Business COVID-19 Updates

Support for micro, small & medium businesses including the non-profit and charitable sector (SMEs)

Alterna is committed to supporting micro, small, medium sized businesses including the non-profit and charitable sector businesses (SMEs) through the COVID-19 pandemic. As the engine that drives the Canadian economy, the viability of these businesses is paramount to Canada’s economic success. We’re here to help.

Financing is available to SMEs through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program and the EDC Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Guarantee

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA):

The CEBA program is available and delivered directly by Alterna. Now accepting CEBA 4.0 applications.  

Whats New

Businesses that have chosen to bank through a personal account may now be eligible for the CEBA program.  Please refer to the Government of Canada's website below for more information. 

What if I run my business out of a Personal Bank Account?

CEBA has been extended to December 31, 2020, making the program accessible longer to Canadians. If you have already applied for a CEBA loan and have questions, please contact the new CEBA Call Centre at 1-888-324-4201 for a status of your application. The Call Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm EST. 

  • Interest rate at 0% until December 31, 2022.
  • No minimum monthly principal payments until December 31, 2022.
  • Loan forgiveness up to 25% of the initial loan amount, to a maximum of $10,000, provided balance is fully paid on or before December 31, 2022. 
  • If the loan cannot be repaid by December 31, 2022, it can be converted into a 3-year term loan at an interest rate of 5% per annum. 
For additional information, visit the Government of Canada website.

Ready to start the process?

1.   Log in to online banking
2.   Select 'Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA)' under Account Services
3.   Complete and submit the form

Not signed up for online banking? Contact 1.877.560.0100 and we can get you started.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is there a deadline for completing an application at my primary financial institution and for uploading supporting documents? Expand/Collapse

  • You must complete the CEBA application at your primary financial institution by latest December 31st, 2020.
  • After completing the application with your financial institution, you must upload supporting documentation.
  • It is recommended that you provide your supporting documents through the site as soon as you are directed to do so by your financial institution.
  • Supporting documentation is a critical part of the application processes and delays in providing this information can result in a delay in the pre-funding eligibility validation and funding process.

EDC Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Guarantee*:

As part of the federal government’s new $65 billion Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), Alterna Savings and Export Development Canada (EDC) are partnering to provide financing to SMEs impacted by COVID-19.

  • The EDC BCAP Guarantee provides businesses with up to $6.25 million in credit to cover operational costs like payroll and rent.
  • Proceeds from the BCAP-supported loan cannot be used to repay or refinance existing debt (further restrictions apply to other non-operational costs).
  • Export sales are not required to qualify for the program.
  • EDC fees related to this guarantee will be deferred for the first six months, giving some short-term relief to your business.
  • EDC will provide a guarantee to Alterna Savings on 80% of the value of your loan. By sharing risk with EDC, we can help your company access the financing it needs.
  • The loan guarantee is to Alterna, not your business, so you remain responsible for the full value of the loan.

For more details on the program, eligibility and application process, business members can contact their Alterna Account Manager.

EDC Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the EDC Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Guarantee? Expand/Collapse

The EDC Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Guarantee is an EDC-guaranteed business loan to help Canadian businesses impacted by COVID-19. Eligible applicants can access up to $6.25 million CAD in short-term liquidity to cover expenses which are critical to business continuity such as rent, payroll and other operational costs.

The EDC Program features:

  • Fixed 80% EDC guarantee for 1 year, with potential to renew for another 5 year
  • EDC guarantee fee of 1.8% on the authorized loan amount
  • 6-month EDC Guarantee fee payment deferral, with no set up fee
  • Interest Only, with the option for to make principal payments at any time
  • Full repayment required at end of term

Is the EDC BCAP Guarantee only available to export-oriented businesses? Expand/Collapse

No. The EDC BCAP Guarantee will also be available to non-export, domestic businesses.

What is the eligibility criteria? Expand/Collapse

To qualify for an EDC BCAP, the member must:

  • Apply for a new cash flow term loan up to $6.25million CAD to finance short-term operations in response to COVID-19.
  • The business (or Entity must be a Canadian based commercial entity (with its principal activities in Canada) who’s business generates revenue from the sale of goods and services and its revenue is not economically dependent on non-commercial sources.
  • The Entity has been negatively impacted by the economic conditions created by Covid-19 and was financially viable prior to current economic environment
  • Your business was financially stable and viable prior to the current economic situation
  • The financing will be used solely to support operational cashflow requirements
  • Sole Proprietorships are not eligible for this program

The member must NOT be an:

  • Entity whose principal activities include the manufacturing, sale, distribution of arms, armaments, ammunition and/or related products.
  • Entity that promote violence, incite hatred or discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
  • Entitity that operate any form of sexually exploitive business.
  • Entity operating rent-to-own firms, pay day loan or other similar quasi-financial institutions
  • For more details on the program, eligibility and application process, business members can contact their Alterna Account Manager.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The Government of Canada’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides eligible employers, who have seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, a subsidy to cover part of employee wages retroactive from March 15, 2020. Applications for claim period 5 (July 5 to August 1) will open August 17, 2020.

The Federal Government has launched an updated calculator to help employers estimate what help they may receive from the next phase of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

For detailed information about the program, eligibility, and how to apply, refer to the Government of Canada’s site.

New Support for Commercial Tenants: Canada; Emergency Rent Subsidy Replaces CECRA Program

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

New Support for Commercial Tenants: Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), replaces the CECRA Program and would provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support directly to qualifying organizations.

Qualifying businesses, charities and non-profits would receive a subsidy of up to 65% of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020.

Lockdown Support

Qualifying organizations that have been significantly affected by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority would receive an additional 25% of rent support through the CERS.

Combined with the other support received under the CERS, this means that hard hit businesses, non-profits, and charities could receive a rent subsidy of up to 90%.

The CERS including the Lockdown Support would be available until June 2021.

This measure is pending the passage of legislation in the House of Commons and Senate.


Alterna’s Microfinance team is working with members to assist them in managing their businesses through these challenging times. Please contact your Account Manager for assistance. 

A micro-entrepreneur may also qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit of $500 per week up to 16 weeks.


Please contact your Account Manager who is available to support you during these uncertain times.

If you don’t have a dedicated Account Manager, contact your branch or the Contact Centre to be referred.

The Contact Centre is available 7 days a week and can be reached at 1-877-560-0100

  • Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

For further information please click here.

*All Applicants are subject to Alterna Savings’ lending criteria.