Support for small business tenants and landlords now available 

May 29, 2020

Ontario commercial landlords can apply for urgent rent assistance

through Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses

TORONTO — All commercial landlords in Ontario can now apply for rental assistance to help their small business tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative will keep more small businesses in operation and more people employed as the province gradually and safely restarts the economy.

The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, has launched the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The province is committing $241 million to the program, which will provide more than $900 million in support for small businesses across Ontario during this difficult time.  To find out how much rent support you may be eligible for, visit Ontario.ca/rentassistance.

"We know that some of the necessary measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 have created significant financial hardships for small businesses," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "That's why we've partnered with the federal government to deliver urgent rent assistance and help both small businesses and commercial landlords make ends meet. I encourage all commercial landlords to take advantage of this benefit as soon as possible in order to provide some certainty for our small businesses."

The CECRA  for small businesses, administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial landlords to help cover 50 per cent of commercial rent for tenants for the months of April, May and June 2020. The tenant will be responsible for covering up to 25 per cent of rent, so that up to 75 per cent of the rent is covered.

To receive the forgivable loan, eligible commercial landlords will be required to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants for April to June 2020, which includes committing to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

"As Ontario's economy gradually reopens, we will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure people and businesses across the province get the support they desperately need. We want to do everything we can to ensure our small businesses are able and ready to reopen their doors when the time is right," said Phillips.

To learn more and apply for the CECRA  for small businesses, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) application portal


QUICK FACTS

  • The CECRA  for small businesses is administered by the CMHC  and will be available until August 31, 2020. Support will be retroactive to April 1, covering April, May and June 2020.
  • The CECRA  for small businesses has been developed to share the cost of rent between small business tenants, landlords and the governments of Ontario and Canada. Small business landlords would be asked to forgive at least 25 per cent of the tenant's total rent, tenants would be asked to pay up to 25 per cent of rent and the provincial and federal government would share the cost of the remaining 50 per cent.
  • Partnering with the federal government to deliver rent assistance builds on the government’s actions to support small businesses during COVID-19. As part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the first phase of the government’s response, the province has implemented $10 billion in cash flow supports to help support jobs and businesses through tax and other deferrals.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

CONTACTS

Emily Hogeveen  Minister’s Office 647-294-6166  emily.hogeveen@ontario.ca

Scott Blodgett  Communications Branch  416-728- 9791  scott.blodgett@ontario.ca

Ministry of Finance  http://www.ontario.ca/finance

News Release

Ontario Helps People Impacted by COVID-19 Get Back to Work 
New Programs Focus on Hospitality Workers and Apprentices

May 22, 2020

TORONTO — As the economy gradually reopens, the Ontario government is helping people affected by COVID-19 get back to work. The province is investing in Ontario's first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and is helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools.

The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

"The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for many business owners, workers, and families, and that's why we are doing everything we can to help people through this difficult period," said Premier Ford. "Hospitality workers and our skilled tradespeople have been among those hardest hit by this pandemic. These new programs will ensure they're ready to get back on the job and play an important role in our economic recovery."

The government is providing an Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing. This will help new eligible apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers. The funding amounts will be distributed as follows:

  • $1,000 for those in motive power sector trades;
  • $600 for those in construction and industrial sector trades;
  • $400 for those in service sector trades.

To be eligible for the new grant, apprentices must have:

  • completed level 1 training on or after April 1, 2020;
  • an active registered training agreement; and
  • been registered as an apprentice for at least 12 months.

The government is also forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers. The Loans for Tools Program allowed thousands of new apprentices to buy tools, equipment, clothing, manuals and code books required for their trade. About 19,000 apprentices who participated in the program owed, on average, $495.

"If we are going to rebuild our economy, we must reach out and help the workers and businesses that are suffering as a result of COVID-19," said Minister McNaughton. "The programs that we are announcing today will leave more money in the pockets of our apprentices and support those hospitality workers who have been laid-off by providing access to the training and services they need to recover and rejoin the workforce."

The government is also investing nearly $2 million to open a Virtual Action Centre in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 75. This virtual job training resource will provide up to 7,000 unemployed workers in the hospitality sector with access to a wide range of services and supports online and over the phone, including:

  • Stress management and mental health resources through video conferencing;
  • Immediate health and safety online training for workers who return to work at designated quarantined sites;
  • Technical skills online training;
  • Online training to upgrade English language and digital skills;
  • Peer group facilitation and employment preparation through videoconferencing.

UNITE HERE will operate the Virtual Action Centre. UNITE HERE is a union that represents workers in hotels, restaurants, racetracks and casinos, laundry and food service companies, airport concessions and apparel, textile and general manufacturing and distribution centers.

"Ontario's hotel and hospitality sectors create thousands of jobs across the province," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. "This new virtual platform will make sure that those workers are supported as we gradually reopen the province and prepare our $35 billion tourism sector to welcome visitors back."

