Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
As our community confronts COVID-19, the health and safety of our city remains a top priority. This is a human and an economic crisis unlike anything we’ve ever faced. As the situation evolves, please continue to follow the advice of public health officials, practice social distancing and follow all recommended safety precautions.
Our own activities are focused on public health, economic relief, information sharing and recovery. Our message to all levels of government is Cash, Clarity and Continuity. Businesses need cashflow to survive, clarity on how to proceed with their operation and tools that will help them continue their operation after the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
On this page you will find timely updates regarding the pandemic, as well as helpful links, resources and tools to help keep you, your employees and your business safe.
RELIEF PROGRAMS FOR BUSINESSES
An all-in-one Government Support Guide is available for Glebe BIA member that outlines relief programs, available grants and loans, recovery campaigns and other resources to help businesses navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
The document outlines programs at the federal, provincial and municipal level and offers eligibility requirements, application links and other useful information. Download the Glebe BIA COVID-19 Support Guide here.
ONTARIO IMPLEMENTS PROVINCEWIDE EMERGENCY BRAKE SHUTDOWN
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.
The provincewide emergency brake would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures to help to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 variants in communities, protect hospital capacity and save lives.
Measures include, but are not limited to:
- Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.
- Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures;
- Prohibiting personal care services;
- Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;
- Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;
- Requiring day camps to close; and,
- Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
The current COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open, will be paused when the provincewide emergency brake comes into effect on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR YOUR BUSINESS
The Ontario Government has announced
a stream of new funding aimed at helping small businesses deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
The Government announced three new streams of funding: The Ontario Small Business Support Grant, The Main Street Relief Grant for PPE and the Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants. Read below for more information on the available relief programs.
Overview of available funding
Your business can apply online for funding from one or more of the following initiatives:
Ontario Small Business Support Grant
The new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will help small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the new Provincewide Shutdown will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help small business owners during this challenging period.
Small businesses required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business. For example, some businesses will need support paying employee wages or rent, while others will need support maintaining their inventory.
Eligible small businesses include those that:
- Are required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26
- Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
- Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
Main Street Relief Grant for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Providing up to $1,000 for PPE costs to eligible small businesses across Ontario with 2 to 9 employees.
Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants
For businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures (modified Stage 2 restrictions or, going forward, in areas categorized as control, Lockdown or Provincewide Shutdown). This provincial application-based grant provides a rebate to eligible businesses in respect of property taxes and energy bills.
ONTARIO DECLARES SECOND PROVINCIAL EMERGENCY, ANNOUNCES NEW MEASURES FOR BUSINESSES
Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021at 12:01 a.m., the Government of Ontario is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.
In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.
Additional Health Measures:
- Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. This is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
- Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
- Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
These measures will come into effect between Tuesday January 12, 2021 and Thursday, January 14, 2021, including the provincial declaration of emergency under the EMCPA, orders under that Act, and amendments to regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
The province is also expanding enforcement and inspections of businesses and workplaces, by allowing OPP offices, local police, by-law officers, provincial inspectors and others the power to issue tickets and fines to individual and businesses, as well as temporarily close a business not abiding by the rules.
ONTARIO ANNOUNCES PROVINCEWIDE SHUTDOWN TO STOP SPREAD OF COVID-19
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Provincewide Shutdown. Additional restrictions will be put into place and reinforce that Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Provincewide Shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.
The Provincewide Shutdown would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures similar to those in other jurisdictions. Measures include, but are not limited to:
- Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
- Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
- Restricting indoor access to shopping malls – patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
- Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.
The current COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused when the Provincewide Shutdown comes into effect. The impacts of these time-limited measures will be evaluated throughout the 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario, which includes the National Capital Region, to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.
The New Ontario Small Business Support Grant
The government recognizes that small businesses impacted by these necessary public health measures will require additional support so they can continue serving their communities and employing people in Ontario once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. That is why the government is announcing the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small business owners to help navigate this challenging period.
Small businesses required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business. Eligible small businesses include those that:
- Are required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020;
- Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
- Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
Essential businesses that are allowed to remain open will not be eligible for this grant. More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is available here. Further details, including how to apply, will be announced in January 2021.
Businesses that are impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown will also be eligible for the property tax and energy cost rebates. These Ontario Small Business Support Grant rebates will be available for businesses impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown and earlier restrictions. Business can apply for the rebates here.
NEW LETTER OF INSTRUCTION FROM DR. VERA ETCHES
Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches has issued a new Letter of Instruction (LOI) outlining public health measures intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The letter is being shared with employers and businesses in the City of Ottawa permitted to be open under the Reopening Ontario Act and Related Regulations, and all persons responsible for a retail business or shopping mall in Ottawa.
The instructions are additional to measures under current Provincial legislation and focus on workplace safety, physical distancing, masking, and capacity limits. The instructions have been developed in response to concerns raised with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) by residents, employees and business owners, and were drafted in consultation with several business owners and economic development stakeholders. The instructions in the LOI are effective December 23, 2020 at 12:01 AM.
