COVID-19: Business Resources and Updates

This is the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s central hub for business resources and updates regarding COVID-19. Please visit this page often as we continue to provide the most up-to-date information. 

Order of Information Listed:
1. Oakville Chamber Updates
2. Recent Government Updates for Business
3. Direct Financial Support for Business
4. Direct Financial Support for Workers
5. Access to Capital
6. Tax Relief
7. Other Support Measures
8. Resources for Business: Health & Safety, Re-opening Guidelines, HR, Marketing & Operations


Oakville Chamber Updates

Oakville Chamber launches #StrongerTogether Business Resiliency Awards

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has launched the #StrongerTogether Business Resiliency Awards presented by BDC to honour Oakville’s small businesses that have shown innovation, compassion and determination during the COVID-19 lockdown and reopening.

Five businesses will be selected by a volunteer committee, consisting of Oakville Chamber members and award partners. The recipients will each receive a professional video highlighting their story and how their business remained resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. These videos will premiere during BDC Small Business Week in October 2020 on the Oakville Chamber’s communication channels. 

Nominate a small business.


Canadian Chamber launches #FreezeTheAlcoholTax Campaign

Brought in by the federal government in 2017, the escalator tax on alcohol raises taxes every year on the price of beer, wine and spirits, forcing Canadians to pay more and making domestic products less competitive.
Last week the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched the #FreezeTheAlcoholTax campaign, calling on the federal government to stop the unfair alcohol escalator tax in the next federal budget.


Canadian Chamber launches ‘Our Restaurants’ campaign

More than 60 per cent of Canada’s restaurants risk having to close their doors permanently by November, according to new government data. When COVID hit, 83% of businesses in the accommodation and food services industries temporarily closed and two-thirds were forced to lay off some staff, including almost a quarter that were forced to lay off all their staff.

That’s why the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and 15 food service businesses, representing more than 60 brands, has launched the ‘Our Restaurants’ campaign.

Learn more.


Welcome Back Oakville

The Mayor’s Economic Task Force (the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, Oakville’s Business Improvement Areas, Visit Oakville, and the Town’s Economic Development Department) launched #WelcomeBackOakville to encourage residents to safely explore Oakville and support local business.

The campaign includes an interactive map to see what businesses are open or if they are offering modified services. The map also includes a list of local PPE Suppliers.

Oakville businesses can use the easy to share graphics to join the campaign on social media, using the hashtag #WelcomeBackOakville.



Recent Government Announcements


Ontario presses Ottawa to increase share of health funding – September 21, 2020

Ontario limits the size of unmonitored and private gatherings across the province – September 19, 2020

Ontario presses Ottawa to increase funding for Ontario priorities – September 18, 2020

Support for women entrepreneurs in the tech sector in Southern Ontario – September 18, 2020

FedDev Ontario supports regional tourism across Southern Ontario – September 18, 2020

Prime Minister announces next steps for Safe Restart Agreement – September 16, 2020

Goverment of Canada announces support for Black entrepreneurs and business owners – September 9, 2020

Oakville expands Digital Service Squad to help small businesses adopt online technologies – September 8, 2020

Government announces extension of rent relief for small businesses – September 8, 2020

Goverment of Canada announces extension of CEBA and BCAP – August 31, 2020

Government of Ontario extends support for employers and employees impacted by COVID-19 – September 3, 2020

Town of Oakville to receive $6.9M in Federal and Provincial emergency funding – August 14, 2020

Ontario supporting the safe reopening of more spaces at gyms and recreation centres – August 14, 2020

Ontario implements additional measures at bars and restaurants to help limit the spread of COVID-19
– July 31, 2020

Halton Region to enter Stage 3 as of 12:01am on Friday, July 24th  – July 20, 2020

Halton Regional Council approves Temporary Mandatory Face-Covering By-Law effective July 22nd  – July 15, 2020

Support for Business

Direct Financial Support for Businesses

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

Direct Financial Support for Workers

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Employment Insurance

Access to Capital

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
Through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), the Business Credit Availability Program will increase the credit available to small, medium and large Canadian businesses, providing more than $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support. The program will be in effect until June 2021.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

The government’s support for large employers through LEEFF will be delivered by a subsidiary of the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Department of Finance. Visit the CDEV website. Broader sectoral dynamics for LEEFF applicants will be considered through processes led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Learn more.


Financial Relief Offered by Canadian Banks
Banks will provide financial relief to businesses affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19. The Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank will work with personal and small business customers, on a case-by-case basis, to provide flexible solutions to help them manage challenges, such as pay disruption, childcare disruption due to school closures or those facing illness from COVID-19.

Tax Relief

The Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is extending the payment due date for individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020. Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made by the extended deadline of September 30, 2020. This includes the late-filing penalty as long as the return is filed by September 30, 2020.

The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns. While this measure for existing tax debts does not cancel penalties and interest already assessed on a taxpayer’s account prior to this period, it ensures that a taxpayer’s existing tax debt does not continue to grow through interest charges during this difficult time. 

Additional Assistance For Business

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program provides loans, including forgiveable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses.  Learn more.
COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program – Small Business (CEAP-SB)

The Government of Ontario is providing $8 million to support small business and registered charity customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. Small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise. Small business and registered charity customers could also be eligible for up to $425 in support towards their natural gas bill.

CEAP-SB is being delivered by electricity distributors, natural gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs), in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB.

Note: You must apply through your utility or USMP.

Learn more.

 
Digital Main Street
The Government of Ontario in partnership with the Government of Canada, is helping small businesses enhance their online presence through the Digital Main Street Platform.
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:


1. shopHERE powered by Google:
The program will hire highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves.

2. Digital Main Street Grants:
The grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective, through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association. Small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.

3. Future-Proof Main Street:
The program will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.


Sign-up for the Digital Main Street Program.

 
Distantly.ca
Distantly.ca is an online donation platform that allows community members to make direct donations to small businesses.

Recovery Activation Program

The Recovery Activation Program (RAP) is an immersive online workshop program that connects businesses with industry experts for guidance, mentorship and practical advice about process modernization and end-to-end digital transformation. It is completely free for businesses and supports firms of any size across Ontario. Learn more.

To start, take the free Digital Needs Assessment (DNA).


Stop the Spread Business Information Line
The Government of Ontario has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m. A complete list of essential services is available on the Government of Ontario’s website.

Work-Sharing Program
The Government of Canada has enhanced its Work-Sharing Program to support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business by expanding the program from 38 to 76 weeks and by streamlining processes to improve access.

Learn more.

Resources for Business

Navigating the support programs for business


Business Continuity and Recovery

Business Services, Operations and Marketing Support
 
Health & Safety, and Security

PPE


Human Resources

Monitor COVID-19

Stay up-to-date on the rapidly evolving situation, and on the nature of the virus itself, by frequently checking municipal, provincial, and national websites.