"We are very grateful for the generous support of the Ontario government," said Guled Warsame, President of UNITE HERE Local 75. "This support will provide services and skills training to our members who are laid-off due to COVID-19. We know that people are at the heart of the hospitality industry. We are very grateful and proud to work with the provincial government to ensure that people are provided with support and the opportunity to upgrade their skills and get back to work as soon as possible."

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

            CONTACTS

            Ivana Yelich,  Premier’s Office  Ivana.Yelich@ontario.ca

            Bradley Metlin,  Minister McNaughton’s Office  Bradley.Metlin@ontario.ca

            Janet Deline, Communications Branch  416 326-7405
            MLTSDmedialine@ontario.ca

            Office of the Premier   http://www.ontario.ca/premier

            Prime Minister announces opening of program to protect jobs and help businesses

            OTTAWA, May 20, 2020 /CNW/ - Canadians are focused on keeping their jobs and paying their bills, as they continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. That's why the Government of Canada has put jobs and workers first, in our approach to support businesses during this challenging time.

            The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that application documents and updated criteria for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses are now available, and that the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25.

            The Government of Canada is focused on safeguarding workers' jobs as we continue to deal with this pandemic. That's why we reached an agreement in principle last month with all provinces and territories to implement CECRA. This program will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners, who in turn will give a rent reduction of at least 75 per cent for April and May (retroactive), and June, to their small business tenants.

            This program provides property owners the opportunity to do their part in helping small businesses and their employees succeed in these challenging times. We're all in this together, and that's why the government is stepping up to provide rent relief to businesses, while helping property owners maintain rental income through this crisis.

            CECRA will provide important relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship, and is another measure that helps businesses keep Canadians on the payroll. Applications will be accepted through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website beginning on May 25, and application documents can be accessed now. 

            The Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is protecting middle class jobs and helping Canadian businesses through this crisis. Together, we will continue to ensure Canadians have what they need to pay their bills and keep their families safe and healthy during these challenging times.  

            Quotes
            "Canadians want to know that their jobs are protected and their families are safe and healthy. That's why we're stepping up to provide support that will keep workers on the payroll, protect middle class jobs, and help Canadians recover quickly once we make it through these difficult times." 
            The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

            "The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound impact on Canadians. We thank and commend the many property owners who have already taken action to help their tenants during this crisis. With CECRA, the Government of Canada is stepping up to support Canada's small businesses. The forgivable loans will significantly lower the rent for small business tenants and keep them prepared to bounce back when this crisis subsides."
            The Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

            Quick Facts

            • CECRA will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners, whether they have a mortgage on their property or not. The loans will 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. 
            • The loans will be forgiven if the qualifying property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants' rent by at least 75 per cent under a rent reduction 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. 
            • Impacted small business tenants are businesses that are paying less than $50,000 per month in gross rent in a given location, with annual revenues of less than $20 million (at the ultimate parent level), and who have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.

            Associated Links

            Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

            Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

            COVID–19: CECRA for small businesses

            Prime Minister announces partnerships with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses

            Prime Minister announces additional support for small businesses

            This document is also available at https://pm.gc.ca

            SOURCE Prime Minister's Office

            For further information: PMO Media Relations: media@pmo-cpm.gc.ca


            Prime Minister announces expansion of support for workers and small businesses

            OTTAWA, May 19, 2020 /CNW/ - Throughout the pandemic, the Government of Canada has focused on keeping Canadians safe and healthy and helping families pay their bills. That's why we have introduced strong measures to protect middle class jobs and support businesses, so they can keep Canadians on the payroll during this challenging time.

            The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. This extended measure will help small businesses protect the jobs that Canadians rely on.

            The changes to the CEBA will allow more Canadian small businesses to access interest free loans that will help cover operating costs during a period when revenues have been reduced, due to the pandemic.   

            The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.

            To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

            1. business operating account at a participating financial institution 
            2. Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return. 
            3. eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance. 

            Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come. To date, over 600,000 small businesses have accessed the CEBA, and the government will work on potential solutions to help business owners and entrepreneurs who operate through their personal bank account, as opposed to a business account, or have yet to file a tax return, such as newly created businesses.

            This measure is part of the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which is putting Canadians and the protection of middle class jobs first. We will continue to help all Canadians, and together we will get through this crisis.