Some of the new instructions include:
- New reporting requirements should two (2) or more people test positive for COVID-19 (e.g., two or more cases are identified) in connection with a workplace premise.
- Instructions regarding physical distancing of workers.
- Requirements to calculate store capacity, post that capacity in a conspicuous location and monitor.
Please see the Letter of Instruction for all details. Please note that a Frequently Asked Questions document will also be provided to employers and businesses in the following days via the OPH website.
As a reminder, subject to limited exceptions, all employers permitted to be open and all persons responsible for a retail business or shopping mall are required to comply with the additional measures pursuant to regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. Ottawa Public Health acknowledges all the hard work and efforts of local businesses to protect the health and safety of workers, volunteers, patrons, and customers in our community.
Business owners who have questions can connect with OPH at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-580-6744. Support in additional languages is available by calling this number where you can request the assistance of an interpreter. This service is available in over 170 different languages.
Vera Etches MD, MHSc, CCFP, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health / Médecin chef en santé publique
Ottawa Public Health / Santé publique Ottawa
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA EXPANDS CEBA BY $20,000
The government of Canada has announced that eligible businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access a second Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan of up to $20,000 – on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses.
Half of this additional financing, up to $10,000, will be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.
This means the additional loan effectively increases CEBA loans from the existing $40,000 to $60,000 for eligible businesses, of which a total of $20,000 will be forgiven if the balance of the loan is repaid on time.
As announced in the Fall Economic Statement, the application deadline for CEBA has also been extended to March 31, 2021.
To apply, eligible businesses and not-for-profits need to contact the financial institution that provided their initial CEBA loan and provide the appropriate information and documentation.
ONTARIO ANNOUNCES NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR BUSINESSES AMID COVID-19 SPIKE
The Ontario Government has announced additional restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and event centres amid rising COVID-19 cases throughout the province.
Ottawa Public Health reported 142 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest one-day increase in new cases of novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. The province recorded a total of 732 new cases.
Due to these rising numbers, the province has implement the following orders in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel, beginning Saturday, October 3, 2020:
- Setting an indoor capacity limit to restrict occupancy at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) to the number of patrons who can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other patron, to a maximum of 100 patrons, permitting no more than six patrons per table, requiring operators to ensure patrons lining up or congregating outside of their establishment maintain physical distancing, and mandating that the name and contact information for each patron be collected;
- Restricting group exercise classes at gyms and other fitness settings to 10 individuals, as well as restricting the total number of people allowed at these facilities to a maximum of 50; and
- Setting a limit on the number of people allowed at meeting and event facilities, including banquet halls, to six people per table and 50 people per facility.
In addition, the Ontario Government is:
- Extending the pause on any further reopening of businesses, facilities, and organizations for an additional 28 days, unless already permitted to open under O. Reg 364/20;
- Pausing social circles and advising that all Ontarians allow close contact only with people living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household; and
- Finalizing additional guidance for seniors (70 and over) on how to minimize their risk of acquiring COVID-19, including for upcoming annual gatherings such as Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day.
CALL TO ACTION FROM OTTAWA PUBLIC HEALTH
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches has written a letter with a call to action to residents and businesses encouraging them to continue to remain COVIDWise.
As the pandemic response continues, it is increasingly important that we continue to promote key practices that will help get us through these challenging times, and discourage practices that may pause our progress. Remember to be COVIDWise:
- W – Wear a mask or face covering where required, or when you cannot maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet).
- I – Isolate yourself from others when you are sick (and get tested promptly if you have COVID-like symptoms).
- S – Stay two metres (six feet) apart from those outside your household.
- E – Exercise proper hand hygiene; wash your hands regularly or use sanitizer especially before touching your face.
CITY OF OTTAWA WINTER PATIO UPDATES
As the end of the summer patio season is fast approaching and restaurants start thinking about Winter patios, please keep the following information in mind.
Right of Way (ROW) Winter Patio Permits
Council has recently extended the ROW Summer Patio Permit program to November 15th and has also waived the monthly permit fees for the ROW Winter Patio program. The City will continue to collect the standard $62 permit fee for ROW Winter Patio permit applications.
Anyone wishing to operate a ROW Winter Patio past November 15th should contact ROWPatio@ottawa.ca as soon as possible to obtain a Winter Patio Permit (up to March 31, 2021).
Patios on Private Property
Council has also extended the Temporary Zoning By-law amendment for patios on private property to December 31st to align with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission’s (AGCO) temporary extension for liquor licensing. The City continues to engage in discussions with the Province regarding the need for a continued AGCO temporary extension for liquor licensing into 2021.
If you are already registered with the City, there is no need to register again for an extension to operate a patio on private property until December 31st.
Covered Patios – Tents and other types of structures
Building Code Services, Ottawa Public Health and Fire Services have jointly advised that at least 50% of any structure (i.e. walls) must be open while the patio is in operation, regardless of the weather or type of heating source. This is to ensure adequate air circulation to mitigate possible transmission of COVID-19.
Anyone wishing to continue using or install a covered structure for the winter season must review Building Code Services requirements and ensure that all requirements have been met. Building Code Services will continue to expedite permit approvals for tents, patios, awnings and canopies within 5 business days. Please contact Building Code Services directly for any inquiries at email@example.com.
