

No

Regulatory oversight

Yes/

No/

N/A

Additional comments, if any.

59

Have insurance regulators in the country you are reporting on issued directives concerning coverage for claims arising out of Covid-19? Please describe the regulations that have been implemented.

No

60

Are regulators requiring or encouraging insurers to provide grace periods to insureds to make payments on premiums? If yes, please give a short description of the legal basis and relevant guidance.

Yes

Federally: On 9 April 2020, OFSI announced special capital treatment of payment deferrals granted due to Covid-19 for insurance premiums. OFSI announced on 31 August 2020 that these measures would be phased out.

Provincially: Provincial legislation of most provinces, provide that an insurer must set out the period of grace in the policy (this is not specifically related to Covid-19). Provincial regulators encouraged insurers to provide premium relief measures to consumers, particularly regarding auto insurance, and insurers did provide such relief.

Government action

Yes/

No/

NA

Additional comments, if any.

61

Has the government in the country you are reporting on implemented relief measures for losses sustained as a result of Covid-19?

Yes

62

If the answer to the above question is yes, are the relief measures available to both individuals and businesses?

There are relief measures available to both individuals and businesses.

63

Briefly describe the types of relief measures available to individuals and businesses.

Federally

Businesses

Avoiding layoffs, rehiring employees and creating new jobs

1. Jobs and growth fund

A CAD700m programme that supports regional job creation. This includes up to CAD70m dedicated to businesses created after January 2020. The fund will help businesses and organisations that:

  1. support the transition to a green economy;
  2. foster an inclusive recovery;
  3. enhance Canada’s competitiveness through digital adoption to improve productivity and manufacturing processes; and
  4. strengthen capacity in sectors critical to Canada’s recovery and growth.

2. Canada Recovery Hiring Program

A programme which provides a subsidy on eligible salary or wages to help hard-hit businesses recruit the workers they need to recover and expand as the economy reopens. Eligible employers can apply for support after each four-week period of the programme. Note: the government is proposing to extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until 7 May 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above ten per cent and to increase the subsidy rate to 50 per cent.

3. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

This provides support to eligible employers to cover part of their employees’ wages. The subsidy helps employers rehire workers, prevent further job losses and keep employees on the payroll during the pandemic.

4. Extending the Work-Sharing Program

This is a three-party agreement between employers, employees and Service Canada. The agreement helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in the normal level of business activity; and the decrease is beyond the employer’s control. The agreement provides income support to employees who agree to work a temporarily reduced working week in order to share the available work, while their employer recovers.

Financial support, loans and access to credit

5. Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

This provides a rent and mortgage subsidy for eligible expenses to qualifying businesses, charities and non-profits. Support is available directly to tenants and property owners.

6. Lockdown Support

Qualifying businesses and other organisations that have been significantly restricted by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority can receive an additional 25 per cent in rent support through the Lockdown Support.

7. Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)

This programme provides businesses heavily affected by Covid-19, access guaranteed, low-interest loans of CAD25,000 to CAD1m covering operational cash flow needs. HASCAP is available to businesses operating in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, restaurants and those which rely primarily on in-person services.

8. Loan Guarantee for SMEs

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80 per cent of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to CAD6.25m to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This financing support is to be used for operational expenses and is available to both exporting and non-exporting companies. This programme is available at various banks and credit unions.

9. Co-Lending Program for SMEs

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to CAD6.25m to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The programme offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenue. This programme is available at various banks and credit unions.

10. Mid-Market Financing Program

The programme will provide commercial loans ranging between CAD12.5m and CAD60m to medium-sized businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures. BDC anticipates that qualifying companies will have annual revenues in excess of approximately CAD100m.

11. Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program

The programme will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues of between CAD50m to CAD300m, to sustain operations during this uncertain period. EDC will continue to work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75 per cent of new operating credit and cash-flow loans – ranging in size from CAD16.75m to a maximum of CAD80m. These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors and businesses that sell their products or services in Canada.

12. Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

This facility provides bridging financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.

