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COVID-19 Relief Programs for Canadian Restaurants and Foodservice Businesses


As the foodservice industry grapples with yet more lockdowns, pandemic restrictions continue to have a devastating effect on the sector. With businesses preparing for yet another period of uncertainty, many are taking advantage of the various provincial and federal Covid-19 relief programs available.

While early incentives such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) have now closed, there are still some avenues that struggling food outlets can explore as they fight to keep their doors open. 

Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program/Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program - Federal Government

If your business experienced a drop in revenue during the pandemic, you could be eligible for both wage support to offset your employee salaries and rent subsidies to cover a portion of your commercial rent or property expenses. 

Previously administered under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, both those programs have now ended and been replaced with two new initiatives - the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) and the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP). 

These run until May 7, 2022 and each comes in two different streams - one covering rent, and one wages. Applicants can qualify for rent and wage relief, but they can’t apply under both the THRP and HHBRP simultaneously. 

You can find out if you’re eligible for the rental initiative, and start the application process here.

To get more details and find out if you qualify for a wage subsidy click here.

Local Lockdown Program - Federal Government

At the start of 2022, the government extended its local lockdown program to include employers facing not just total closure under local health orders but also capacity restrictions. The new provisions will also lower the current-month revenue loss threshold from 40 per cent to 25 per cent to expand eligibility.

The program covers wage and rent support and is run via the THRP but applicants don’t have to be in the tourism, hospitality, entertainment, or recreation sectors to qualify. Find out if you’re eligible and get details on how to apply here

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability - Federal Government

Available to businesses that operate in the restaurant, tourism and hospitality industries, the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) provides businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19, with guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to maintain their operational cash flow.

Administered through the Business Development Centre, this initiative has been extended until March 31, 2022. Find out what you need to apply here.

COVID-19 Relief Funding in Ontario - Provincial Government 

Ontario’s $2 billion Relief and Recovery Fund has now closed, but there are still options available for those seeking financial support. 

With the news that Ontario would move back to Stage Two of its Roadmap to Reopen in January, the provincial government is offering affected businesses its Covid-19 Small Business Relief Grant. To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and be required to close under the health orders issued on January 5, 2022. 

The newly-introduced Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program opens on January 18, 2022 and covers businesses who were forced to close or reduce capacity. These applicants will receive rebate payments for a portion of their property tax and energy costs while under the public health directives. Restaurants that were required to close can get a rebate payment equivalent to 100% of their costs.

Starting January and running until July 1, 2022, the Ontario government is also giving businesses the option of delaying their tax payments, penalty and interest free. This will cover Beer, Wine & Spirits Tax, Fuel Tax, and others.

COVID-19 Relief Funding in British Columbia - Provincial Government 

The BC government also closed most of its Covid relief initiatives last year, but following new public health orders issued in December 2021, it is making Covid Closure Relief Grants available to businesses affected by the most recent restrictions.

To qualify, applicants must have been in operation and registered in B.C as of February 1, 2021 and had to fully close under the December measures. Grants range from $1,000 to $10,000 and applications stay open until the end of February 2022, or until funds are exhausted.

COVID-19 Relief Funding in Quebec - Provincial Government 

The Emergency Assistance for Small and Medium Sized Businesses program is still available to Quebec business owners, offering temporary support of up to $50,000 to businesses experiencing COVID-related financial hardship. All industry sectors are supported by the program, with eligible businesses:

  • Having been in operation within Quebec for at least a year
  • Be temporarily closed, likely to close or showing signs of closure
  • Be at a stage of maintaining, combining, or relaunching operations
  • Must be able to demonstrate a link between financial and/or operational hardships and the pandemic

A separate stream of the Emergency Assistance for Small and Medium Sized Businesses program is also available for businesses located in Quebec’s COVID red zones (or maximum alert zones), consisting of loan forgiveness amounts covering up to 80% of an eligible core operating cost up to $15,000/month of closure. 

In order to qualify for this program, your business must be located within a red zone where businesses have been ordered to close due to the pandemic, or have been the subject of a Ministerial Order to close for a period lasting a minimum of 10 days out of the month. Find out if your business is eligible for the program and where you can apply here.

It may not be the start to the year that restaurant owners were looking for, but Restaurants Canada is predicting a turnaround in 2022 with foodservice sales growing to nearly $80 billion - 3.8% higher than pre-pandemic levels. In the meantime, relief programs and incentives can help businesses cover their costs as they wait for a return to more normal times.

For more information about programs that can help your business and its employers, read about Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan, or access provincial response plans laid out by Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec.

If your business is located outside of these provinces, you can find assistance here:



New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia


Prince Edward Island