Listed below is a collection of information and links to various resources available to the business community. Please check back frequently as the situation unfolds. The following websites provide a summary of all available funding programs to assist local businesses:
- Simcoe County Government Resources, Funding and Sector Supports
- MPP Caroline Mulroney: Relief within Reach site
A toll-free number is available from the Government of Ontario to provide support to Ontario businesses that have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Please call 1-888-444-3659 for more information.
You can also submit any questions to the Office of Economic Development, here.
Government of Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework: PROVINCE-WIDE EMERGENCY - STAY-AT-HOME ORDER IN EFFECT
On November 3, 2020, the Government of Ontario developed the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework to ensure that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.
The framework takes a gradual approach that includes introducing preventative measures earlier to help avoid broader closures and allow for additional public health and workplace safety measures to be introduced or removed incrementally.
It categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort. Each level outlines the types of public health and workplace safety measures for businesses and organizations. These include targeted measures for specific sectors, institutions and other settings.
The Town of BWG is presently under a PROVINCE-WIDE STATE OF EMERGENCY AND STAY AT HOME ORDER beginning April 8. The Emergency Order is in effect until May 5, 2021. On April 17, the Government of Ontario announced further enforcement measures, including the extension of the Re-Opening Ontario Act until May 20, 2021. The COVID-19 Response Framework (colour-coded zones) is paused during this time.
Mental Health Support for Business Owners
The Town of BWG has partnered with Nottawasaga Futures to offer mental health support to entrepreneurs and business owners. Up to five hours of confidential support with a mental health professional is available to no cost.
Please contact Martin Kuzma of Nottawasaga Futures at 705-435-1540 or firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a referral to a mental health services professional.
Grants, Loans & Support for Businesses
Government of Ontario
- Ontario Small Business Support Grant for businesses with less than 100 employees, and with a minimum 20% drop in year/year revenue comparing April 2020 to April 2019, are eligible for a one time grant of between $10 000 and $20 000.
- Main Street Relief Grant for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) providing up to $1,000 for PPE costs to eligible small businesses across Ontario with 2 to 9 employees.
- Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants for businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures (modified Stage 2 restrictions or, going forward, in areas categorized as control, Lockdown or Provincewide Shutdown). This provincial application-based grant provides a rebate to eligible businesses in respect of property taxes and energy bills.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation is providing a one-time fund to invest in the recovery and rebuilding efforts of the non-profit sector impacted by COVID-19.
The Government of Ontario is providing an additional $25 million to support core cultural institutions and artists with emergency funding.
The eCommerce Accelerator Program
Don’t fall behind with your store in 2021- stay ahead of your competition by growing online, even if your physical store is closed!
Join the eCommerce Accelerator today and get step-by-step instructions & video lessons to help you:
- Grow your online store quickly
- Continue to sell your products & services
- Market & sell your products effectively
- Get more exposure to supplement or replace your current brick and mortar storefront.
Save $497 & Watch FREE for a limited time!
Free Local Business Consulting Service and Assistance with Relief Applications - Apply Online!
The Town of BWG has contracted with Nottawasaga Futures to host a free consulting program. Nottawasaga Futures can assist with applications for business assistance and:
- Ensure your website is optimized for buying or booking appointments online
- Setup online ordering for both delivery and take-out on your website
- Convert existing stores to e-commerce to offer online buying capabilities
- Offer online and/or live classes or consultations using Skype, ZOOM, etc
Apply for assistance with the Online Assistance Form. Information provided goes directly to Nottawasaga Futures and is confidential.
For more information, please contact 1-800-509-7554 or email@example.com.
The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) offered by CONTACT Community Services allows community members with low income to have their income tax filed with the help of a volunteer at no cost. Due to COVID, clinics scheduled for March and April have been cancelled.
To assist, CONTACT is offering a Flex Funding program for applicants to receive financial assistance to have their taxes done by a tax professional. Please visit www.contactsouthsimcoe.ca/ or call Lacey DeBeer at 705-435-4900 ext. 206. for more information.
2021 Temporary Patio Program - Applications now available
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the 2020 Temporary Patio Program – implemented to assist merchants to manage the negative effects of COVID-19 – a new Temporary Patio Program has been approved by Council for 2021. There will be no cost to apply for this program, and both private property patios and patios on downtown sidewalks will be permitted again this year.
If you have questions, please contact the Office of Economic Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notices (Updated April 17)
August 31: Canada United Small Business Fund now open
July 13: Province announces Stage 3 Re-opening for Friday, July 17 (Guidelines for Businesses)
June 17: Ontario pauses commercial evictions
April 4: New Government of Ontario Online Portal – Ontario Takes Steps to Keep Food on the Table during COVID-19
NEW - Get Online with Digital Main Street!
The County of Simcoe is providing $60,000 in funding towards a unique program to help local businesses adapt their sales models to meet the needs of the ever-changing online consumer world. The funding will cover portions of the costs for a Digital Service Squad to provide one-on-one training to local businesses and their employees.
