The following is an evolving list of financial resources, measures, policy, announcements, and other information put forward by various level of government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This list will be continuously updated to provide the most relevant and up-to-date information for our members.
We encourage everyone who is seeking advice on how to access resources for support to contact the City of Toronto’s Small Business Service Centre at by calling 416-392-6646, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting their website.
Thank you to our friends at the Waterfront BIA who originally prepared this list.
Date last updated: March 31, 2020
The Ontario government will be ordering at-risk workplaces to close-down, while encouraging businesses to explore opportunities to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models. At-risk workplaces will be ordered to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th and where possible, take the necessary measures so staff can work from home allowing operations to continue.
Essential workplaces that may remain open are listed here.
On March 25, the provincial government released Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update)
Relevant initiatives in the government’s plan include:
+ Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers, by providing approximately $5.6 billion for electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21, which is an increase of approximately $1.5 billion compared to the 2019 Budget plan.
+ Further supporting more affordable electricity bills by setting electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering.
+ Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.
+ Making available $6 billion by providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
+ Making available $1.9 billion by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.
Contact the Ministry of Finance:
If you own a small business and have had to slow down or stop your operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government is increasing the temporary wage subsidy up to 75% for qualifying businesses so you can keep paying your staff. The subsidy will be backdated to March 15.
More details to by April 1.
To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada is announcing the launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).
This $25 billion program will provide 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, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
In order to provide support for Canadian businesses during these unprecedented economic times, the Government is deferring Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30, 2020.
The Government has amended Regulation 719 under the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) to temporarily allow liquor sales licensees (i.e., licensed bars and restaurants) to sell beer, wine and spirits as part of a food order for takeout or delivery. These changes are effective immediately, and last until December 31, 2020.
The City of Toronto will provide a grace period for property tax payments and payment penalties for businesses for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020:
– For businesses on the three-instalment payment plan: the April 1 tax due date is extended to June 1, 2020;
– For property owners on the 11-instalment pre-authorized payment plan, the 2020 due dates will be extended by 60 days;
– Late payment penalties are waived for 60 days (as of March 16, 2020).
The City is extending the due date for all utility bills issued to businesses by an additional 60 days in addition to the current 21 days to give utility customers an additional 60 days to make payment to take advantage of the early payment discount.
Currently under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, if an employer is advised that a worker is ill resulting from an exposure at work (including COVID-19), or a claim has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) with respect to COVID-19 exposure at work, the employer must notify the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within four days. The employer must also notify the workplace joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative and trade union, if any.
Provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or daycare closures or to care for other relatives. Retroactive to January 25, 2020, and employees cannot be required to show sick notes.
A program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer (such as COVID-19) provides a 10% percent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
The Bank of Canada has cut the interest rate to 0.75%, and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced the release of an additional $300 billion in lending capacity by the major banks with the expectation that they will support Canadian businesses and households.
In turn, the big six Canadian banks: Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID-19; childcare disruption due to school closures; or those facing illness from COVID-19.
To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has introduced legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government is working to get money into the pockets of Canadians as quickly as possible. The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.
Employees who lose their job through no fault of their own, and have been without work and pay for at least seven consecutive days, and have worked for the required number of insurable hours in the last 52 weeks since their last claim.
Note: individuals should apply for EI as soon as soon as they lose their job, even if their Record of Employment (ROE) is not yet available.
People who qualify for employment insurance and cannot work for medical reasons, including COVID-19, or whose regular weekly earnings have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week, and has accumulated 700 hours of work over the preceding 52 weeks since their last claim, can claim this benefit without the need of a medical certificate or record of employment under the new rules. The 1-week waiting period has also been waved.
An increase to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child.
NOTE: persons who expect to receive the Enhanced Canada Child Benefit are encouraged not to delay the filing of their taxes due to the personal tax filing deferral in order to ensure that their entitlements are properly determined for 2020-21.
A one-time special payment to families with low to modest incomes in early May through the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) providing families with close to $400 for single individuals, and close to $600 for couples.
NOTE: persons who expect to receive the Enhanced GST Credit are encouraged not to delay the filing of their taxes due to the personal tax fileing deferral in order to ensure that their entitlements are properly determined for 2020-21.
Digital Main Street is a program provided by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Association of BIA’s to help businesses develop their online footprint. They have made their staff person Lana Pribic available to support Yonge + St. Clair BIA Businesses increase their online business presence through free one-on-one online consultations.
The provincial government has suspended time-of-use hydro rates for a period of 45-days, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This discount will be applied automatically for all customers.
Various business organizations and associations have developed surveys to help measure the impact of COVID-19. Please take a moment to complete surveys that are relevant to you to help these groups advocate on your behalf.
City of Toronto Economic Support & Recovery Taskforce: Local Business Priorities: Responding to COVID-19
Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA): Impact to BIA Communities Survey
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO): Survey of Impact on Ontario Tourism Operations
Ontario Health and Wellness
World Health Organization