The COVID-19 crisis has caused much economic devastation. While it has adversely impacted businesses across industries, certain sectors, such as hospitality and tourism, have been the worst hit.
To help small and medium businesses that have seen their revenues go down by 50%, or more, due to the pandemic, the federal government is offering a new loan program.
What is Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)?
HASCAP provides guaranteed, low-interest loans ranging from $25,000 to $1 million to businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds can be used to meet operational cash flow needs.
This program is primarily for businesses that depend on in-person services, restaurants, and businesses that operate in industries such as tourism and hospitality.
Eligible businesses can apply through their primary financial institution. HASCAP became available at some participating financial institutions from February 1, 2021. Others will roll out the program over the next few weeks.
This program is available until June 30, 2021.
How does it work?
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been authorized by the federal government to provide a guarantee to a business’s financial institution for 100% of the loan value.
This will help SMBs access additional liquidity and meet operating costs. Eligible businesses can apply for loans ranging from $25,000 to $1 million. They will also enjoy a low-interest rate (4%) and a repayment term of up to 10 years. They can also get up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan.
How do I know if I am eligible?
Your primary financial institution will decide your eligibility for this loan, based on the criteria set down by the Government of Canada:
- Your business must be based in Canada. It must have been financially stable and viable prior to the pandemic.
- You must have received funds either from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) by showing a minimum 50% revenue drop for at least three months (not necessarily consecutive) within the eight-month period prior to the date of the HASCAP Guarantee application.
- If your business has not received CERS or CEWS and it qualifies for one of these two programs, you must first apply for it.
- It may so happen that your business does not qualify for CEWS and CERS but meets all HASCAP eligibility criteria. In this case, you must provide financial statements that show three months (not necessarily consecutive) in which monthly year-over-year revenue declined by at least 50% within the eight-month period prior to the date of the HASCAP Guarantee application.
- The loan will be used to continue or resume operations.
- The loan cannot be used to pay or refinance existing loans.
- You can apply for a loan under the program for each legal entity you own, up to a maximum combined amount of $6.25 million (all legal entities combined).
- Other criteria may apply. You can get more details from your primary financial institution.
How do I apply?
Businesses heavily impacted by the pandemic must contact their primary financial institution, which will determine whether they qualify for the program. You can read more details about HASCAP on the BDC website. You can view the list of participating financial institutions here.
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