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Business Resources: COVID-19

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Last Updated: Friday January 15, 2020  9:00 am


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As new announcements are made by municipal, provincial, and federal governments that affect businesses, we share them on our Economic Development Twitter Account and Facebook Page. Follow us to stay up to date as programs evolve.

Second Provincial State of Emergency Declared - Effective January 13 at 12:01am

Ontario has declared a second provincial emergency as a result of high COVID-19 transmission rates and new modelling projections. The government will also be issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes. Every individual shall remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving their place of residence is necessary for one or more of the following purposes:

  • Work (where the nature of the work requires attendance at the workplace), school, and child care 
  • Obtaining goods and services (limited, and essential needs)
  • Assisting others
  • Health, safety, and legal purposes
  • Attending a wedding, funeral, or religious service that is permitted under the Stage 1 Order
  • Animal heath and safety

For additional clarity, please review the information from the Solicitor General about the new emergency orders, as well as the regulations under the Stage 1 Order.

Additionally, the government will enact the following public health measures:

  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions
  • Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open.
  • Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can't physically distance more than two metres.
  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7am and close no later than 8pm. (The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery). 
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.

Please click here for more details on the enhanced provincewide shutdown.

Provincewide Shutdown - Effective December 26 at 12:01am

New restrictions will be in effect for all of Ontario from Saturday, December 26, 2020 to Saturday January 23, 2021.

Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
  • Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings - curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 percent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 percent capacity for in-store shopping.
  • Restricting indoor access to shopping malls - patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are advised to stay home as much as possible with trips outside the home limited to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, or supporting vulnerable community members. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

As of December 26, the current COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused as the Shutdown comes into effect. 

A Safety Plan is required for businesses in Yellow zones or above, the Province of Ontario has created helpful guidance documents and a template. Click here for the Safety Plan Template and safety plan guidance.


NEW Ontario Small Business Support Grant - NOW OPEN

Click here to apply to the Ontario Small Business Support Grant

The government has announced the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help small business owners (including sole proprietorships) that were required to close or significantly restrict services under Ontario's provincewide shutdown effective December 26, 2020.

Small businesses required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business. For example, some businesses will need support paying employee wages or rent, while others will need support maintaining their inventory.

Eligible small businesses include those that:

  • Are required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26
  • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 percent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. (The application portal will provide alternative revenue decline comparator months for small businesses not in operation in April 2019 or April 2020).

Application Requirements:

Businesses must provide and attest to the following information:

  • Legal Business name
  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Business Number (If you do not have a CRA Business Number, please apply for one here: Register for a business number or Canada Revenue Agency program accounts)
  • Business type
  • Revenue figures
  • Number of employees
  • Business' bank account number, name of financial institution, address of financial institution, financial institution number, branch/transit number, account type

Application Deadline: March 31, 2021

For full eligibly details, definitions, and other details to help you with your application, please click here to review the Ontario Small business Support Grant Application Guide.

For assistance with this grant and to learn about other supports that may be available for your business, please contact:

Lesley White
Manager of Business Engagement & Partnerships, City of Brockville
613-342-8772 x4439
lwhite@brockville.com

For additional funding and support, scoll down on this page to the "Government Programs" section below.

Other business supports and grants from the Government of Ontario to assist with costs associated with COVID-19 can be found on their website.


Navigating Government Business Support Programs

Find out more about the programs, services, and funding opportunities you business may be eligible for during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Government Programs

Regional Relief & Recovery Fund

The Fund supports businesses impacted by COVID-19 through COVID Relief Loans

Additional funding became available through this program in late 2020, applications are now being accepted through the Thousand Islands Community Development Corporation

  1. 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, will focus 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 our local CDC for funding through this stream. 

For full eligibility criteria and additional information, please visit FedDev Ontario’s RRRF page.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Subsidy

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring participation from your landlord.

If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

Click here to find out more about the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Subsidy

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

This subsidy helps employers by getting a percentage of employees' pay per eligible employee, per week. The amount you will received per employee is based on your revenue drop. Please visit the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy page for details. 

January 2021 changes for claim periods 11 to 13 (December 20, 2020, to March 13, 2021):

  • the maximum top-up subsidy rate is 35%
  • the maximum subsidy amount for employees on leave with pay is $595
  • the base revenue drop comparison months for period 11 will be the same as period 10

Canada Emergency Business Account

Support for small business cash flow with a new Canada Emergency Business Account offering loans of up to $40,000 guaranteed by the government and interest free for the 1st year (with up to $10,000 forgivable for those who qualify). This program will be administered through eligible financial institutions to businesses with a 2019 total payroll of $20,000-$1.5 million (Applications are now open: apply through your financial institution where your business does its banking).

The program was expanded to include many owner-operated small businesses. The program will now be 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.

