October 2, 2020 – Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $600 million in additional funding for the Regional Relief Recovery Fund – RRRF ($456M) and Community Futures Fund -CFF ($144M).
September 24, 2020 - Government of Canada introduces legislation to support Canadians through Recovery Benefits and extend access to funds for emergency measures.
- A Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support. This Benefit would support Canadians who have not returned to work due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by at least 50%. These workers must be available and looking for work, and must accept work where it is reasonable to do so;
- A Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. This Benefit supports our commitment to ensure all Canadian workers have access to paid sick leave; and,
- A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19 or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine.
September 23, 2020 - Throne Speach - Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Extended into Summer 2021 & Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Expanded
August 27, 2020 - COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business: Applications Begin August 31
The Government of Ontario is making $8 million available to support small business and registered charities who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.
To apply for CEAP funding, customers should contact their energy provider. Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs) will begin accepting applications for CEAP-SB on August 31, 2020, delivering the program in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB. CEAP-SB funding is limited, with utilities and USMPs expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. Please note, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.
For more information, including eligibility requirements and on-bill credit amounts, visit oeb.ca/ceap.
August 12, 2020 - Business Developement Funds Awarded to Renfrew County and Pembroke Businesses to Support COVID-19 Recovery
Ninety-four (94) businesses from all sectors and from across the County of Renfrew and the City of Pembroke are being awarded funding of up to $5,000 each. The funding will enable the recipients to adapt to the on-going challenges of COVID-19 to make their business more sustainable and profitable in challenging local and global markets, and to be able to effectively weather future health, economic and competitive business challenges by adopting and creating best practices.
July 31, 2020 - Federal Government announces the end of CERB
This morning, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the federal government will end the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program (CERB) in September and move those on the program to the Employment Insurance program (EI). Details are currently limited, but the Prime Minister stated that this benefit will “include access to training” and allow Canadians to “work more hours and earn more money while receiving the benefit.”
For those currently receiving CERB that may not be eligible for EI – like contract and “gig workers” - the government will create a “transitional, parallel benefit” similar to EI.
July 16, 2020 - Ontario Extends Emergency Orders Until July 29, 2020.
July 13, 2020 - Ontario begans to enter Stage 3 With the County of Renfrew Among the First Regions to Enter Stage 3 as of Friday, July 17.
The Ontario government announced nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen in Stage 3 of the province's reopening framework with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place. As Ontario continues down the path to economic recovery, decisions on which regions will enter Stage 3 and when will be made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts and based on trends of key public health indicators.
Details on the Stage 3 reopening framework were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario will be increasing gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage to the following:
Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people;
Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people;
Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.
Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two metre distance must still be maintained at such events.
Regions remaining in Stage 2 will maintain the existing gathering limit of 10. Social circles in all stages at this point will also be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide, regardless of stage.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following, high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID‑19:
Amusement parks and water parks;
Buffet-style food services;
Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
Overnight stays at camps for children;
Private karaoke rooms;
Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, as well as the public health guidance necessary to keep the people of Ontario safe, visit Ontario.ca/reopen.
July 10, 2020 - Renfrew County & District Health Unit Issues Directive for Masks/Face Coverings in Enclosed Public Spaces in Effect July 14th.
July 9, 2020 - Ontario Extends Emergency Orders Until July 22.
The Ontario government, in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 22, 2020. The extension was made to ensure the province maintains the necessary flexibility to protect public health and safety as more businesses reopen and people go back to work.
July 6, 2020 - Local health units announce regional approach to mandatory masks.
Today Medical Officers of Health from the Renfrew County & District Health Unit; Eastern Ontario Health Unit; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit with Ottawa Public Health announced a regional approach to the use of masks in their respective jurisdictions. Each public health unit will be invoking a directive under the province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that requires individuals to wear a mask or face covering in certain enclosed public spaces. Under the directive, the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting.
In Renfrew County and District, this directive will require that masks are worn in enclosed public spaces. The details of the local directive are in development and will come into effect next week, Tuesday, July 14. RCDHU’s first step for implementation of this directive is a gradual education process to be further assessed going forward. This directive is to be primarily used as a means to educate people on mask use in premises especially where 2-metre physical distancing cannot be maintained.
July 3, 2020 - Ontario Launches Online Training to Promote Safe Workplaces
Real-Time Courses Make It Easier for People to Get Essential Qualifications
As the province safely and gradually reopens, the Ontario government is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training for the first time. These virtual courses will make it easier for job seekers and workers to get essential qualifications, while practising physical distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Up to 100,000 job seekers can now take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. There are 10 courses on offer, which include topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and preventing workplace violence and harassment. Job seekers should contact an Employment Ontario service provider in their area to enroll.
