Oakville’s businesses face COVID’S wrath

It’s been a tough month for Oakville’s business community. They’re struggling to navigate the economic implications of COVID-19 and many are concerned about the future of their business.

Consequently, the Oakville Chamber has been actively working with policy makers at all levels of government to provide economic relief measures for businesses during COVID-19. 

To avoid a collapse of our economy, the federal government announced a wage subsidy program to help cover three-quarters of employees’ salaries for businesses that have seen their revenue drop by at least 30 per cent due to COVID-19.  In addition, a $40,000 interest-free loan has been extended where $10,000 can be forgiven if certain conditions are met.

As one of the advocates for the significant increase to the initial 10 per cent federal wage subsidy announcement,  the Oakville Chamber, and business organizations across the Country, applauded the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy that would cover 75 per cent of salaries for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

As details emerged in the days following the announcement, we heard from members across our community who had concerns with the way the program had been designed and feared that the program would not be enough to save their business and keep their workers employed.

To that end, the Oakville Chamber has spent the last few weeks engaging with our membership to better understand their concerns, challenges and most importantly seek feedback on what types of support they need from our Federal Government. 

Business models differ from sector to sector.  Some are reliant on foot traffic, some are essential but are operating at a reduced capacity.  All of these variables mean that not all businesses will benefit from the measures introduced so far from the government.

Some smaller businesses don’t have the cash reserves to sustain them long term.  So, time is of the essence. Understandably, they are hesitant to take on more loans as they can’t predict what’s in store for them for the next six months. 

Furthermore, the criteria for businesses to access the 75 per cent wage subsidy remains an issue for some that do not qualify.  These include businesses with small profit margins that are being hurt by a revenue decline of less than 30%, as well as service firms that are invoicing but do not know when or if these invoices will be paid.

Businesses need to see immediate execution of government programs to protect jobs and avoid delaying recovery.  We urgently need to get these funds into the hands of employers. Every day that we delay these funds will lead to more businesses shutting down and more Canadians facing unemployment.

Together, with our network of Chamber’s across the country, the Oakville Chamber is calling on all levels of government to set aside planned tax increases, new regulations and unnecessary consultations that place a burden on businesses.

This is a situation without precedent for the global and Canadian economy.   Our federal government has been responsive to our calls to action and must continue to do so as we navigate this unprecedented time together.

– Faye Lyons, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations

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


The Mayor’s Economic Task Force

Welcome Back Oakville Campaign

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


Government of Ontario announces The Resilient Communities Fund  – August 5, 2020

Paid parking resumes in Oakville beginning August 4, 2020  – July 31, 2020

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program extended to August – July 31, 2020

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

Canada and Ontario invest in modern, green public transitfor residents of Oakville 
– July 29, 2020

Toronto and Peel Region to enter Stage 3 – July 29, 2020

CRA announces an extension to the payment deadline and offers interest relief on outstanding tax debts during COVID-19
July 27, 2020

Safe Restart Agreement represnts new funding for priority programs in Ontario
 – July 27, 2020

Ontario delivers up to 4 billion to support municipalities and transit
– July 27, 2020

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

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following, high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open in Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID‑19.
Businesses and services listed as not yet safe to open:
  • Amusement parks and water parks;
  • Buffet-style food services;
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
  • Overnight stays at camps for children;
  • Private karaoke rooms;
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
All other businesses and public spaces will be permitted to be open, subject to ensuring the appropriate health and safety measures are in place, as well as limits on gathering sizes. More information on restrictions and gathering limits in Stage 3 is available below.
The government invites businesses not able to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions to visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal.
For questions on restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, review the Stage 3 Emergency Order on the emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Halton Regional Council approves Temporary Mandatory Face-Covering By-Law effective July 22nd  – July 15, 2020
Effective July 22, 2020, wearing a non-medical mask or face covering is mandatory in certain enclosed indoor public places in Halton region. Some individuals are exempt. Please be kind and support each other. The by-law is in effect until November 30, 2020, unless extended by Regional Council. To learn more, read the by-law , media release , watch the webinar on the by-law, or frequently asked questions. There are also posters and a sample mask policy available for businesses on the Halton Region website.

