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In the span of just one year, COVID-19 has ravaged countless Canadian businesses operating in almost every sector imaginable. Entire industries have seen staggering losses in revenue as millions of consumers retreated into their homes and curbed their spending, resulting in one of the most severe economic contractions in recent memory.
The federal government has unleashed a wide array of financial programs to aid businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the most prominent ones are the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
A new financial aid package for distressed businesses called the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) was introduced in early 2021 to provide further support.
What is The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)?
HASCAP is a government-guaranteed loan program for Canadian businesses that COVID-19 has negatively impacted. Through the program, eligible businesses can access between $25,000 and $1,000,000 in low-interest loans with flexible repayment terms.
The purpose of HASCAP is to provide financial aid to businesses that have experienced severe declines in revenue. The program’s goal is to help business owners resume or maintain their normal operations and reduce their risk of shutting down or facing bankruptcy
Check out these other government financing programs for businesses.
If your business is eligible for a HASCAP loan, you can expect to receive anywhere from $25,000 to $1,000,000, depending on the size of your operation. If you own businesses in multiple locations (such as a restaurant chain), you may be eligible for up to $6,250,000. You may use the loan only to maintain your normal business operations; repayment or refinancing other loans with HASCAP funds is prohibited under the program’s conditions.
Need help managing your other loans? Check out how you can get a business loan with bad credit.
HASCAP loans carry a fixed interest rate of 4%, and they must be repaid within ten years. You have the option to defer payment on the principal for the first year of the term; however, you’ll still be responsible for making interest payments.
Participating financial institutions will begin accepting HASCAP applications on February 1, 2021. The deadline for submitting your application is June 30, 2021.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements For The HASCAP?
Below are the eligibility requirements to obtain a HASCAP loan:
- Your business must be based in Canada.
- Your business must have been stable and economically viable before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and fully operational as of March 1, 2021.
- Your business must have received funds from either the CEWS or CERS program, having proven a 50% decline in revenue for three months during the 8-month period before the date of your HASCAP application. If your business hasn’t received payment from either program, but you qualify for at least one, you’re still eligible for a HASCAP loan. If your business doesn’t qualify for either the CEWS or CERS program, you can still meet the eligibility requirements for a HASCAP loan; you must provide financial statements that demonstrate you suffered a 50% revenue decline for at least three months during the 8-month period before your HASCAP application.
Businesses that primarily receive revenue from government funding or private donations are considered ineligible for HASCAP loans.
Have you experienced a loss in income? Then you should check out the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP).
How do You Apply For The HASCAP?
You need to apply through your primary financial institution. The Business Development of Canada (BDC) website has a list of all the financial institutions that can approve HASCAP applications.
When can you apply for the HASCAP?
What should I do I my business is declined for the HASCAP?
How much can I qualify for with the HASCAP?
- Loans between $25,000 – $100,000: Your business must meet an acceptable default probability.
- Loans between $100,001 – $250,000: Your business must meet an acceptable default probability and had gross revenues of at least $500,000 over the 12-month period ending in its most recent annual financial statements before March 1, 2021.
- Loans between $250,001 – $1,000,000: Your business must have a debt-service ratio of 1.10 as of the date of its most annual financial statements before March 1, 2021, and have at least an S&P CCC+ rating before March 1, 2020.
Every business owner negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will have to decide what course of action to take to ensure their business survives. If you’re a business owner struggling to pay your employees and fixed costs like rent, a HASCAP loan could be the ideal solution to help you stay afloat until normalcy resumes. The interest rate on the loan is low, and the repayment terms are reasonable. Plus, if your business boasts solid revenues and has an excellent credit rating, you can access a large sum of money, which may save your business in the end.
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