For the Canadian Apparel Industry


The Canadian Apparel/Textile Industry: Leaders in the fight against COVID-19

Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, hundreds of apparel and textile companies have stepped up to retool their factories for the production of essential medical equipment and PPE that was in short supply.

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A Message from the Canadian Apparel Federation:

CAF Response to COVID-19

Updated July 2020


Since the onset of COVID-19, CAF has been working on many fronts to support the apparel industry. While our office remains closed, our staff continues to work around the clock to help the Canadian apparel industry deal with this unprecedented crisis as we begin the recovery process and adapt to “the new normal.” 


We have been working closely with government officials to resolve major supply chain issues stemming from this global emergency, in areas such as PPE manufacturing and coordination, wage subsidies and liquidity support, the deferral of GST/Customs Duties and human rights. 


Most recently, CAF and other associations successfully lobbied for a second extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, plus additional changes to the program to address the uneven impact of COVID-19 between industries. This issue was extremely important to us, as the apparel industry was one of the hardest hit and continues to face a significant liquidity crisis. 

At the end of March the federal government announced that they would defer the payment of taxes and duties on imported goods after receiving urgent feedback from CAF and other industry organizations.

We recently lobbied for a second extension of the program and were unfortunately refused by the Canadian government. However, we remain in close contact with the Department of Finance, and they have indicated an interest in working with us to secure a temporary refund/waiver on duties for 2020. 


Per the recommendations of public health officials, widespread mask use is increasingly common across the country and has been mandated in several areas. CAF continues to coordinate and support the efforts of Canadian apparel firms that have pivoted their operations to produce PPE and general purpose masks. We also continue to work closely with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to support firms producing hospital gowns on contract with the Canadian government. 


Although all live events have been postponed until further notice, we continue to offer industry-focused education-based digital programming. The sessions we have held to date are available for viewing via the Industry Resources page. Moving forward, the focus of our digital events will shift to post-COVID best practices and economic recovery. Please contact us immediately if your organization has expertise in these areas.


This website is being updated on an ongoing basis. Please check back frequently.

Financial Aid and Government Programs

The federal government continues to announce new industry supports. These include emergency wage subsidies, a work-sharing program, changes to unemployment benefits and the deferral of tax payments. Check back frequently for updates on these programs as the situation continues to develop.

Liquidity / Working Capital Support

EDC, alongside the BMO and the BDC, is offering targeted capital support programs to firms of all sizes. Additionally, after facing pressure from CAF and other industry organizations, the federal government has deferred the payment of GST and Customs Duties on imports as supply chains remain frozen.

LinkedIn PPE Network

We have formed a dedicated PPE Network on LinkedIn where apparel and textile firms can connect with raw material suppliers and manufacturers, share patterns and resources and much more.


By joining this group, you can also stay in the loop on all the most important COVID-19 news and events targeting the apparel industry. 

Country-wide call for manufacturers

CAF, as well as various federal and provincial government departments, have issued a call for companies to disclose their manufacturing capabilities and retool their facilities for the production of essential PPE such as gowns, masks and other medical supplies. If you have not yet done so and are able to disclose your manufacturing capabilities at this time, please fill out our short survey.

Resumption of Business: The "New Normal"

Provincial governments are beginning to release guidelines for the resumption of “normal” business in their respective provinces. As these guidelines are released, retailers and brands will want to pay close attention. We welcome your comments on these measures.

Industry Events

Although our live events have been postponed, CAF is anxious to continue providing the apparel industry with educational events and opportunities as our industry begins to recover from the COVID-19 Crisis. To that end, we have boosted our digital programming and the response from both industry and government has been overwhelmingly positive.

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