To qualify, the small or medium-sized business must:
- Employ 1-99 employees
- Pay commercial property tax (commercially assessed), either directly or through commercial rent
- Be registered business in Ontario and/or incorporated
- Operate within one of the County’s 16 member municipalities
- Be owned by an Ontario resident
To sign up for Digital Service Squad assistance, businesses in BWG should contact the Barrie, Simcoe County and Orillia Small Business Enterprise Centre at 705-720-2445 or email@example.com.
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) has been approved by the Government of Canada, to replace the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which expired on September 26, 2020. The CRB will provide financial relief for Canadians who don’t qualify for an updated Employment Insurance (EI) program or one of the two accompanying benefits*.
CRB is for workers aged 15 and over who don’t qualify for EI or who are self-employed. If you lost your employment because of COVID-19, or if your income has dropped by at least 50 per cent, then you may qualify.
You must have earned a minimum of $5,000 in 2019, in 2020, or in the 12 months preceding your first application for this benefit — either from employment, EI, maternity or parental benefits or from Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits. You must also be available and looking for work.
You will receive $500 per week for up to 26 weeks.
*The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides $500 per week for up to two weeks for workers who are sick, or who must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. People who receive paid sick leave from their employer are not eligible.
*The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a child or family member.
You cannot claim CRCB or CRSB while on EI or CRB.
For more information on these programs, please visit the Government of Canada website.
COVID Information by Community
Updated statistics on COVID-19, including demographics, employment and cases by community. Information is available on the Townfolio website.
General Resources for Businesses
Mortgage Deferrals for Small Business: Many financial institutions are deferring mortgage payments and potentially other credit product payments up to six months – businesses are encouraged to reach out individually to discuss with a representative.
Federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Specifics of the $82 Billion package from the Government of Canada to support all Canadians, including the business community.
Ontario Specific Updates: The most up-to-date information from the Government of Ontario and the Ministry of Health
Canada calls for Supply of Goods and Services: The Government of Canada is seeking businesses to supply key materials and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tools and Tactics for Business during COVID-19: A collection of resources from MARS in areas such as Human Resources, Cash Flow, Supply Chain and Sales/Marketing.
Online Resources for Employers: Agilec works with business owners, community leaders, and job seekers to help them navigate periods of change and challenge, and is providing free resources online to support the community. They also offer custom leadership webinars. Topics include mental health for leaders, objectivity, crisis intervention and others. Please connect with Crystal Dolliver at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Tools to Help Your Business Operate Virtually
Use an e-commerce platform to sell and market your products. Platforms such as Shopify offer all of the ecommerce and point of sale features that you need to get your business up and running virtually. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period as well as access to an online academy to get you up and running.
Create a simple website to showcase your products/services. Platforms such as Wix give you the freedom to spin up a web presence for your business within minutes. Wix offers easy to use drag and drop technology as well as industry-leading SEO, making it easier for customers to find you via Google. They also offer a 14-day free Premium free trial. If wish to avoid integrating e-commerce, simply have customers call, text or email to place an order.
Learn how to sell and market your products/services across social media channels, such as Instagram or Facebook. Billions of people use channels such as Facebook and Instagram every month to connect with friends and family and to discover things that matter. Utilize this time to establish or refine your social selling strategy. Find new customers and build lasting relationships with them.
Want to offer your services virtually? Download a free Zoom, Microsoft Teams or WebEx account. Or for very large audiences utilize a YouTube Live Stream. Platforms such as Zoom allow you to video conference with up to 100 participants at no cost. You can get started within minutes and easily interact with your customers online. If you’d like to charge a fee for attendance, have registrants pay via your Business PayPal account or via e-transfer ahead of time.
Pivot to offering an online course. Teaching an online course is a great way to leverage your skills and earn income at the same time. Platforms such as Teachable allow you to create an online course for free and market it to over 23 million students.
Get creative and utilize online applications that transform traditionally manual tasks, such as Docusign. Docusign offers a 14-day free trail that allows your team to sign documents anywhere from any device, avoiding any in person contact. All documents are encrypted, and a complete audit trail is maintained.
Need a hand going digital? Connect with specialized, affordable talent online. Services such as Upwork allow you to post your job (or task) for free and within hours be connected with specialized talent that can solve your challenge (at an affordable rate). Services range from web and mobile app development to SEO, social media marketing, content writing, graphic design, admin help and thousands of other projects.
Take advantage of free resources that better enable remote operations. Several technology companies have banded together to assist small businesses to operationalize remotely by offering free services.
COVID-19 Business Resources
The Town of BWG is taking many precautions to help protect our residents and businesses during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are aligning efforts between all levels of government, private sector support agencies, local community organizations and health authorities to ensure a coordinated response.
For complete information on what the Town of BWG is doing please visit: www.townofbwg.com/covid
You can also access information on local partner agencies such as the Bradford Board of Trade and Contact Community Services here.
County of Simcoe Economic Development staff have been working in partnership with all 16 area municipalities to develop and manage a complete list of resources for the business community. For updated information, please visit: edo.simcoe.ca/covid-19-business-resources
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