Self-employed individuals

13. Note: the same benefits that apply to individuals (see 2-5 under ‘Individuals’ below) are also available to self-employed individuals.

Indigenous businesses

14. Indigenous Community Business Fund

Non-repayable financial contributions to help support operating costs for First Nation, Inuit and Métis community or collectively owned businesses and microbusinesses whose revenues have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additional support to businesses by sector

15. Tourism

  1. Tourism Relief Fund
    This provides non-repayable contributions up to CAD100,000 or repayable contributions up to CAD500,000 to businesses to enhance or create new tourism experiences.

16. Aquaculture and fisheries

  1. Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund
    CAD62.5m of new assistance to the fish and seafood processing sector to help businesses add storage capacity for unsold product, comply with new health and safety measures for workers, support new manufacturing and automated technologies to improve productivity and quality of products, and adapt products to respond to changing requirements and new market demands.

17. Culture, heritage and sport

  1. Reopening Fund for Heritage Organizations
    Provides financial assistance for ongoing operating costs to heritage institutions that have felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as they reopen and safely welcome back visitors.
  2. Recovery Funding for Professional Art Presentation Organizations
    Provides CAD10m to not-for-profit organisations in the professional arts presentation sector that own or operate presentation venues
  3. Canada Media Fund Third-Language Allocation 2021–2022
    Available to independent television producers who have projects in a language other than English or French that are subject to a barter agreement with a Canadian broadcaster.
  4. Canada Music Fund
    For Canadian music artists, music industry professionals or not-for-profit organisations
  5. Explore and Create
    For artistic individuals, organisations, groups or collectives.
  6. Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music Sectors Fund
  7. The Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative
    A two-year, CAD200m national fund to help Canadian festivals survive and adapt to the pandemic. Eligible activities are recurring festivals and events with annual revenues exceeding CAD10m.
  8. Special Measures for Journalism 2021
    Providing short-term recovery funding to Canadian magazines and community newspapers to support organisations that continue to struggle due to the pandemic.
  9. Short-Term Compensation Fund
    An initiative to compensate independent production companies for the lack of insurance coverage for Covid-19-related filming interruptions and production shutdowns in the sector. The fund will make up to CAD50m available.

18. Energy

  1. Launching the Emissions Reduction Fund
    Up to CAD750m to create a new Emissions Reduction Fund to support workers and reduce emissions in Canada’s oil and gas sector, with a focus on methane. This fund will provide primarily repayable contributions to conventional and offshore oil and gas firms to support their investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of this amount, CAD75m will be allocated to the offshore sector.

19. Transport

  1. The Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI)
    Provides support over two years to eligible regional businesses and airports that directly contribute to regional air transport. The initiative will help ensure that regional air connectivity and services, which are critical to economic growth, are maintained and that regional routes are reconnected across the country.
  2. Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP)
    Close to CAD490m to support Canada’s larger airports with investments in critical infrastructure-related to safety, security or connectivity.

20. Aerospace

  1. Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative
    Provides CAD250m over three years to help the Canadian aerospace sector emerge from the pandemic and continue to compete on the global stage. Businesses operating in the aerospace industry, and the organisations that support them through supply chains, are eligible to apply for funding for projects that will: (1) help them green their operations and adopt environmentally sustainable practices; (2) improve productivity and strengthen commercialisation; and/or (3) strengthen integration into regional and global supply chains.

21. Infrastructure

  1. Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program
    This programme is being adapted by the government to respond to the impacts of Covid-19. The new Covid-19 Resilience stream, delivered through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, will provide added flexibility to fund quick-start, short-term projects that might not otherwise be eligible under the existing funding streams.

Individuals

1. Temporary changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) Program
For Canadians who need financial assistance.

2. Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
Provided support to eligible workers who were not employed or self-employed for reasons related to Covid-19 or had their income reduced by at least 50 per cent due to Covid-19 or were not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). This benefit ended on 23 October 2021.

3. Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit
This proposed benefit is not yet available. The benefit would provide CAD300 a week to eligible workers who are unable to work due to a temporary local lockdown anytime between 24 October 2021 and 7 May 2022. The government is also proposing that the benefit be available retroactively for the entire duration of government-imposed lockdowns.

4. Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CSRB)
The CSRB provides CAD500 a week for up to a maximum of four weeks for workers who: (1) are unable to work for at least 50 per cent of the week because they contracted Covid-19; (2) are self-isolated for reasons related to Covid-19; (3) have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to Covid-19. The government has proposed extending CRSB until 7 May 2022 and increasing the maximum duration of the benefit from four to six weeks.

5. Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
The CRCB provides CAD500 a week for up to 42 weeks per household for workers: (1) unable to work for at least 50 per cent of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to Covid-19; (2) because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of Covid-19.

6. Canada Workers Benefit
Provides a refundable tax credit to help people who are working and earning a low income. The benefit is available to those with incomes up to: (1) CAD32,244 as single Canadians, without children; (2) CAD42,197 as single-earner families; and (3) CAD56,197 as double-earner families. Low-income workers are also eligible for a tax refund of up to approximately: (1) CAD1,400 for workers who are single and without children; and (2) CAD2,400 for workers with families.

7. Student and Apprentice Loans
The government has waived the interest on the federal portion of the Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until 31 March 2023 for full-time and par-time students.

Provincially

Businesses

1. Alberta

  1. Edmonton Economic Recovery Grant
    Grants for individual businesses that need help to reopen or pivot business models because of Covid-19; and grants for business associations, organisations and economic development groups that are supporting business recovery and local economic development.

2. British Columbia

  1. N/A

3. Manitoba

  1. Manitoba Bridge Grant
    Provided a one-time grant of CAD5,000 to eligible Manitoba small and medium-sized businesses and organisations.
  2. Healthy Hire Manitoba Program
    Local employers can apply for up to CAD50,000 in provincial support to help cover the wages of new employees who can attest they have been vaccinated, intend to be vaccinated or are unable to be vaccinated. Eligible employers will receive a grant equivalent to 50 per cent of wages for a maximum of ten employees, with a maximum of CAD5,000 per employee. The wage support covers full pay periods for employees hired on or after 10 June 2021 with the last pay period ending 15 November 2021.
  3. Dine-in Restaurant Relief Program
    A programme designed to help offset the significant costs incurred by traditional eat-in restaurants which chose to shift to a food delivery model while under Critical (code red) restrictions of the RestartMB Pandemic Response System.
  4. Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy Program
    A recruitment programme designed to support Manitoba’s economic recovery by encouraging employers to bring back their employees or take on new staff. The programme covers 50 per cent of wage costs between 16 July and 31 December 2020 to a maximum of CAD5,000 per worker. Employers can be supported to recruit up to 20 employees.

4. New Brunswick

  1. Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program
    Small business owners affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can apply for working capital loans up to CAD100,000.
  2. Waiving Late Penalties on Property Taxes
    Late penalties for business property taxes due 31 May 2020 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to see if the penalty can be waived due to undue financial challenges.
  3. Injecting Working Capital for Mid-to-Large Employers
    Working capital in excess of CAD100,000, up to a maximum of CAD1m available.
  4. Community Investment Fund (CIF)
    This funding is available for small to medium-sized non-profits in the form of a grant between a minimum of CAD500 and up to a maximum of CAD10,000.

