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.
Vaccination Clinic Information is available on the Town of BWG’s main website, here: https://www.townofbwg.com/vaccine
You can also submit any questions to the Office of Economic Development, here.
Proof of Vaccination Guidelines
On December 10, the Government of Ontario outlined its strategy to take action against the COVID Omicron variant. Please see their media release for more details.
As part of the new strategy, the vaccination status certificate QR Code (introduced on October 22), will be mandatory to show proof of vaccination as of January 4, 2022.
Provincial Online Vaccination Screening Tool
The Government of Ontario has a free online vaccination screening tool that will allow for pre-screening and confirming vaccination status, suitable for work environments or meetings.
Please note the following:
The questions in this tool have been defined by the Ministry of Health. Using this specific online tool to answer the questions is optional and is not tracked or enforced. Screening is not required for emergency services or other first responders entering a workplace for emergency purposes.
This screening tool is not applicable to some health care settings (for example, long-term care homes), and some non-health care workplaces (for example, retirement homes, schools and child care) where existing screening requirements and tools are already in place.
This screening cannot diagnose you. If you have medical questions, consult a health care provider. Follow the direction of your local public health unit over the advice in this tool.
Rapid Antigen Test Kits
Update (December 16): Ontario launching holiday pop-up testing blitz
The Government of Ontario is making free rapid antigen test kits available to high-risk communities, organizations and workplaces. The program is available to all organizations that are allowed to be open under current public health measures, and also require people to be physically present on site.
To determine if you qualify, please visit: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/get-free-rapid-tests.
The Bradford Board of Trade has partnered with the Barrie Chamber of Commerce to offer free rapid screening kits for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Businesses (including non-chamber members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community.
For more information, please visit: https://bradfordboardoftrade.com/covid-19-info/covid-19-rapid-screen-initiative/.
Government of Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework: Modified Step 2
On May 20, 2021, the Government of Ontario updated its Re-Opening Ontario framework with Roadmap to Re-Open, a cautious three-step plan that will guide a safe and gradual reopening of the province and the lifting of public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health system indicators.
On January 3, 2022, Premier Doug Ford announced that the province will temporarily move to a Modified Step 2 beginning on Wednesday, January 5.
BWG is currently in a Modified Step 2 of the reopening plan.
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The following programs are available to assist individuals:
- Employment Insurance (EI) program
- Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
- Supporting low-income workers and families
- Mortgage payment deferral
- Provincial and territorial support
- Waiving interest on student and apprentice loans
The following programs are available to assist businesses:
- Wage and hiring support
- Rent and property expenses support
- Jobs and Growth Fund
Extending the Work-Sharing program
- Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)
- Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)
- Additional support by sector
- Provincial and territorial support
- Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
- Supporting business through the pandemic and into recovery
Information on all these programs is available on the Government of Canada website.
COVID Safety Inspection Information
To ensure businesses are following the public health guidelines and properly protecting workers and customers from COVID-19, the Government of Ontario launches periodic COVID safety inspections.
All businesses operating during lockdown must have a COVID-19 workplace safety plan that is available to anyone who asks to see it and is posted in a place where it can be easily seen.
For more information, please visit the following link and help make our community safe by adhering to all Provincial and Health Unit guidelines: https://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/COVID-19/Reopening-and-Operating-your-Business-Safely.
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 email@example.com to receive a referral to a mental health services professional.
Free Local Business Consulting Service - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Grants, Loans & Support for Businesses
A new funding intake has opened for the federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership Program in the food processor stream.
Phase 1 has categories of matching funding that relate to developing new products, domestic market development, export market development, and increasing safety and traceability that might be needed for certifications, amongst other categories (each category has a different cost share and maximum contribution) .
Phase 2 focuses on technology and equipment to improve productivity (35% cost share up to $100,000). Phase 1 has opened and will remain open until September 2, 2021. Phase 2 will open on September 27, 2021. Businesses can submit an application to up to two categories.
More information is available here: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/processorindex.htm. Guidelines are available here: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/processorguidelines.htm.
Note: This will be the last intake of this program until 2023.
Nottawasaga Futures offers business loans up to a maximum of $250,000.
This fund is available to new and existing businesses located in the municipalities of Adjala-Tosorontio, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Essa, Innisfil and New Tecumseth (Alliston, Tottenham, and Beeton.)
The loans are to support the creation of new jobs or maintain existing jobs in the community.
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.
Notices (Updated January 7)
December 16: Ontario launching holiday pop-up testing blitz
April 28: Ontario to Introduce Paid COVID-19 Leave
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
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 email@example.com 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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