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Emerging Wisely - Information For Businesses

Emerging Wisely is the GNWT's phased approach to safety ease restrictions.

We are currently in Phase 2.

For more information on Emerging Wisely, visit the GNWT's website here.

Read the Emerging Wisely plan here.

To find out which businesses and activities can open, view the Emerging Wisely Risk Assessment Sheet here.

Phase 2 Highlights For Businesses Include:

  •  Indoor gatherings of 25 people or less are permitted. Communal food/drink not permitted.
  • Outdoor gatherings of 50 or less are permitted.
  • Outdoor tourism operators can accommodate 50 or less people, and 25 or less inside of a vehicle.
  • Movie theatres may accommodate 25 customers per theatre
  • Dine in restaurants may seat 25 customers plus staff
  • Dance floors and live music is prohibited
  • Offices may open to the public, restricted to 25 people per floor
  • Fitness classes are permitted. A WSCC risk assessment will determine class size.


Businesses can apply for exemptions to the Public Health Orders, which could include increasing maximum capacity.

For detailed information on applying for an exemption, visit the GNWT's website here.

For detailed information on the criteria and process, click here.

To apply for an exemption: complete the Application to Vary from Public Health Order Requirements Form here and submit it to

Essential Workers

 Essential workers have different public health restrictions when entering the NWT.

Access information for supply chain workers, flight crew and airline employees here.

Access information for essential service workers, non-remote infrastructure workers and support workers here.

Access information for essential workers living with individuals self-isolating here.

Access information for mining and oil and gas industry employees here.

Information Summaries For Businesses (One-Pagers)

For information on how to handle an exposure risk at your business, click here.

For information related to Food and Beverage establishments, click here.

For information on Essential Service Workers, click here.

For information on Social Distancing for Essential Workers, click here.

For information on Supply Chain Workers, click here.

For information on Long Haul Truck Drivers, click here.

For information on Social Distancing Protocols For Remote Work Camps, click here.

Financial Support For Businesses - GNWT

For the GNWT's comprehensive website for COVID-19 information and resources, click here.

Download the GNWT's Fact Sheet on Economic Supports in response to COVID-19 here.

BDIC: Deferred Loan Payments

Clients (borrowers) of the Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) can apply to have their loan repayments reduced or deferred until March 31, 2021 without penalty or additional interest charges. Regular interest will still be charged.

Clients will need to make their request by the 24th of the month prior to which they want to start their deferral period. The last date for such requests will be Feb. 24, 2021. Businesses are automatically approved and not required to demonstrate financial hardship or impacts resulting from the Covid-19 crisis.

For more information and application instructions, visit:

BDIC: Working Capital Loans

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is offering low interest loans to NWT businesses through the NWT BDIC. Applications to this initiative can now be made at any time, and loans will be processed as they are received. 

Loans of up to $25,000 (or more if need is clearly addressed) are being made available to qualified businesses at a rate of 1.75%. Loans will be amortized for up to five years with options for payment deferment for 3 months upon request.

For more information and application instructions, visit:

NWT Wage Top-up Program

This program has been extended through February 28, 2021.

To support low-income workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the GNWT has implemented the Wage Top-up program that provides temporary financial assistance to NWT workers aged 15 or over and earning less than $18 per hour. This financial relief is a taxable benefit for the recipient.

The program is delivered to eligible employees through a partnership with businesses. 

For more information on this program, including application information, click here.

SEED Funding To Get Financials In Order

Up to $7,500 is available to businesses that need bookkeeping or financial statements to advance economic recovery or to apply for government funding.

A minimum equity requirement of 10% is required.

Applications will be considered retroactive to April 1, 2020 and the program will be available until March 31, 2021 or until the funding is spent.

View the January 13, 2021 press release here.

For application information, please click here.

Labour Market Recovery Program

Labour Market Recovery Wage Subsidy

The Labour Market Recovery Wage Subsidy is intended to support employers in recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing a wage subsidy to support the hiring and retention of staff.

