As we wait for the Ontario economy to roll-out our reopening*, we’ve gathered a list of resources for small business owners and landlords within the BIA, to help during COVID-19.For ease of navigation, we’ve taken an ‘FAQ’ approach.Click on the heading or the question, and it will take you directly to that particular item.
As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to June 6, 2020.
This wage subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position you to resume normal operations following the crisis.It appears that any small business person who had one or more employees, beyond themselves, and who operated their business properly/legally, and was registered, is eligible for the temporary wage subsidy.
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
What is the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)?
To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada launched the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which has been implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).
This $25 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs.Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).Click here to continue reading.
Is there rent relief for small/medium businesses?
Yes.The Federal Government, in conjunction with the Province, have designed the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.Program details, including how funds will be disbursed and how to apply, are being finalized and will be available by approximately mid-May, 2020. Watch for updates, HERE.
What is the Provincial Government doing to help?
Well, we’re glad you asked!As of April 28, 2020, they’ve set up a ‘COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers’ website – a website devoted to helping Ontario businesses deal with immediate challenges.For instance, the province will be pausing or extending any existing public consultations, delaying non-urgent related consultations while the emergency situation remains in place, and considering extending deadlines for reports and audits. In other words, reducing red tape.Follow Prabmeet Sarkaria, our Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction on Twitter, HERE.
The province sets our list of essential services.Has this list changed since April 4, 2020?
Yes.Following advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 4, 2020, certain businesses and workplaces may reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Businesses that are not identified on this list must keep their physical place of business closed.
I have more questions.Where can I go for answers?
The City of Toronto has recently launched the BusinessTO Support Centre to assist businesses in applying for the various government support programs, as well as provide general business advice and support.You can find the support centre here https://www.toronto.ca/covid19BusinessTO.Interested businesses can sign-up and then will receive an invitation for a 1:1 virtual meeting.
The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade provides many areas of assistance for business, including small business, HERE.See in particular, the section under ‘Business and Economy’.
My business needs wiping and disinfecting.Who do I call?
What are some ideas to stimulate sales if I’m technically closed?
We’ve put together a list of initiatives and opportunities HERE that businesses can enrol in, on their own, to stimulate sales.
Need some inspiration?680News Operation Support Local is a free listing for businesses.Many businesses are pivoting – trying new approaches – to maintain awareness until storefronts are lively again.
Digital Main Street is a FREE service where storefront BIA members can arrange a :30 or :60 minute 1:1 consultation with Little Portugal on Dundas BIA’s digital expert, Francine Finkler.Francine can answer your questions about the digital side of your business, whether it’s about e-commerce, improving your website, or running your social media accounts.
Digital Main Street also offers many FREE webinars to help business owners up their digital game.Check here frequently for updates.
It may be awhile before we can all consider ourselves in the ‘recovery’ stage, but it doesn’t hurt to look ahead.Although from DAVO, a tax management system in the U.S., you may find a number of these considerations relevant for the Canadian market, and worth noting as you navigate your business’ future.
The BIA administrator network is compiling best practices for a ‘Reopening Checklist’ for various business sectors, in anticipation of opening.This will include an articulation of the policies, equipment/infrastructure needed and ideas on how these can be adopted/refined by the City of Toronto, under provincial guidelines.In the meantime, look HERE for the province’s guidance for reopening, by sector. More news to come.