Heating of Patios and Blankets
With the colder weather approaching, installing or operating patio heaters will become more common. Ottawa Fire Services recommends that all heaters are approved for use in Canada and installed and operated as per the manufacturer’s instructions including proper ventilation and maintaining recommended clearances to combustibles and customers. All appropriate portable extinguishers are required to be on location. The type and size of portable extinguishers is relative to the size of patio and number of heaters in use. Patio Operators must also adhere to all requirements of the Ontario Fire Code.
For any inquiries related to fire pits, open-air fires or specific questions related to heating patios, please contact FirePrevention@ottawa.ca.
With respect to the safety of blankets for customers on patios, please be advised that Ottawa Public Health recommends that customers bring their own blankets or, if blankets are provided, that they are laundered in between uses. It is also important to ensure that combustibles, such as blankets, are kept away from heating sources.
Continued diligence with respect to the physical distancing of customers is of the upmost importance. Please ensure any modifications to the layout of patios (such as heater locations, seating layout) respect the minimum 2-metre physical distancing requirements. Please note that in accordance with the Province’s Stage 3 legislation, standing on patio, other than to exit/enter a patio, paying for or picking up food, or walking to the washroom, is not permitted.
Additional information regarding winter patios will be available shortly on the Patio webpage and will be sent directly to all current ROW patio permit holders and private patio operators who have registered with the City.
NEW MEASURES ANNOUNCED FOR BARS & RESTAURANTS
The Ontario Government has announced new restrictions for bars and restaurants to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Septembers 26, 2020, all bars and restaurants must must comply with the following amendments to Ontario’s Emergency Order:
- Prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11pm and prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises after 12am until 9am (including employees), and requiring establishments to close by 12am and remain closed until 5am except for takeout or delivery.
- Require businesses or organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19.
COVID WISE TOGETHER CAMPAIGN
COVID Wise Together is a campaign to promote the measures being taken by businesses to mitigate risks to customers during COVID-19. The goal of the campaign is to promote health and safety measures and increase consumer confidence in visiting businesses indoors this fall/winter.
Participating businesses are asked to commit to implementing the following COVID Wise measures:
- Posting signage to remind everyone about physical distancing and wearing a mask
- Following the mandatory mask bylaw;
- Ensuring employees wear a mask whenever they cannot maintain 2 metre distance (including in break rooms and non-public spaces);
- Encouraging customers to wear a mask in outdoor settings if they cannot maintain 2 metre distance;
- Screening all employees for symptoms of COVID-19 before each shift and ensuring they stay home if they have symptoms or feel unwell;
- Changing processes and/or using visible markers to ensure 2 metre physical distancing;
- Reminding employees and customers to maintain physical distance of 2 metres (six feet) at all times, and as much as possible;
- Providing hand sanitizer or hand washing stations for customers and employees; and
- Ensuring employees are informed/trained on the importance of all these measures.
Businesses that have implemented the above measures are encouraged to use COVID Wise Together resources to promote that their business is COVID Wise. Resources available to support the campaign include:
- Window decals;
- Graphics for web and social media; and
- Sample social media posts.
COVID Wise Together is not a certification from OPH. Businesses displaying the COVID Wise Together signage are demonstrating they are making efforts as part of our community wide response to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS AND MATERIALS
We will be delivering assets in the coming days to businesses who would like to participate in the COVID Wise Together Campaign. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive posters, decals and social media graphics.
We will be distributing material directly to businesses that express interest.
Please continue to refer to our COVID-19 Resource Page for important updates, resources and other useful information for businesses and their employees.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE – BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS
Below is a summary of key highlights from yesterday’s Speech from the Throne, excerpts most relevant to businesses.
In her address to the nation, Governor General Julie Payette referenced a number of measures that the Trudeau government will address moving forward. This includes wage subsidies and, “additional financial support directly to businesses which have to temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision.”
We will continue to follow these developing stories and will keep our members apprised of any updates, changes or modifications to any government programs and initiatives for businesses.
View the highlights below, or download the entire Speech from the Throne here.
ON SUPPORTING BUSINESSES:
“As the Government invests in people, it will continue to support job-creating businesses. Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities and the backbone of the economy. The Government introduced a range of supports for Canadian businesses, from help with payroll through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to assistance with expenses through interest-free loans.
COVID-19 has caused businesses across the country, both large and small, to rethink their approaches. Entrepreneurs and owners are looking at more digital options, more creative solutions, and more climate-friendly investments.
The Government will help businesses adapt for the future and thrive.
This fall, in addition to extending the wage subsidy, the Government will take further steps to bridge vulnerable businesses to the other side of the pandemic by:
- Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account to help businesses with fixed costs;
- Improving the Business Credit Availability Program;
- And introducing further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts.”
Additionally, the speech noted that, “the Government will work to target additional financial support directly to businesses which have to temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision.”
