The federal government’s new Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program, a COVID-19 relief measure designed to help businesses operating in hard-hit sectors such as hospitality and tourism, is now accepting applications.
The program provides loans—fully guaranteed by the Business Development Bank of Canada—of between $25,000 and $1 million to qualifying businesses. Loans of as much as $6.25 million are also available to organizations with several legal entities, such as a restaurant chain with multiple locations. Businesses that qualify under the program are permitted to use the funds to finance a wide range of day-to-day operating expenses. Loan applications are being processed through major financial institutions.
To qualify, businesses must:
- Be based in Canada
- Have received payments under the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy or Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Have been financially viable prior to the COVID-19 crisis
- Be able to demonstrate a minimum 50 per cent decline in revenue over three months (thought not necessarily consecutively) within the eight-month period prior to making their Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program application
- Use the funds to maintain or resume operations
- Not use the funds to pay or refinance existing loans
Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program loans are not only designed to deliver much-needed liquidity to struggling businesses, but Ottawa’s repayment terms are intended to provide financial flexibility to organizations that may take years to recover from the current economic downturn. Case in point: Qualifying applicants will have up to 10 years to repay loans, with a postponement on principal repayments of as long as 12 months at the start of the loan.
Interest rates are to be set at 4 per cent.
Canadian businesses are being advised to contact their primary financial institution for more information and additional application details. Please note that companies are permitted to apply at one financial institution only.
The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program runs until June 30th, 2021.
If your organization requires assistance with this or any other COVID-19 relief benefit, please contact a member of our team.
Armando Iannuzzi, Co-Managing Partner