Business owners can apply for support until March 31, 2021 through their banks or credit unions. Click here for more information on the Canada Emergency Business Account.

Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Loan

The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program (supported through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank), for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19:

  • Small and medium-sized businesses can also get support through a new Co-Lending Program that will bring the Business Development Bank of Canada together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to these businesses for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program, which will be risk-shared at 80% between the Business Development Bank of Canada and the financial institutions. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and funding directly for customers. 

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business

The Government of Ontario is making $8 million available to support small business and registered charities who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.

To apply for CEAP funding, customers should contact their energy provider. Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs) will begin accepting applications for CEAP-SB on August 31, 2020, delivering the program in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB. CEAP-SB funding is limited, with utilities and USMPs expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. Please note, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

For more information, including eligibility requirements and on-bill credit amounts, visit oeb.ca/ceap.

COVID-19 Tourism Adaptation Fund

The COVID-19 Tourism Adapation Fund - provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency (FedDev) and administered through Regional Tourism Organization 9 for tourism-related businesses in the form of a one-time, non-replayable grant of $1,500-$20,000 (excluding HST).

Grant can total up to 80% of net amount of approved project expenses. The applicant is responsible for 20% of net amount of project expenses and HST.

Tourism Operators as defined by Tourism HR Canada include: Accommodation (hotels, motels, resorts, campgrounds, and recreational vehicle facilities), Recreation and Entertainment (zoos, museums, theatres, sports facilities, amusement parks, government parks, heritage sites, hunting, fishing or outdoor adventure outfitters, and casinos), Food and beverage services (restaurants from fast service to fine dining, as well as pubs, nightclubs, cruise ships, and convention centres); Travel services (retail travel agencies, wholesale tour companies, or corporate offices with their own booking divisions) and Transportation (companies that provide transport by air, land or water, and include airlines, bus companies, taxi companies, ferry services, and cruise ships). Retail stores heavily dependent on tourism may also be considered.

The grant is for one-time adaptation and re-opening costs incurred between June 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 by registered businesses. To take advantage of this funding, you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. 

Click here for more details and to apply for the COVID-19 Tourism Adaptation Fund.

Canada Recovery Benefit

The Federal government would provide $1000 every 2 weeks for up to 13 eligibility periods between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. This benefit is to provide income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.  For more information on the Canada Recovery Benefit, please click here.

Other benefits include:

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (for those unable to work because of ht epandemic due to caring for a child or family member hwho needs supervised care)

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (For employed or self-employed individuals who are sick or need to self-isolate due to the pandemic)

For more benefits from the Federal Government, please visit their Economic Response Plan page.


Additional Resources for Small Businesses

Find out more about programs specifically for small businesses beyond the government supports found in the section above.

Provincial Supports for Small Businesses

Click here to access Provincial supports related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ontario's Main Street Relief Grant: PPE Support

The Province of Ontario is helping small businesses with the unexpected costs of PPE by providing eligible small businesses with one-time grants of up to $1000. To be eligible, your business must have 2 to 9 employees and be in one of the following sectors: retail, accommodation and food services, repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, gyms and yoga studios. For more information and to apply, visit the Provincial website. 

Property Tax Rebate and Energy Cost Rebate Grant

Support for businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict service due to provincial public health measures. For more information, visit the Provincial website.

NEW: Ontario Small Business Support Grant

In January 2021, applications will open for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will help small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown.

Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will probide businesses with dollar for dollar funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the shutdown. 

The business must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20% when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. 

To be eligible, a small business must:

  • Be required to close or restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown on December 26, 2020
  • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20% revenue decline comparing April 2020 to April 2019 revenues

For small businesses not in operation in April 2019 or April 2020, eligibilty criteria is pending a further announcement.

Further details, including how to apply, will be available later this month. Please check back for details. More information on the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and other supports can be found here. 

  

FanSaves Helps Gift Certificate Program "Brockville Shop Local"

Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce & Downtown Brockville have partnered with FanSaves Helps and invite your business to be a part of the "Brockville Shop Local" Gift Certificate Program (open to all Brockville businesses, you do not need to be a Chamber or DBIA member to participate).

How it works: Once a gift certificate is purchased through the FanSaves Helps website, the buyer will receive a digital gift certificate with a unique code that will be tracked for you in a spreadsheet (which you will have access to). Any money received on your behalf will then be transferred to you via Direct Deposit or e-transfer within 14 days (minus any credit card transaction fees that may come off the top). 

Lastly, once you re-open your doors, the buyer can then print off their gift certificate and bring it to you. You can then keep track of the balance however it works best for you (some businesses are transferring it to their own gift card program, or you can track the balance right on the printout).

All you have to do to sign up is fill out this online form: https://form.jotform.com/200865271814253
(be sure to select "Brockville Shop Local" when selecting the organization or community your business will be featured under).