            Quotes 
            "Canadians are counting on us to protect their jobs and help them pay their bills during this difficult time. By expanding the CEBA, we will be giving more businesses access to the support they need, so they can help protect workers and the jobs they rely on. Today we are helping to keep more businesses open and more Canadians working, so we are better prepared for the recovery to come."
            The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

            "Our government has been taking action since the start of this crisis to support the small businesses that define our Main Streets and provide jobs that Canadians rely on. We have been listening to you throughout this, and will continue to, to make sure we're delivering the support Canadian businesses need to get through this tough time and be well positioned for success once the recovery begins."
            The Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

            "Small businesses are at the heart of our communities, and they drive our national economy. By making our lending supports more generous and inclusive, we're working hard to save Canadian jobs and businesses. We will continue to be there for Canadian businesses and workers every step of the way through this crisis."
            The Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

            Quick Facts
            • Launched on April 9, 2020, the CEBA provides zero-interest, partially forgivable loans up to $40,000 to small businesses that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19, but face ongoing non-deferrable costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes, and employment costs. Twenty-five per cent of this loan is forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. 
            • The CEBA is administered by Export Development Canada, which is working closely with Canadian financial institutions to deliver the loans to their existing business banking customers. 
            • When first launched, the CEBA was designed to allow for rapid deployment of credit to businesses with 2019 payroll between $50,000 and $1 million. The government then expanded the eligibility parameters of the program, by increasing the payroll eligibility range to between $20,000 and $1.5 million. 
            • Since the CEBA's launch, over 600,000 loans have been approved, representing a total of more than $24 billion in credit.

            Associated Links

            ·         Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
            ·         Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
            ·         Prime Minister announces additional support for small businesses
            ·         Prime Minister announces support for small businesses facing impacts of COVID‑19

            This document is also available at https://pm.gc.ca/

            SOURCE Prime Minister's Office



            Ontario Retail Stores Open for Curbside Pickup and Delivery

            May 11, 2020

            Health and safety guidelines in place to protect workers and customers

            TORONTO ― Starting today, more people will be returning to work across the province as the Ontario government allows retail stores with a street entrance to offer curbside pickup and delivery. Over the weekend, garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores began offering in-store purchasing. All retailers should follow available safety guidelines in order to protect staff, consumers and the general public during the COVID-19 outbreak.

            In addition, provincial parks and conservation reserves will begin opening today with limited access. To start, recreational activities will be restricted to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. People will be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.

            Today's update was provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance.

            "The reopening of more businesses and provincial parks is a clear sign that we are making progress in our battle against COVID-19," said Premier Ford. "We are getting more people back to work when safe to do so and laying the groundwork for a full economic recovery. At the same time, we are moving carefully and cautiously to ensure we don't put people at risk and remain ready to respond to any potential outbreaks or surges in cases."

            "As we see more positive signs on the public health front, the fight for business-owners, for workers and for families continues," said Minister Phillips. "Our Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee is actively working towards the next important step, which is reopening our province so we can get the people of Ontario back on the job safely. We are all going to have to work together to get our economy growing again. And now more than ever, the Ontario Spirit will ensure we're successful in these next steps."

            The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and its health and safety association partners have now released over 80 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for curbside pickup and delivery services. The Ministry of Health has also released a Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces. Business owners should use these guidelines to develop reopening plans that work for their business and protect workers, customers and the general public as the province prepares for the gradual reopening of the economy.

            "Throughout this period of uncertainty, businesses and people across Ontario have responded tremendously to help fight this outbreak," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "Today, businesses can offer curbside pickup and delivery, if they follow appropriate safety guidelines. This is the next step forward in safely and methodically re-opening our economy, so that we can return to the path of economic prosperity and renewal."

            "Hardworking families and small businesses have shown remarkable resiliency in navigating the challenges brought on by COVID-19," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. "The guidelines we put in place for deliveries and curbside pickup are helping Ontarians access the things they need, while laying the groundwork for the economic recovery ahead."

            Easing restrictions on retail stores is aligned with the first phase of the government's Framework for Reopening our Province, Protect and Support, which allows for businesses that can operate safely to do so. The Framework also includes guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces, and sets out the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts are using to advise the government on adjusting or loosening public health measures.

            "Together, we have made tremendous progress in our shared battle against COVID-19," said Minister Elliott. "There is still work to be done. Each of us needs to keep up the fight by continuing to practise physical distancing, frequent handwashing and staying home when ill. Let's continue to do our part."

            ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

            CONTACTS

            Ivana Yelich, Premier’s Office Ivana.Yelich@ontario.ca

            Rebecca Bozzato, Minister Fedeli’s Office  Rebecca.Bozzato@ontario.ca

            Kwok Wong, Communications Branch 647 504-2774  Kwok.Wong@ontario.ca

            Office of the Premier, http://www.ontario.ca/premier



            Ontario Further Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction During COVID-19

            May 6, 2020

            Retailers to follow health and safety guidelines

            TORONTO ― 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. The business owners should review the health and safety guidelines developed by the province and its health and safety association partners.

            Today's announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

            "We haven't been sitting on our hands. Whether it's releasing our framework for reopening or putting in place the workplace safety guidelines needed to help businesses adapt to the new environment, we've been laying the groundwork for the safe, measured, and gradual reopening of our province," said Premier Ford. "As the trends improve, we can move forward with reopening more and more of our economy and getting people back to work."

