The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), which will provide financial support to businesses hardest hit by COVID-19, is set to open this month.
It was announced Tuesday, businesses can begin applying for HASCAP on February 1 at certain financial institutions, with the credit program set to become more widely available at other institutions on February 15.
Announced in November, HASCAP is a new federally-backed loan program for Canadian businesses in all sectors, that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The government specifically pointed to such industries as restaurants, tourism and hospitality, and businesses that rely on in-person service.
The HASCAP will offer businesses low-interest loans of between $25,000 and up to $1 million. The loan terms include up to ten years at a fixed annual interest rate of four percent. The program is being administered by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), through participating Canadian financial institutions. A government statement noted, hard-hit businesses, such as a chain of hotels or restaurants, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million. HASCAP is meant to help businesses with day-to-day operating costs during the pandemic, in order to ensure long-term prosperity.
To be eligible for HASCAP, businesses must have experienced, and be able to show, at least 50 percent year-over-year decline in revenue spanning three months, within the eight-month period prior to their application. They will also be required to show their financial institutions they have previously applied for and received either the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, for at least three months.
The HASCAP is an additional loan program to the federal governments existing Canada Emergency Business Account loans being administered through BDC and Export Development Canada. The federal government’s other COVID-19 relief programs that still available include: the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which have both been extended until June 2021; and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), which has more than $2 billion to support small businesses across Canada through regional development agencies.