Co-ops Have Access to Government Support!

We recognize and understand that current times are uncertain and that COVID-19 has had a strong impact on everyone, particularly small businesses. Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) recently confirmed that co-operatives will be eligible for the same funding as other businesses from Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses, so long as they qualify for the small business deduction or if they are a non-profit organization or a charitable organization. The Response Plan provides support for both Canadian individuals as well as businesses; a few key highlights include:

  • Eliminating the payroll tax for three months by providing a 10% wage subsidy to small businesses;
  • Helping businesses with cash flow by deferring tax payments until August 31st;
  • Increasing credit available to farmers through Farm Credit Canada; and
  • 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.

Check out CMC’s newsletter which summarizes the Response Plan with a co-operative lens.


The Federal Government announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to help workers and businesses. CERB provides $2000 a month for up to 4 months for workers who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19. The CERB covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB also covers wage earners, contract workers, and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for EI. Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB.

Read the full news release.

Applying for EI?

The Canadian Government’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada page includes links to existing federal programs (ex. Employment Insurance, Work-Sharing Program) and information regarding temporary special measures that are being implemented in response to COVID-19.

The BCGEU has a handy How to Apply for EI in BC during COVID-19, a tidy summary of the steps listed on the Government of Canada’s website with the addition of estimated telephone wait times.


*this page will be continuously updated as more information is released. Please check back regularly.