Providing financial support to businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced the launch of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP). As first outlined in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, HASCAP will provide financial support to businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. Hard-hit businesses, like a chain of hotels or restaurants with multiple locations under one related entity, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million. HASCAP will help businesses with their day-to-day operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis and enable them to invest in their longer-term prosperity.

HASCAP is available to businesses across the country, in all sectors, that have been hit hard by the pandemic. This includes restaurants, businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and those that rely on in-person service.

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) fully supports HASCAP. This is a great financial support program for Indigenous tourism businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. However, ITAC is apprehensive about some of the application requirements. This program is available on a first-come, first-served basis and only $200M is available. If members are thinking about applying, it is extremely important to apply early. This program is also only offered through major financial institutions (not Aboringal Financial Institutions) and businesses must also show a year-over-year revenue decline of at least 50 percent in three months, within the eight months prior to their application; and must have also applied for other Federal relief programs such as Emergency Wage Subsidy or Commercial Rent Relief.

ITAC will be gathering early feedback from members following the program launch from those who are denied a HASCAP loan to inform the government about how the program is being implemented and share member experiences in the hopes of facilitating any adjustments that might be necessary. If you are an ITAC member and get denied by the financial institution, please fill out this questionnaire and send it to

Keith Henry, ITAC’s President and CEO, will be giving an informative webinar presentation to discuss, in detail, the HASCAP program on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST on the ITAC Members Network Facebook Group (please join the Facebook Group ahead of time). Members will be able to ask questions and watch the webinar live. If you’re not on Facebook, Members will be able to watch live directly on the ITAC Corporate Website. Henry will give an overview of the program, what it means for Indigenous tourism businesses, who should consider applying and how to apply. Henry will also answer any questions from ITAC members about the program.