CAF has been working closely with provincial and federal government agencies as well as various industry organizations to support apparel firms and identify ways in which we can address major supply chain issues resulting from the outbreak.

Financial Aid

  • New: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) has been extended for one month to provide rent relief to qualifying businesses for the month of September. The program provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of rent payments. Current CECRA application deadlines will also be extended to accommodate this extension.

  • The Emergency Wage Subsidy Program has been extended to Dec. 19, 2020, plus additional amendments to the program that will support businesses in the coming months as they rebuild their workforces. CAF and other associations successfully lobbied throughout June and July for a second extension plus additional changes in order to address the uneven impact of COVID-19 between industries.

  • The Manitoba government has introduced the Manitoba Job Restart program, which will provide direct payments to a maximum of $2,000 to help qualified Manitobans return to work.

  • The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) provides bridge financing to eligible large employers whose needs are not being met through conventional financing mechanisms. Complete the application form here and submit to

  • The Regional Relief & Recovery Fund provides interest-free loans to help support fixed operating costs of SMEs, where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Implemented regionally)

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) provides $15 million in additional funding to support select women entrepreneurs that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients.

  • Deferral of tax payments owing until after August 31, 2020.

  • Work-Sharing Program: Provides income support to employees eligible for EI benefits to work a temporarily reduced work week for 76 weeks.

  • Temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to support essential services and the hiring of part-time staff.

  • Employment Insurance: Changes to Canada’s sick leave benefits under EI.

Resumption of Business: The "New Normal"

  • Many Canadian regions/municipalities are considering mandating the use of general purpose masks in indoor public settings, as per the advice of public health officials. This includes retail locations. We anticipate that this will become more widespread in the coming weeks. See below for information on the various areas where this mandate has or will take effect: 

  • Provincial governments are releasing guidelines for the resumption of 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.

    • Manitoba has entered Stage 4 of its Restoring Safe Services plan as of July 25.

    • Employers in British Columbia who need to extend temporary layoffs due to COVID-19 beyond 24 weeks can apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch's new online application, due by August 25. Employers need support from at least 50% of their employees to apply.

    • Ontario has released a three-stage framework for the resumption of business activities. As of July 24, most regions have entered Stage 3 of reopening.

    • Saskatchewan has released an updated set of guidelines to assist retailers with adapting to new business rules. Although returns continue to be discouraged, change rooms can now be used at 100 per cent occupancy. However, they must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

    • New Brunswick has announced that all areas are currently in the "yellow zone," meaning businesses are now open with strict guidelines in place.

    • Nova Scotia has announced a new $25-million Small Business Reopening and Support Grant program for certain businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises. 

    • Quebec has reopened all retail locations (including inside shopping malls) with strict guidelines in place.

  • CSMO Textile has compiled a guide to assist Quebec firms as they resume business activities. CAF, alongside our sister organization Vêtement Québec, has translated the document to English with permission from CSMO Textile. Access the document in both languages below: 

  • In partnership with participating Canadian post-secondary schools, Mitacs has launched a new Internship Program in support of businesses. Companies and non-profits can hire student interns to undertake a four-month project to help the company with its business operations as the economic recovery begins. 

Deferral of GST/Customs Duties

  • 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, as the apparel industry continues to face a significant liquidity crisis.

  • Although Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has refused to push back the deadline, the Department of Finance has indicated interest in working with us to secure a temporary refund/waiver on duties for 2020. 

  • Please note that importers, brokers and service providers were required to pay the full unpaid amounts of their statements of account for March, April, May and June as of June 30.

  • Contact as soon as possible if your firm would benefit from this.

Liquidity / Capital Support

Industry Events

  • CAF is anxious to continue providing information on educational topics directed at the apparel industry. We have reached out to leading suppliers regarding the production of webinars on topics surrounding technologies/innovations that will help the industry recover from this crisis in the hopes of boosting our digital event programming at this time. 

  • If any firm has information that relates directly to the production of PPE, we are interested in organizing webinars on an immediate basis. Contact for more information.

  • WEBINAR RECORDING AVAILABLE: Planning the Revival of the Apparel Sector - Health & Safety, Business Supports and More with FASKEN. Click here to access free of charge. 

  • WEBINAR RECORDING AVAILABLE: A Discussion on COVID-19 and Modern Slavery with Matt Friedman. Click here to access free of charge.

  • WEBINAR RECORDING AVAILABLE: Summary of Mask Standards and Testing with SGS. Contact us for access to the recording free of charge.

  • WEBINAR RECORDING AVAILABLE: Mask-Making 101 - Creating Safe & reliable Masks for Community Use (with Odessa Ingarfield). Members receive recording free of charge - $10 USD for non-members. Contact for link and discount code.

  • WEBINAR RECORDING AVAILABLE: How to Use the CBSA Duty Deferral Program, presented by Livingston International and Trade Facilitation Services. Members receive recording free of charge - $17.50 USD for non-members. Contact for link and discount code.

  • Vêtement Québec Webinar (French Only) with Fasken - Se préparer pour la relance: Mesures d'hygiène et de santé pour le secteur manufacturier en vêtement/mode. Click here to download the recording.

  • Apparel Textile Sourcing Trade Shows is proud to officially announce the addition of Apparel Textile Sourcing Virtual (ATSV) as their fourth trade show on the 2020 calendar. ATS-Virtual event will take place from May 25 to 29, 2020. Click here to register for free.

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