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Strategies to help businesses respond to COVID-19

The economic consequences of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be substantial for Canadian businesses, and the government has announced various temporary finance options that could help you manage cash flow and support your staff. We have compiled a summary of certain measures you should be aware of, to help manage these financial headwinds.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the details of a $1 billion response fund to respond to the impact of COVID-19. Some of which include:

  • $500 million for the provinces and territories, including money for buying medical equipment such as face masks
  • $275 million for research and countermeasures, such as vaccine development and clinical trials
  • $50 million for an immediate public health response
  • $5 million for employment insurance sickness benefits, waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for employment insurance to become available
  • Introducing special measures under the work sharing program to help employers experiencing a business downturn due to COVID-19

As social distancing continues to affect customer demand, as well as supply chains, businesses across Canada are worried about the impact of the coronavirus on their operations and on staff who are off work due to illness. Businesses in the travel, tourism and services industries are the worst affected—particularly small and medium-size businesses, as they typically operate on tighter margins.

As you formulate your business response, it’s important to prepare for a range of potential outcomes. Here are some key focus areas to consider:


  • Have you put measures in place to support hygiene and health for your employees, including restrictions to international travel and advice on attending client meetings, site visits and events?
  • Do you have a clearly communicated policy on what your staff should do if they are feeling unwell?
  • Have you measured the impact if you suspect a case of COVID-19 in your workplace?
  • Can your team work remotely? Do you need to change your working policies to accommodate remote work?

Customers and suppliers

  • Have you considered the consequences for your supply chain from the COVID-19 outbreak? Making sure you have financial support available is crucial to navigate any changes to your customers and supply chain.
  • Do you need to inform your clients and customers of any changes to your services? These include opening times and delays in deliveries or deadlines.
  • Do you have plans in place to ensure regular and clear communication to clients about your policies and updates on services? Are you working closely with your suppliers to help ensure that you can operate as close to “business as usual” as possible?
  • With international travel and exports impacted by COVID-19, have you assessed the strength of your supply chain? Do you have alternatives in place if you need to source another provider?


  • Does your insurance coverage protect you against losses from natural disasters?
  • Could a successful claim be made against you under a business interruption or event cancellation policy?
  • Do you need assistance in quantifying the financial impact of a disruption?

Cash flow and financing

  • Will changes and delays to your service impact your cash flow? Do you need to have discussions with clients or suppliers about renegotiating terms?
  • Do you need to speak to your financial institution about additional funding and operational covenants for the next few months?
  • What will your cash flow look like in six months’ time? Have you implemented stress tests for each potential outcome?

We're here to help

We understand that you want to be agile and responsive as the situation unfolds. Having access to experts, insights and accurate information as quickly as possible is critical—but your resources may be stretched at this time.

We’re here to support you as you navigate through the impacts of coronavirus on your business and your investments.

The information and comments herein are for the general information of the reader and are not intended as advice or opinion to be relied upon in relation to any particular circumstances.  For particular application, the reader should seek professional advice.