Our team at the Markham Small Business Centre (MSBC) can help you make the right decisions as you start up your business venture, help develop your management capabilities as it grows or help you pivot as we adapt to the COVID-19 crisis
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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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 situation continues to evolve quickly and while we anticipate these measures will remain in place until further notice, 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 york.ca/covid19
The City of Markham has many services to offer small businesses in our community. These include:
Our consultants can help you with:
This counseling is offered at no cost, and is confidential. Depending on what stage you are at with your business/idea, we may recommend one of our group consultations or a one-on-one consultation.
To find out more, please contact the Markham Small Business Centre:
Our Resource Centre offers literature on:
Related government programs and services are also available
· Workshops and seminars are also excellent for networking with other small business owners
You may use our Reference Library. We have trade directories and guide books. We also have business magazines and other publications. Internet Access is also available.
shopHERE provides independent small businesses and artists in Markham with a quick, easy and no-cost way to get selling online right away.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of having an online presence to sell goods and services.
To address this need, Digital Main Street is collaborating with Google, Shopify, Mastercard and Microsoft to build and optimize stores for small independent businesses and artists in just a matter of days.
Program powered by the Centre for Social Innovation
Are you looking to grow your entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial competencies to create positive impact and prepare for a fast-changing business environment? As the world looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time for the entrepreneurially-minded to step up to address pressing social and environmental challenges, and to develop the 21st century skills needed to succeed.
Join us for Social Enterprise 101: an 8-week, part-time online program that covers the foundations of social entrepreneurship, from making sure you’ve identified the right problem, to developing a solution, to turning your idea into a sustainable business model. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, invest in your personal and professional growth, and turn your idea into impact, this is the right course for you.
We are offering a limited number of local innovators the opportunity to participate in this program through the Markham Small Business Centre. This program is offered in partnership with York Region, the Richmond Hill Small Business Enterprise Centre and the Vaughan Business and Entreprise Centre. All applicants based in Markham are eligible to apply through our office.
Spots are limited and although not mandatory for acceptance, applications will be prioritized based on:
Thank you for your interest, applications for the program are now closed but please email us if this programming is something of interest to you in the future. email@example.com
What you’ll learn
Social Enterprise 101 is an 8-week program delivered in two phases:
Phase 1 (Weeks 1-4): Explore your purpose as a social entrepreneur. Discover your problem space. Map opportunities for impact.
Together, we’ll begin with some of the big questions you may be asking yourself, such as:
Phase 2 (Weeks 4-8): Discover stakeholders. Build your business and financial models. Identify funding options and enterprise impact.
Questions answered during this phase include:
By the end of the 8-weeks, you’ll gain experience, confidence, and practice with core competencies in social entrepreneurship such as critical thinking, systems thinking, active listening, storytelling, decision-making, and business modelling.
Who you’ll meet
You will connect with a cohort of changemakers from across York Region who are similarly driven and committed to making an impact. SE 101 is open to everyone interested in making the world better through entrepreneurial thinking and approaches.
Social Enterprise 101 was developed in partnership with experienced social entrepreneurs, coaches, facilitators, and educators, and based on the learnings from over 10 years of training social enterprises.
Participants who start a for-profit social enterprise upon completing the program will also be invited to apply for a $5,000 Starter Company Plus grant through our office.
The City of Markham is working with Ritual to help support local restaurants as they welcome outdoor diners back.
Markham restaurants can sign up for the Reopen with Ritual program FREE for a lifetime.
Learn more: ritual.co/campaign/qrmarkham
FAQs about various
PDF one-page overview from York Region about the primary Federal and Provincial COVID-19 Business Funding Supports for Businesses
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)
Markham Property Tax and Stormwater Fee Payment Deferral Program
For 2021, Markham Council has approved a new Property Tax and Stormwater Fee Payment Deferral Program to assist property owners who have been financially affected by COVID-19. This assistance is by application only and is meant to aid residential and business property owners who may require payment flexibility throughout the 2021 taxation year.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Government of Canada’s web portal for business financial support, loans and access to credit including CEBA, CERS, CEWS, BCAP, RRRF and more.
Government of Ontario's portal for businesses to get help with COVID-19 costs — Find out if your business is eligible for grants to help with the cost of personal protective equipment, property taxes, energy bills and extra support if you have to close or significantly restrict services because of provincial public health measures. Including information about Ontario's Small Business Support Grant providing up to $20,000 (up to $40,000 as of March 25, 2021) for Eligible Businesses Impacted by Provincewide Shutdown.
Businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 can access guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs. Contact your primary financial institution to apply. The program will be available at some participating financial institutions as of February 1, 2021. Other participating financial institutions will deploy the program progressively over the days that follow.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) — This $55 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 33 percent (up to $20,000).
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) — Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.
This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.
If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.
The application process for CECRA for small businesses is closed
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provided relief for small businesses who experienced financial hardship due to COVID‑19..
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides liquidity support to businesses and organizations affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, that are unable to access other federal relief measures, or require additional support.
Updates on changes to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) services, due dates and programs affected by the pandemic including CRB, CRCB, CRSB, CERS, CEWS, CERB (now ended) and more.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) — as a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15. This subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease your business back into normal operations.
The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWS) is a 3-month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions they need to remit to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This only applies to the federal, provincial, or territorial income tax portion of the remittance.
The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay from March 18 to June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 for each eligible employee. The maximum total is $25,000 for each eligible employer.
CEWS is another subsidy available to employers. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is a separate program that provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers. If eligible, you may be able to take advantage of both the TWS and the CEWS. For more information see How the TWS and CEWS work together.
Central Counties Tourism has set aside $400,000 to help offset the costs incurred by businesses to keep customers safe, stay top of mind with consumers and/or modify their business model to stay relevant and accessible.
Central Counties will reimburse up to 50% of eligible paid expenses (to a maximum of $15,000) incurred beginning April 1, 2020.
