Supports for Businesses

This list was last updated: November 23, 2020

If you need assistance you can also call our constituency office at 416-733-7878 (9:30 am to 5:00 pm) and we'll do our best to connect you with the resources and help you need.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 please visit: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/

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 from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Other Government Supports

Support for People

 


Support for Businesses

Federal Government

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part up to 65% of an employee’s wages, retroactive to March 15. This subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease you back into normal operations.

CEWS is available until June 2021.

Click here to check eligibility and apply for the program: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html

Extended the Work-Sharing Program

Extended the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. This measure will provide income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.

Click here to apply: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing/notice-covid-19.html#_Employers

Extension of Lay-off Periods

Further extended temporary layoffs periods in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees. The temporary changes will help protect the jobs of federally regulated private-sector employees and support employers facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.

To learn more about the changes, please click here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/portfolio/labour/notice-covid-19.html#h2.06-h3.01a

Waiving Tariffs on Certain Medical Good

Waiving tariffs on certain medical goods, including PPE such as masks and gloves.

This will reduce the cost of imported PPE for Canadians, help protect workers, and ensure our supply chains can keep functioning well.

To learn more about this tariff relief, please click here: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/cn-ad/cn20-19-eng.html

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) 

Provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). 

All applicants have until December 31, 2020 to apply for CEBA through their banks and credit unions.

New changes have been proposed to expand CEBA to include an additional interest-free $20,000 loan, 50% of which would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Details for the expanded program will be announced soon.

To learn more, please click here: https://ceba-cuec.ca/

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Provides a direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage subsidy of up to 65% of eligible expenses to qualifying businesses, charities and non-profits. The subsidy rates are in effect until December 19, 2020. This support is available directly to tenants.

Qualifying organizations that have been significantly restricted by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority can receive an additional 25% of rent support through the Lockdown Support.

The combined effect of the rent subsidy and the Lockdown Support is that hard-hit businesses, non-profits and charities subject to a lockdown can receive rent support of up to 90%.

The rent subsidy and the Lockdown Support are available until June 2021.

To apply, please click here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-rent-subsidy.html 

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

This financing support is to be used for operational expenses and is available to both exporting and non-exporting companies.

This program is now available at various banks and credit unions.

This support is available until June 2021.

To learn more, please click here: https://www.edc.ca/en/solutions/working-capital/bcap-guarantee.html

Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.

The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues.

This program is now available at various banks and credit unions.

This support is available until June 2021.

To learn more, please click here: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/co-lending-program.aspx

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

Providing over $1.5 billion to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access other support measures.

To apply, please click here: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/icgc.nsf/eng/h_07662.html

Mid-Market Financing Program

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, the Business Development Canada’s (BDC) Mid-Market Financing Program will provide commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million to medium-sized businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures.

BDC anticipates that qualifying companies will have annual revenues in excess of approximately $100 million.

This support is available until June 2021.

To learn more, please click here: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/mid-market-financing-program.aspx

Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, EDC’s Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues of between $50 million to $300 million, to sustain operations during this uncertain period. EDC will continue to work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75 % of new operating credit and cash-flow loans – ranging in size from $16.75 million to a maximum of $80 million.

These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada.

More details will be made available soon.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

Provides bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.

The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF allows Canada’s largest businesses, their workers and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.

This program is delivered by the Canada Development Investment Corporation, in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Department of Finance.

Click here to apply: https://www.cdev.gc.ca/home-ceefc/

Student Work Placement Program

The Student Work Placement Program gives post-secondary students across Canada paid work experience related to their field of study.

To participate in a student work placement you must be:

  • Registered in a post-secondary program that includes work placements
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident or person with refugee protection given under the law; and
  • Legally able to work in Canada according to the laws and regulations of the province or territory where you live

To find student work placements, click here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/student-work-placements-stem-business.html

Young Entrepreneurs

Providing $20.1 million in support for Futurpreneur Canada to continue supporting young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19. The funding will allow Futurpreneur Canada to provide payment relief for its clients for up to 12 months.

To learn more, please click here: https://www.futurpreneur.ca/en/

Supporting Black-led Business Organizations through the National Ecosystem Fund

Investing up to $53 million to develop and implement the National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. This will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.

This initiative is part of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, in which we are investing up to nearly $93 million.

More details on eligibility requirements and how to apply will be available soon.

Supporting Black Business Owners and Entrepreneurs through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

Supporting Black business owners and entrepreneurs through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000. This initiative is part of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, in which we are investing up to nearly $93 million.

More details on eligibility requirements and how to apply will be available soon.

Relief Measures for Indigenous Businesses

Providing $306.8 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses. The funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses.

Financial support for Indigenous businesses will be provided through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association and the Métis capital corporations in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada.

