COVID-19

Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

The Government of Quebec's Aide d’urgence aux petites et moyennes entreprises (Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses) program is designed to promote access to capital as a means for businesses affected by the COVID -19 pandemic to maintain, consolidate or relaunch their activities. This program is among the measures taken to deal with the economic situation given the current extraordinary circumstances. Your PME MTL network is responsible for managing applications in the Montréal area.

September 23, 2021 update

Applications for financial assistance submitted under the Emergency Assistance Program for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (PAUPME), including requests for increased financial assistance under the Assistance for Businesses in Regions on Maximum Alert (AERAM) section, can be submitted not later than four weeks after the health emergency is lifted.

However, enterprises in the tourism sector can submit applications under the Assistance for Some Businesses in the Tourism Sector (ACEST) section within the same time frame or four weeks after the full opening of the Canada-US border, whichever date is later.

It is worth noting that the period for submitting applications for financial assistance under the AERAM section has ended, since the applications had to be received not later than four weeks after the resumption of operations by the businesses covered by a closure order.

Lastly, the moratorium on the repayment of principal and interest related to the financial assistance granted under the AERAM section of the PAUPME has been extended until November 30, 2021.

Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses program (EASMSB)

Financial assistance

This emergency assistance for small and medium-sized businesses comes in the form of loans, up to a maximum of $50,000, at an interest rate of 3%.

  • A moratorium on principal and interest will automatically apply to all loans.
  • Borrowers should expect an amortization period of 36 months, excluding the payment moratorium. Exceptionally, amortization could be up to 60 months, excluding the payment moratorium.

This financial assistance may not be combined with assistance obtained under the Québec government's temporary concerted action program for businesses (PACTE program).

Eligible businesses

Eligible businesses include for-profit companies as well as cooperatives and social economy enterprises with market activities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the exception of the following activities:

  • the production or distribution of weapons
  • gambling, slot machine operations, combat sports, racing or other similar activities
  • production, sales and services related to the use of tobacco or drugs (including convenience stores selling tobacco products) with the exception of projects involving Health Canada-licensed drug-grade products with a DIN, or their ingredients, and research and development projects with a Health Canada licence
  • any activity whose main purpose is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (religion, politics, advocacy, etc.)
  • any other activity that would be likely to offend public morality

Eligibility requirements

In order to benefit from this emergency fund, the company:

  • Must have been in operation in Québec for at least six months on the date of application*. 
  • Must not be under the protection of the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-35) or the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. B-3) 
  • Must demonstrate the causal link between its financial or operational issues and the COVID -19 pandemic as follows:
    • The company is temporarily closed, is likely to close or is showing signs of closure; and/or
    • The company is in a context of maintaining, consolidating or relaunching its operations.

In order to be eligible for emergency assistance:

  • The financing must provide short-term working capital to businesses whose financial situation is precarious so they can maintain, consolidate or relaunch their activities.
  • The financing must be related to the amount of working capital needed to maintain the company’s operations, determined on the basis of justified and reasonable expenses and showing good prospects for profitability in the medium term. Businesses located in an area affected by major construction works may mention this fact, which will be taken into account in the profitability analysis.

* Companies whose activities take place outside Montréal must contact the organization responsible for managing the Fonds local d'investissement (FLI) (Local Investment Fund) in their RCM.

Assistance for Businesses in Regions Under Maximum Alert

The component involving Assistance for Businesses in Regions Under Maximum Alert (ABRUMA) applies to businesses located in maximum alert zones (red zones) and in an impacted economic sector

The period for submitting applications for financial assistance under the AERAM section has ended, since the applications had to be received not later than four weeks after the resumption of operations by the businesses covered by a closure order.

Companies eligible for this component will be able to have the equivalent of up to 100% of their loan granted under the Emergency Assistance for Small and Medium-Sized Businesse program forgiven, subject to the following condition:

  • be subject to a closure order to protect the health of the population during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • have halted, in whole or in part, their activities in accordance with an Order-in-Council or a Ministerial Order for a period of at least:
    • of at least 10 days in a given month in October, November or December 2020, or from January 2021;
    • of at least seven days in a given month, starting from February 2021.

Loan forgiveness cannot exceed 80% of the loan granted. The maximum monthly amount is $15,000 per establishment and must be claimed for fixed monthly expenses paid for the applicable closing period:

  • Municipal and school taxes
  • Rent (the portion not covered by another government program such as the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)*);
  • Interest on a mortgage
  • Utility costs (e.g., electricity and gas)
  • Insurance
  • Telecommunication costs
  • Association fees and licenses

Salaries, benefits, employer and social security contributions, taxes and other fixed costs are excluded.