Reasonable and necessary expenses that have allowed you to remain engaged with your customers and potential customers throughout the pandemic. These include, but are not limited to:
Canadian small or medium sized enterprises pursuing technology driven innovation who are not eligible for funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are eligible and can apply for financial assistance under IRAP IAP which provides a wage subsidy for up to 12 weeks to employers. Salaries are the only eligible cost. No other costs will be covered under the IAP.
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund will be managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network in support of other chambers and partners to help small Canadian businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.
Successful applicants will receive a relief grant of up to $5,000. We intend to support local businesses of all kinds from across the country (from retailers to barbershops to farmers).
WSIB Financial Relief: To help reduce the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ontario businesses, we provided the opportunity to defer premiums due between March to August 2020. All businesses that chose to participate in the financial relief package will have until June 30, 2021 to repay deferred amounts, interest-free. Deferred amount payments can be made in one or multiple installments between January and June 30, 2021..
New February 15, 2021 - The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has changed the eligibility criteria to make CEAP-SB for small businesses and registered charities more easily accessible. CEAP-SB provides on-bill credit of up to $1,500 to eligible small business customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. You are eligible for this program if, as of the date you are applying, you have overdue amounts owing from one or more electricity bill(s) incurred since March 17, 2020, the date of the initial Provincial Declaration of Emergency.
From January 1, 2021 through January 28, 2021, the government of Ontario is implementing a discounted RPP rate for residential and small business customers of 8.5 cents / kWh. This rate will be in place all day, every day, regardless of whether your rate plan is Tiered or Time-of-Use.
This rate will be applied automatically, and it will not affect your rate option (Tiered or TOU) once the discounted rate expires; you are not required to do anything.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) — Information for businesses directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 about working capital financing, small business loans, BCAP and more.
For Exporters – access additional credit/financing resources
Reopening during COVID-19
Ontario Information about Essential Workplaces:
To help businesses understand how to use health and safety guidance to develop a safety plan for their unique situation, the government has developed a toolkit that includes a guide, template and checklist.
Ontario Government resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace — Find sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario.
Free webinars on how to operate a business safely, and comply with health and safety requirements, during COVID-19.
A free 30-minute online course on infection prevention and control provided by the Public Services Health and Safety Association.
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.
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.
Impact survey of COVID-19 on businesses in Canada:
The purpose of this survey is to measure the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Canada. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our economy, it is essential to have data to fully understand the extent of this impact. By participating in this survey, you offer an invaluable perspective to governments, chambers of commerce and business associations by providing current information to help them devise strategies for the survival and continuity of businesses across Canada. Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.
In partnership with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce established the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery. This site and a supporting campaign will continue to grow in the weeks and months ahead as we work together to support and protect our businesses, our communities and our economy.
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 tools for small businesses including Business Continuity Planning.
Mental health resources from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (talking to your children and supporting loved ones; strategies for coping with stress and anxiety, questionnaires to assess your stress levels; dealing with self-isolation; reducing stigma and prejudice for those affected)
For the most up-to-date news and information regarding COVID-19 and the various governments programs and grants, visit York Region's Economic Development website https://www.yorklink.ca/
News: April 16, 2021 - To increase public compliance with the Stay-at-Home order and stop the spread of COVID-19, amendments to an emergency order (O.Reg 8/21 Enforcement of COVID-19 Measures) have been made that will provide police officers and other provincial offences officers enhanced authority to support the enforcement of Ontario's Stay-at-Home order.
Effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., police officers and other provincial offences officers will have the authority to require any individual to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence. In addition, police officers, special constables and First Nation Constables will have the authority to stop vehicles to inquire about an individual's reasons for leaving their home. This additional enforcement tool will only be in effect during the Stay-at-Home order and exclusively to enforce the Stay-at-Home order.
Both the provincial declaration of emergency and the Stay-at-Home order (O.Reg 265/21) have been extended for an additional two weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The Stay-at-Home order currently in effect requires everyone to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.
The government also intends to implement the following public health and workplace safety measures effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.:
In addition, effective Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone. Drive-in services will be permitted.
All other public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake (i.e., curbside pick-up and delivery only), will continue to apply.
News: April 7, 2021 - The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a third provincial emergency. Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely.
In addition, the province is also strengthening public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake. Measures include, but are not limited to:
These additional and strengthened public health and workplace safety measures will be in effect as of Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
News: April 1, 2021 - The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks. Measures include, but are not limited to:
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
During the emergency shutdown, schools will remain open for in-person learning with strict safety measures in place. The spring break will continue as planned for the week of April 12. In order to support working families, child care will remain open during the shutdown.
For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only).
News: March 29, 2021 - The Ontario government is providing an estimated $100 million for a new one-time Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant and $100 million for a new one-time recovery program.
The Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant will provide an estimated $100 million in one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses including hotels, motels, travel agencies, amusement and water parks, hunting and fishing camps, and recreational and vacation camps including children's overnight summer camps. Businesses must demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline and have less than 100 employees to qualify. Any small businesses that received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will not be eligible for this new grant.
The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program will protect critical jobs in communities across the province and sustain for-profit tourism businesses, which have had to fully or partially shut down during the pandemic. The program will launch later this year and support tourism businesses across the province as they adjust operations to reopen safely and focus on the domestic market during the ongoing crisis. The program will support businesses as they innovate, adapt and create new tourism offerings and experiences to attract visitors from around the world when it is safe to do so.
The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program will support established and proven tourism businesses that have been hit hardest by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. These are key employers and tourism generators in all regions of the province, including the North. Examples of eligible businesses could include resorts, tour boat operators, amusement and water parks, northern lodges and other tourist attractions.