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
Through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), the new 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.

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.

Bank of Canada Interest Rate
The Bank of Canada cut its overnight rate to 0.25% – the interest rate at which major financial institutions borrow and lend one-day (or “overnight”) funds among themselves.

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. 
Deferred Provincial Taxes

Beginning April 1, 2020, the Government of Ontario is providing flexibility to about 100,000 businesses in Ontario to help manage their cash flows during this challenging time. This will continue for a period of five months, up until August 31, 2020.

For this period, the Province will not apply any penalty or interest on any late-filed returns or incomplete or late tax payments under select provincially administered taxes, such as the Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gas Tax.

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 for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. 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.


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.

WSIB Deferred Payments

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will allow employers to defer payments for a period of six months. This will provide employers with $1.9 billion in financial relief.

All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package. Schedule 1 employers with premiums owed to the WSIB will be allowed to defer reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. The deferral will also apply to Schedule 2 businesses that pay WSIB for the cost related to their workplace injury and illness claims. In addition, no interest will be accrued on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.

Learn more.


Resources for Business

Navigating the support programs for business


Business Continuity and Recovery

Business Services, Operations and Marketing Support
  • #WelcomeBackOakville Marketing Campaign – Welcome Back Oakville
  • eBay: Register as a new Canadian business seller on eBay before  August 22nd, 2020 and receive an all-in-one online business solution to get more out of the eBay marketplace and millions of buyers. Learn more. 
  • Ontario Made program for Ontario Manufacturers – Government of Ontario
  • Canada Post – Think Small Program.
    • Until August 31st, re-connect with your community with a mailing to inform customers that you’re open, re-opening or incentives to visit you: choose from the Shared Mailer, or the Solo Mailer. 
    • Until October 31st, take advantaged of an integrated marketing campgin to help keep your business top of mind: choose from a Canada Post Smartmail Marketing partner, or use Snap Admail.
    • Learn more.
 
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.



      Member Profile: Halton Industry Education Council

      This past November, Halton Industry Education Council (HIEC) turned 30 – and they have a lot to celebrate! Founded in 1989, HIEC is a not-for-profit social enterprise that focuses on partnership, mentorship and workforce development. HIEC was developed in partnership with the four Halton Region Chambers of Commerce, the Halton District and Halton Catholic District School Boards, and Sheridan College. For three decades HIEC has been developing and delivering innovative programs and services that leverage technologies, advance community collaboration, strengthen economic development, inspire mentorship, and help young people succeed.

      HIEC strives to empower youth in their career exploration and contribute to their overall mental wellness as it relates to future planning and opportunities. This includes building stronger connections between educators, employers, and the students who will make up the future workforce through their Career Awareness Program, hosting inspiring community events, and managing multiple technologies that focus on workforce development.

      Through the Career Awareness Program, HIEC supports 7,000 students a year as they prepare to transition into high school. The program is for grade 7 students and helps them identify their individual values, skills and interests. During their visit, students also have the opportunity to investigate 3500+ different occupations that are outlined in the Career Development Lab. Students can also participate in a life work simulation program, which provides them with a better understanding of working conditions, salaries, future trends, and post-secondary pathways for jobs that interest them. This program is very successful and has even received international interest.
      Building on career planning, HIEC hosts two annual community events: Women as Career Coaches and Men as Career Coaches. These informal and interactive events bring mentors from different industries and careers together with young people for an evening of open and honest conversation about occupational pathways, post-secondary destinations, and work life. Collectively, these events have hosted 5,500 mentors and 6,300 students! Students have reported these events to be very influential; with some returning to the event as career coaches once they’ve established their careers. Consider sharing your career journey at the Women in Career Coaches or the Men in Career Coaches events.