Community members, once businesses have signed up, will be able to purchase gift cards from their favourite Brockville businesses at https://www.fansaveshelps.ca/collections/brockville

Leeds Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre

Their office is currently closed to the public, but staff are available to take phone or zoom calls with clients. Call 613-342-0040 ext. 4470 for Wendy or 4471 for Jeanette. jeanette@lgsmallbusiness.com


Shop Local

It is now more important than ever to support local businesses who are trying to stay afloat during the pandemic. While many retailers have had to close their doors due to the provincial emergency proclamation, many are making a shift, where possible, to change the way that they do business by offering online or phone orders with delivery.

   

Please join us in supporting our local businesses by continuing to shop from them during these times, or by purchasing a gift card from them to use after things return to normal to help them with their immediate cash flow. You can also support your favourite local businesses by purchasing gift certificates to use after the pandemic from one central site: https://www.fansaveshelps.ca/collections/brockville (businesses are joining daily, so if you don't see the business you are looking for on here, please check back, or let that business know that you were trying to find them!)

Downtown Brockville (DBIA) has a list of downtown businesses that have moved to online shopping or phone ordering, as well as other businesses that are able to remain open at this time. You can find their list (updated regularly) on the Downtown Brockville website at www.downtownbrockville.com/for-the-public.php

Local Restaurants offering take out/delivery

Restaurants throughout the pandemic have been permitted to continue to operate provided that they move to take out and delivery only. The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit requires that food establishments offering takeout and delivery practice “social distancing” of six feet, or 2.5 metres, between customers. Please click here to read the new precautionary measures in place for food premises by the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit.

Grocery and Pharmacy options while in isolation

If you are in isolation or are concerned about your susceptibility to the virus, we have put together a list of grocery stores, pharmacies, and a few services for seniors offering pick-up, delivery, or dedicated shopping times. If you know of any other options that we should include, please let us know. 


Business Continuity Plans

Planning how you will sustain your business as we advance through the pandemic is an important consideration for the days ahead. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, and the Business Development Bank of Canada have great resources on what you need to consider and how you can protect and maintain your staffing levels.

Template: COVID-19 Safety Plan (Word Document) - use this template from the Provincial Government to document how your organization will keep workers and other people safe at your workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Supply Request

The Government of Canada

The Canadian Government has issued a call to suppliers for products and services necessary to combat COVID-19. If you are a business that can supply products and services, please visit their website for more information and to complete their submission form.

The Provincial Government

The help from businesses and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support the response to COVID-19. 

  • Supplies: If your business or organization can provide medical products such as ventilators, swabs, masks and eye protection: Tell us what you have
  • Innovation: If your business or organization can help communities withstand the pandemic and you have a solution for:
    • virtual mental health services for people who are vulnerable or living in remote communities
    • supply chain resiliency monitoring
    • financial planning and advising for small businesses that can be delivered online at low-cost including advice about relief programs and how to apply
    • Tell us your solution
  • Ideas: If your business or organization has ideas, other products or services that could help Ontarians: Tell us your idea

Please visit the Ontario supply request website for more information and to apply.


Business Reopening Supports

Toll Free Business Information Line: 1-888-444-3659

The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Help is available Monday-Friday from 8:30am-9:00pm and Saturday & Sunday from 8:30am-5:00pm

Click for more information on their website.

Guidance Documents for Workplaces

In partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the health and safety associations have released a series of more than 100 technical sector guidance documents to further support employers and employees in remaining safe in the workplace during the COVID-19 outbreak. They have also produced a general "return to business check list" that is applicable to most businesses, indicating the areas that should be considered before reopening. 

Local Resources to Assist with your Business Reopening

City Staff have compiled a resource guide to assist you as you prepare to reopen that includes relevant government links and resources such as sector guidance documents, best practices, government approved disinfectants and hand sanitizers, workplace posters, and a list of suppliers to help you outfit your workplace with the necessary signage, personal protective equipment, and cleaning agents you will need to reopen safely. Please click here to visit our Preparing your Business to Reopen Safely page to find the resource guide and additional information pertaining to reopening safely.

Tackling the Barriers online portal

Province launches COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers online portal.To support your ongoing work during COVID-19, you can request a temporary regulation or policy change to help:

  • Assist the health care system meet the needs of needs of the emergency
  • Assist businesses in retooling or producing essential or health-related products and supplies
  • Make it easier for businesses trying to operate remotely or in a non-traditional fashion and are facing unexpected challenges

Visit the portal to submit your request.


Ontario Newsroom

News releases and information related to the COVID-19 outbreak from the Government of Ontario can be found on the official Ontario Newsroom website. Checking their page regularly is a good way to stay up to date on decisions and new regulations that may apply to your business.


Please click here to access relevant staff in our City Departments: https://brockville.com/departments



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