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Resources for business during COVID-19 disruption

Ontario Extends Business Closures to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 (Apr 3, 2020):

Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close.

The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses. All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact.

Read the list of essential workplaces in response to COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus).  If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Markham Approves Tax and Fee Relief for Residents and Businesses

Benefits for Businesses:

    • No late payment (penalty and interest) charges for non-residential property taxpayers from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020
    • Deferral of the 2020 Stormwater Fee, a savings of $560 for a property valued at $2M
    • Elimination of the April 1, 2020 water rate increase of 7.8%
    • Suspension of the Municipal Accommodation Tax from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, to provide relief to hoteliers

FAQs about various government-announced programs: 

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Help Centre (up-to-date FAQs about new and existing programs announced by government, including timelines, amounts, factors to consider and other details)

Financial supports:

(Note: please carefully consider taking advantage of business loan/credit solutions to ensure it makes sense for your business; for some, the cash flow is critical, for others, taking on additional debt may be challenging – let us know if you’d like to discuss)

Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan (find details about the extension of the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks; Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) $2,000 per month for up to 4 months; Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) up to 75% for up to 3 months; the Temporary Wage Subsidy (10% up to $1,375 per employee/$25k per organization); access to additional credit; interest free extension of income tax filing and payment deadlines; and financial market support)

News: Fri Mar 27, 2020 - Government of Canada announces Additional Support for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19 (75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020; deferrals of Sales Tax and Customs Duty Payments; New Loan Programs for Businesses including Canada Emergency Business Account interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for organizations that paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000)

CRA: Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic (Canada Emergency Response Benefit $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income; extension of tax-filing and payment deadlines; Emergency Care benefit $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks; Emergency Support Benefit, Goods and Services Tax Credit payment; Canada Child Benefit payments; Registered Retirement Income Funds; Temporary wage subsidy for employers)

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) 75-per-cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020; available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 30 per cent of their revenue.

Temporary Wage Subsidy (for employers who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) listed above, find details to check eligibility for this alternate program). 10% of the remuneration you pay from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 for each eligible employee and to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer.

Canada's Regional Development Agencies: If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, contact FedDev Ontario for help with: Access to federal funding to help you stay in business; Advice and pathfinding services to other federal programs and services available.

WSIB Financial Relief: allows businesses to defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. Businesses who report and pay monthly, quarterly or annually based on their insurable earnings are eligible for this deferral.

Time-of-Use Rates Suspended for 45 Days The Government of Ontario is providing temporary 45-day emergency relief to support Ontarians impacted by the global COVID-19 outbreak. As of Tuesday, March 24, 2020, households, farms and small businesses who pay time-of-use electricity rates will be charged off-peak rates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Business Development Bank of Canada (access additional credit/financing resources, including postponement of payments for up to 6 months)

News: Wed Mar 18, 2020 Canada’s Six Biggest Banks Take Action (support will include up to a 6 month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products – links to each bank are posted in the above – contact your bank for options)

For Exporters – access additional credit/financing resources

Government Procurement Opportunities for COVID-19 related supplies and services:

If you are a business that can supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19, Canada wants to hear from you (visit the website for a detailed list of products and services being procured).

The Government of Ontario is looking for help from businesses and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support the response to COVID-19.

Government of Canada, National Research Council seeking innovative solutions: (1) COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program: respond to challenge statements issued by Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, being faced by health providers to deal with COVID-19; (2) Pandemic Response Challenge Program: join dedicated teams to address challenges in the areas of greatest research and development need in the fight against COVID-19, funding is available.

Helpful tips:

MaRS Discovery District collection of tools and tactics startups can use to prepare, plan and respond to COVID-19 (business implications to consider, general resources, global supply chain management, managing cash flow, people practices, remote work planning

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Pandemic Preparedness Guide

Mental health resources from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (talking to your children and supporting loved onese; strategies for coping with stress and anxiety, questionnaires to assess your stress levels; dealing with self-isolation; reducing stigma and prejudice for those affected)

How we can all rally to help Markham's small businesses

Don't have time to attend all the great business webinars being hosted right now?  Here are some of the top quick tips we've been hearing about, and what they mean for us and our local Markham small businesses:

What can we do?
What it means for small businesses
Buy a gift card / gift certificate from a local Markham business for yourself or a loved one
The immediate cash flow can be extremely helpful so make sure you have a way to issue and track redemptions
Order by phone or online for delivery / take-out /curb side pick-up
Consider offering curb side pick-up and online pre-payment to limit physical contact; in fact, certain essential businesses can now only sell by an alternative method such as curb side pick-up or delivery -
Leave positive reviews
Thank your clients and work on building / strengthening a loyal customer base
Attend a virtual/online session
Research virtual meeting tools and adapt your service delivery to an online / virtual platform
Don't cancel - ask to reschedule
Make sure to communicate alternatives to refunds, like offering credit / gift certificates for future redemption.  For non-profit, charitable organizations: offer another alternative option of getting a donation receipt for the value of their reservation / ticket instead of a refund
Book / reserve now for future service - this is a great way to show your support, even if you don't have the spending money right now
Even though you don't get immediate cash flow from this, keep track of these commitments and communicate these to your landlord and bank as supporting info of future demand for your services
Landlords - talk to your business tenants and give them the option to have you opt-in to mortgage deferral and tax deferral programs so you can pass on the savings to reduce their regular monthly rent payments for a temporary period
Talk to your landlord about your financial situation and try to work out an arrangement that works for both parties.  Available deferral programs could reduce your regular monthly rent payments significantly for a temporary period

Update about our services during COVID-19 disruption

The City of Markham is committed to the health and safety of the Markham community, its small businesses and our employees. We are working closely with our Public Health colleagues at the regional, provincial and national levels concerning the evolving novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Update regarding our small business advisory services:

  • The IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre has made the decision to remain closed to the general public and guests until further notice.
  • In light of this, our physical point of presence will not be accessible to in-person visits from clients
  • To ensure continued access to our small business advisory services, MSBC will remain accessible by phone, email and web meetings for scheduled appointments

The situation continues to evolve quickly and while we anticipate these measures will remain in place until May 4, 2020, we continue to monitor and will provide updates as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the health and safety of each other and the Markham community.

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit

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Our team can help you make the right decisions as you start-up your business venture and help develop your management capabilities as it grows. Click below to find out more about how we can help you.

Le services de la Centre d'encadrement des petites entrepreneurs do Markham (MSBC) est disponible en francais à la demand pour les programmes financé de l'Ontario. Cliquez ci-dessous pour en savoir plus.

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