The subsidy is available immediately and is retroactive from April 1, 2020.

To apply, contact the North Slave ECE office at: 867.767.9356

Labour Market Recovery Project Fund

The Labour Market Recovery Project Fund is intended to support employers, organizations and community partners looking to implement projects that will have an impact on the recovery of hte NWT labour market. Eligible projects could include:

  • Capacity building initiatives
  • Development of training programs
  • Employment creation
  • Industry transition support
  • Extension of service delivery
  • Initiatives to fill gaps in service or to help individuals find work

To apply, contact the North Slave ECE office at: 867.767.9356

Labour Market Community Support

Labour Market Community Support is funding which can be used to hire local residents to address pandemic-related needs and support labour market recovery. ECE will be connecting with all 33 communities to provide this funding.

Financial Support For Businesses - Government of Canada

For more information on Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and the supports available to individuals and businesses, please visit the Government of Canada's website here.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The CEWS is available until June 2021.

To be eligible to receive the wage subsidy, you must meet 3 criteria:

  1. Have had a CRA payroll account on March 15, 2020
  2. Be an employer who is not exempt from income tax
  3. Have a experienced a drop in revenue

Claim Periods & Benefits:

For periods 1 to 4, you must show that your eligible revenue dropped by a minimum amount to qualify for the subsidy. If you meet the minimum revenue drop, the subsidy calculation uses a fixed rate of 75% wage subsidy.

  • Period 1: March 15 to April 11, 2020
  • Period 2: April 12 to May 9, 2020
  • Period 3: May 10 to June 6, 2020
  • Period 4: June 7 to July 4, 2020

For periods 5 and later, there is no minimum revenue drop required to qualify for the subsidy. The rate your revenue has dropped is only used to calculate how much subsidy you will receive.

  • Period 5: July 5 to August 1, 2020
  • Period 6: August 2 to August 29, 2020
  • Period 7: August 30 to September 26, 2020

Beginning in period 8, the top-up rate and base rate are now calculated using the same one-month revenue drop. Use the new top-up calculation or the previous 3-month average drop, whichever works in your favor.

  • Period 8: September 27 to October 24, 2020
  • Period 9: October 25 to November 21, 2020
  • Period 10: November 22 to December 19, 2020
  • Period 11: December 20, 2020 to January 16, 2021

For more information on the CEWS program, click here.

For more information on the evolution of the CEWS program, click here.

To apply for the CEWS program, click here.

10% Temporary Wage Subsidy For Employers

A 3-month measure that allows employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions they need to remit to the CRA. This only applies to the federal, provincial, or territorial income tax portion of the remittance.

The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay from March 18 to June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 for each eligible employee. The maximum total is $25,000 for each eligible employer.

For more information on the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy, click here.

Employers that either claimed the TWS or claimed the CEWS and did not claim the TWS are required to complete and file the CRA's PD27 form.

You can find the PD27 form here.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
This program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). If the loan is not repaid by December 31, 2022, the remaining balance will be covered to a three-year term loan at 5% interest.

Businesses interested in seeking support through these programs should contact their current financial institution.

All applicants now have until March 31, 2021 to apply.

The CEBA program has been expanded to provide businesses and not-for-profits access to an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022.

For more information on CEBA expansion, check out the October 9, 2020 news release here.

For more information on CEBA, click here.

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises & Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Export Development Canada is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.

The size of your loan or line of credit is determined by your financial institution.

Business Development Canada is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow needs, including regularly scheduled principal and interest payments on existing debt.

Postpone principal payments for up to 12 months if you need additional breathing room.

These programs are available through financial institutions and support will be available until June 2021.

For more information on the Business Credit Availability (BCAP) Guarantee with Export Development Canada, click here.

For more information on the Co-Lending program with the Business Development Bank of Canada, click here.

Mid-Market Financing Program & Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program

The mid-market financing program will provide commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million to businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the BCAP program.

This program is for businesses with annual revenues in excess of about $100 million to $500 million, from any sector or industry.

This program is available until June 2021.

The Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues between $50 million and $300 million, to sustain operations during this uncertain period. Export Development Canada (EDC) will work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75% of new operating credit and cash-flow loans ranging from $16.75 million to a maximum of $80 million.

These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada.

For more information on the Mid-Market Financing Program, click here.

For more information on the Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program, click here.

CanNor's Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF)

The NBRF provides short term support, in the form of a non-repayable grant, for ongoing operational costs. Grants range from $2,500 to a maximum of $100,000, covering a maximum period of 4 months from April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

No new applications are currently being accepted. 

Update: CanNor will extend financial support beyond July 31, 2020 to current eligible recipients of the NBRF program. The funding extension is based on demonstrated need and would provide funding up to a maximum of $100,000 or up to March 31, 2021, whichever comes first.

This extended support is intended primarily for businesses in tourism, accommodations and food service, arts, entertainment/recreation, transportation and retail. Businesses in other sectors may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For more information on the NBRF program, click here.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Qualifying businesses, charities and non-profits who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, from September 27, 2020 until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

  • Period 1: September 27 to October 24
  • Period 2: October 25 to November 21
  • Period 3: November 22 to December 19
  • Period 4: December 20 to January 16, 2021

You may apply for the rent subsidy retroactively for any period up to 180 days after that period has ended.

Lockdown Support

Qualifying organizations that have been affected by a mandatory public health order would receive an additional 25% of rent support.

The combined effect of the rent subsidy and the Lockdown Support is that hard-hit businesses, non-profits and charities subject to a lockdown can receive rent support of up to 90%.

For more information on the CERS program, please click here.

For more information on the expired Canada Emergency Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, click here.

Black Entrepreneurship Program

The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000. This program will include:

  • $53 million to develop and implement a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country.
  • $33.3 million through the new Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. This will be administered through financial institutions
  • $6.5 million to create and sustain a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs' barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth

Applications for the National Ecosystem Fund are open until December 21, 2020.

For more information, or to apply for the National Ecosystem Fund, click here.

Applications for the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub are open until January 18, 2021.

For more information, or to apply for the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, click here.

Work-Sharing Program

Work-Sharing (WS) is a program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. The program provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada.

The Program allows employers to:

  • retain qualified and experienced workers, and
  • avoid recruiting and training new employees

The Program allows employees to:

  • keep their jobs, and
  • maintain their work skills

Further information on the Work-Share Program, including eligibility and application forms, can be found here.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) Guarantee

Businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 can access guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs.

These loans are for small and medium-sized businesses that have seen their revenues decrease by 50% or more as a result of COVID-19.

The Government of Canada has mandated BDC to provide a guarantee to your financial institution for 100% of the value of a new term loan, to increase your company's ability to access new credit.

Benefit from a 4% interest rate and a repayment term of up to 10 years. You may also be able to receive a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan.

This guarantee is available until June 30, 2021.

Contact your financial institution to apply.

More information on the HASCAP program can be found here.

Access a one-pager reference sheet to help you understand the program here.

Support For Self-Employed Individuals / Employees - Government Of Canada

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The CRB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

The government has announced proposed changes to the eligibility criteria that may deny individuals who travelled internationally from claiming the CRB.  The changes would apply to eligibility periods starting on or after January 3, 2021 (periods 8 to 26).

How Your Income Affects What You Keep

You may earn employment or self-employment income while you receive the CRB. If your income excluding CRB is over $38,000 / year, you will have to reimburse $0.50 of the benefit for every dollar of net income that you earn above $38,000.

For more information, or to apply for the CRB, click here.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The CRSB provides $500 (before taxes) per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who:

  • Are self-isolating for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatment or have contracted other sicknesses that make them more susceptible to COVID-19
  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19

You may start applying on the first Monday after the 1-week period you're applying for has ended.

For more information, or to apply for the CRSB, click here.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

The CRCB provides $500 (before taxes) per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers:

  • unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family members because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19
  • because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19

For more information, or to apply for the CRCB, click here.

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