March 31, 2020

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic response plan and museums

The CMA understands museums are significantly impacted by the coronavirus. We continue to monitor related developments, to advocate on behalf of museums and to share and promote related resources. Following is a brief update.

Economic response plan

Following are some key elements of the Economic Response Plan that are available to museums.

1) Wage subsidies

The Government of Canada has announced an up to 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020 to help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. This program does require proving a 30% loss in revenues since the outset of COVID-19 response.

2) Reporting deadlines for charities

The Canada Revenue Agency is extending the filing deadline to December 31, 2020, for all charities with a Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return due between March 18, 2020 and December 31, 2020. This will allow charities more time to complete and submit their T3010.

3) GST/HST remittances deferred

Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances that are owing have been deferred until June 30, 2020. This varies for each institution depending on their remittance frequency.

4) Interest-free loans through the Canada Emergency Business Account

The new Canada Emergency Business Account will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC). This program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus. If paid off by December 31, 2022, there is a 25% loan forgiveness, up to $10,000. Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans. 

As we have mentioned previously, there is also economic support for individuals. Museum workers who have been recently laid off may apply for EI if they are eligible. Otherwise, museum workers who would not be eligible for EI and independent contractors within the museum community can apply for the Canada Emergency Reponse Benefit when it becomes available in April.

To get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit faster once applications are open, you can sign up in advance for My Account through the Canada Revenue Agency. And if you can, choose direct deposit to get money into your account sooner



The CMA continues to advocate on behalf of Canada’s museums community. We maintain that what is urgently needed is a dedicated museum relief fund to support lost revenues and an emergency development fund for museum digital activities. These investments are critical to ensuring museums can continue with their important work to society.

We know and appreciate that the government has much on its plate to address the challenges Canadians and industries are currently facing. However as beneficial as the response plan is, it is not enough to protect museums against the potential impact of COVID-19 on museum staff, the safeguarding of collections, or the support needed to digitize collections.


Website resources

Just as all of this was taking place, the CMA was unveiling its new-and-improved website. See below for CMA resources related to COVID-19, all accessible through our Museums and COVID-19 page.

Museums at home - Members of the public can enjoy, learn and be enriched by the digital offerings of Canada's museums while practicing social distancing.

Partner resources - Museums can find a collection of resources from our partners in relation to COVID-19 and the sector.

If you would like to suggest a key resource for either page, email


Meanwhile, here at the CMA, we are all working remotely and want to signal our appreciation for our hardworking and flexible staff during the pandemic.

We will continue to share updates as they arise.

In the meantime, stay safe everyone.