Resources for Businesses

Updated March 27, 2020 at 10:20am

Below is a compilation of supports available to NWT businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page will be updated on an ongoing basis. 

Northwest Territories COVID-19 Economic Relief
WSCC: COVID-19 and the Workplace: General Precautions and a Risk Assessment
Katrina Nokleby: Northwest Territories COVID-19 Economic Relief
Caroline Wawzonek: Northwest Territories COVID-19 Economic Relief


Government of the Northwest Territories:

BDIC - Working Capital Loans

To provide immediate working capital for NWT businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is offering low interest loans to business operators through the Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC).

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

To be eligible, business owners will need to reside in the NWT and will need to demonstrate financial need due to cash flows issues resulting from the COVID-19 crises. Priority will be given to businesses with fewer than 20 employees but the GNWT will consider applications from businesses with up to 50 employees.

The first intake for loan applications is planned for Friday, April 3, 2020 with approved loan applications being processed within two weeks.

Loan applications will be received and reviewed by the Department of Industry Tourism and Investment (ITI)’s regional offices and processed through the BDIC. A simplified loan application form will be posted at by Monday, March 23).

Recognizing, that GNWT employees are largely working from home, contact information for ITI Regional Offices is also being made available online.

The GNWT is challenged to ensure that resources are made available to those businesses that are most in need of support - and that eligible NWT businesses have an equal opportunity to apply for relief funding.  The first intake of applications will allow the GNWT to assess the needs of the NWT business community. It is a first step in understanding the degree to which NWT businesses are being impacted.

Identified financial needs that can be addressed by the Federal Government’s economic support package or other relief initiatives may be considered ineligible under this funding program.   


BDIC - Deferred Loan Payments

From April 1 – September24, 2020, clients (borrowers) of the Business Development and Invest Corporation (BDIC) can apply to reduce or defer up to three months of loan payments without penalty or additional interest charges.

Businesses are automatically approved and not required to demonstrate financial hardship or impacts resulting from the COVID-19 crises.

Requests for payment reductions or deferments must be received by the appropriate Department of Industry Tourism and Investment regional office no later than the 24th day of the month prior to the payment date.  (For April 2020 payments only, the BDIC will extend the deadline to March 26th to allow sufficient time for applicants to make their requests.)

Following the payment deferment or reduction period, existing loan payment schedules will resume along with existing terms and conditions.

Business and Advisory Council

Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) Katrina Nokleby has established a Business Advisory Council to seek and provide insight from the NWT business community and be a resource for economic decision making relating to COVID-19.  

The Council will provide advice and guidance to the Minister on programs, services and supports required by NWT businesses and key economic sectors during the COVID-19 crises; and measures to facilitate the long term recovery of the economy once the crisis abates.

Government of Canada

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Click on the response plan link for additional information regarding flexibility for taxpayers, mortgage default management tools, and market liquidity.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 

The Government of Canada will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
  • workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April.

Work Sharing

Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced workweek while their employer recovers.

Business Development Bank of Canada

Effective March 18, 2020, new relief measures for qualified businesses include:

  • Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to 6 months for qualifying businesses.
  • Postponement of payments for up to 6 months, free of charge, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less;
  • Reduced rates on new eligible loans;
  • Additional details regarding Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) measures, including industry specific support, to be announced in the coming days.

    These new measures aim to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on business activity and complement services offered by other financial institutions, with whom BDC will continue working. For BDC, eligible businesses needed to be financially viable entities prior to the impact of the coronavirus.

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

If you are a tourism operator, a small business or an organization affected by COVID-19 and need pressing assistance, the regional development agencies (RDAs) could assist you with access to federal funding and services.

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit Program

If you are a sole-proprietor you should consider the Federal Governments Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit Program for the COVID-19 crisis.