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

Since the onset of COVID-19, CAF has been working on many fronts to support the apparel industry. We have been working closely with the Canadian government to identify and find solutions to major supply chain issues stemming from this global emergency.


While our office is closed, our staff is working 24/7 to help our industry deal with this unprecedented crisis. This website is only one part of our ongoing efforts to keep the Canadian apparel industry informed and involved as this situation continues to unfold. A few of our recent initiatives are outlined below: 


PPE Manufacturers - Medical Gowns: CAF has been working with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to identify and support apparel firms able to produce hospital gowns for the Canadian government. 

Deferral of GST/Customs Duties: In March the federal government announced that they would defer the payment of taxes and duties on imported goods after CAF identified this as a major issue, due to the unprecedented cash flow crisis facing apparel firms. Our members provided us with information that was instrumental in pressuring the government to move on this, deferring over $30 billion in duties and GST obligations.

PPE Network: In collaboration with various government agencies, CAF issued a call for companies to identify manufacturing capabilities for the production of PPE. Over 200 firms have stepped up. Based on this, we have created a dedicated LinkedIn group to coordinate these efforts. This network is increasingly the "go-to" resource for companies looking to help supply PPE.

CAF, alongside more than 60 global textile, apparel and fashion industry organizations, has signed a joint letter urging governments to take immediate action to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19. Click here to find out more and view the statement.

Wage Subsidy Expansion: CAF, alongside other industry organizations, campaigned last month for the federal government to expand the Emergency Wage Subsidy Program. As of April 8th, the government has changed the eligibility criteria to include more companies.

Human Rights:  Amid the COVID-19 emergency, human rights and labour conditions throughout the global apparel supply chain are more tenuous than ever before.  To that end, we recently held a webinar in conjunction with The Mekong Club on COVID-19 and modern slavery. The event was a huge success, with over 100 attendees. 

Education-based Digital Events: Despite having to postpone live events due to social distancing protocols, our Webinar Program has been more popular than ever. We continue to deliver informative programming to assist members in identifying technologies and innovations which will help our industry recover from this crisis. 

CAF continues to be astounded by the efforts of apparel firms across Canada. These events have shown that not only is the apparel sector one of our country's most dynamic and innovative industries but that it has played an essential role in helping Canada's fight against COVID-19. Our goal is to continue to highlight the efforts of our member firms and those of the industry at large through our Innovations and Contributions page. To add your firm to our growing list, contact

This website will be updated continually. 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.

Closure of all non-essential businesses: Ontario, Quebec

The Ontario and Quebec Governments have announced that all non-essential services and businesses have been temporarily closed. This includes apparel retailers and domestic manufacturers. CAF will provide status reports and other updates on the resumption of business as governments begin to relax restrictions.

Industry Events

Despite social distancing protocols which have caused us to postpone all live events until further notice, CAF is anxious to continue providing the apparel industry with educational events and opportunities, in particular those pertaining to COVID-19. 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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