TORONTO — According to an announcement Sunday by Michael Denham, CEO, Business Development Bank of Canada, Canadian bars, restaurants and lounges will have access to $40 billion in new credit being made available via the government’s business bank during the COVID-19 crisis.
The restaurant sector has been particularly hard hit by widespread government-mandated closures and a recent survey suggested almost one in 10 restaurants had already closed. Nearly one in five is expected to close if conditions don’t improve quickly.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Denham said the program from the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada would now be open to all businesses.
“Any legal business is eligible to be part of the program — that was what I think some industry groups were concerned about,” said Denham, adding applicants must go through their own banks to access the program.
The business development bank is a federal corporation with a loan portfolio of about $35 billion. Half the $40-billion from the credit availability program will be in addition to that, Denham said.
The development bank, which has about 60,000 clients, has been making other changes given the unprecedented impact of the pandemic, including lowering its interest rates, waiving fees and increasing the amount of risk it is taking on with its loans.
“All these changes are meant to make ourselves as easy and accessible within the confines of BDC being a lender,” Denham said. “We’re doing what we need to do.”