News: March 25, 2021 - The Ontario government is providing additional support to eligible small businesses to help with the ongoing costs of the COVID-19 pandemic. Confirmed eligible recipients of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will automatically receive a second payment equal to the amount of their first payment, for minimum total support of $20,000 up to a maximum of $40,000.
Launched in January, the Ontario Small Business Support Grant provides direct financial support to eligible small businesses that were required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown that came into effect in December 2020. Small businesses who have been determined as eligible recipients of the grant will automatically be entitled to a second payment in an amount equal to the first payment they receive. They will not need to apply again to receive this additional funding.
Eligible business owners who have not yet applied for the grant have until March 31, 2021, to submit an application. A detailed list of businesses eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is available on the application page. Business owners can also visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport for more information about this grant as well as Ontario's other supports for businesses.
News: March 4, 2021 - The Government of Canada announced the 16 recipients of the $4.8 million in top-up funding of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund in Ontario to support women entrepreneurs to navigate this crisis. This investment represents a top-up to the over $32 million in WES funding previously provided to these organizations.
The top-up funding aims to strengthen the women entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ontario, better enabling collaboration for women entrepreneurs, through coaching, mentorship and networking opportunities. This will be particularly important for women seizing growth opportunities in new or emerging markets as the economy recovers from COVID-19.
News: March 3, 2021 - The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support have helped protect millions of Canadian jobs and supported businesses of every size across Canada through the COVID-19 pandemic. The government intends to extend the current rate structures for these subsidies from March 14 to June 5, 2021. Specifically:
Further details are included as a backgrounder.
News: February 25, 2021 - Update on the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s third pillar, the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. The Loan Fund will begin accepting applications in May and announced that the government’s investment in the Loan Fund will be administered by the Federation of African-Canadian Economics (F.A.C.E.), a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization.
The Black Entrepreneurship Program includes: up to $33.3 million in support through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which will provide loans of up to $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Government of Canada is also partnering with a group of Canadian financial institutions including Royal Bank of Canada, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, TD, Vancity and Alterna Savings, that have pledged $128 million in additional lending support.
News: February 24, 2021 - The Ontario government is investing $1.2 million over three years to help young Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned tech start-ups access the resources and tools they need to succeed in the province's changing economy. The funding will be provided through Ryerson University DMZ's Black Innovation Programs , which support Black-led businesses by connecting them with customers, capital, experts and a community of entrepreneurs and influencers.
The Black Innovation Programs , now in their second year, support Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned tech start-ups by providing them with resources to achieve success, including skills development workshops, sales and marketing training, mentorships, and dedicated workspaces. The program also leverages industry partnerships to help businesses access advice from industry experts on how to attract investors, expand revenue growth and market their product to wider audiences.
The government’s investment will enhance two early phases of the Black Innovation Programs: the Launchpad and Bootcamp Program. Launchpad is a skills development platform that helps participants develop the personal and professional skills needed to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey. Bootcamp helps participants validate a business idea or market opportunity, and build a roadmap for implementation.
News: February 19, 2021 - The York Public Health Region will transition out of the shutdown and into the revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.
Based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, York Region Public Health will be moving back to the Framework at the Red-Control level and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order. These changes will come into effect on Monday, February 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
After returning to the Framework, public health regions are required to stay in their level for at least two weeks. The government will then assess the impact of public health and workplace safety measures to determine if the region should stay where it is or be moved to a different level. Public health regions may be moved to a higher level within the two-week window, if necessary, based on the set indicators and thresholds outlined in the Framework. In addition, Ontario has introduced an "emergency brake" to allow the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, to immediately advise moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission.
News: February 19, 2021 - The Ontario government is launching new health and safety education campaigns focusing on helping small businesses across the province reopen safely. The on-the-ground assistance includes a comprehensive suite of resources business owners can access at no cost to ensure they are helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Starting next week, provincial offences officers will be visiting businesses in regions opening into grey, red and orange zones, with a focus on businesses that were closed during the provincial shutdown. The officers will be carrying out inspections to ensure businesses are complying with the Reopening Ontario Act and adhering to capacity limits, appropriately screening workers and customers, enforcing masking requirements and having adequate safety plans in place. Businesses visited will include stores, gyms and personal care services.
The full suite of government educational supports available includes:
Update: February 16, 2021 - Applications are open for all provinces and territories as of February 16th, 2021 at 1 p.m. EST. Grants of up to $5,000 available.
Created by RBC, Canada United is a movement to support local businesses in communities across the country. The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) was established to help small businesses offset the cost of expenses to open safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online.
Over $14 Million has been contributed by the Federal Government, RBC, and Canada United partners to support recovery efforts due to COVID-19. We have already provided relief to over 2,000 small businesses across the country. We are now able to extend relief grants to more small businesses and restart accepting grant applications from small businesses across all provinces for expenses incurred no earlier than March 15, 2020.
News: February 16, 2021 - The Ontario government is expanding the number of small businesses that can apply for the Main Street Relief Grant to help offset the costs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) to cautiously and gradually reopen in parts of the province. Small businesses with 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors - expanded from 2-9 employees - including those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, can now apply for up to $1,000 in financial support. The expansion is being made as more parts of the province enter the strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework, which allows for the gradual and safe reopening of in-store shopping at non-essential retail stores.
This one-time grant reimburses main street businesses for up to $1,000 in PPE costs incurred since March 17, 2020. Eligible businesses for the Main Street Relief Grant now include those with 2 to 19 employees in the following sectors:
News: February 11, 2021 - These discussions allow the government to hear the best ideas from Canadians and experts across the country about how Budget 2021 can support Canadians through the pandemic and help us build back better.
When COVID-19 is under control and Canada’s economy is ready to rebound, the government has a plan to make smart, targeted investments to jumpstart the country’s economic recovery and begin to repair the damage done by the pandemic. These pre-budget consultations are an opportunity for Canadians from across the country to share their ideas and priorities for how the government can best invest to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and build a greener, more competitive, more inclusive, and more resilient economy.