            As early as Friday, May 8 at 12:01 a.m., garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies. Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 9. On Monday, May 11 at 12:01 a.m., retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health's Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.

            In addition to easing restrictions on retail, the government is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue. This will help clear the way for the housing and jobs our economy will need to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

            Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines, such as promoting physical distancing and frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19.

            "It's due to the progress we have made collectively to slow the spread of COVID-19 that we are able to see a gradual easing of restrictions, allowing certain businesses to reopen safely," said Minister Fedeli. "During this period, we must move cautiously and strike the right balance between getting people back to work and preventing further outbreaks. Protecting the safety of staff, customers and the general public is our number one priority."

            The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, in partnership with Ontario's health and safety associations, has released over 60 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for curbside pickup and delivery services. Business owners should review the guidelines and consult with local public health officials to ensure they have the information they need to protect workers, customers and the general public as the province prepares for the gradual reopening of the economy.

            "Small businesses across Ontario have done their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. "I encourage all business owners to learn the new health and safety guidelines, so when it comes time to reopen you will be prepared to hit the ground running and provide the services we all count on every day."

            The government's Framework for Reopening our Province, which was released on April 27, 2020, includes guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces, and the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts are using to advise the government on the loosening of public health measures, including emergency orders.

            "The health and safety of every Ontarian will always be our top priority as we continue planning for the next phase of our fight against COVID-19," said Minister Elliott. "Together, each of us have put in tremendous effort to stop the spread, and because of these collective efforts we have made tangible progress. More than ever, we need to continue practicing physical distancing while we slowly and carefully reopen Ontario's economy."

            ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


            CONTACTS

            Ivana Yelich, Premier’s Office Ivana.Yelich@ontario.ca

            Rebecca Bozzato, Minister Fedeli’s Office Rebecca.Bozzato@ontario.ca 

            Kwok Wong, Communications Branch 647 504-2774 Kwok.Wong@ontario.ca

            Office of the Premier http://www.ontario.ca/premier  


            News Release

            Ontario Providing Support for Industrial and Commercial Electricity Consumers During COVID-19

            May 1, 2020

            Businesses to See Temporary Relief starting from April 2020

            TORONTO - Through an emergency order passed today, the Ontario government is taking steps to defer a portion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for industrial and commercial electricity consumers that do not participate in the Regulated Price Plan for the period starting from April 2020. This initiative is intended to provide companies with temporary immediate relief on their monthly electricity bills in April, May and June 2020. The government intends to keep this emergency order in place until May 31, 2020, and subsequent regulatory amendments would, if approved, provide for the deferral of these charges for June 2020 as well.

            This relief will prevent a marked increase in Global Adjustment charges due to the low electricity demand caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Without this emergency order, a small industrial or commercial consumer (i.e., Class B) could have seen bills increase by 15 per cent or more. This emergency order will hold GA rates in line with pre-COVID-19 levels.

            "Ontario's industrial and commercial electricity consumers are being impacted by COVID-19. They employ thousands of hardworking Ontarians, and we know this is a challenging time for them," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. "This would provide immediate financial support for more than 50,000 companies when they need it most: as they do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and as they prepare to help get our economy moving again."

            QUICK FACTS

            • The GA rate for smaller industrial and commercial consumers (i.e., Class B) has been set at $115 per megawatt-hour, which is roughly in line with the March 2020 value. Large industrial and commercial consumers (i.e., Class A) will receive the same percentage reduction in GA charges as Class B consumers.
            • Subject to the approval of subsequent amendments, deferred costs would be recovered over a 12-month period beginning in January 2021.

            ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

              CONTACTS

            Sydney Stonier, Minister’s Office   416-314-5199   Sydney.Stonier@ontario.ca

            Natasha Demetriades, Communications Branch   416-327-3855   Natasha.Demetriades@ontario.ca

            Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines   http://www.ontario.ca/endm

               

                MEDIA RELEASE for Immediate release 

               

            Thursday, April 30, 2020

            York Region creates Business Recovery Support                                                          Partnership in response to COVID-19 pandemic

            Collaboration focuses on current needs of the business community, with an eye on recovery 

            Newmarket – The Regional Municipality of York is collaborating with economic development stakeholders and industry leaders from across York Region to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

            “Economic vitality remains a key priority for York Regional Council and is fundamental in maintaining a prosperous Region,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “Right now, more than ever, the success of our residents and businesses relies within the strength of collaboration and partnerships. We are stronger, together, as we all support and promote economic resiliency and recovery.”

            The York Region Business Recovery Support Partnership comprises York Region, economic development teams from our nine cities and towns, local Chambers of Commerce / Boards of Trade, the Workforce Planning Board of York RegionYork Region Business Coalition and ventureLAB.