ON HELPING CANADIANS THROUGH THE PANDEMIC:
“This is not the time for austerity. Canada entered this crisis in the best fiscal position of its peers. And the Government is using that fiscal firepower, on things like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), so that Canadians, businesses, and our entire economy have the support needed to weather the storm.
Canadians should not have to choose between health and their job, just like Canadians should not have to take on debt that their government can better shoulder.”
ON CREATING JOBS:
“Canadians need good jobs they can rely on….To help make that happen, the Government will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to previous levels. This will be done by using a range of tools, including direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly skill up workers, and incentives for employers to hire and retain workers.
One way the Government will create these jobs is by extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy right through to next summer. The Government will work with businesses and labour to ensure the program meets the needs of the health and economic situation as it evolves.”
ON SUPPORTING WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES:
“With the job losses that Canadians have faced, it became clear early on that many people would need help until they could find work once again. But existing income support systems were not designed to handle this unprecedented situation. That’s why the Government moved quickly to create the Canada Emergency Response Benefit as a temporary program to help millions of Canadians get through a very difficult time.
With the economic restart now well underway, CERB recipients should instead be supported by the Employment Insurance system. For people who would not traditionally qualify for EI, the Government will create the transitional Canada Recovery Benefit.”
ON WOMEN IN THE ECONOMY:
“Women – and in particular low-income women – have been hit hardest by COVID-19. This crisis has been described as a she-cession. Many women have bravely served on the frontlines of this crisis, in our communities or by shouldering the burden of unpaid care work at home…”
“The Government will create an Action Plan for Women in the Economy to help more women get back into the workforce and to ensure a feminist, intersectional response to this pandemic and recovery. This Plan will be guided by a task force of experts whose diverse voices will power a whole-of-government approach….”
“The Government will also accelerate the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy, which has already helped women across Canada grow their businesses.”
OPH ORDERS ISOLATION FOR ANYONE EXPERIENCING COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches announced Tuesday she has invoked a Class Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which stipulates people must immediately self-isolate for 14 days, or until they receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test, if they:
- Test positive for COVID-19.
- Have signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Are in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
- Are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.
- Have reasonable grounds to think they have COVID-19.
Anyone who doesn’t observe the order could be fined up to $5,000 for each day they fail to self-isolate.
ONTARIO LAUNCHES KEEPING ONTARIANS SAFE PLAN
The Ford Government today announced the Keeping Ontarians Safe Plan, which sets out a series of steps to prevent, identify and respond to any outbreak scenario this fall.
The plan also includes Ontario’s larges Flu Immunization Campaign to date with 5.1 million flu vaccines being ordered for the province.
The Keeping Ontarians Safe plan will:
- Maintain strong public health measures, including continued expansion of testing and case and contact management;
- Quickly identify, manage and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks;
- Accelerate efforts to reduce health service backlogs;
- Prepare for surges in COVID-19 cases;
- Recruit, retain, train and support health care workers, while also continuing to engage families and caregivers; and
Implement the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario’s history.
The province also announced that, beginning Friday, Ontarians can get a COVID-19 test at selected pharmacies throughout the province. However, no pharmacies have been named in the Glebe.
Given the size and complexity of the Keeping Ontarians Safe plan, the province will release details over the coming days.
FORD GOVERNMENT LOWERS GATHERING LIMITS TO 10 INDOORS, 25 OUTDOORS
The Ford government announced today that it is lowering the social gathering limits for unmonitored and private social gathering in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto Regions.
The news comes after a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases across the province over the last several days. The new limits include functions of any kind, parties, dinners, gathering, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.
The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres or banquet halls, gyms, and recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures, for these businesses and facilities continue to be in effect.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the amended order will set a new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored social gathering or organized public event in three specific regions to:
- 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
- 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).
Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. These are not accumulative and gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.
This amended order will come into effect on September 18 at 12:01am.
ONTARIO PROPOSING THE HELPING TENANTS AND SMALL BUSINESSES ACT
The Ford government announced today that it will introduce legislation that would, if passed, freeze residential rent increases in 2021 as well as extend the temporary ban on commercial evictions to support affected small businesses.
As part of Ontario’s response to help business recover from COVID-19, proposed changes would extend the temporary ban on evictions of small business tenants and protect them from being locked out or having their assets seized.
This extension would continue to apply to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance under the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses program, if their landlord chose not to apply for the program.
The amendments would apply to evictions that occur on or after September 1, 2020 to align with the extended CECRA for small businesses program. Landlords who evicted tenants or seized their assets between September 1, 2020 and the date the amendments come into force would be required to return any unsold goods and let the tenant back into the unit.
COVID-19 ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESS NOW OPEN!
The Ontario government has launched the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB), which provides financial support for small business and registered charities that have fallen behind in their bill payments as a result of the pandemic.
Through the CEAP-SB, small business owners may be eligible for an on-bill credit of up to $850. It is important to note that funding for the program is limited and applications will be processed in the order which they are received.
HOW TO APPLY
ONLINE: Through Hydro Ottawa’s customized CEAP-SB online form. This is the fastest way to submit an application. Apply here!
