BMO Financial Group has added new measures to assist Canadian businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak, the bank announced on Wednesday. 

Dedicated relief measures include tailored programs for both small and medium-sized businesses, which may include payment deferrals on loans, lines of credit and access to additional working capital. 

In addition, BMO is offering one-on-one advice on business plans and options to overcome any additional concerns. 

“The financial challenges that have developed as a result of Covid-19 are placing a strain, especially, on small businesses across Canada,” said Erminia Johannson, group head, North American Personal and Business Banking, BMO Financial Group.

BMO’s financial relief for Canadian businesses comes as small business confidence has hit a new low.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said its latest business barometer has fallen to a record low of 30.8 from a level of 60.5 in February.

The CFIB said one in five owners say their business is in a good state, compared with 38% who say it’s doing poorly.

Half of business owners said they are planning layoffs in the next three months, while just 5% said they will be looking to add full-time staff.

The report came as non-essential businesses shut down in Ontario and Quebec in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The moves have resulted in the layoff of workers across the country as businesses stop work.

The barometer is based on 1,378 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to an online survey on March 17 and 18.