We are pleased to compile this list of resources for our local businesses affected by the current pandemic and global health crisis. We will keep updating this list as information is received.
Support during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The following is a summary of key supports that may assist our local businesses:
- *NEW* $10,000 Small Business Relief Grant
- *NEW* Businesses that have been required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 percent of their costs.
- *NEW* On December 22, 2021 the Government of Canada announced that it Temporarily Expands Access to Lockdown Program and Worker Lockdown Benefit. Review the Backgrounder for more information. The application portals are open on the following dates:
- Period 24: February 7, 2022, at 6:00 am EST
- Period 25: March 1, 2022 (exact time TBD)
The link to the portal is open.
A reminder that the regulatory changes announced back in December temporarily expand eligibility for wage and commercial rent support for businesses and other organizations under the Local Lockdown Program. These changes would:
- apply to claim periods 24 and 25 (December 19, 2021, to February 12, 2022)
- allow those entities to qualify if they are subject to a capacity-limiting public health restriction of 50 per cent or more
- reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25 per cent for those entities
- On September 27, 2021 the Ontario Government announced the Tourism Recovery Program. Businesses that attract and rely on visitors are eligible to apply. As part of this program’s eligibility criteria, applicants must have experienced a qualifying revenue decline of at least 50% in the reported 2020-2021 year (a period that reflects COVID-related losses) compared to fiscal year-end 2019 (a pre-COVID, baseline year);
- Available now, applications are being accepted for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Businesses may be able to receive $10,000 minimum up to $20,000;
- The Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant is also available to provide one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses including hotels, motels, travel agencies, amusement and water parks, hunting and fishing camps, and recreational and vacation camps including children’s overnight summer camps. Businesses must demonstrate they have experiences a minimum 20% revenue decline and have less than 100 employees. Any small businesses that received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will not be eligible for this new grant;
- Find out if your business is eligible for grants to help with the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) and your property taxes and energy bills. Apply for funding;
- Businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access a second Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan of up to $20,000 – on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses. More details available.
- The Government of Ontario is providing $8 million to support small business and registered charity customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Learn more;
- On May 13, 2021 the Government of Ontario announced a new Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant. This grant of $10,000 to $20,000 is available to support eligible small tourism and travel businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business support Grant (OSBSG) such as travel agents, hotels, motels, resorts and bed and breakfasts;
- The Government of Canada offers a long list of financial support, loans and access to credit;
- The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund is open February 16, 2021. Created by RBC, this Fund helps businesses offset the cost of expenses to open safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online. Successful applicants will receive a relief grant of up to $5,000.
New Canada Digital Adoption Program
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the launch of the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) to help Canadian SMEs grow their online presence and upgrade or adopt digital technologies. For some businesses, this means adopting e-commerce solutions to sell goods and services and reach new markets. For others, it’s about leveraging technology to improve productivity and boost online offerings.
With the launch of CDAP, Canadian-owned businesses can apply to two grants to help increase their digital abilities. The Grow your Business Online grant will provide businesses with $2,400 and the guidance of an e-commerce advisor to help smaller storefront-type businesses (restaurants, service businesses, retail, tourism) adopt digital technologies and take advantage of e-commerce opportunities. The Boost your Business Technology grant will provide businesses with up to $15,000 and the guidance of expert digital advisors to further improve their productivity and become more competitive. Applicants for the Boost your Business Technology grant will also be eligible to apply for an interest-free loan of up to $100,000 through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
Attention Tourism Businesses
Ontario Tourism Recovery Program
On September 27, 2021 the Ontario Government announced the Tourism Recovery Program. The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program will support tourism businesses that have experienced a loss of at least 50 per cent of eligible revenue in 2020-21 compared to 2019. Program funding will help successful applicants prepare to reopen safely, develop innovative tourism products, retain and create tourism jobs, and support tourism recovery in their region and throughout Ontario.
Tourism Relief Fund
The Government of Canada recently announced the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF). It is a $500-million national program to support the tourism sector in Canada.
Tourism Adaptation Fund
On January 15, 2021 the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization announced a new Tourism Adaptation Fund is accepting applications.
Developed in partnership with Ottawa Tourism, TRIP – Capital Projects program is geared specifically to tourism-dependent small to medium businesses and provides non-repayable funding up to 80% of eligible expenses incurred to modify operations to a maximum of $20,000. This program was created to offset costs related to one-time modifications and/or re-opening costs, implementation of health and safety protocols, and digitization measures.
Applications to this new funding stream will be accepted beginning Jan. 15, 2021 and will continue on an ongoing basis until Dec. 31, 2021, or until funds are depleted. Priority status will be given to eligible businesses who apply by Thursday, Jan. 31, 2021.