To learn more, please click here: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1588079295625/1588079326171

Providing non-repayable financial contributions to help support operating costs for First Nation, Inuit and Métis community-or collectively-owned businesses and microbusinesses whose revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund seeks to provide support for businesses that do not qualify for other Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures.

To apply, please click here: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1596809415775/1596809469296

Supporting the Indigenous Tourism Industry

Announced a new stimulus development fund that will provide $16 million to support the Indigenous tourism industry. The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada will administer the fund to businesses across the country that have lost revenue due to COVID-19.

Relief for Federally Regulated Pension Plan Sponsors

Providing immediate, temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans. This relief will help ensure that employers have the financial resources they need to maintain their operations and their pension plans, and to protect the retirement security of their workers and retirees.

Insured Mortgage Purchase Program

Launched an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, in which the Federal Government will purchase up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada's mortgage market.

To learn more, please click here: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2020/cmhc-expands-insured-mortgage-purchase-program

Bank of Canada's Actions

The Bank of Canada is acting in several ways to support the economy and financial system and stands ready to take any and all actions that it can to protect the well-being of Canadians during this difficult time. The Bank has responded by lowering interest rates, intervening to support key financial markets and providing liquidity support for financial institutions.

To learn more, please click here: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/markets/market-operations-liquidity-provision/covid-19-actions-support-economy-financial-system/

Lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets. This action will allow Canada's large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending into the economy.

Support for Self-Employed Individuals 

Canada Recovery Benefit: The CRB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

To apply, click here.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: The CRSB provides $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who:

  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
  • Are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19
  • have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

To apply, click here.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit: The CRCB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers:

  • Unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19
  • Because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19.

To apply, click here.

Ontario Government

Property Tax and Energy Bill Rebates

On November 16, businesses in modified Stage 2 regions (control or lockdown) can apply for rebates to help with fixed costs, such as property tax and energy bills. 

Types of businesses that are eligible for support include:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • Gyms, facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities
  • Performing arts and cinemas
  • Bingo halls, gaming establishments, casinos, conference centres and convention centres
  • Community centres, multi-purpose facilities, and museums
  • Personal care services (with the exception of oxygen bars)
  • Racing venues
  • Meeting or event space
  • In-person teaching and instruction
  • Retail required to close for in-person shopping
  • Shopping malls
  • Personal services
  • Driving instruction
  • Tour and guide services
  • Photography services
  • Outdoor recreational amenities
  • Campgrounds

Please click here to apply.

Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant: PPE Support

Eligible small businesses with two to nine employees will get one-time grants of up to $1,000 to help alleviate the costs of unexpected PPE. 

Eligible businesses must be in the following sectors:

  • Retail
  • Accommodation and food services
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Personal and laundry services

Please click here to read more: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs 

Affordable Electricity Bills

Residential, small business and farm customers can now contact their local distribution company (local utility) to make the choice between time-of-use (TOU) or tiered rate pricing.

In addition, customers receiving the Ontario Electricity Rebate will now receive a 33.2% off the subtotal of their electricity bill to mitigate the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) new electricity rates for Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers effective November 1, 2020.

To read more, please click here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/your-electricity-bill#section-4 

Deferring Pension Contributions

If you're an employer who sponsers certain defined benefit pension plans, you can defer pension contributions due between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. You must file an application (called an "election") and pay deferred contributions, with interest and following a set schedule, by March 31, 2022.

For contributions to be eligible for deferral, plans must:

  • Be single-employer, private-sector defined benefit pension plans
  • Not already benefit from existing special relief measures

You can only defer contributions if they are up to date with any existing contribution requirements.

To ensure you use the funds made available by deferring contributions to maintain your business operations, you will be restricted from:

  • Paying out dividends or buying back shares
  • Increasing previously established debt repayments
  • Increasing executive compensation or paying executive bonuses
  • making loans or advances to shareholders or executives or entities related to them
  • Engaging in business that provides advantageous terms to a related party, such as a parent company

These restrictions will no longer apply after you've made all deferred contributions.

Catch-up Pension Contribution Extension

As in any year, you may be required to make a catch-up contribution after a valuation report is filed for your pension plan, depending on how much was contributed to the plan before the report was filed.

You have 120 days (instead of the usual 60 days) to pay any catch-up contributions on valuation reports filed on or before April 1, 2020. You do not need to submit an election (application) to get the extension.

To learn more, please click here: https://www.fsrao.ca/industry/pension-sector/guidance/pension-sector-emergency-management-response-2

Employer Health Tax Relief

Increased the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million.

As an employer, this means relief of up to $9,945.

The annual tax return form is not changing. Only the amount for the exemption claimed will change. Eligibility for the tax exemption, tax rates and everything else remains the same.