Over the coming weeks, the Government of Canada will hold virtual roundtables with diverse groups of people from a range of regions, sectors and industries, including those hardest hit by the pandemic. These roundtables are an opportunity to discuss the very real challenges Canadians are facing and listen to ways that the government can ensure a robust recovery that leaves no one behind.
Most importantly, all Canadians are invited to share their ideas through an online questionnaire at LetsTalkBudget2021.ca, which will be available until February 19, 2021.
News: February 10, 2021 - The Ontario government is once again extending electricity rate relief for families, small businesses and farms to support those spending more time at home while the province maintains the Stay-at-Home Order in the majority of public health regions. The government will continue to hold electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour until February 22, 2021. This lower rate is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for Time-Of-Use and tiered customers.
News: February 8, 2021 - To support the province's economic recovery, the government has updated the Framework to allow for a safer approach to retail. Limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent in most retail settings. In addition, public health and safety measures in retail settings will be strengthened for other levels of the Framework. Individuals will also be required to wear a face covering and maintain physical distance when indoors in a business, with limited exceptions.
For Toronto, Peel and York regions, it is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until Monday, February 22, 2021. Final decisions will be subject to review of the trends in public health indicators at that time.
News: February 3, 2021 - Central Counties Tourism has set aside $400,000 to help offset the costs incurred by businesses to keep customers safe, stay top of mind with consumers and/or modify their business model to stay relevant and accessible.
Central Counties will reimburse up to 50% of eligible paid expenses (to a maximum of $15,000) incurred beginning April 1, 2020.
Reasonable and necessary expenses that have allowed you to remain engaged with your customers and potential customers throughout the pandemic. These include, but are not limited to:
Read more on eligibility, the process, and the application form on CCT's homepage.
News: January 27, 2021 - The government will continue to hold electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour until February 9, 2021. This lower rate is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for Time-Of-Use and tiered customers.
The off-peak rate came into effect January 1, 2021 for a 28-day period, providing families, farms and small businesses with immediate electricity rate relief. The government is now extending this rate relief for an additional 12 days, for a total of 40 days. The off-peak price will continue to be automatically applied to bills of all residential, small business, and farm customers who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and get a bill from a utility.
News: January 27, 2021 - The Ontario government announced today it is investing $250,000 to support the promotion of products and services offered by Ontario's Francophone business community. Franco-Ontarian businesses, entrepreneurs and social enterprises will be able to sign up to access a free, bilingual digital platform to market their goods and services, allowing them to reach more consumers throughout Ontario and beyond. The province has partnered with the Regroupement des gens d'affaires de la capitale nationale (RGA) to develop and market the platform.
The online platform for this project will be integrated into the Fédération des gens d'affaires francophones de l'Ontario's soon-to-be-launched platform, Quartier d'affaires. The online platform is scheduled to be launched by March 31, 2021.
News: January 26, 2021 - Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. Hard-hit businesses, like a chain of hotels or restaurants with multiple locations under one related entity, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million. HASCAP will help businesses with their day-to-day operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis and enable them to invest in their longer-term prosperity.
HASCAP is available to businesses across the country, in all sectors, that have been hit hard by the pandemic. This includes restaurants, businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and those that rely on in-person service.
To be eligible for HASCAP, businesses need to show a year-over-year revenue decline of at least 50% in three months, within the eight months prior to their application. They must also be able to show their financial institutions that they have previously applied for either the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
Eligible businesses can start applying as early as February 1 at principal financial institutions and more widely by February 15. Interested businesses should contact their primary lender to get more information and to apply.
More information is available at www.bdc.ca/hascap.
News: January 15, 2021 - The Ontario government has opened applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The grant, first announced in December, provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to eligible small businesses who have had to restrict their operations due to the Provincewide Shutdown. The tightened restrictions were put in place to help stop the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario.
Small businesses required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for a one-time grant and use this funding in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business needs. For example, some businesses could need support paying employee wages, while others could need support with their rent.
Eligible small businesses include those that:
More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and other rebates is available on Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport
News: January 14, 2021 - Beginning this Saturday and Sunday, approximately 50 ministry inspectors, as well as local bylaw and police officers, will be visiting big-box stores in Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York and Durham. The blitz will focus on ensuring workers and patrons are wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and following every health and safety measure. Workplace health and safety inspectors will have the authority to ticket supervisors, employees and patrons who do not comply with COVID-19 safety requirements, temporarily close a premise and disperse groups of more than five people.
The campaign targets workplaces with heightened risks that have been identified by using data from local public health units and information reported directly to the province. Inspectors will focus on workplaces in the following sectors:
News: January 12, 2021 - Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work. This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people's mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household. In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.
The government will enact the following additional public health measures:
As part of the "Stay Safe All Day" campaign, inspectors will use a data-driven approach to focus on workplaces with reported COVID-19 outbreaks, manufacturing businesses, warehouses, distribution centres, food processing operations, construction projects and publicly accessible workplaces deemed essential, such as grocery stores. The Ministry is also using a new data-sharing program, in conjunction with the Ministry of Long-Term Care and the Retirement Regulatory Authority, to focus onsite inspections of long-term-care homes and retirement homes.
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.
News: January 4, 2021 — The Ontario government is supporting home-based food businesses by providing a guide on how to start a home-based food business, which includes an overview of public health requirements that need to be followed as a food operator. To further support these entrepreneurs, the government has also made regulatory changes to allow more flexibility to sell low-risk, home-prepared foods.
Low-risk foods are considered non-hazardous and do not require refrigeration. They include items such as baked goods, pickles, jams and preserves, chocolates, hard candies and brittles, fudge and toffees, granola, trail mix, nuts and seeds, and coffee beans and tea leaves.
Home-based food businesses that prepare only low-risk foods are exempt from certain regulatory requirements, such as specified handwashing stations in food premises, compliance with commercial dishwashing requirements and food handling training certification.