            The group will:

            • Conduct ongoing economic impact assessments
            • Streamline business advisory supports
            • Develop coordinated communications

            Four sub-groups will focus on the following areas:

            • Crisis response supply chain
            • Business advisory services
            • Agriculture and agri-food
            • Tourism, arts and culture

            Sub-groups will be comprised of economic development and industry representatives from across York Region to lead and participate in various recovery-oriented initiatives. A number of these are already operating and further outreach is underway.

            The work of this partnership continues to support many of the activities already in progress by the individual group members, including:

            • Identifying suppliers of personal protective equipment
            • Discussions with federal and provincial ministries, providing York Region-specific feedback from the business community
            • Discussions with other economic development groups such as York Region’s Innovation Centre
            • Participation in the GTA-wide economic development working group
            • Supporting the York Region Business Coalition, a collaborative with the nine municipal Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce to hear concerns within the business community

            Partnership members continue to re-tool the services they deliver and evaluate the needs of the business communities during and post-pandemic.

            For more information on York Region’s commitment to economic vitality, visit york.ca/business

            For up-to-date information about COVID-19 in York Region, visit york.ca/covid19

            The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.4 million residents and 54,000 businesses with over 650,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

            Media Contact:   

            Stephanie Crowley, The Regional Municipality of York

            Phone: 1-877-464-9675 ext. 77272 or Cell: 905-251-6416

            Email: stephanie.crowley@york.ca



            Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines 

            News Release

            April 30, 2020

            Province Takes Critical Steps to Help Businesses Adapt to New Environment

            TORONTO ― 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 government safety guidelines released today will provide direction to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector. These measures build on more than 60 guidelines developed by Ontario's health and safety associations in response to COVID-19 for various sectors such as retail, health care, construction, transportation, police services, firefighters, and transit employees. 

            "We all want to reopen our businesses, services and favourite places across the province, but we must do it in a safe and responsible way," said Premier Ford. "That's why we are providing clear guidelines to employers, with practical measures to help them keep staff and customers safe while preventing the spread of COVID-19. By taking these steps, we will be prepared to get people back to work when the time is right."

            These new sector-specific guidelines feature recommended actions employers can begin to plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality during COVID-19, including:

            • Ways to ensure appropriate physical distancing, like eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow.
            • Changes to the workplace, like installing plexiglass barriers, increasing the air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase air flow, and using boot sanitizing trays.
            • Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes, and enforcing handwashing before and after breaks.

            The government is also issuing posters to promote a variety of useful safety tips. The posters offer helpful advice on physical distancing and sanitation. They are downloadable from the Ontario.ca website so employers can print and post them in their workplaces.

            "We are truly in extraordinary times and employers and employees are facing situations they have never had to deal with before," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "It is incumbent on our government, with the advice of health officials, to provide the guidance and tips outlining the safest ways to reopen workplaces and help prevent the spread."

            The government will work with Ontario's health and safety associations to bring forward additional workplace safety guidelines for more sectors in the coming days and weeks.

            Starting this week, 58 new inspectors will join the hundreds of existing provincial labour inspectors on the ground. The inspectors, which include workers from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) and the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), will be tasked with communicating COVID-19 safety guidelines to essential workplaces or enforcing emergency measures, including physical distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses.

            "Protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians during the COVID-19 outbreak has been and will always be our government's number one priority," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "These guidelines will help employers begin to plan for their safe reopening based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and in alignment with our framework to ease public health measures and restart our economy. In doing so, we can ensure we continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep workers safe."

            "Our province's businesses have made great efforts to protect the health and safety of their workers throughout the course of this pandemic," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "These new guidelines will help employers continue to protect their staff and customers as we begin to carefully and methodically re-open our economy, so that we can return Ontario to prosperity in the safest way possible."

            The government is committed to a careful, stage-by-stage approach to loosening emergency measures and reopening Ontario's economy. Public health and workplace safety will remain the top priority, while balancing the needs of people and businesses.

            QUICK FACTS

            • The 61 sector-specific guidelines are available here from Ontario’s health and safety associations. 
            • Guidelines for construction are available here.
            • Ontario recently doubled the capacity of Ontario’s Health and Safety Call Centre to 50 phonelines to deal with a large increase in calls.
            • As of April 29, inspectors had completed 5,158 workplace visits and issued 1,822 orders, including 18 stop-work orders, related to COVID-19.

            BACKGROUND INFORMATION

            ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

             

            CONTACTS

            Ivana Yelich,  Premier’s Office  Ivana.Yelich@ontario.ca

            Bradley Metlin,  Minister McNaughton’s Office   Bradley.Metlin@ontario.ca

            Janet Deline,  Communications Branch   416 326-7405  

            MLTSDmedialine@ontario.ca,  Office of the Premier  http://www.ontario.ca/premier  

            News Release

            Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province April 27, 2020

            Premier and Ministers Commit to New Phased Approach for a Safe Restart and Recovery

            TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy. 

            Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

            "Our top priority remains protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario and supporting our frontline heroes as we do everything in our power to contain and defeat this deadly virus," said Premier Ford. "At the same time, we are preparing for the responsible restart of our economy. This next phase of our response to COVID-19 is designed to help us map out what needs to be done, and when, to get us back on the road to recovery."

            The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health

            Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.

            Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.

            Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

            Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and r espiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

            "Recent public health indicators show us that we're beginning to turn a corner in the COVID-19 outbreak, while economic data, feedback from businesses and insights from our communities are outlining how we need to plan for economic recovery," said Minister Phillips. "Turning on an economy after an unprecedented shut-down is not as simple as flipping a switch. We need to plan this out carefully to ensure we do not spark a sudden outbreak, undo the progress we have made and put the safety of the public at risk." 

            To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including:

            • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
            • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
            • Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
            • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

            "It is because of the collective efforts of all Ontarians to stay at home and stop the spread of COVID-19 that we are able to consider plans to move into the next phase of our battle against this virus," said Minister Elliott. "The Chief Medical Officer of Health has outlined some criteria he will use to advise government on when we may begin to slowly and safely ease public health measures and restart our economy. To be able to do so, w e need everyone to continue their extraordinary efforts so that we can meet these thresholds and begin to move forward."

            Supporting the next phases of Ontario's Action Plan, the new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, chaired by Minister Phillips, will be consulting with key sectors in all regions to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop a plan to move forward. The government and Members of Provincial Parliament will lead discussions with business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, the postsecondary sector, corporate leaders, small business owners, community and social service providers, Indigenous partners, Franco-Ontarians, entrepreneurs and others.

            The work of the committee will build on Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the first phase of the government's $17 billion response, that is delivering targeted relief for businesses and families across Ontario.

            "The COVID-19 outbreak has had far-reaching economic impacts for businesses and communities across Ontario," said Minister Fedeli. "In the face of these challenges, businesses and individuals have stepped up to support our frontline workers, produce essential equipment and keep our supply chains moving. Our plan to carefully and methodically reopen Ontario's economy will ensure that businesses are supported on our path to renewed economic prosperity."


            Chamber wants businesses protected   By Mark Pavilons  

            King Weekly Sentinel  -  Thursday, April 16, 2020

            A couple of weeks back we wrote pleading with all levels of government to implement an Emergency Standstill Agreement to protect and preserve businesses impacted by COVID-19 and mandatory business closures. Since then, the federal government has taken extraordinary steps to protect laid off workers (CERB) and to allow those businesses who can continue to operate at some level to keep employees on the payroll (CEWS).

            What has not been addressed though is the economic survival of the many businesses who have payrolls of less than $50,000 or more than $1,000,000 who don’t qualify for emergency business loans and who are required to continue to pay rent on commercial space that they are unable to use as result of the mandatory closure of all “non-essential” services. This includes many retail outlets like the barber who can’t open to cut hair, the trainer who can’t train clients at the gym that is closed, and all of the bars and restaurants who are trying to survive on takeout and delivery.


            The knock-on effect of these businesses failing or being unable to pay their rent is that commercial landlords, many of whom are also small businesses or investors themselves, won’t be able to pay their mortgages or their property taxes. This conjures up images of abandoned restaurants, strip plazas and commercial buildings lying derelict with long term unemployment for those workers formerly employed at these sites.

            Perhaps it is time for the federal government to create a third stream of subsidy, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Subsidy (CECRS). Another alternative at the provincial level might be a mandated pause on rent for shuttered non-essential commercial businesses with a corresponding pause on mortgage payments and property taxes for their landlords. Without such support from one or the other levels of government we are going to lose many small independent businesses in our community due to COVID-19 and the dire picture painted above may well play out in our cities and towns.

            Let’s continue to stand together and get through this together! 

            MEDIA RELEASE   April 14 2020

            A couple of weeks back we wrote pleading with all levels of government to implement an Emergency Standstill Agreement to protect and preserve businesses impacted by COVID-19 and mandatory business closures. Since then, the federal government has taken extraordinary steps to protect laid off workers (CERB) and to allow those businesses who can continue to operate at some level to keep employees on the payroll (CEWS).

            What has not been addressed though is the economic survival of the many businesses who have payrolls of less than $50,000.00 or more than $1,000,000.00 who don’t qualify for emergency business loans and who are required to continue to pay rent on commercial space that they are unable to use as result of the mandatory closure of all “non-essential” services. This includes many retail outlets like the barber who can’t open to cut hair, the trainer who can’t train clients at the gym that is closed and all of the bars and restaurants who are trying to survive on takeout and delivery.