You will begin making your instalment payments after your payroll has exceeded the new $1 million exemption level.

If your business no longer needs to make instalment payments as a result of the increased exemption amount, you do not need to notify the Ministry of Finance.

If you have already filed a final or special return for 2020, the Ministry will be reviewing all 2020 Employer Health Tax relief returns and correcting the returns for the new exemption level.

To apply, please click here: https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/bulletins/eht/eht-exemption-2020.html

Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit

If your corporation is building, renovating or acquiring an eligible commercial or industrial building in a designated region in Ontario, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit of up to $45,000 in a year.

The tax credit will be available to claim on your corporate income tax return.

To learn more and determine if your project qualifies, please click here: https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/annex.html#section-3

Information for truck drivers

Ontario is taking steps to keep goods moving during COVID-19, such as providing truck drivers with more places to safely stop and rest. This includes parking at all 23 ONroutes and seasonal rest areas, truck inspection stations and truck lay-bys.

Find out more:

Job Opportunities in the Agriculture and Food Sector

The commitment and dedication of Ontario’s agriculture and food sector workers is what keeps our grocery store shelves full and food on our kitchen tables.

Learn about employment openings and training resources in Ontario’s agriculture and food sector if you’re looking for a new professional opportunity and the chance to make a difference during this COVID-19 outbreak.

Employer's Responsibilities

Learn about employers' responsibilities, and get information about job protections available to employees including:

  • Leaves of absence
  • Taking vacation time
  • Temporary layoffs
  • Filing a claim

Find PPE Suppliers

Access the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to find personal protective equipment for your business.

Sector-Specific Guidance and Posters

Get sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public.

We have also developed guidance for transit agencies and passengers to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Workplace Safety Plan

Learn how you can create a plan to help protect your workers and others from COVID-19.

City of Toronto

BusinessTO Support Centre

Provides support to businesses, including not-for-profit and creative/culture organizations, with a focus on completing applications for government assistance. Businesses will be paired with an advisor to receive one-on-one consultation and guidance with applications for the Canada Emergency Response BenefitCanada Emergency Wage SubsidyTemporary Wage Subsidy for Employers Work-Sharing Program.

Business advisors will also provide guidance on other City programs and general business advice. Interested businesses can get started by completing the registration form.

Digital Main Street Program

Expanding the Digital Main Street program, which offers tools, resources, connections to trusted digital vendors, online learning and a Digital Service Squad who provide one-on-one virtual assistance. Working with community partners, the program has helped small businesses, including not-for-profit and creative/culture organizations, with everything from websites and social media, to launching e-commerce platforms.

ShopHERE powered by Google

Provides independent businesses and artists with a quick, easy and no-cost way to sell online. With the help of volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partners, this program provides businesses with one-on-one support building and launching a Shopify online store. The ShopHERE program is open to any business or artist that meets the eligibility requirements.

Businesses enrolled in the City’s ShopHERE program are also eligible to participate in the Ritual – Open for Business program.

DriveInTO Program

This program helps organizers safely set up large-scale, high-value, temporary drive-in experiences throughout Toronto during the summer months at select sites. The Program supports free nights offered by local film and arts organizations to create a diversity of programming and provide community access to these popular events.

For information about the program, email [email protected].

Digital Originals

CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Originals is a new time-limited funding initiative to help artists, groups and arts organizations pivot their work for online audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will directly benefit creators of original digital content. The Canada Council will provide a total of $1 million in funding to successful applicants.

The Leadership Emergency Arts Network (LEAN)

The Leadership Emergency Arts Network (LEAN), a network composed of sector leaders within the arts and culture community, is providing strategic decision-making, crisis response, financial analysis, board direction, relationship mediation, HR management, systems change and inspirational leadership to arts organizations dealing with the current crisis. 

Sign-up to receive help.

CurbTO

To help businesses, services, and community agencies support physical distancing outside and inside their buildings while also accommodating increased demand for delivery and pickup services, the City is offering CurbTO, which is made up of two programs:

  • Temporary Parking Pick-up Zones
  • Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones

Noise Bylaw & Deliveries

All retail businesses are exempt from the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries.

The City’s Noise Bylaw includes the ability to provide an exemption in response to extraordinary circumstances affecting the immediate health, safety or welfare of the community. This exemption will ensure retailers can receive deliveries 24 hours of a day, seven days a week to ensure essential goods remain in stock.

Ritual – Open For Business

The City of Toronto is extending its partnership with Ritual to launch Open For Business – a collaboration with Ritual and DoorDash to help local businesses across Toronto increase their commission-free online sales. Any Toronto business that wants to access commission-free pickup and delivery can participate. The program runs until the end of the year.

Businesses enrolled in the City’s ShopHERE program will also be eligible.

Learn about Open For Business and enroll.