News: December 21, 2020 - The Provincewide Shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. Measures include, but are not limited to:
The government is announcing the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small business owners to help navigate this challenging period. Eligible small businesses include those that:
Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with dollar for dollar funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown. The business must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. This time period was selected because it reflects the impact of the public health measures in spring 2020, and as such provides a representation of the possible impact of these latest measures on small businesses.
News: December 18, 2020 - The Supporting Local Restaurants Act, 2020 will come into effect tomorrow, December 19, at 12:01 a.m. Food delivery companies will be required to limit the rates they charge to 20% for each transaction — with no more than 15% for commission for food delivery services. The cap applies in areas where indoor dining is prohibited, to help restaurants stay in business and continue contributing to their communities. If indoor dining is prohibited in new regions, the cap will also apply in those locations.
To support this change, the government will:
News: December 11, 2020 - The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health, and other health experts, is moving York Region Public Health into Grey-Lockdown effective Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
This means that only essential businesses can offer in-person services, such as grocery stores and pharmacies at 50% reduced capacity. Retailers will be allowed to offer curbside pickup and restaurants will only be allowed to offer take-out and delivery.
As a result of the lockdown, Markham community centres, including arenas and pools, as well as Markham Museum and the Varley Art Gallery will be closed until further notice. In-person fitness activities will also be suspended. Markham Public Libraries will see a reduction to three stand-alone locations and will offer contactless drop-off and pick-up. For further details about facilities, programs and services, visit www.markham.ca. We are offering virtual and outdoor programs, as well as fitness classes to stay active, social and engaged. Markham Civic Centre will continue to operate by appointment only. All essential municipal services will continue as usual and normal business activities will continue virtually.
News: December 10, 2020 - The zero per cent property tax rate increase will help Markham property owners to better weather these uncertain and challenging times that the community continues to deal with during COVID-19. The budget preserves, and in some cases exceeds, current service levels, and continues investments in Council-approved priorities in a responsible manner as we remain prudent with our assets while we push forward towards pandemic recovery.
News: December 4, 2020 - Starting on Friday, December 4, 2020, eligible businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access a second CEBA loan of up to $20,000 – on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses.
Half of this additional financing, up to $10,000, will be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.
This means the additional loan effectively increases CEBA loans from the existing $40,000 to $60,000 for eligible businesses, of which a total of $20,000 will be forgiven if the balance of the loan is repaid on time.
As announced in the Fall Economic Statement, the application deadline for CEBA has also been extended to March 31, 2021.
To apply, eligible businesses and not-for-profits need to contact the financial institution that provided their initial CEBA loan and provide the appropriate information and documentation.
News: December 3, 2020 - The Ontario government announced today that the Club canadien de Toronto has been selected to develop the Francophone Business Network. This new province-wide innovative online platform will help entrepreneurs share their expertise and best practices and form new strategic partnerships. The province is investing $250,000 to support the development of the Network.
News: November 26, 2020 - The Ontario government is introducing the Supporting Local Restaurants Act, 2020 which, if passed, would cap fees charged by food delivery companies in areas where indoor dining is prohibited, providing additional support for small and independent restaurants.
Currently, fees placed on restaurants by food delivery companies can reach as high as 30% in Ontario. The legislation, to be introduced today by Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, in addition to further regulation, would:
News: November 25, 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented and challenging time for Ontario’s workers and businesses. The majority of businesses are operating in safe and responsible ways to protect their workers and customers. However, there are still some businesses that need further assistance or clarification to understand the requirements to keep everyone safe.
That’s why we are doing community safety campaigns to educate businesses and workers on public health measures required under the Reopening Ontario Act. These campaigns are being developed in consultation with local public health units, police and by-law departments, and support Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.
On November 27, 28, and 29, officers will be visiting malls, power centres, and big box–retail stores.
Using resources provided by the Ontario government, businesses should:
News: November 23, 2020 - The National Ecosystem Fund will provide funding to Black-led not-for-profit business organizations to strengthen their capacity to provide support, financial planning services and business training for Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Black-led not-for-profit business organizations that serve Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses are encouraged to apply through the National Ecosystem Fund National Ecosystem Fund web page by December 21, 2020.
The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub will gather data on Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify critical gaps, barriers to success, and opportunities for growth. It will be jointly run by Black-led business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions. Black-led not-for-profit business organizations and educational institutions are encouraged to come together, develop an application, and apply through the Knowledge Hub web page by January 18, 2021.
News: November 23, 2020 - the CERS opened today to receive applications from qualifying organizations. These organizations can now apply directly for the subsidy for the period from September 27 to October 24, 2020 through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Business Account, or Represent a Client portals.
Applications for the second CERS period (October 25 to November 21, 2020) will open on November 30.
The new rent subsidy supports businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses.
Qualifying organizations that were required to shut down or significantly limit their activities under a public health order will have access to Lockdown Support, a top-up subsidy of 25%, meaning that they could receive rent or property expenses support of up to 90%.
News: November 22, 2020 - Meeting and event spaces, and other businesses, places, facilities or establishments, including special event venues, banquet halls, hotel conference rooms and convention centres which rent or otherwise make available any meeting and/or event space to:
Shopping malls to:
Retail stores to:
News: November 19, 2020 - The Ontario government is launching a series of education and enforcement campaigns to ensure businesses across the province are taking the necessary steps to keep employees, consumers and the public safe. These campaigns will support the current efforts of police, municipal by-law officers, and public health inspectors to educate businesses and enforce the COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Officers will be asking employers to produce their workplace safety plans.
If a person or business is not found compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, they could be ticketed with a fine of $750 under the Reopening Ontario Act. Where prosecuted without issuing a ticket and on conviction, individuals could be fined up to $100,000, and directors and officers of a corporation could be fined up to $500,000. Any individual convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act could also receive a term of imprisonment of up to one year. The maximum fine for a corporation convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act is $10,000,000.