      In addition to their in-person programming and events, HIEC operates two important workforce development technologies. ApprenticeSearch.com is an online matching service designed specifically and exclusively to serve the needs of skilled trades employers and apprentices. The site was developed to address the shortage of skilled trades’ workers in the province. The free online service raises awareness of the trades and provides information on the apprenticeship pathway. The site receives up to 150 new applicants each week, with over 16,000 people seeking apprenticeship opportunities in Ontario. Organizations looking to offer an apprenticeship can register online, post vacancies, and initiate a live search for suitable applicants and apprenticeship candidates. In addition to contributing to the training of the future workforce, there are also grants and other financial incentives available for employers offering apprenticeships.

      The other technology HIEC offers is EmployerRegistry.ca, a free online community that connects employers and the future workforce. Developed in 2008, the site acts as a single point of contact for employers looking to get involved with short, medium, and long-term experiential learning opportunities, ranging from one-hour career talks to full-semester cooperative education placements.

      HIEC’s programming is quite remarkable. Not only does it impact our local workforce in Halton through the Career Awareness Program, but it assists Ontario’s workforce through ApprenticeSearch.com. EmployerRegistry.ca If you have a student seeking guidance for their career path, or you’d like to share your professional journey, or your workplace would like to offer a co-op or apprenticeship placement, contact HIEC. Set up a meeting or book a tour of their impressive facility.  



      Work-Life Balance

      By Melanie McGregor, Specialist, Communications and Advancement, Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region Branch
      “Work-life balance” – that elusive, idealized goal that is talked about like it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. But is it really possible? And if so, how? 

      “Work-life balance” can be defined in many ways, but overall, it is feeling that work and life aren’t competing and that we are able to successfully manage our multiple roles and demands in each area. There’s a lot to cram into our days as workers, partners, parents, caregivers, family members, friends, and people with interests, needs, and healthy habits to maintain, and being overloaded can have a huge impact on our overall health and wellness. We may feel out of control, have trouble keeping our mind on things, feel guilty, neglect self-care, and feel tired or run-down. 

      To address or even prevent these impacts, we need to first think about our own expectations. I like to think of “work-life balance” as more “work-life management. Balance suggests that the two things are equal, stable, in proportion, but in fact, there are times when work will dominate or life away from work will require more of us. Coping during these times is about managing our demands and doing what we can to feel more on top of things and like we can bring our whole selves to work and back home at the end of the day.  

      Work-life balance also does not mean that work and life become completely separate realms that don’t influence each other. Work is an integral part of our lives, and what happens at work is bound to affect our feelings, moods, and thoughts outside of work and vice versa. It also doesn’t mean that we will never feel stressed or overwhelmed or have competing demands. It’s a question of seeing these times as signals that we need to do something differently. 

      So, what can we do to feel more in control and balanced? Consider these ideas as a start: 
      • If you are an employer, your flexibility can go a long way to creating more productive and satisfied employees. Consider arrangements like flexible work hours, working from home, or day off usage and communicate these to your team. What happens if an employee has a sick child or a medical appointment in the middle of the day? If they and you know what to expect and do in these situations, it can reduce stress and anxiety. 
      • If you are an employee, talk with your employer about what would help you manage your balance. For example, if you are caring for a parent who needs you more in the next week, discuss ahead of time what options are and are not available so you can plan accordingly. 
      • Create and stick to boundaries that work for you. Expectations do vary from role to role, but we often create unnecessary expectations for ourselves. Do you really need to check your e-mail after the workday is done, or is this just a habit you’ve built up that’s cutting into your family time? Try marking the separation between your work time and your personal time more clearly by, say, chilling out with a cup of tea after work or doing a short meditation when you get home.  
      • Be realistic about what you can accomplish. An unreasonable to-do list is a sure path to feeling overloaded and out of balance. At both work at home, think about the time you have and what you can reasonably fit it – not what you’d like to fit in, but what is truly doable. And remember that you don’t need to “be productive” all the time – down time is vital to wellness and well-being. 
        We are bound to feel out of balance now and then, but some reflection, planning, and management should help tip the scales back towards wellness. 