            The knock-on effect of these businesses failing or being unable to pay their rent is that commercial landlords, many of whom are also small businesses or investors themselves, won’t be able to pay their mortgages or their property taxes. This conjures up images of abandoned restaurants, strip plazas and commercial buildings lying derelict with long term unemployment for those workers formerly employed at these sites.

            Perhaps it is time for the federal government to create a third stream of subsidy, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Subsidy (CECRS). Another alternative at the provincial level might be a mandated pause on rent for shuttered non-essential commercial businesses with a corresponding pause on mortgage payments and property taxes for their landlords. Without such support from one or the other levels of government we are going to lose many small independent businesses in our community due to COVID-19 and the dire picture painted above may well play out in our cities and towns.

            Let’s continue to stand together and get through this together!

            Angelo Santorelli 


            King Chamber calls for stronger measures Businesses, employees need immediate assistance   By Mark Pavilons  

            King Weekly Sentinel  -  Thursday, April 2, 2020

            King’s business organization is calling for all levels of government to infuse some needed economic stimulus, to slow the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis. The King Chamber of Commerce sent out a plea to King councillors, King-Vaughan MP Deb Schulte and King-Vaughan MPP Stephen Lecce last week, calling for an “emergency standstill agreement.” In the letter, from Chamber president Angelo Santorelli, said all payments should top – mortgages, lease payments, taxes, etc. “All businesses would pay their employees with a paythrough fund that all levels of government pass on to employers to pass on to employees that are currently on staff as of a specifi c date set by the government. “This needs to be implemented immediately, with all levels of government working together to make it happen so we can have stability and continuity in our work place, our homes and our businesses. “We need to bring all business leaders and governments together to make this agreement now. Our goal should be to have this in place within 15 days and have the emergency standstill agreement become the lifeline that is so badly needed at this time, a lifeline that can’t be broken until life gets back to normal. No waiting period, start now!” Santorelli said the government must stop throwing more money out without working out a sustainable future for all people and all businesses in this great country. “We need long-term positive action.” He pointed out he’s been in business in Ontario for 43 years and has seen a lot of economic turmoil over four decades. “I have had to deal with many situations in my business but nothing like this! Not many of us, or perhaps none of us, have seen anything like this before, that’s why we have to act now.” MP Schulte said nothing in our lifetime has compared with the changes to our daily routines that we now face.   

            The federal government of is delivering immediate help to Canadians and businesses that are most in need. They are providing $27 billion of direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, and keeping an additional $55 billion in the economy through tax deferrals.

            The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is available to all workers, regardless of whether they are eligible for Employment Insurance or not.

            For businesses, the government has provided a deferral of tax payments until the end of August and to help businesses retain workers, there now is a 75% wage subsidy and enhancements to the Work-Sharing Program.

            “We are looking carefully at the models being deployed in other countries, like Denmark and Germany, and are looking at how we can make similar measures work here in Canada,” Schulte said. “We are reviewing suggestions received by citizens, businesses and stakeholders, like the one proposed by the president of the King Chamber of Commerce. We will have more to say in the coming days. 

            "As we work together to flatten the curve and slow down the transmission of the virus, the government is working to support Canadians every step of the way."

             MPP Lecce has been working around the clock checking in with local stakeholders, small business owners, and constituents of the King-Vaughan community, while we all deal with the global pandemic of COVID-19.

            He has reached out to both Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Mayor Steve Pellegrini, as well as federal MPs Deb Schulte and Francesco Sorbara. He spoke with Brian Shifman (president of Vaughan’s Chamber of Commerce), Angelo Santorelli (president of King’s Chamber of Commerce), and small business owners on government efforts to support local business and the KingVaughan economy.

            “In partnership with all levels of government and our Township, we will do whatever it takes to protect the health of our people and of our economy. This is why we have made $10 billion in support available for small businesses to protect jobs, keep taxes low, and support local businesses. I recently engaged in conversations with the Chamber of Commerce President Angelo Santorelli, where I emphasized our efforts to support the King-Vaughan economy. Citizens of King Township and Vaughan should know that our Government will continue to take action to save lives, jobs, incomes and our local economy, working to ensure we all overcome this pandemic together.”

            First announced in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, measures to help lessen the burden on businesses and household budgets include:

            •  Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers, by providing approximately $5.6 billion for electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21, which is an increase of approximately $1.5 billion compared to the 2019 Budget plan.
            • Making electricity bills more affordable by setting electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing concerns on timeof-use metering.
            • Cutting taxes by $355 million dollars for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.
            • Making available $6 billion by providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
            • Deferring in the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which will provide over $1.8 billion in relief to businesses by providing municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses, while ensuing school boards continue to receive their funding.
            • Making available $1.9 billion by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months
            • Helping to support regions lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax Credit, the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit.