Businesses requiring a workplace safety plan include:
News: November 19, 2020 - The Ontario government is investing over $2.2 million through the Ontario Together Fund to provide small businesses with free, tailored financial advice and online training to help them make informed financial decisions and navigate the unprecedented economic circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario is providing $2,040,000 to support Ontario's 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBEC) led by the Business Advisory Centre Durham to create a new Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network. This network will enhance the capacity of all SBECs across the province to expand their services, supporting businesses across the province.
News: November 16, 2020 - Businesses in modified Stage 2 regions or, going forward, in areas categorized as control or lockdown, can apply for rebates to help with fixed costs, such as property tax and energy bills. Find out if your business is eligible.
Rebates will cover the period of time that businesses are required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in areas subject to the targeted modified Stage 2 public health restrictions or, going forward, in areas categorized as Control or Lockdown. The property tax rebates will be net of any federal support in respect of property taxes provided through the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), so that the rebate will cover costs beyond those covered by CERS.
News: November 13, 2020 - The framework changes are in response to the current data and trends, and will lower the threshold for each of the five levels for: weekly incidence rates, positivity rate, effective reproductive number (Rt), outbreak trends and the level of community transmission. Based on these new thresholds, York Region Public Health would be moved to the Red-Control level in the framework. Please visit Ontario.ca/COVID19 for the full list of public health region classifications that will come into effect as of Monday, November 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
Assignments to the current levels would last for a minimum of 28 days or two-incubation periods, at which time the status of these public health unit regions will be reassessed on a weekly basis. However, movement to a more restrictive zone will be considered sooner if there are rapidly worsening trends.
News: November 10, 2020 - The Ontario government is proposing to give municipalities the flexibility to target property tax relief to small businesses. The province is also considering matching these reductions, which would provide small businesses with as much as $385 million in municipal and provincial property tax relief. This initiative is part of the 2020 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.
News: November 6, 2020 - The Government of Canada is providing over $155 million to extend the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program's (NRC IRAP) Innovation Assistance Program (IRAP IAP). IRAP IAP is an emergency wage subsidy provided to eligible firms on a priority basis. Funding will help support existing IAP recipients that are high-potential, small and pre-revenue firms that do not qualify for the government's wage subsidy measure.
News: November 3, 2020 - With international travel restricted due to COVID-19, the CanExport SMEs program is pivoting to now help small businesses:
Small business owners and entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for CanExport SMEs program funding.
News: November 3, 2020 - In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government has developed the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. It ensures that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.
The framework takes a gradual approach that includes introducing preventative measures earlier to help avoid broader closures and allow for additional public health and workplace safety measures to be introduced or removed incrementally. It categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort. Each level outlines the types of public health and workplace safety measures for businesses and organizations. These include targeted measures for specific sectors, institutions and other settings.
News: October 29, 2020 - The Ontario Made program is helping the province's manufacturing base regain and recover revenues lost due to COVID-19. Manufacturers and producers are encouraged to register and promote their products on the SupportOntarioMade.ca website and use the Ontario Made logo. Regional webinars where manufacturers can learn more about the program will be hosted by CME to increase the volume and variety of registered Ontario Made products for consumers.
Consumers can easily find these made-in-Ontario goods in the new online, searchable directory at SupportOntarioMade.ca. This includes products that are made in local communities, participating retailers and company profiles.
News: October 26, 2020 - As early as October 26, 2020, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account.
To be eligible, businesses must have been operating as a business as of March 1, 2020, must successfully open a business account at a Canadian financial institution that is participating in CEBA, and meet the other existing CEBA eligibility criteria. The deadline to apply for CEBA is December 31, 2020.
To assess their eligibility for CEBA, applicants can use the pre-screening tool on the CEBA website. To apply for CEBA, businesses should contact their financial institution and provide the appropriate information and documentation. Applicants may contact the CEBA Call Centre at 1-888-324-4201 to receive a status update on a completed application between Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST
News: October 20, 2020 - Starting on October 26, small businesses can apply online through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for the next wave of Canada United Small Business Relief Fund grants. The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund, which is managed by the OCC, is supporting Canadian businesses across different sectors and industries with grants of up to $5,000.
Applications are open to small businesses across sectors and industries in every part of the country that have between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales; have up to 75 employees; are registered in Canada; and would use the grant to cover the costs of personal protective equipment, make physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements, and enhance their digital or e-commerce capabilities.
Canada United is a national fundraising campaign created by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in collaboration with private sector partners and provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). The campaign has been rallying support from Canadians for local small businesses in every corner of the country.
News: October 16, 2020 - Effective Monday, October 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., York Region will join Ottawa, Peel and Toronto public health regions in a modified Stage 2. Measures under this modified Stage 2 include:
Schools, child care centres, and places of worship will remain open in these communities and must continue to follow the public health measures in place. Before-school and after-school programs will also continue to be exempt from these new restrictions and will remain open..
News: October 13, 2020 - To provide relief for local restaurants and other businesses impacted by the new public health measures, Ontario announced $300 million to help offset fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills. The government is also supporting small business through its Main Street Recovery Plan by:
News: October 9, 2020 - The Government of Canada plans to introduce legislation to provide support that would help these businesses safely get through the second wave of the virus and the winter, cover costs so they can continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery, including:
News: October 7, 2020 - Announcement of Ontario's Main Street Recovery Plan and to introduce the Main Street Recovery Act, 2020, proposed legislation that would support small businesses and modernize rules to allow them to innovate and meet the challenges of today. The plan includes:
News: October 2, 2020 - The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, which helps support those who may not be eligible for other programs. Since the Fund was launched in May, over 12,000 businesses have been assisted through the RRRF, helping them keep their employees, cover costs, and protect almost 95,000 jobs across Canada. The RRRF has been a vital tool, supplementing the existing suite of federal relief measures to address the immediate needs of Canadians during the pandemic. Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) will deliver the RRRF in their regions.