5. Newfoundland and Labrador

  1. N/A

6. Northwest Territories

  1. Business Development Project Fund
    BDPF Core: can be used to help fund expenses to start up or expand business and short-term projects that create employment. The maximum in any five-year period is CAD10,000 (CAD20,000 for businesses in level II communities). Only businesses with CAD500,000 or less in annual revenues are eligible to apply.
    BDF Aftercare: can provide businesses with contribution funding to purchase accounting software or services, succession planning and business training programmes. The lifetime maximum for BDPF Aftercare funding is CAD3,000 (CAD5,000 for businesses in level II communities).
    Aftercare COVID-19 Economic Relief: provides contribution funding to support new and existing employment with Northwest Territories (NWT) businesses able to redeploy or reposition staff to adapt to changing needs. It can also help businesses in their efforts to create new revenue streams and reduce fixed overheads. In addition, this funding can support businesses with planning and/or financial training related to improving business sustainability. The maximum for BDPF Aftercare Relief is CAD2,500 (CAD3,500 for businesses in Level 2 communities).
  2. Pandemic Relief Extension Program (PREP)
    Provides support to licensed tourism operators affected by the economic disruptions associated with Covid-19 through short-term relief for operational costs.
  3. Supplement for Tourism Accommodation Relief (STAR) Program
    Provides funding relief to accommodation providers offering three or more rooms in NWT who have been and/or are being negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  4. Tourism Restart Investment Program (TRIP)
    A one-time funding programme to help restart the tourism industry in the NWT and to assist tourism operators and tourism-related businesses affected by the travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  5. Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED)
    Provides a short-term buffer for businesses to assist with operational costs.

7. Nova Scotia

  1. Agriculture Response Program
    Helps Nova Scotia’s agriculture industry mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry’s competitiveness, productivity and profitability.
  2. Paid Sick Leave Program
    Reimbursement to employers for an employee’s pay when an employee needs to take time off.
  3. Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
    Credit unions can provide financing up to CAD500,000 in the form of term loans, working capital and lines of credit. No other financing programmes provide access to working capital or credit to individuals who would like to start or purchase a small business and/or expand an existing business.

8. Nunavut

  1. Small Business Support Program
    Provides contributions to small and medium-sized businesses for pre-planning, planning, start-up, staff development and market development that may be seen as ‘incentives’ to investor participation with Nunavut businesses.
  2. Nunavut Business Credit Corporation (NBCC)
    Provides up to CAD1m in debt financing to small and medium-sized businesses through such instruments as loans, loan guarantees, bid security and investment placement.
  3. Strategic Investments Program
    Nunavut Equity Investment Fund - purpose of the programme is to encourage private investment in strategic growth sectors by providing contributions toward new or expanding Nunavut businesses.

9. Ontario

  1. COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB)
    Assists with utility bills.
  2. Employer Health Tax Relief
    Increases the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption from CAD490,000 to CAD1m starting in 2020.
  3. Ontario Together Fund
    Supports innovations that assist with producing supplies or equipment, or providing critical public services, during the Covid-19 pandemic

10. Prince Edward Island

  1. COVID-19 Special Leave
    The programme will reimburse employers and/or a self-employed person without a paid sick leave programme for sick time of an employee who missed less than 50 per cent of scheduled time in a one-week period as a result of Covid-19.
  2. Small Business Investment Grant
    Helps Prince Edward Island’s small businesses improve efficiency and innovation by way of a non-repayable financial contribution toward eligible capital asset costs.
  3. Emergency Working Capital Financing
    Eligible applicants can apply to receive a working capital loan of up to CAD100,000 with a fixed interest rate of four per cent per annum to be used to assist with fixed operating costs (including payroll, rent, utilities etc) with principal and interest payments deferred for a minimum of 12 months.
  4. Emergency Relief – Worker Assistance Program
    Eligible employers may receive a maximum of CAD250 per week for each employed worker that experienced a reduction of at least eight hours per week during the four-week period 16 March to 11 April 2020.

11. Quebec

  1. Emergency Assistance for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
    Seeks to support, for a period no greater than six months, the working capital of SMEs to enable them to maintain, consolidate or revive their activities. The financial assistance addresses the need for the working capital required to maintain the operations of the business and is determined based on justified and reasonable expenses, as well as on a recovery plan showing good prospects of profitability in the medium term.
  2. Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE)
    Eligible businesses operating in Quebec can receive a minimum of CAD50,000 in emergency financing in the form of a loan or a loan guarantee.

12. Saskatchewan

  1. Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP)
    Provides a one-time grant for SMEs. Payments are based on 15 per cent of a business’s monthly sales revenue in either April 2019 or February 2020. The maximum payment is CAD5,000 per business.