            MEDIA RELEASE  March 31 2020

            EMERGENCY STANDSTILL AGREEMENT      

            I have been in business in Ontario for 43 years and have seen a lot of economic turmoil over four decades.  I have had to deal with many situations in my business but nothing like this! Not many of us, or perhaps none of us have seen anything like this before, that’s why we have to act now.

            During this difficult time, dealing with the spread of the Coronavirus, Covid-19, I was thinking of the effects on my business and all the other businesses in my community, in Ontario and across the country.  The stories are very real, heartbreaking and many are living in fear and uncertainty.

            I believe that we need the governments and leaders at all levels to install or put in place an EMERGENCY STANDSTILL AGREEMENT for every person, every business, small, medium or large. 

            This agreement, as basic as it may be can work with the cooperation of all parties.

            1.    All payments would stop, such as mortgage, lease payments, taxes, etc.

            2.    All businesses would pay their employees with a pay through fund that all levels of government pass on to employers to pass on to                   employees that are currently on staff as of a specific date set by the government.

            3.    This needs to be implemented immediately, with all levels of government working together to make it happen so we can have stability               and continuity in our work place, our homes and our businesses.

            4.    The government would take care of those who are not currently employed or have no proof of employment such as those who are self-           employed.

            We need to bring all business leaders and governments together to make this agreement now. Our goal should be to have this in place within 15 days and have the EMERGENCY STANDSTILL AGREEMENT become the life line that is so badly needed at this time, a life line that can’t be broken until life gets back to normal.  No waiting period, start now!

            I have many ideas on how this could work but something must be done now.  The government must stop throwing more money out without working out a sustainable future for all people and all businesses in this great country.  We need long term positive action.

            Thank-you!  Let’s stand together and get through this together!

            Angelo Santorelli

            President of the King Chamber of Commerce


            MEDIA RELEASE

            For Immediate Release

            Businesses Gather to Discuss Areas of Efficiency with Senior Members of the Provincial

            Government, House Leader Paul Calandra and MPP Michael Parsa


            Red Tape Reduction the key focus at Roundtable with York Region Business Leaders

            AURORA, ON–January 31st 2020 – The York Region Business Coalition gathered businesses to engage provincial leaders on reducing red tape. Local business leaders were in attendance to highlight the challenges they face on growth and scaling.

            The Honourable Paul Calandra, Government House Leader, MPP for Markham—Stouffville as well as Michael Parsa, MPP for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill and Parliamentary Assistant to the President of the Treasury Board, directly engaged businesses on a new platform launched by the Ontario government.

            The Ontario government has launched a new website that allows business to provide direct feedback to the government on areas of regulation and red tape which can be streamlined.

            The discussion covered a number of key challenges facing business owners including: red tape reduction, layering of regulations and small business tax.

            Sandra Ferri, President & CEO for the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, hoped the meeting would give the government further feedback on how they can help businesses.

            “Aurora businesses and the Aurora Chamber of Commerce look forward to continuing to work with Government in support of business growth and development, by reducing red tape and regulations. Meetings with key business stakeholders are a critical piece to understanding the changes needed to make Ontario a better place to do business.”

            Newmarket Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tracy Walter also called on the government to further reduce regulations. 

            “The Provincial Government has taken some positive steps to make conducting business easier for small businesses. We look forward to continuing to work together on specific measures to alleviate the regulatory burden on small businesses in the Region.”

            Michael Parsa, MPP, reaffirmed the Provincial Government’s commitment to keeping Ontario open for business.

            “Making Ontario work better for people and smarter for business is a key part of our mandate, and by cutting red tape, as well as modernizing and streamlining regulations, we are working to improve Ontario’s investment climate so that businesses are able to create jobs, grow wages, and help Ontario prosper.”

            The YRBC will continue to engage with the government to advocate for further red tape reduction to keep York Region a competitive place to do business.

            For more information please contact:

            Abdus Samad

            Manager of Government Relations and Policy York Region Business Coalition

            C: 613.697.2435 E: abdus@yrbc.ca



            Working with the Township on
            addressing these important issues.

            On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, the Chamber was pleased to host the inaugural Mayor’s Roundtable discussion. President Angelo Santorelli chaired the discussion whose theme was challenges and opportunities for business in King and what the Township can do to assist.

            Attendees represented a cross-section of Chamber members including: Allstone Quarry Products, Schomberg Agricultural Society and W.B. Cross (Schomberg); KARS, Cosmocare and John’s No Frills (Nobleton); and, Desjardin Insurance and Laceby Real Estate (King City). Each attendee had an opportunity to speak and interact directly with Mayor Steve Pellegrini, Township CAO Daniel Kotsopoulis and Economic Development Officer Jamie Smyth. Key themes discussed included parking in the village cores, expansion of the C.I.P. grant program, future growth plans and transportation.

            King Chamber of Commerce - Box 381 Schomberg, L0G 1T0                        Administrator- Helen Neville         905-717-7199            info@kingchamber.ca               

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