News: October 1, 2020 - Minimum wage rates in Ontario increased on October 1, 2020. Under the Making Ontario Open for Business Act this increase is tied to the Ontario Consumer Price Index for 2020. The increase to the general minimum wage is 25 cents, which brings the new rate to $14.25 an hour.
News: July 20, 2020 - The Ontario government is allowing seven more regions, including Markham, York Region, to enter Stage 3 on Friday, increasing the number of businesses and public spaces that will reopen across the province. York Region will be allowed to move into Stage 3 on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
Mayor Frank Scarpitti reminds us (July 20) that Stage 3 means we can support more local businesses but we should not let our guard down.
News: July 13, 2020 - Nearly All Businesses and Public Spaces to Reopen in Stage 3. As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario will be increasing gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage to the following:
Important: York Region will remain in Stage 2, until further notice.
News: July 9, 2020 — Effective Friday, July 17, 2020 as of 12:01 a.m., business owners and operators in York Region must have a policy in place to prohibit people from entering if they are not wearing a face mask or covering. Customers, employees and visitors who enter enclosed public spaces must wear a face mask or covering.
News: June 30, 2020 — The province's campaign asks for mayors, local leaders and groups to support our small businesses by committing on social media to "Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence," while highlighting the best practices put in place by businesses to help keep shoppers safe while ensuring that the reopening of Ontario continues to be a success. For example, the principles of the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise encourage small businesses to strictly follow health guidelines and reopen with appropriate measures in place, so consumers can shop safely and with confidence, including:
News reminder: June 29, 2020 — Markham Patio Extension Program officially launches July 2. Bars, restaurants and retail businesses who have successfully applied to the Temporary Use Zoning Bylaw to Permit Extended Outdoor Patios and Outdoor Display and Sales Areas are expected to begin offering outdoor services to provide safe spaces for residents to dine and to #ShopLocal. Read the Announcement
News: June 15, 2020 — The Government of Canada announced that as of Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week.
To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need:
Eligible businesses will qualify for financing of up to $40,000, with 25 per cent of this being forgivable based on the current terms of CEBA loans. Businesses can contact their primary financial institution for more information or to apply directly for CEBA. More information on the expanded CEBA can be found on the program’s website.
News: June 8 & 15, 2020 — More people will be able to get back to work as additional businesses and services in certain regions across Ontario (including York Region/Markham) can begin reopening and are allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:
News: June 11, 2020 — The Ontario government, in partnership with the Government of Canada, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.
Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:
News: June 10, 2020 — The Government of Canada has partnered with the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise program, an initiative launched by Canadian private sector organizations. The “POST Promise” is a voluntary commitment that business owners and managers can make by following five key public health actions that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
By displaying the “POST Promise” logo, participating businesses can reassure customers that they are doing their part to help protect Canadians’ health and safety.
News: May 28, 2020 — Markham jumps into ShopHERE program in support of small businesses
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: The City of Markham is the first municipality to join a Canada-wide initiative. The ShopHERE Program, initiated by Digital Main Street (a program of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas) and the City of Toronto, is being expanded across the country.
ShopHERE will provide independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store, which will be built and launched with no fees charged to the business, with support from marketing and business students. The program will provide independent businesses and artists with:
Digital Main Street and Google are extending the program to Canadian municipalities with a goal of building 50,000 online stores by the end of 2020.
News: May 25, 2020 — Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Consultation Opened on May 25, 2020 and will close to input on June 5, 2020. The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support Canadians and protect jobs during the global COVID-19 outbreak. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), which was announced on April 1, 2020, helps employers protect jobs, rehire employees, and provide workers with a decent income. The subsidy covers 75 per cent of an employee’s wages (up to $847 per week) for employers who have been hard-hit by COVID-19.
This consultation will help inform potential changes to the CEWS to help maximize employment and best meet the needs of businesses and workers during these challenging times. The consultation seeks input on the eight questions intended to inform advice to the government on potential changes to the program (e.g., challenges, accessibility, seasonal businesses, interaction with CERB, etc.).
News: May 25, 2020 — Minister Ng announces hotline to provide small businesses in need with financial planning advice amid COVID-19. The Government of Canada will support the launch of a four-week hotline service called the Business Resilience Service. This service will help entrepreneurs and small business owners in need of financial planning advice, particularly those who may not have access to an accountant. The service will also be open to not-for-profit organizations and charities.
The hotline is a national, bilingual service operated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. As of today, small business owners with pressing financial needs can call 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).
Business advisors—125 members of Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada)—will be available to provide customized financial guidance to the smallest business owners in the most urgent need and help them make the best decisions for their business as they navigate this crisis. Advisors can answer questions about tax regulations and the implications of COVID-19, inform business owners about government support programs that best fit their unique circumstances, and provide strategic financial planning for their road to recovery.
News: May 19 and 20, 2020 — CMHC announces that the CECRA application portal opens on May 25, 2020 for eligible property owners. To help you prepare, sample versions of the application documents are now available on their website. You can review them in order to have the required information on-hand when the application portal opens.
News: May 19, 2020 — Government of Canada announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:
News: May 16, 2020 — the Government of Canada will provide $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). This money will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients and will help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic.
News: May 15, 2020 — Finance Minister Bill Morneau today announced that the Government of Canada will extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. Extending the program will give workers greater confidence that they will continue to get the support they need during these difficult times. These regulations extend eligibility for the CEWS to the following groups:
News: May 14, 2020 — CMHC has updated the CECRA for small businesses web page to include new details on the program. Added answers to questions that have been received concerning eligibility, role of property owner/landlord, mortgage requirements, and process. Visit the updated program page to get the latest details. It is anticipated that the application process will open in the second half of May.