13. Yukon

  1. Paid Sick Leave Rebate
    For employers and people who are self-employed. Provides up to ten days’ wages for workers if sick leave is due to Covid-19.
  2. Yukon Emergency Relief Program
    Supports Yukon businesses and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) affected by the orders under the Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA). This programme provides funding to businesses for eligible fixed costs; and NGOs for the non-recoverable costs of an event they cancelled or significantly changed to comply with health and safety measures.

Individuals

1. Alberta

a. Emergency Needs Allowance/Income Support

2. British Columbia

a. COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave
Workers can take three days of paid sick leave and the Province will reimburse up to CAD200 a day.

b. Rent increase freeze
until 31 December 2021.

c. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia Payment Deferral
Residential and commercial customers currently on a monthly autoplan payment can defer payments for up to 90 days without penalty.

3. Manitoba

  1. Pandemic Sick Leave Program
    Provides employers with up to CAD600 per employee for up to five full days of Covid-19 related sick leave, which do not have to be taken consecutively.
  2. Caregiver Wage Support Program (CWSP)

4. New Brunswick

  1. N/A

5. Newfoundland and Labrador

  1. Increased student loan weekly limit
    This was increased for the 202-2021 academic year from CAD40 to CAD100
  2. Provincial Income Support

6. Northwest Territories

  1. Access Housing and Rent Support
    Provides a Portable Housing Benefit to assist with rental costs, to a maximum of CAD800 per month. This territorially mandated benefit is available to eligible priority groups who are paying more than 30 per cent of their gross income towards rent. This benefit is not currently available to homeowners.
  2. Income Assistance Program
    Provides Financial Assistance to NWT residents to help meet basic and enhanced needs. The programme provides a set amount, based on the size of family and community, for food, community cost adjustment, clothing, and furnishings. The programme provides assistance with shelter and utilities, based on actual amounts.
  3. Seniors Home Heating Subsidy
    Provides financial assistance to low-to-modest income senior citizens to help with the cost of heating their homes.
  4. NWT Senior Citizen Supplementary Benefit
    Provides financial assistance to help low income NWT seniors citizens to pay for living costs.
  5. NWT Child Benefit
    Provides low-to-modest income families with monthly cash payments to assist with the costs of raising children. The NWT Child Benefit is a non-taxable benefit that is based on the number and ages of children in a family, as well as your family net income declared in the previous year’s income tax return.
  6. Student Financial Assistance
    Financial assistance to eligible NWT residents to assist with post-secondary education-related expenses.

7. Nova Scotia

  1. Rent Protection
    Two per cent cap on rental increases for existing tenants and a ban on renovictions is in place until 1 February 2022 or until the state of emergency is lifted (whichever happens first). Protections include: rent cannot increase by more than two per cent for existing tenants, rent cap is retroactive to 1 September 2020, and landlords are not able to get an eviction order for renovations.
  2. Salvation Army Nova Scotia COVID Relief Fund
    Helps Nova Scotians who have lost income during the pandemic pay their home heating or electricity bills. Each household may be eligible for up to CAD400.

8. Nunavut

  1. N/A

9. Ontario

  1. Interest Rate and Fee Cap on Payday Loans
    As of 20 August 2020, the interest that lenders can charge on payday loans in default will be limited to a maximum interest rate of 2.5 per cent per month (non-compounded) on the outstanding principal. This will provide relief to borrowers who are unable to repay their loans on time.
  2. COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)
    A programme to reduce electricity bill.
  3. Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
    Low-income customers who are in arrears and may be facing disconnection can get direct support to pay bills and ensure electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected.
  4. Rent Freeze
    The government passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. This means that rents will not increase in 2021 for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.

10. Prince Edward Island

  1. COVID-19 Income Support Fund
    Provides financial support to residents of Prince Edward Island to bridge the gap between job loss, loss of their primary source of income, expired Employment Insurance benefits, or loss of all revenues through self-employment as a result of Covid-19.

11. Quebec

  1. N/A

12. Saskatchewan

  1. N/A

13. Yukon

  1. N/A