Here’s what you need to have on hand to complete the application:
- Your Business Number, HST number, and Incorporation date (if applicable)
- A copy of your 2019 Financials
- A copy of your commercial general liability insurance indicating coverage of at least $2,000,000
- Copies of all receipts, invoices and/or quotes you are looking to submit for reimbursement
- A brief 500-word summary drafted of how the requested funds are to be used, including a synopsis of how the project helped to protect jobs and the visitor experience.
A high volume of applications is anticipated and applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis. If you are a tourism dependent business we encourage you to apply today by visiting ComeWander.ca/trip. Also review the Program Guidelines.
Small Business Recovery Resources
The Province of Ontario offers information on resources for businesses and reopening guidance.
The Ontario government is also helping businesses recover costs for personal protective equipment and providing extra support for businesses required to close or significantly restrict services as a result of provincial public health measures. Find more information or apply for funding.
Government of Canada Jobs and Growth Fund
On July 13, 2021 the Government of Canada launched the Jobs and Growth Fund to create jobs and foster economic activity in Canada’s communities. There is a list of eligible activities and an overview of assistance available.
Ontario Government Proposing Tax Relief
On November 10, 2020 the Ontario government announced that they propose giving municipalities the flexibility to target property tax relief to small businesses.
We provide free coaching
Hastings County supports new and existing businesses. We offer free and confidential business coaching, from an entrepreneur looking to turn their passion into a business, or an established business owner looking to expand or needing help with their management plans.
Our Small Business Coordinator will meet you at your location (pending COVID and travel restrictions). To book a confidential meeting anywhere in Hastings County, contact Andrew Redden.
View a summary of our COVID-19 Response Plan below:
What do local businesses require to re-open?
On November 13, 2020 the Province of Ontario released a COVID-19 Response Framework. The Framework outlines restrictions and requirements that affect businesses and communities based on different new levels that each Public Health Region is in.
On June 1, 2020 the Hastings County Economic and Tourism Development Office partnered with officials from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to run a webinar. A recording of the webinar is available below:
Need Help purchasing or finding Personal Protective Equipment?
You can review sector-specific guidelines to identify personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies to keep your employees and customers safe. Supplies are in high demand and the needs of frontline health care workers and first responders will continue to be prioritized.
*The site also provides an opportunity be added to a supplier directory.
Looking to go digital?
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of having an online presence to sell goods and services. To address this need, Digital Main Street is collaborating with Google, Shopify, Mastercard and Microsoft to build and optimize online stores for small independent businesses and artists. Sign up for a free online store!
Is your business prepared?
The Centre For Workforce Development has prepared a Guide To Pandemic Preparedness For Businesses. This guide is intended for employers and business leaders who want to modify their business plan to accommodate for the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two step-by-step guides; in part one, employers are given the steps, strategies and tools involved in creating a business recovery and continuity plan. In part two, the focus is on adapting your workplace, business practices and policies to mitigate infection and transmission risks to ensure your organization is safe and accounts for pandemic-related risks.
Federal Government Support
FedDev Ontario is delivering funding through the RRRF in southern Ontario.
1. Regional Economy: This stream supports provides $213 million in support to southern Ontario SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures. Please visit the FedDev Ontario website for more information or to apply under this stream.
2. Community Futures: This stream supports businesses in rural and smaller communities through additional funding for the existing Community Futures Program (CFP). In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities they serve, CFDCs, who will deliver this stream of funding, willfocus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants and corner stores, etc., and businesses of strategic importance to their communities, with loans up to $40,000. Please apply directly through your local CFDC for funding through this stream.
FedDev Ontario offers information on eligibility criteria and other details.
Even though the CERB has ended, the CRA is continuing to accept and process retroactive applications until December 2, 2020. This taxable benefit provides $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information.
Canada Emergency Business Account
Canada Emergency Business Account, which provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits through their financial institutions. Up to 25% of the loan will be forgiven if repaid by December 31, 2022.
The Government of Canada has expanded the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (“CEBA”). Now small businesses with a payroll of less than $20,000 in 2019 and eligible non-deferrable expenses for 2020 have an opportunity to apply for the CEBA loan. Organizations with a payroll between $20,000 and $1,500,000 in 2019 continue to be eligible to apply for the CEBA loan.
To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada offers the Canada Emergency Business Account which is implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).
This $25 billion 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.
This will better position them to quickly return to providing services to their communities and creating employment.
Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.
The program is now available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.
To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:
- a business operating account at a participating financial institution
- a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
- eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Resources for Canadian businesses
Government of Canada – 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
The CEWS provides a qualifying entity with a wage subsidy of up to 75% of eligible remuneration, paid to an eligible employee per week for the period between March 15 to June 6, 2020 up to a maximum of $847 per week. Information here. Prime Minister Trudeau announced on March 27th that the wage subsidy would be increased from 10% to 75%. Here is an update prepared by https://www.hss-ca.com/
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
NRC IRAP Canadian Innovation Assistance Program
Starting on April 22, 2020 small and medium-sized Canadian businesses unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Business Credit Availability Program can apply for financial assistance here.
Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs)
If you are a current investment client with CFDC in North and Central Hastings and South Algonquin, payments will not be processed on your existing loan(s) in April, May and June, 2020. Interest will not be accrued and no penalty or fees. Trenval BDC has developed emergency loans for current investment clients to help with cashflow and to keep their business afloat. Please contact Trenval for more information.
***NEW – Trenval BDC has announced an additional $400,000 in business financing to help financially stabilize existing and future loan clients who do not qualify for any existing support. More information and how to apply here.
Business Development Bank of Canada – Support for Entrepreneurs Impacted By Coronavirus
Business Continuity Plan and Templates For Entrepreneurs
Export Development Canada
Employment Insurance and Labour and Occupational Health and Safety – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada
On March 18, 2020 the Government of Canada announced help to support workers and businesses through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. You can access the news release here.
- Provide eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities. This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep their jobs;
- Allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period;
- Increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. The Government is ready to provide more capital through these financial Crown corporations;
- Further expand Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support to domestic businesses;
- Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances;
- Augment credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada;
- Launch an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As announced on March 16, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary. The Government will enable these measures by raising CMHC’s legislative limits to guarantee securities and insure mortgages by $150 billion each.
Please contact your local Member of Parliament’s office for more information on how to access any of the above assistance.
Ontario Government Resources and Support
Small business recovery resources
Request a temporary rule or regulation change to help your business respond
Digital Main Street Training Webinars
Brush up on skills or learn something new with Digital Main Street’s free webinars for small businesses, on topics like social media, online advertising, SEO/websites, and more. Browse their upcoming events here.
Ontario Ministry of Health – Statistics and Self Assessment Tool
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health – Employer Role in COVID-19 Management
On March 25, 2020 the Government of Ontario announced an Action Plan to respond to COVID-19.
Key initiatives in the government’s plan to help workers and employers include:
People and Jobs
- Helping families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools.
- A new corporate income-tax credit, the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit, will give businesses a 10 per cent refundable tax credit for certain investments made outside of Ottawa and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (which includes Hastings County).
- Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers, by providing approximately $5.6 billion for electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21, which is an increase of approximately $1.5 billion compared to the 2019 Budget plan.
- Further supporting more affordable electricity bills by setting electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering.
- Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.
- Providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Providing emergency child care options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers.
- Expanding access to the emergency assistance program administered by Ontario Works to provide financial support to people facing economic hardship and help more people meet basic needs such as food and rent during this public health emergency.
- Enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social services organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19, by providing funding directly to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administration Boards who would allocate this funding based on local needs.
- Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for students, leaving more money in people’s pockets.
- Helping to support regions lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax Credit, the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit.
- Providing additional supports of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need, and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations.
The government’s plan also includes measures that will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flows over the coming months, including:
- Making available $6 billion by providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
- Over $1.8 billion by deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which will provide municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses, while ensuring school boards continue to receive their funding.
- Making available $1.9 billion by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.
On March 26, 2020 the Ontario Provincial Government announced that they are enabling all employers covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to see premium payments deferred for six months.
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ontario
Apply for agriculture, agri-food and food industry jobs to support the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
$1 Million in new funding to support efforts that match employers with job-seekers.
Funding is available now for Addressing Labour Supply and Training Challenges. Eligible applications are received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available. Cost share funding up to 90% of eligible costs is available.
Ontario Federation of Agriculture Resources
The Latest Updates from Tourism Specific Sites:
Destination Think is holding a webinar for DMOs on leading your destination through crisis and recovery on Tuesday, March 31 at 4:00 pm.
Destination Canada has published a past webinar on COVID-19 including information on available federal support initiatives.
BC Hughes has published a blog on what your tourism business can do during a global crisis.
- Ontario Chambers of Commerce COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for Ontario Businesses
- The Canadian Business Resilience Network campaign, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, will provide 62 small Canadian busineses with $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts during this pandemic
- The Workplace Safety and Prevention Services has developed this Return-To-Business Checklist
- NOTE: The team at Ottawa Public Health has established a website for workplaces. This covers important information like, how to prepare for COVID-19, considerations for work travel, what to do when returning from travel, and other helpful tips for your employees. COVID-19 Information for Workplaces
- Facebook for Business Offering Support
Facebook for Business has compiled a list of steps you can take to keeping your customers informed. They also provide resources like a Business Resilience Toolkit and support through a Small Business Grants Program. Click here for their support hub.
- The Ontario Government has set up a “Stop the Spread Business Information Line” where you can call with business-related questions.
- BDC’s past webinar on coping with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business is available for viewing.
- Smith School of Business and Queen’s University’s webinar on the immediate and long-term impacts on business in Canada is available.
- Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness for Business
- World Health Organization COVID-19 – Business and Employees
- International Economic Development Council
COVID-19: Preparing for what comes next with International Economic Development Council (IEDC)
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Business Continuity Plan – Infectious Diseases