Covid 19: Pulling Together the Cleantech Community

One of the core values at Foresight is to support the cleantech industry through fostering a sense of community and collaboration. Many of you have reached out to us telling us about the devastating impact that the canceling of events and withdrawing of deal flow and financial opportunities will be and has been to your cleantech company, especially vulnerable, cash-strapped startups.

We hear you. We are exploring ways of delivering more events online, encouraging important outreach and pitch events to continue online, and showcasing our companies as investment opportunities.  We are also compiling a list of resources for Canadian businesses impacted by this crisis.

Read the open letter from the Clean Energy Sector to the PM.


Monitor these websites for updates on COVID-19 in Canada:

Financial Resources:

Income Assistance

How to apply for EI and COVID-19 emergency benefits – Global News

Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits

  • Regular benefits
    • For workers who lose their jobs due to no fault of their own
  • Sickness benefits
    • For workers unable to work due to illness or quarantine
    • The normal 1-week waiting period has been waived
    • Benefits provided for up to 15 weeks 
    • You do not need to provide medical documentation to apply if you are quarantined
    • If you can’t complete your claim due to quarantine, you can apply later and have a backdated claim to cover the period
  • Special benefits
    • Applies to people who cannot work for these reasons: maternity leave, parental leave, own sickness or quarantine, taking care of someone at risk of death, taking care of a critically ill/injured child, taking care of a critically ill/injured adult

Non-EI Benefits & Subsidies – Federal

  • *NEW* – Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
      • This is a newly announced benefit to provide $2,000 per month per person for 16 weeks between March 15 and October 3, to Canadians who are off work and without income as a result of COVID-19
        • Applications will open online in early-April, with payments to be issued within 10 days
        • Payments will be issued every 4 weeks
        • The 16-week period can be anytime within March 15-October 3 – i.e. you can apply as late as June 13 to receive the maximum payment
      • Applies to the following groups, whether or not you are eligible for EI:
        • Lost your job due to COVID-19
          • Including salaried, hourly, full-time, on contract, self-employed (i.e. independent contractors)
        • Sick or quarantined to look after someone who is sick
        • Staying at home to look after children
        • Still employed but not receiving income due to your employer having financial hardship
      • Relation to EI
        • If you are EI-eligible (i.e. already receiving benefits or in the process of applying), you should stick with EI and not apply to the CERB
        • Do not apply unnecessarily for the CERB as it may overwhelm the application system for others
        • If your existing EI benefits end before October 3 and you still cannot work, you can apply for the CERB once EI stops
      • The government will be releasing more information to clarify potential situations.
    • Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC)
      • Maximum credit will be doubled, only for 2019-20
      • Average payment would be ~$400/single individual and ~$600/couple
      • Payment would be made in early-May, details to be confirmed
    • Canada Child Benefit
      • Proposed increase of $300/child, only for 2019-20
      • Payment would be made in May
    • CRA personal income tax filing
      • Tax filing deadline is extended to June 1
      • Taxes owing and due before September 2020 are deferred, interest-free, until after August 31, 2020
      • The CRA will recognize e-signatures as a valid way to sign your return
  • Note – If you qualify for and expect to receive the GSTC or Canada Child Benefit, stick to the original deadline and do not delay your filing
  • Canada Student Loans
    • Repayment of federal student loans and apprentice loans is deferred, interest-free, until September 30, 2020
  • BC Specific:
    • B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
      • Providing a one-time $1,000 payment to people who lost income because COVID-19. B.C. residents that receive federal EI and the new federal Canada Emergency Response benefit are still eligible. Applications will open soon.

Health & Lifestyle Support

We recommend following and monitoring Canada’s guidelines. 

Accessing virtual healthcare in British Columbia

Mental health and coping with anxiety


  • OSLER – Navigating legal implications and business impacts (corporate issues, debt instruments, emergency measures, employment, federal assistance, financial regulation, governance, litigation, health, pensions, privacy, risk management, crisis response, supplier contracts, tax and other helpful resources)
  • Government of Canada – Government of Canada is seeking for manufacturers that can help address the challenge of COVID-19
  • Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – updates on a number of tax related items, and a 10% wage subsidy for SMEs
  • Global Affairs Canada-The Government of Canada website containing information and support you need to make informed decisions as your business navigates through these challenges.
  • Small Business BC – Small Business BC has compiled a list of resources for BC companies, including business checklists, employee planning guides, WorkPlace BC guidelines, etc.
  • The Canadian Federation of Independent Business – A guide for employers and small business owners and a FAQ list around employers’ response to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Coronavirus Info for Albertans– The government of Alberta information site for the coronavirus, including business and employer-related resources.
  • Business Development Bank of Canada – BDC has announced a special initiative to support entrepreneurs impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19
  • Export Development Canada -Government of Canada offers aid to Canadian businesses during health crisis
  • Export Development Canada -Coronavirus (COVID-19): Managing the impact on global supply chains webinar
  • Government of Canada – Employment Insurance Announcement and information
  • Innovation Canada – search tool for finding programs and support across Canada
  • Active Funders in Canada a resource for Canadian startups looking for funding

(This is a rapidly changing crisis, and we are trying to keep up to date. Please contact our Research and Content Manager, Diane Currie Sam, if you have anything to add to this list, especially business programs or resources for Canadian cleantech companies. )