        For resources on mental health, please visit

        halton.cmha.ca



        Listen to This: Top Podcasts 2020

        Check out these podcasts recommended by the Oakville Chamber’s Marketing Committee. (Click on the titles to listen)

        The Daily
        The Daily is a podcast that covers the biggest stories of our time covered by journalists from The New York Times. It has a conversational and intimate tone, which makes news more accessible. the podcast receives over 1.1 million downloads a day, with new episodes airing every weekday.

        Spectacular Failures
        Host Lauren ober tackles some of the most spectacular business failures of all time in Spectacular Failures. some of the most promising ideas have been brought down by family disputes and scandal, while others were fuelled by bad decisionmaking. The podcast reminds listeners that success isn’t so easy.

        The Bridge with Peter Mansbridge
        The Bridge is a weekly podcast from internationally recognized journalist Peter Mansbridge, discussing what is on his mind that week. It could be Canadian, or international, news or sports. This podcast offers a relaxed commentary on current events.

        TED Talks Business
        Presented by TED, the non-profit devoted to Ideas Worth spreading, TED Talks Business hosts some of the world’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs and business researchers to share their stories and insights. From money and marketing, to
        loans and leadership listen to global leaders and industry experts as they inform and inspire you!

        Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly
        This podcast gives listeners a “behind the scenes” experience of the advertising industry. Host Terry O’Reilly shares
        fascinating and humorous stories on pop culture, marketing and human nature.

        Dolly Parton’s America
        This podcast explores the life of Dolly Parton, her influence on pop culture, and society more generally. Created by Jad Abumrad, who grew up in nashville where Dolly Parton was one of the biggest icons. Abumrad never paid much attention to her career; but thought of her as simply a country star diva. In 2016, he realized she was a much bigger phenomenon. He argues that analyzing Dolly Parton’s universal appeal, regardless of listeners’ background or politics, will help us
        understand America at this particular moment.

        Mo’ Money Podcast with Jessica Moorhouse
        Host Jessica Moorhouse is a millennial money expert with a passion for personal finance and living a balance lifestyle. In her Mo’ Money Podcast she interviews celebrities, experts, entrepreneurs, authors, friends, family and even listeners of the show – and dives into topics like financial independence, early retirement, budgeting best practices, debt and credit,
        investing, side hustles, entrepreneurship and more!

        Members of the Chamber
        The Oakville Chamber just launched it’s very own podcast! In each episode, President & Ceo Drew Redden sits down with one member of our Chamber community to discuss their individual entrepreneur or professional journey, their job and how they ended up where they are today.



        Succeeding in Uncertainty 

        By Michelle Pickett and Joe Rafuse, PwC Canada

        “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” – Paul Romer, Stanford Economist

        We’re experiencing an unprecedented period of uncertainty, change and disruption. While the longest-running bull market in history continues, many believe that the positive economic trajectory won’t continue indefinitely and that warning signs are already here. The Wall Street Journal’s latest Economic Forecasting Survey reported a probability of nearly 50% of a 2020 recession. PwC’s recent Global CEO Survey reported that pessimism about global economic growth is at an all-time high with 53% of CEOs surveyed predicting a decline in the rate of economic growth in 2020, up from 29% in 2019. 

        With Canadian household debt at a record high, consumer insolvencies are also now reaching eight-year peaks while the US Federal Reserve continues to lower interest rates. This is all unfolding amidst a backdrop of geopolitical tensions, precarious global trade rules, and increasing focus on topics such as climate and the environment.     

        The proliferation of technology in business in everyday life is accelerating as well.  Competition is shifting rapidly where emerging entrants are changing the competitive landscape.  The landscape of the largest US companies by market capitalization has also shifted dramatically – today the top 5 companies by market capitalization are all technology based and represent 20% of the overall S&P 500.  

        With the rate of disruption and change only accelerating over time, how then do companies succeed in this uncertainty?  Focusing on the core business while keeping an eye on the rapidly evolving landscape may seem like diligent practice today, but if history has taught us anything, it is that no industry has deep enough moats to fend off the siege of disruption.  