The amount of the loan forgiveness will be calculated by PME MTL after the moratorium period*. The beneficiary client will need to complete the estimated calculation of loan forgiveness in order to claim the monthly fixed expenses presented above.

*You must first apply for the CERS subsidy to be able to determine the forgivable amount related to your rent. You can apply on the Government of Canada website by clicking here.

**PME MTL is waiting for directives from the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation with respect to the production of supporting documents for loan forgiveness. Businesses that have taken advantage of the program will be contacted by their respective service hubs with information concerning which documents must be submitted. 

Enhancement for the resumption of operations

To facilitate recovery, businesses that have already obtained assistance from the ABRUMA fund may obtain additional support under the EASMSB program. A business can take advantage of new additional financial assistance of up to a maximum of $50 000 to cover its cash requirements, for total assistance of $150 000.

The additional support is equivalent to one, two  or three months of additional non-repayable contributions in addition to those for the preceding months, which can be claimed when the targeted business reopens

For businesses closed for 90 days or less

A maximum additional amount of $15 000 per establishment is payable, in the form of non-repayable contributions. The additional support must cover the fixed expenses disbursed in the month following the reopening of the targeted business. This additional contribution is in addition to those for the preceding months, up to a maximum of 100% of the financing granted.

For businesses closed between 91 and 180 days

The maximum additional amount payable per establishment corresponds to $30 000, or $15 000 per month, in the form of non-repayable contributions. The additional support must cover the fixed expenses disbursed in the two months following the reopening of the targeted business. This additional contribution is in addition to those for the preceding months, up to a maximum of 100% of the financing granted.

For businesses closed for a period of more than 180 days

The maximum additional amount payable per establishment corresponds to $45 000, or $15 000 per month, in the form of non-repayable contributions. The additional support must cover the fixed expenses disbursed in the three months following the reopening of the targeted business. This additional contribution is in addition to those for the preceding months, up to a maximum of 100% of the financing granted.

The enhancement is added to the loan forgiveness for the preceding months. A company that has reopened but has had to halt its operations before fully taking advantage of the enhanced support (reopening enhancement) may have acccess to it when it next reopens.

Compensation for closure

Moreover, additional support may apply to the restaurants and spas that resumed their operations but which must close again because of a closure order in order to protect the health of the population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This additional support corresponds to loan forgiveness of a maximum of $10 000 per establishment to cover the expenses incurred and deemed necessary for the enterprise’s reopening. The following expenses are allowable:

  • the cost of unused perishable items;
  • cleaning of the commercial enterprise;
  • costs incurred to recruit and train new staff.

Assistance for Some Businesses in the Tourism Sector

Under the PAUPME program, tourist accommodation businesses with four or more rooms (in the commercial section of the building) and travel agencies qualify for the following benefits on loans up to a maximum of $50,000 :

  • Possibility of converting to loan forgiveness 40% of the amount reimbursed (principal and interest) during the first 24 months following the start of repayment up to a maximum of $20,000 per establishment.

To be eligible, tourist accommodation businesses with four or more rooms (in the commercial section of the building) must be registered on the Bonjour Québec website.

To be eligible, travel agencies must hold one of the following licences issued by Office de la protection du consommateur du Québec:

  • General travel agent’s licence
  • Restricted travel agent’s licence (adventure travel organizer)
  • Restricted travel agent’s licence (outfitter)

Travel agencies are not required to be registered on the Bonjour Québec website.

Documents required

Companies will have to submit the following documents for analysis to support their financing application:

Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

  • A twelve-month financial statements as at December 31 or later.
  • Most current interim financial statements.
  • Declaration to the Registraire des Entreprises du Québec (REQ).
  • A cash budget or cash flow forecast.

Enhancement for the resumption of operations

Assistance for Some Businesses in the Tourism Sector

  • A twelve-month financial statements as at December 31 or later.
  • Most current interim financial statements.
  • Declaration to the Registraire des Entreprises du Québec (REQ).
  • A cash budget or cash flow forecast.
  • Travel agencies: a licence issued by Office de la protection du consommateur du Québec.
  • Tourist accommodation businesses: proof of registration on the Bonjour Québec website.

Submit an application

Please submit an application via the platform below. All information and personal data will remain confidential. Applications over $50,000 must be sent to Investissement Québec.

Before submitting your application, please visit the FAQ page which will help you navigate the form. 

Businesses who wish to apply should act quickly as funds are limited. Only complete applications will be processed; however, a complete application does not guaranty any financial assistance.

Submit an application →

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