COVID-19 Resources & Support

Women’s Enterprise Centre is focused on supporting women-owned businesses through this crisis so that when it is over you can get back to business as usual. We are keeping our eye on the situation and may provide other offerings in future to address needs as they emerge.

We’re here for you!

We know this situation is fluid, and is changing on a daily basis. We’d like to encourage any of our clients to utilize our complimentary Business Advisory Services if you need an understanding person to talk to about your particular situation.

Please see below for some concessions we’re making for loan clients and some helpful resources for business owners and employers.

We will keep this page updated with the latest information.

Click here to view WEC loan and service updates
FREE WEBINAR | Women Entrepreneurs: Strength in Numbers

Next session Thursday, April 2 at 2pm PT

We’re hosting regular sessions to provide updates on the supports that are available to women entrepreneurs. Our Business Advisors will share some resources and solutions, and answer your questions so you feel more empowered through this difficult period.

Join Us

Updates

  • Updates from the BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Wondering which programs to access where? Check out this table of Government Support Programs for Small Business and Where to Access Them, from Viatec
  • Apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) with CRA
  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Service Canada: Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Economic measures to support small businesses: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses

    [Updated March 27 with new measures] Measures the Government of Canada is taking to support businesses include:
    • 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month
      • New details as of March 30: If business revenues have decreased by at least 30%, companies can be eligible for up to a 75% wage subsidy on the first $58,700 (up to $847 a week) per employee, and applies to companies of all sizes as well as non-profit organizations and charities. See more info on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy >>
    • Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports.
    • Helping businesses with cash flow by deferring tax payments until August 31st;
    • Increasing credit available to farmers through Farm Credit Canada;
    • Introducing a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks for self-employed people who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits.
    • Launching the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
    • Launching the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.
      (Summary from Global Affairs Canada)

Where to Start

(From Global Affairs Canada)

  1. Visit this website for businesses for information about supporting your employees and your business. It will be constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.
  2. Download the Canada Business App to find tailored supports to address your specific needs and questions about COVID-19.
  3. Consult the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare you business in the days and weeks to come.
  4. Contact your bank. Canada’s banks have made a commitment to support businesses and individuals through these difficult times in a responsible, fair, and compassionate way. To help provide some stability for businesses through this time of uncertainty, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer requirement, releasing more than $300 billion of additional lending capacity for Canadian financial institutions.

Resources from Women’s Enterprise Centre

Webinar recordings

Resources

More Resources for Small Businesses


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Upcoming Events › COVID-19 Support

April 2020

Navigating COVID-19: Contract Performance

April 6 @ 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Take a look at contract performance because many companies are or will be dealing with difficult questions around the performance of contracts during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether a business is concerned that it will not be able to perform its obligations under an existing agreement or is expecting one of its counterparties to fail to perform, there are certain steps all companies should take to be in a position to fully assess their rights and evaluate the options…

Find out more »
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Options for WEC Loan Clients

Options for WEC Loan Clients

We know the measures being implemented by the federal government to stop the spread of COVID-19 are having a serious impact on some small business owners, as people are self-isolating and avoiding gathering places. To support our loan clients during this period of uncertainty, Women’s Enterprise Centre is making the following concessions available, upon request and demonstration of need:

1) Existing loan clients

You will have two options to help free up working capital for the months of April, May and June.

  • Option 1: Existing loan clients may request a 3-month principal payment ‘holiday.’ With this option, we will defer your monthly principal payments in April, May and June. Those deferred principal payments can be made up anytime during the remaining term of the loan.*
  • Option 2: We will forgive the interest payable on your loan for the months of April, May and June. As of July 1st, interest will again start accruing at the rate specified in your Loan Agreement.*
  • Option 3: You may defer monthly principal payments, AND have the interest forgiven for the months of April, May and June (i.e. both Options 1 & 2).*

*As of July 2020, regular monthly principal and interest payments will resume.

2) New loan clients

You may take advantage of a 6-month period between the time your loan is approved and when the funds must be drawn down. This additional flexibility will allow new loan clients the time to decide whether to continue with their original plans for their business. If there are extenuating circumstances, we are able to discuss lengthening this draw-down period for new loan clients.

Please contact our Loan Portfolio Officer if you would like to take advantage of these options.

Other Service Delivery Updates

The health and safety of our staff, clients, partners and friends is of utmost importance, so we’re doing our part to limit non-essential travel and practice social distancing by modifying how we deliver our services over the coming weeks.

Skills Training Workshops

Until further notice, all upcoming WEC-hosted training events are being delivered by webinar or rescheduled. View upcoming webinars >>

One-to-One Mentoring, Peer Mentoring Groups and Taking the Stage®

Current and planned Peer Mentoring and Taking the Stage® (TTS) groups may choose to meet via Zoom or postpone their sessions. If you’ve registered for a Peer Mentoring or TTS group, your facilitator will be in touch so the group may decide which option works best.

We ask that One-to-One Mentoring pairs temporarily suspend in-person meetings, and meet remotely via phone or Zoom instead. We are happy to support you with setting up Zoom.

Meetings and Business Advisory Appointments

We’re here to support women entrepreneurs! If you’d like to speak with a Business Advisor about your situation, please call us at 1.800.643.7014 or fill out this online form and we will be in touch to schedule a phone call or Zoom meeting

If you already had an in-person appointment booked, your Business Advisor will be in touch to provide details to connect via Zoom.

Events

We’re doing our best to keep our online training and event calendar up-to-date with changes to events hosted by our partners, yet we encourage you to check with the event organizers directly if you have any questions about the status of an event.

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