EMAIL: Using the Ontario Energy Board’s PDF Fillable CEAP-SB Application Form. Once completed send to: email@example.com
PHONE: Customers can submit their application by phone through Hydro Ottawa’s call center. Applications will be accepted over the phone at 613 738-6400.
MAIL: Print the completed signed form (download here) and send it to Hydro Ottawa at:
PO Box 8700
Ottawa, ON K1G 3S4
Attn: Customer Service – CEAP-SB Application Form
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EXTENDS COMMERCIAL RENT RELIEF PROGRAM THROUGH SEPTEMBER
The federal government announced today that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September.
Eligible property owners and small businesses can apply through the CMHC here.
This will be the final extension to the CECRA as the government explores alternative options to support small businesses during the pandemic.
OTTAWA CITY COUNCIL WAIVES PATIO FEES FOR WINTER SEASON
Ottawa City Council today passed a motion to waive patio fees for the winter patio season from November 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020 to allow restaurants continue to offer outdoor seating through the fall and winter.
The city also agreed to expand the patio seating limit from four tables and eight seats to an unlimited amount, where space allows. Restaurant owners will still be required to pay the $62 permit application fee. The motion also extends the temporary zoning amendment that relaxes patio regulations until the end of December.
CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT APPLICATIONS CLOSE AUGUST 31, 2020
Applications for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) officially close today, August 31, 2020. The CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).
As of June 26, 2020, businesses eligible for CEBA now include owner-operated small businesses that do not have a payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll.
APPLICATIONS FOR COVID-19 ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM NOW OPEN
Applications are now open for Ontario’s Energy Assistance Program for Small Business, which provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.
Applications can be made through your energy provider, beginning August 31, 2020. Funding is limited and applications will be processed in the order in which they are received. Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee funding.
OTTAWA VOTES IN FAVOR OF EXTENDING, EXPANDING MASK BYLAW
Ottawa city council today voted in favour of extending the current face mask by-law until October 31, as well as extending their use into common areas at condo and apartment buildings.
The by-law also gives the city manager of emergency and protective services powers to require mask use in select outdoor areas where physical distancing is not possible. Any orders to impose mask requirements in such areas would only be issued if the medical officer of health confirmed mandatory face masks in a specific outdoor zone are needed. The area councillor and the Business Improvement Area would be notified. Based on advice from the Medical Officer of Health, the manager can make masks mandatory in any high-risk area for up to 60 days, and rescind the order once the risk is reduced.
These new regulations come into effect immediately.
TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT UNVEILS $37B CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT TRANSITION PLAN
The Trudeau Government has announced new changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) that outlines the transition from CERB to Employment Insurance (EI), including a four-week extension and expanded eligibility criteria.
In preparation for the transition, the government has announced that the CERB will be extended by an additional four weeks to a maximum of 28 weeks, providing an extra month of relief for those who may have exhausted their CERB money.
The new plan includes three new benefits for Canadians, including The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). See the three programs below to learn more.
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
The new CRB will provide up to $400 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI, or $240 or $240 per week for extended parental benefits. This benefit will support Canadians whose income has dropped or not returned due to COVID-19.
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
The Government’s new CRSB plan will provide up to $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
The new CRCB benefit will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:
- A child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
- A family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
- A child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.
The Government intends to introduce new legislation to support the implementation of the new benefits.
INCREASED CAPACITY LIMITS AT GYMS AND RECREATION FACILITIES
The Ontario government announced last week that it is increasing capacity levels inside gyms and recreations centres, provided that physical distancing of at least two metres can be maintained at all times.
Ontario will now allow 50 people per room in fitness centres, community centres and yoga studios, rather than 50 people per facility. Please be reminded that distancing must be maintained at all times and that masks are required indoors, except for times when you are exercising and/or eating or drinking.
SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESS TENANTS AND LANDLORDS EXTENDED BY ONE MONTH
The Ontario and federal governments have extended the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses by one month to help eligible small business pay rent for August.
Businesses can use the government’s Rent Assistance Calculator to find out how much relief they are eligible to receive.
COVID ALERT APP NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD
The Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
The newly-launched app lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus. It is free, easy and safe to use. The tracker app will help to limit the spread of the virus while providing important information to those who may have been exposed.
ONTARIO GRADUALLY OPENS DRIVETEST CENTRES
The Ontario government has moved DriveTest centres into the second phase of its reopening plan. Road testing for class G2 and all motorcycle licences has now resumed, and the number of locations offering commercial driver road tests will continue to expand.
The following services are now available at DriveTest centres:
- Class G2 road tests
- Class M2 and class M motorcycle road tests
- Commercial driver road tests availability will expand to 42 DriveTest locations across Ontario
- Part-time Travel Point locations will resume driver examination services as the shared facilities they are located in become available for the public’s use.