News: May 14, 2020 — In order to help businesses open safely, the Government of Ontario has developed an online resource called the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to help Ontario businesses identify suppliers for personal protective equipment (PPE) that will support employees’ safe return to work.
News: May 14, 2020 — Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen
News: May 13, 2020 — Government of Canada - The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides $213 million in support to southern Ontario SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures. The RRRF provides financial contributions (interest-free loans) to help support fixed operating costs of SMEs, where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
News: May 6 & 11, 2020 — Ontario Further Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction During COVID-19. The Ontario government is allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores.
News: May 1, 2020 — Certain Businesses Allowed to Reopen Under Strict Safety Guidelines — Steady Decrease in COVID-19 Cases Required Before Beginning Next Stage of Reopening. By following the proper health and safety guidelines these businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:
News: April 30, 2020 — The Ontario government is ensuring employers have the safety guidelines they need to protect workers, customers, and the general public from COVID-19 as it prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy. The 61 sector-specific guidelines are available from Ontario’s health and safety associations.
News: April 29, 2020 – In a Canadian first, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the City of Markham – Canada’s high-tech capital – are using the artificial intelligence-driven virtual agent “IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens” to offer 24-hour customer service for residents looking for COVID-19 information. The solution will use AI and machine learning to enable the City of Markham to deliver reliable, consistent and accurate information conveniently to residents via online text chat and voice calls – anywhere, anytime.
News: April 28, 2020 — The Ontario government is launching the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website. The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario's supply chain.
News: April 24, 2020 - Prime Minister announces partnerships with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA / OCECRA) for small businesses
OCECRA program details about how the program works, timelines, eligibility requirements, exclusions.
News: April, 24, 2020 - The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.
This targeted application intake features two funding streams:
News: Apr 16, 2020 — The Government of Canada is:
News: Apr 14, 2020 — Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to Continue the Fight Against COVID-19 — the Declaration of Emergency has been extended until May 12 (including the closure of all non-essential workplaces).
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Support Markham Business
This Holiday Season, the team at Destination Markham would like to feature your restaurant or retail store on their brand new website, and throughout the Local Love holiday campaign. Please fill out the form to have your business included on the Visit Markham website, launched on December 10, 2020.
The Markham Board of Trade has set up this website to make it easy for you to find what's open and where you can buy locally. If you are a business and are open, promote your business hours, promos & more on their new website! Search for restaurants, retail and other service providers that are open.
Markham Public Library's SHOP LOCAL virtual market/shop directory page was setup to help encourage residents to shop local this holiday.
The City of Markham is proud to announce an exciting partnership with SkipTheDishes to help local restaurants weather the second wave of COVID-19 during the holiday season. From December 2, 2020 to January 2, 2021, restaurants that join SkipTheDishes will pay 0% commission for the first 30 days.
In addition, as a way to stimulate consumer demand and generate more orders for local Markham restaurants, SkipTheDishes is offering Markham diners free delivery on every order over $20 that is placed through the app during this one-month promotional period.
New restaurant partners should visit restaurants.skipthedishes.com/application to apply to join the network, and SkipTheDishes will reach out to contact every restaurant partner that applies.
Existing restaurant partners will benefit from this holiday promotion. For existing restaurant partners, pre-holiday promotion delivery fees will come back into effect for Markham customers on January 3, 2021.
The City of Markham is collaborating with Ritual and DoorDash to provide locally owned and operated small businesses with an easy way to conduct online sales through their own websites and social media, and to enable contactless ordering at brick-and-mortar stores.
With COVID-19 remaining a threat to both the economy and public health, the Open for Business program will help the community support local, while keeping everyone safe as the holiday season approaches.
Markham businesses can sign up for the Open for Business program and use Ritual ONE – the commission-free digital ordering platform – to receive:
Businesses that use DoorDash Drive to make at least one Ritual ONE delivery by December 31, 2020 will have their Ritual ONE subscription fees waived through 2021.
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, Public Health restrictions may only allow sales by an alternative method such as curb side pick-up or delivery
Leave positive reviews. Comment and share your support for local Markham businesses on their social media channels
Thank your clients and work on building / strengthening a loyal customer base. Actively engage in genuine conversations on social media. Let clients know what to expect during this disruption and that you are actively taking pre-bookings, or offering virtual solutions.
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: Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Every year, the Markham Small Business Centre is proud to help develop, and celebrate, the entrepreneurial achievements of Markham's Youth. A number of funding programs are available for Markham's High School, College and University students.
Markham’s Starter Company Plus program seeks to help entrepreneurs start, expand or grow a small business in Markham by providing training, education and advisory services and an opportunity to be selected for grant funding of up to $5,000.00 including access to mentorship from local business leaders.
Expressions of interest are now being accepted and the deadline is Wednesday September 15, 2021.
If you are:
And are willing to:
The program is delivered in two phases:
1. Open to all applicants: Training, Education and assistance with preparation of an updated Business Plan/growth plan/pivot plan and Budget
2. For selected applicants chosen to proceed to Phase 2: Receive grant funding and begin 3-month mentoring period
Complete the Expression of Interest here.
Intake for the Markham Small Business Recovery and Digital Resilience Program closed on December 7, 2020.
The Markham Small Business Recovery and Digital Resilience Program was a training, education and business advisory program designed to help Markham-based, brick-and-mortar, small businesses shift their business practices and build resilience towards sustainable recovery. With emphasis on digital strategies and enhanced virtual/online presence. In addition, for selected participants, there was an opportunity to be selected for a grant of up to $5,000.00 to assist with implementation related expenses.
The Starter Company Plus Program (which was temporarily put on hold to make the Small Business Recovery and Digital Resilience Program possible) has re-opened for intake. Guidelines and eligibility information are posted in the separate section labelled “Starter Company Plus Program”.
Our sponsors make it possible for us to help small businesses in Markham. Learn more about these important organizations below.