News

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is a special one-time relief fund established by the Government of Canada to support businesses and organizations economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help to address gaps left by other measures as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and complement those already provided by other levels of government, as well as take into account regional needs and realities.

A total of $49.5 million has been allocated in support of Northern Ontario businesses and organizations, and will be allocated through two funding streams.

Regional economy stream in Northern Ontario

FedNor is delivering $24 million of this RRRF investment through its Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. Eligible applicants include businesses such as incorporated companies, corporations or co-operatives, or Indigenous organizations such as Indigenous/First Nation/Métis Settlement-owned businesses, as well as various not-for-profit entities. The RRRF will support a variety of costs or activities to help SMEs and not-for-profit organizations stay solvent over a period of six months.

Get the full details now


Community Futures stream in Northern Ontario

FedNor is partnering with Northern Ontario’s 24 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) to deliver $25.5 million in RRRF support directly to small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural areas. This includes sole proprietorships or partnerships not covered under the Regional Economy stream. Each CFDC is managing its own application and selection process in accordance with the parameters set out in the RRRF, and will determine ultimate funding recipients in accordance with its own policies and procedures.

To find out more about RRRF funding available through this stream, contact your local CFDC or consult this CFDC directory.

BUSINESS RESOURCES:
In partnership with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has posted a microsite of all the resources and information that businesses require during this COVID-19 pandemic.
The information is updated regularly. All programs are listed for business supports and as more opportunities are announced, the CBRN will include those on their site. Lots of other business resources for you to view as well.
Click on the Canadian Business Resilience Network for more information. 

https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/

A Framework for Reopening our Province

“Together, Ontario will emerge from this crisis – with a clear path to economic recovery that keeps people safe and healthy.”

PHASE ONE: PROTECT AND SUPPORT

The first of the three phases is already underway. This phase focuses on protecting the health and well-being of individuals and families, as well as supporting frontline health-care workers. It also focuses on emergency orders put in place that shutdown non-essential workplaces, outdoor amenities at parks, recreational areas and public places, as well as put restrictions on social gatherings.

Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 is part of this phase. The $17 billion plan was released on March 25.

PHASE TWO: RESTART

This phase is broken down into three stages that provide a “careful approach” to loosening emergency measures and therefore reopening Ontario’s economy, the framework states.

During this phase, public health and workplace safety “will remain the top priority,” while balancing the needs of people and businesses.

Each of the following three stages will be monitored by health officials for two to four weeks.

Stage one: Open select workplaces, allow some small gatherings

  •  Businesses that can “immediately meet or modify operations” to meet public health guidance, for example those that can conduct curbside pickup or delivery
  •  Opening some outdoor spaces, such as parks and allowing for “greater number of individuals” to attend some events, such as funerals
  •  Hospitals begin to offer some non-urgent surgeries and other health-care services

Stage two: Open more workplaces and outdoor spaces, allow some larger gatherings

  •  May include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces

Stage three: Further relax restrictions on public gathers, opening all workplaces

  •  Large public gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for “the foreseeable future”

After each two-to-four-week period, health officials may advise to “reapply or tighten certain public health measures,” maintain status quo,” or “progress to the next stage.”

“This ongoing gradual assessment of public health measures will continue until the post-pandemic period when a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is available.”

PHASE THREE: RECOVER

This phase includes Ontario transitioning to its “new normal” and will focus on creating jobs across the province while ensuring that workplaces are following strict health and safety guidelines.

“Remote work arrangement should continue where feasible,” the province states.

 

Trudeau announces rent relief of 75% for small businesses affected by coronavirus

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

1.  The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.

2.  The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.

3.  Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

 

 

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 6, 2020. This extension will help protect the health and well-being of people across the province and stop the spread of COVID-19.

This Emergency Order extension includes the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and limiting staff from working in more than one retirement home or long-term care home.

In addition, the government has introduced a new measure to allow mental health and addictions agencies to redeploy staff within different locations or between programs, and employ extra part-time staff, temporary staff or contractors in order to ensure people continue receiving the high quality care they expect and deserve during the COVID-19 outbreak. Agencies would be required to provide appropriate training and education to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.

The following emergency orders have been extended until May 6, 2020, here are links to specific related areas:

Limiting work to a single retirement home

RESOURCES, GUIDES, AND TOOLKITS

  • Employer Strategies for Managing Novel Coronavirus Risks in the Workplace (BLG Canada’s Law Firm)
  • COVID-19: Managing cash flow during a period of crisis (Ontario Chamber of Commerce)
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for Ontario Businesses (Ontario Chamber of Commerce)
  • Keeping Your Employees Safe (Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses)
  • Leading Successfully in Turbulent Times: A guide to robust business continuity planning (KPMG)
  • Payroll Continuity Best Practice Guidelines (Canadian Payroll Association)

GENERAL RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS

  • Resources for Canadian Businesses
    (Government of Canada)
  • Getting Your Workplace Ready for Covid-19
    (World Health Organization)
  • Practical Workforce Strategies that Put Your People First
    (Deloitte)
  • Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings
    (Public Health Ontario)
  • Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
    (Government of Canada)

COVID-19: Support for Businesses Webpage
There is now a dedicated COVID-19 webpage for businesses seeking information on how to navigate the economy during COVID-19. The webpage includes details about the supports available, guidance for employers and links to additional resources.
 
Ontario Together Portal
We encourage businesses to continue submitting their solutions and proposals for in-demand products and services through the Ontario Together Portal. We are always looking for innovative solutions that provide the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario. Your input will help us address the rapidly evolving challenges we face in communities across the province.

Ontario Energy Board Update: Electricity Disconnection Ban Extended, Residential & Small Business

On March 19, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) extended the winter ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for residential customers to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers (those who pay time-of-use or tiered electricity prices) will now also be protected by the ban during this period.
 
There is currently a great deal of uncertainty as to the severity and duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic. There has already been a significant amount of disruption in the lives and livelihoods of residential and small business electricity customers in Ontario, and the OEB believes that the risk of loss of electricity service on account of arrears should not be an added source of uncertainty at this time.
 
A number of electricity distributors have taken additional steps to support their customers by waiving certain charges and making special payment arrangements during this difficult time. Contact or visit your distributors website for more information about programs it may have put in place.
 
Visit oeb.ca for the latest updates from the Ontario Energy Board on measures it’s taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.