IMPORTANT CHANGES FOR RESTAURANTS AND FOOD PREMISES
The provincial government announced earlier today that it was expanding the rules and regulations required for restaurant and food premises. These new amendments require the following:
Effective July 31, 2020: patrons must be seated at all times in any area of the establishment in which food or drink is permitted except, while entering the area and while moving to their table, while placing or picking up an order, while paying for an order, while exiting the area, while going to or returning from a washroom, while lining up to do anything in the previous list, or where necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
Effective August 7, 2020: the person responsible for the establishment must, record the name and contact information of every patron who enters an indoor or outdoor dining area in the establishment, this does not include patrons who temporarily enter the area to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order, these records must be maintained for a period of at least one month, and the business is only to disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.
Merchants can access the customer log template by clicking here. Additionally, Ottawa Public Health encourages all businesses to keep a workplace daily log that includes employee names, contact information, shift start and end times. Business can keep an internal tracking document by downloading the template found here.
As a reminder, please ensure employees are well and fit for work. To help minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure, it is increasingly important that employees are screened prior to every work shift and are not permitted to come to work if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or are not feeling well. Furthermore, managers should:
- Assist in reviewing any symptoms or recent history, by having employees complete a health-screening questionnaire before each work shift.
- Encourage employees to notify their supervisor should they develop symptoms while at work, and then immediately return home. Employees with symptoms can visit the City of Ottawa’s Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 webpage for the latest guidance on next steps.
If you have questions about any of the new standards, please consult COVID-19 Guidelines for Reopening your Food Establishment for more information.
ONTARIO EXTENDS EMERGENCY ORDERS UNTIL JUNE 30
The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This extension will be in effect until June 30, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to reopen the province safely and gradually, while continuing to support frontline health care workers and protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19.
While current emergency orders will remain in place until the end of the month, the government will continue to review each one on an ongoing, case-by-case basis to determine when and if they can safely be adjusted or lifted, as part of the province’s framework to safely reopen the province.
ONTARIO RELEASE WORKPLACE SAFETY PLAN GUIDE
The Ontario Government has released a Workplace Safety Plan Guide to help businesses create safe work environments for employees returning back to work.
The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province. It will help each employer create a safety plan that is unique to their own workplace.
The guide is accompanied by a template employers can download and fill out to develop their own COVID-19 Safety Plan.
PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU ANNOUNCES EXTENSION TO CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks, to ensure Canadians have the help they need as they transition back to work. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.
The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 over a four-week period for eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced, due to COVID-19.
The CERB is available to workers who:
- live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
- have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19, or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits, or have exhausted their EI regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020
- had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
- have not earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income per benefit period while collecting the CERB
- have not quit their job voluntarily
APPLICATIONS FOR EXPANDED CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT AVAILABLE FRIDAY
Beginning this Friday, June 19, businesses will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) under the expanded criteria previously announced to include more business.
The CEBA is available through your primary financial institution and provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to help businesses cover operating costs during COVID-19.
The CEBA also includes a forgivable $10,000 if the loan is paid in full on or before December 31, 2022.
Applications can be made through your financial institution.
CANADA-U.S. BORDER TO REMAIN CLOSED TO NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL UNTIL JULY 21
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travellers until July 21.
Both countries reached an agreement in March to temporarily close the border to non-essential travel, but due to continuing climbing cases in the U.S., the border will remain closed another 30 days.
The closure does not affect commercial traffic or trade and provides exemptions for essential workers who cross the border for work.
IDA CANADA ADVOCATES FOR CHANGES TO EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
As we approach the end of the month, we understand that this is a stressful and concerning time for landlords and tenants alike. While the introduction of relief programs such as the Canada’s Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program will be beneficial to some small business, the fact remains that many more will continue to fall through the cracks.
IDA Canada, a national network that represents 500-plus small business organizations across the country, has penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the program’s shortfalls, oversights and barriers. The letter also offers a number of recommendations aimed at making the program more inclusive for small businesses.
The Glebe BIA is a member of the leadership group at IDA Canada, which continues to advocate for cash, clarity and continuity for small business trying to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
The Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) has also written a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that addresses problematic aspects of the new rent assistance program.
ONTARIO PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR COMMERCIAL ELECTRICITY CONSUMERS
the Ontario government has announced measures 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 RELEASES WORKPLACE SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR SMALL BUSINESS
The Ontario government today released a number of sector-specific safety guidelines that 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.
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 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.
ONTARIO LAUNCHES TALKING THE BARRIERS WEBSITE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The Ontario government is launching the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic.
Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit a request a temporary rule or regulation change to help their business respond to COVID-19. The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain.
To support your ongoing work during COVID-19, you can request a temporary regulation or policy to change to help:
- Assist the health care system meet the needs of needs of the emergency
- Assist businesses in retooling or producing essential or health-related products and supplies
- Make it easier for businesses trying to operate remotely or in a non-traditional fashion and are facing unexpected challenges
In order to help Ontario businesses focus on overcoming today’s challenges, the province is also pausing or extending any existing public consultations, delaying non-urgent related consultations while the emergency situation remains in place, and considering extending deadlines for reports and audits.
FORD GOVERNMENT UNVEILS FRAMEWORK FOR REOPENING THE PROVINCE
The Ontario government released Monday 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. A timeline for the reopening has yet to be provided by the government.
