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 (Updated October 15)
Update: As of October 22, a QR code will be available to provide proof of vaccination. The app is now available for download, per the province’s news release:
- Enhanced COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate with QR Code and Verify Ontario App Available for Download Starting October 15
As of September 22, 2021, you will need to provide proof of vaccination to access certain businesses and settings.
Rapid Antigen Test Kits
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: Step 3
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.
BWG is currently in Step 3 of the reopening plan.
NEW (Sept 1): Directive to Businesses from Medical Officer of Health
On September 1, 2021, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Chief Medical Officer Charles Gardner issued a Letter of Instruction to businesses to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Below is a synopsis of the letter.
Instructions to persons responsible for businesses and organizations:
Effective September 6, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., I am instructing all persons responsible for a business or organization in the County of Simcoe, District of Muskoka, City of Barrie, and the City of Orillia to implement the following measures:
1. Prepare and make available a COVID-19 safety plan for the business or organization which shall describe how the requirements of the Reopening Ontario Act and the regulations made under it have been or will be implemented in the business to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19 including by screening, physical distancing, masks or face coverings, cleaning or disinfecting of surfaces and objects, and the wearing of personal protective equipment.
2. Enable remote work for workers, where reasonably possible, to reduce the number of workers exposed to the workplace. Further, whenever feasible it is recommended that the business or organization may implement remote operations by providing goods by mail or other forms of delivery, by making goods available for pick-up and providing services online, by telephone or other remote means.
3. Regardless of the worker’s vaccination status, the person responsible for the business or organization must ensure workplace active screening is conducted daily for all workers attending the workplace. Screening of workers is to occur before or when a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their day or shift. Workers with COVID-19 symptoms, or who have been identified as a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19, are to be immediately excluded from work and encouraged to self-isolate and seek assessment and testing. Workers who fail active screening (by answering any question ‘yes’ in the provincial screening tool) must be restricted from entering the premises of the business of organization. Active screening shall take place either remotely or if completed onsite, shall take place in a manner where physical distancing and face coverings are used by both the screener and the person being screened.
4. The person responsible for the business or organization must actively screen members of the public as identified in O. Reg. 364/20 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. Active screening of members of the public shall occur in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health in restaurants, bars, food or drink establishments with dance facilities, meeting or event spaces, conference centres, convention centres, personal care services, personal physical fitness trainers, businesses which permit members of the public to test drive any vehicles, boats or watercraft, businesses that provide teaching and instruction including driving instruction, facilities used for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities, facilities used for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities, casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments, tour and guide services including boat tours, photography studio and services, strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.
5. For businesses and organizations that are identified in O. Reg. 364/20 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, the person responsible for the business or organization must record the name and contact information of every patron that enters an area of the establishment and must maintain the record for a period of at least 30 days. Under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, contact information is required to be retrieved prior to entering the business or organization in the following settings; meeting or event spaces, conference centres, convention centres, restaurants and bars, food or drink establishments with dance facilities, personal fitness trainers, businesses that provide in-person or driving instruction, tour and guide services including boat tours, sports and fitness facilities, organized public events, photography studios, casinos or gaming establishments, bingo halls, strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs.
6. Ensure that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization (including members of the public), wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area of the premises unless exempt under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, S.O. 2020, c.17, as amended, and associated Regulations. Further, eye protection (safety goggles, face shields) shall be used in the event that a worker is unable to maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from an unmasked individual. A face shield alone without a mask or face covering is not considered adequate covering of the face.
7. Ensure that physical distancing of workers takes place by at least 2 metres throughout the workplace, where reasonably possible, and during eating and rest periods (i.e., lunchrooms, change rooms). One-way walkways and workflows shall be provided where applicable (e.g. in walkways less than 2 meters in width) to reduce the potential for and occurrence of close physical interaction between individuals, including between workers. Stagger shifts and breaks and/or adjust production schedules to reduce occupancy to limit only as many persons as can be accommodated such that 2 metres distancing between persons can be maintained where reasonably possible. Create work cohorts where reasonably possible to effectively reduce the number of physical interactions between individuals.
8. If a worker is providing direct care to a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19, regardless of where in the premises this occurs, ensure the worker wears appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). A point-of-care risk assessment must occur and at a minimum, PPE must include a medical mask and eye protection (safety goggles, face shields). A face shield is not a replacement for a medical mask or face covering.
9. Ensure supplies and facilities are provided for adequate hand hygiene to take place in work and rest/eating areas within the workplace including the supply of 60-90% alcohol-based hand rub for workers and clients.
10. Take appropriate infection prevention and control measures including reminders on respiratory etiquette, frequent environmental cleaning in all areas accessible to the public, including washrooms, check-out counters, concession stands, and other high-touch surfaces (i.e., doorknobs, accessible/elevator buttons, pay machines, etc.) using disinfectants with a drug identification number (D.I.N.) while ensuring manufacturer instructions for use are followed.
11. Minimize instances of more than one individual per vehicle for driving associated with work, and when unavoidable, ensure face coverings (preferably medical masks) are supplied to and used by each individual, ensure distancing to the degree most possible, and ensure the use of increased ventilation to the outdoors (i.e., through a partially open window) in vehicles, where possible.
12. Conduct, or have the property owner or landlord of the premises of the business or organization conduct a regular review of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in the workplace to ensure that HVAC and supplemental ventilation/filtration systems are regularly maintained and in proper working order with the goal of HVAC system and unit optimization.
13. Ensure that upon request from SMDHU, that information requested is provided to SMDHU as it relates to information required for case and contact management as well as for outbreak management. This may include but is not limited to, accurate and updated contact information for all workers (and clients if prescribed in the Reopening Ontario Act and/or its Regulations or this letter of instruction), site plans and staff schedules. In addition to legislated requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990, ensure any further instructions, directions and guidance provided by SMDHU, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Government of Ontario and/or the Government of Canada pertaining to COVID-19 are followed. This may include ensuring adherence to isolation orders issued to employees, ensuring the required public health measures such as active screening and physical distancing are always maintained within a workplace and supporting all aspects of investigations and outbreak management related to communicable diseases, including COVID-19, conducted by SMDHU.
The following groups are exempted:
The following businesses or organizations are currently exempt from the instructions issued below due to sector specific legislation, directives and/or guidelines currently governing these workplaces COVID-19 measures:
• Health care providers and health care entities as defined in Section 77.7 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990, who are subject to the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Directives issued thereunder;
• Schools and school boards licensed under the Education Act, 1990;
• Schools and Private schools within the meaning of the Education Act, that are operated in accordance with a return to school direction issued by the Ministry of Education and approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
• Childcare settings licensed under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014; and
• Recreational and Day or overnight camps for children.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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.
Grants, Loans & Support for Businesses (Updated August 18)
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.
2021 Temporary Patio Program - Applications are 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 October 22)
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
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 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
CALL US TODAY
Speak directly with one of BWG Economic Development’s knowledgeable and helpful staff today.
EMAIL US TODAY
The BWG Office of Economic Development is committed to responsive, informative and comprehensive service. Do not hesitate to contact our staff with any questions or concerns.
SEE BWG GROW
For up-to-date information on available properties, economic incentives, success stories and more, follow our social media channels.