        Ignoring uncertainty is not a favorable strategy.

        “Neither RedBox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition”

        – Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes in 2008 

        Understand Your Business

        Succeeding in uncertainty requires preparation and being proactive. Businesses should objectively assess critical areas such as Customer and Markets, their Business Model and Capital Structure to better understand key opportunities and threats.  

        Manage costs today

        To put the company in the best possible position to succeed in uncertainty and prepare for the future, management should be managing costs today.  Management needs to focus on immediate cash and profitability improvements while simultaneously addressing the core business to stabilize for the long term. Analysis of significant downturn scenarios (eg. loss of major customers, increase in input costs, etc.) will help identify the impact and financial risks. Companies should start on surgical cost restructuring (Do Without, Do Better, Do Less, Do Different) and look to working capital as a lever to improve cash flow and liquidity.     

        Shape your future M&A strategy

        As companies, private equity firms and other investors reassess portfolios and strategies, opportunities to buy – as others decide to sell – start to grow. Historically, valuations or EBITDA multiples are lower during a downtown, which can create opportunities for acquirers.  Within this cycle it is important to consider how your divisions or businesses will perform in a downturn. How can you maximize value by considering opportunistic sales before a potential downturn while multiples are high? Are there companies that you can proactively target now for potential acquisitions during a downturn? 

        The range of possible futures confronting businesses are increasingly vast. Companies that face uncertainty head on, rapidly adapt, and start planning today are more likely to sustain a crisis and prosper in the face of uncertainty. 




        COVID-19 Update from The Chambers Plan

        The Chambers Plan has developed a COVID-19 updates link to provide up-to-date information. Please check back to the link regularly as the document will be constantly updated.

        Questions in relation to coverage by (insured) employers and employees should be directed to the plan at info@johnstongroup.ca or call the Customer Service line at 1-800-665-3365. Due to high call volumes, the fastest current response is by email.
         
        Below are resources that are available to you with the Chambers Plan coverage:
         
        • Teladoc telemedicine service is available, at no charge, providing medical access to a doctor from your smartphone.
        • Healthy Business Bookmark a full suite of HR resources, is available at www.my-benefits.ca under your Admin Access including templates and letters.
        • Business Assistance Service (BAS) provides 9 hours of legal, accounting and HR advice every calendar year (by phone) to help with issues related to your business and employees

        Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

        The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy. These measures will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy.

        Below we have summarized what businesses and workers need to know.

        Business

        • All businesses can defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.
        • Increased credit is available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.
        • Expansion of Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support to domestic businesses.
        • Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
        • Launch of an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. As announced on March 16, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers.

        Workers

        • Boosting the Canada Child Benefit payments
        • Introduction of the Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave.
        • Introduction of an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
        • Provide additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit.
        • Waive, for a minimum of six months, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as announced on March 11.
        • Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
        • Extend the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1, and allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
        • Provide eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities. 
        • Provide increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers who may be experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak. Insurers will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.
        Learn more.


        COVID-19 Update from the Oakville Chamber

        Further to the press conference held today by the Government of Canada and Public Health Officials, Canadians are being asked to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and as a result recommend the cancellation or postponement of events.

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is taking action to help protect the health and safety of our members, partners and our employees. We are currently implementing measures to do our part in containing the further spread of the virus.

        As a result, we will be postponing all Chamber events and meetings until April 6th.

        We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep members updated through our website, emails and social media for the status of our other scheduled events.

        If you are registered for an event that was scheduled to take place before April 6th, 2020 we will be contacting you directly to communicate a new event date and/or facilitate full refunds.

        To assist and support the business community with preparing and responding to COVID-19, please refer to these resources from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce:

        For specific information and updates on COVID-19 please refer to:

        Our offices remain open and fully functioning.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with your concerns or questions.

        During this period of uncertainty, we ask you to consider ways to support our local businesses. This includes purchasing gift cards that can be used at a later date, or ordering from them online. For your local needs, please refer to our Member Directory.