Reopening businesses and public spaces
Reopening will be gradual and occur in stages. There will be two-to-four weeks between the launch of each stage to allow health officials to assess conditions before moving to the next one. This will determine if measures should be adjusted, loosened or tightened. This approach will enable the government to ensure there are appropriate measures in place to open safely and limit health risks.
Everyday actions to protect your health, like physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home when ill, will continue through each stage.
In the first stage, the government will consider:
- Opening select workplaces that can meet current public health guidelines
- Allowing essential gatherings of a limited number of people
- Opening some outdoor spaces like parks
- Continued protections for vulnerable populations and the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.
In the second stage, the government will consider:
- Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries, and additional office and retail workplaces.
- Opening more public spaces
- Allowing some larger public gatherings
- Continued protections for vulnerable populations and the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks
In the final stage, the government will consider:
- Opening all workplaces responsibly
- Relaxing restrictions on public gatherings. Large public gatherings such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for the foreseeable future
- Continued protections for vulnerable populations and the continued practice of
- physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks
CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN
Starting Monday, April 27, businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 can begin to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The program offers eligible businesses a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to June 6, 2020.
This wage subsidy will enable businesses to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position them to resume normal operations following the crisis. The first payments are expected to arrive by the end of next week.
PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU ANNOUNCES CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE (CECRA) PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
Further details of the program include:
- 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.
- 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.
- Eligible businesses are those 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.
- The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will administer and deliver the CECRA, a collaboration between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.
- Provinces and territories have agreed to cost share up to 25 per cent of costs, subject to terms of agreements with the federal government, and facilitate implementation of the program. .
- It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenants payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.
- Further details on CECRA will be shared in the near future once final terms and conditions are available. The federal government and provincial and territorial governments urge property owners to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.
- Under a rent forgiveness agreement, which includes a moratorium on eviction, the mortgaged commercial property owner would reduce the small business tenant’s monthly rent by at least 75 per cent. The tenant would be responsible for covering 25 per cent, the property owner 25 per cent, while the federal government and provinces would share the remaining 50 per cent. The forgivable loans would be disbursed directly to the mortgage lender.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO DATE
GOVERNMENT RELIEF REFERENCE DOCUMENT
The Glebe BIA has compiled a Government Relief Reference Document that summarizes all of the federal, provincial and municipal measures currently available to help small business during the pandemic. The guide provides easy-to-understand information for businesses on how to apply for wage subsidies and business loans, as well as tax deferrals and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
A major aid package was announced for Canadians in response to COVID-19. The new economic measures include $27 billion in direct assistance to workers and families, as well as making $55 billion available in liquidity to businesses.
Economic Response Plan – Cost and Implementation
The Government of Canada has released a Cost and Implementation timeline for its Economic Response Plan.
The Canadian Government has announced several measures to support Canadian businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a new Business Credit Availability program through Export Development Canada and BDC as well as deferred tax payments until August 31, 2020.
The government also announced that they have extended income tax deadlines for both personal and corporate income taxes. The new deadline is now June 1, 2020 for Canadians to file their taxes. Businesses will also have until August 31, 2020 to pay any corporate taxes or make any scheduled installment payments.
Canada and the U.S. have announced they will close the border to all non-essential travel. Trade will not be affected.
Effective immediately, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case‑by‑case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID‑19; childcare disruption due to school closures; or those facing illness from COVID‑19.
ONTARIO ENABLING FINANCIAL RELIEF FOR BUSINESSES
The Ontario Government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief for employers to reduce the financial strain on business brought on by COVID-19. The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.
All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. They will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit.
WSIB’S FINANCIAL RELIEF PACKAGE
WSIB’s financial relief package allows businesses to defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. Businesses who report and pay monthly, quarterly or annually based on their insurable earnings are eligible for this deferral.
MPAC ASSESSMENT UPDATE POSTPONED
As part of the Ontario Government’s Economic and Fiscal Update the Hon. Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, announced the Province’s decision to postpone the 2020 Assessment Update.
The provincial government has indicated that property assessments for the 2021 taxation year will continue to be based on the fully phased-in January 1, 2016 current values (i.e., the same valuation date in use for 2020 taxation year).
MPAC will continue to conduct business, including updating property information, capturing new assessment, analyzing sales, completing tax applications and managing Requests for Reconsideration and appeals.
ONTARIO LAUNCHES DEDICATED COVID-19 WEB PAGE
As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, Ontario has launched a new dedicated web page and is changing how COVID-19 cases are being reported to provide a more relevant summary of data from Public Health Ontario. The information will be updated each day at 10:30 a.m.
The new summary provides more provincial and regional data on confirmed cases, including trends of cases since the outbreak began, geography, exposure and severity.
The Government of Ontario passed legislation to protect the jobs of employees who self-isolate or quarantine, help keep store shelves stocked and give municipal councils the flexibility to continue operations while maintaining social distance. Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives.
