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Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP): All You Need to Know

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The federal government has rolled out several financial relief programs to help businesses hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is one such program.

Under BCAP, several loan programs are available to businesses affected by the pandemic. Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) work with financial institutions to offer these loans.

Recently, the Business Credit Availability Program was extended till December 31, 2021, from an initial expiry date of June 30, 2021.

What loan programs are available under BCAP?

BCAP includes the following programs:

EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Under this program, EDC will guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans (of up to $6.25 million) that financial institutions offer to SMEs.

Please note that your business doesn’t need to have export sales to be eligible for this loan guarantee. However, eligibility is subject to additional requirements through approved financial institutions. The loan amount approved will be decided by your financial institution.

The loan must be used to fund business operating costs. It cannot be used to repay or refinance existing debt.

BDC Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises

This program provides commercial loans between $1 million and $12.5 million, which are co-financed by BDC and your primary financial institution.

This loan is to be used solely to meet operational cash flow needs. To be eligible, your business:

  • Must be directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Must have been financially stable and viable before the pandemic

Your primary financial institution may have further eligibility criteria.

BDC’s Mid-Market Financing Program

This program helps businesses affected directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the recent decline in oil and gas prices. It provides support to Canadian medium-sized businesses in all sectors, who need more credit than currently available under other BCAP programs.

The Mid-Market Financing Program will provide loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million each. BDC will provide 90% of the loan amount and your primary financial institution would support the remaining 10%.

You can use these funds to meet operational liquidity and cashflow needs.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Small businesses and not-for-profits can apply for an interest-free CEBA loan of up to $60,000 to cover expenses such as payroll, utilities, rent and property tax, insurance, or debt service.

Paying back the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 33% (up to $20,000).

If you applied for the loan prior to December 4, 2020, and received the $40,000 CEBA loan, you may apply for the CEBA expansion that provides an additional $20,000 of financing.

The AccordExpress Program

This program is for small businesses only and provides loans between $20,000 to $250,000 to SMEs affected by the pandemic. To be eligible for the AccordExpress Program:

  • You must have been in business and your business must be registered/incorporated for at least a year.
  • Your business should have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
  • You should have a business-only bank account.
  • Your business and each shareholder must have an average or a better credit profile and will provide personal guarantee.
  • Each shareholder has a unique e-mail address and a mobile telephone number (for e-signature of documents).

The loan can be used to cover business operating expenses, including rent, inventory purchases, scheduled debt servicing payments, etc. For more details, please refer to the AccordExpress website.

Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you may need. See how we have helped other small and medium businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.