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FinanceOctober 29, 2020by Supriya Sharma

COVID-19: The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund

*Please note that the Canada United Program is currently closed and is no longer accepting new applications.

Along with significant upsets with daytoday operations, the current pandemic has incurred other financial challenges. Resuming work safely now requires daily use of protective equipment such as face masks, gloves and sanitizers. Many businesses have also had to modify their office spaces to observe social distancing.  

Several small businesses have managed to survive the past few months by switching to e-commerce. This, too, calls for additional spending to design and develop a business website. Or buy software to be able to hold webinars for customers.      

If you are a small business struggling to cover such costs, you can apply to the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund 

What is the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund?  

This program provides eligible Canadian businesses across different sectors and industries with grants of up to $5,000. 

What purchases are eligible for reimbursement under this program? 

Successful applicants will be reimbursed expenses incurred due to COVID-19 under the following three categories:   

  • Buying personal protective equipment: Items such as gloves, face masks, sanitizers, disinfectant chemicals, no touch thermometers, etc.  
  • Renovation of office premises for safe reopening: These include purchase of physical barriers, floor signs, sanitizing stations, etc.   
  • Developing digital or e-commerce capability: These include hardware for touchless payments, webinar software, expenses incurred in creating or designing a business website, etc.  

These purchases should not have been made before March 15, 2020. The expenses must be additional and due to modifying operations for COVID-19 safety guidelines. For more details, read the application guidelines.  

How do I know if I am eligible? 

Small businesses registered in Canada that make between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales and have up to 75 employees are eligible to apply for this program.   

If you have been receiving other COVID-19 related government funding, you can still apply to this program. But those previous funds should not have been used to buy items or services included in your Canada United Fund application.  

Please note that you can only apply once to the program.   

What expenses do not qualify for reimbursement? 

Regular business expenses, such as listed below, do not qualify for reimbursement:  

  • General cleaning services  
  • Staff salaries  
  • Renovations not required for social distancing  
  • Office furniture  
  • Laptops, headphones, printers, etc. 
  • Existing operating costs  
  • Social media advertising, posts, marketing, etc.  
  • Taxes  
  • Consulting fees  
  • Business plans/strategic plans, etc.  
  • Inventory costs  
  • Third party delivery transaction fees  
  • Items purchased for resale  
  • Recurring subscription fees/services implemented pre-COVID-19
When and where can I apply? 

Applications to the program opened on October 26, 2020. Eligible small businesses can apply online through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.  

Need support navigating business issues related to COVID-19? 

To get advice on how to maintain your business during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.