The City of Ottawa has launched a COVID-19 Information for Workplaces page with important updates, recommendations, resources and FAQs for business.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has proposed a Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program to allow small businesses and home owners the opportunity to apply to defer their tax payment until October 31. Ottawa City Council will vote on the motion on March 25, 2020.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced that an Economic Partners Task Force has been created to support small businesses, and their employees, who are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-chaired by Mayor Watson and Councillor El-Chantiry, the task force will advise city staff on measures to support small businesses during the crisis. The task force will be composed of the following leaders of the Ottawa business community:
- Mark Kaluski, Chair, Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs)
- Sueling Ching, President and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade
- Lise Sarazin, directrice générale, Regroupement des gens d’affaires (RGA)
- Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism
- Carole Anne Piccinin, Executive Director, Ottawa Festival Network
CITY OF OTTAWA LAUNCHES ‘BUY LOCAL CAMPAIGN’
With the recent closure of all non-essential businesses in Ontario, the City of Ottawa has launched a new “Buy Local” campaign to help residents support local businesses through online shopping, take-out & delivery and gift cards. The new webpage at www.ottawa.ca/buylocal boasts links to local blogs, UBER Eats and other resources to connect consumers with local businesses during the pandemic.
As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has created a guide for businesses that are remaining open during the pandemic. The guide includes recommendations such as:
- Increasing the space between employees and patrons at counters by using screens or barriers
- Limiting the number of occupants in the store and managing lineups to ensure there is a minimum of two meters between patrons
- Consider placing markers on the floor at check-out aisles to ensure customers maintain a two metre (six foot) distance from one another
- Providing patrons access to hand hygiene stations and supplies.
- Encouraging patrons to pay by debit or credit card
Ottawa Bylaw Exemptions
- The City of Ottawa announced Tuesday that all retail establishments would be exempt from the City’s Noise By-Law to allow for businesses to accept deliveries 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The City also announced that all overtime parking, signed or unsigned, is no longer enforced on residential streets, to encourage residents to stay home and prevent the spread of COVID-19. All other parking restrictions remain in effect to maintain emergency access and traffic flow.
RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESS
COVID-19 is having a disastrous effect on local economies. We continue to advocate for cashflow, clarity and continuity as we navigate this crisis and consult with colleagues around the country to look for innovative ways to support members. Below are links and resources to help small business:
In partnership with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has established the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery.
The new website features insightful information for business, from available public and private sector support and business continuity to policy recommendations and recovery initiatives. The site will be updated regularly as more resources become available.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has launched an informative business resource page that offers FAQs for businesses, information on EI and employee income, and links to provincial and federal relief measures.
The federal government has set up an emergency cash flow loan through BDC for small businesses to apply to relief.
To help businesses prepare for and manage through a potential COVID-19 escalation in Canada, the Canadian Chamber has developed a brief guide source from a number of best practice documents and designed to assist business planning and continuity efforts.
The Ottawa Board of Trade has created a Guidance & Resources page for business with live updates, links and resources.
The newly-formed organization Save Small Business Canada has launched a petition to pressure governments to do more to support local businesses affected by COVID-19. Visit their website, which features links, resources and action you can take to help.
Facebook announced Tuesday a new $100 million program to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The company said the program can help businesses with rent and operational costs, maintaining workforce and connecting with customers. Facebook will begin accepting applications in coming weeks.
In an effort to help small businesses deal with the impacts of COVID-19, Ottawa radio station Rebel 101.7 has announced it will offer free e-commerce websites along with radio advertisements to those affected by the pandemic.
Interested business can apply for a free e-commerce website here between April and May.
FREE WEBINARS FOR BUSINESSES
CANADIAN BUSINESS RESILIENCE NETWORK WEBINARS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The Canadian Business Resilience Network is facilitating a number of webinars to help small businesses adapt and recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Click the links below to these free webinars.
Physical Return to Work: Practical realities and transformative opportunities
June 17; 3 p.m.
Take Control of Your Business: 3 Simple Tools to Help your Business Survive and Thrive
June 22; 1:30 p.m.
Building a resilient workforce that can thrive in the next normal
June 23; 1 p.m.
How to Build an Effective Advertising Strategy
June 24; 1 p.m.
OBIAA LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU AND PREMIER FORD
The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association has penned an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford to advocate for direct financial relief measures for small businesses in the province.
A number of surveys have been launched by local business organizations in order to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on the local economy and to share feedback to all levels of government. Click below to take part in each survey.
- Ottawa Board of Trade Survey
- Tourism Industry Association of Ontario Survey
- Ontario Business Improvment Area Association Survey
OTTAWA FOOD BANK
For more information on how to support the Ottawa Food Bank during the pandemic, contact Executive Assistant Alexandra Sioulas at 613-745-7001 ext 136 or by visiting www.ottawafoodbank.ca.
PUBLIC HEALTH LINKS
With a rapidly developing situation that changes hourly, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest information from public health agencies locally, regionally and nationally to ensure you are getting to most accurate information. Below are some links with information about the virus, the current situation and what you can do to protect yourself, your family and your employees.
We continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide timely updates with you as necessary.
Canada Public Health (Federal)
Ontario’s Ministry of Health (Provincial)
Ottawa Public Health (Municipal)