Financial supports for Indigenous businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak

Indigenous businesses (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) have access to the business support programs offered by the Government of Canada during COVID-19.


Visit innovation.canada.ca for a personalized list of business supports


Support Targeted towards Indigenous Businesses

Funding for small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and Aboriginal

Financial Institutions

• Small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses and Aboriginal Financial Institutions that finance these businesses can access

interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions

• Up to $40,000 will be available to small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses in the form of:

• An interest-free loan up to $30,000

• A non-repayable contribution up to $10,000

• Contact your Aboriginal Financial Institution to apply for support.


Indigenous tourism stimulus development fund

• The fund will provide $16 million in grants to Indigenous tourism operators.

• Contact the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada for more information.


Support Measures for community-owned First Nation, Inuit and Métis businesses

• $117 million will reach more community-owned businesses, and micro-businesses in First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities located in the provinces, that are not eligible for existing business support measures.

• The application process for these funds will be announced soon


Support available for all businesses, including Indigenous businesses

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

• The CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.

• Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans

• See a list of participating financial institutions on the CEBA page.

• The Government announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria that will soon allow businesses with total payroll below $20,000 to qualify, if they demonstrate having eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million in 2020.

This includes sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends.

• Small or medium-sized Indigenous businesses looking to apply for up to $40,000 in support must choose between CEBA or the AFI support program as both programs are for a similar purpose.


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

• 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses

• Employers of all sizes and across all sectors that have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in the following months are eligible.

• Indigenous-government-owned corporations that are carrying on a business, as well as partnerships where the partners are Indigenous governments and eligible employers, are eligible for the CEWS.

• Apply using your Canada Revenue Agency My Business Account or using the Web Forms application.


Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

• The RFFF is targeted towards businesses that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have

been unable to access existing support measures.

• Nearly $962 million will be provided through the RRRF

• Apply to the RRRF through your local Regional Development Agency


Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses

• The CECRA provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners who in turn will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

• Go to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance page for more information and to apply.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

• The CERB provides a taxable benefit of $500 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks to eligible workers and the self-employed who have stopped working related to COVID-19.

• Begin your application on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit page


Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF)

• $15 million available in non-repayable support for operating costs for businesses in the Territories.

• The NBRF provides short-term relief for operational costs in the form of non-repayable grants ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $100,000.Visit CanNor’s webpage to apply.


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Chiefs of Ontario

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