In addition, worker and employer members of Joint Health and Safety Committees can now use video conferencing to take training in real-time with qualified instructors from training providers approved by Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer. The training includes sessions on how to establish a Health and Safety Committee, resolving health and safety issues, workplace inspections, and accident investigations.
Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer is extending the time for completion of refresher training for more than 8,000 certified committee members whose certification would have expired between February 28 and August 31, 2020. They have until November 30, 2020 to renew their training, which will be easier thanks to new online options.
July 3, 2020 - Ontario Supporting Restaurants as Province Safely Reopens: New and Amended Emergency Orders Will Help Establishments Expand Patios Faster
The Ontario government is helping restaurant and bar owners reopen and safely serve more customers by issuing a new emergency order and amending another under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which will allow municipalities to quickly pass temporary bylaws for the creation and extension of patios and allow covered outdoor dining areas to serve customers.
June 29, 2020 - The Government of Canada Extends the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) for another Month.
With applications through the Canadian Mortgage and Houseing Corporation (CMHC), the program was orginally anounced to cover a three month period from march to June. Now the program has been extended to cover the month of July as well.
June 24, 2020 - Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to July 15, Province Focuses on Safe, Gradual Reopening of Regions
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended the provincial Declaration of Emergency under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 15, 2020. This extension, approved by the Ontario Legislature earlier today, provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and the necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen, while continuing to support frontline health care providers in the fight against COVID-19.
June 18, 2020 - Ontario Moves Forward with Infrastructure Projects that Improve Communities and Create Jobs - Indicates Hwy 17 extension from Arnprior to Renfrew to commence in the Fall of 2021.
Spring 2020 P3 Market Update Signals Government’s Commitment to Build
The Ontario government continues to move forward with 37 major infrastructure projects across the province using the public-private partnership (P3) model. The projects were listed in the Spring 2020 P3 Market Update (known in the market as updates to the "P3 Pipeline"), which was released today by Laurie Scott, Ontario's Minister of Infrastructure.
June 17, 2020 - Canada and Ontario Support Beef and Hog Farmers During COVID-19 - Funding will cover increased costs, while redirecting surplus pork to those in need.
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. The funding will help cover the increased costs of feeding market ready cattle and hogs due to COVID-19 related processing delays, while redirecting surplus pork products to help those in need. This program will help ensure the country's food supply chain will remain strong and ready to recover as the economy gradually and safely reopens.
The beef cattle set-aside program will provide beef farmers with up to $5 million in support. Farmers can claim $2 per head of cattle per day to help pay for additional maintenance costs should they have to keep their market-ready animals on their farms for extended periods of time.
The hog sector support program will also provide hog farmers with up to $5 million to help cover additional maintenance costs. Ontario is also providing up to $1.5 million to process and package surplus pork for food banks, to provide those in need with fresh, locally produced pork products. This will assist the pork processing industry with managing capacity while helping those in need.
More Canadians are returning to work, but many people still face challenges due to COVID-19. As we begin to take steps to safely restart our economy, we will continue to support Canadians to protect their health and economic well-being.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today 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.
This announcement builds on a number of measures, including the proposed extension of the CEWS until August 29, 2020.
New Toolkit Will Help Employers Create Safer Working Environments for Employees during COVID-19
TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing employers with a new general workplace guide, which will help them develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients. 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.
The new guide will help each employer create a safety plan that is right for their own unique workplace. It includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment may be needed for workers.
Delivered through Enterprise Renfrew County, applications for the COVID-19 Business Assistance Fund are available starting June 15, 2020 and will be received until July 3, 2020.
In partnership with the County of Renfrew, the City of Pembroke, and the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association, this fund will support businesses as they look to pivot, recover and succeed in a business environment affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The efforts of the Renfrew County Economic Task Force recognized early on that business owners were seeking funds that would assist them to find new technologies, methodologies, or procedures that would assist them with adjusting to a new model of serving their customers. In response, funds have been dedicated towards a fund that will provide some assistance towards these goals and will be available within a short turnaround period so that interested companies may quickly make changes and allow them to generate revenue and, in some cases, retain or hire employees.
The fund will provide up to $5,000 (non-repayable) per business and will focus on the following areas of transformation:
- E-business solutions
- Marketing and customer engagement
- Service delivery improvements
- Other creative solutions/ideas for expansion and sustainability
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is taking additional steps to better protect workers in the agri-food sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. The province is significantly expanding the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program and committing up to $15 million to enhance health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities.
Businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:
- shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
- Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
- Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.
In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. As a result of the investment announced today, the program will be offered province-wide and at no cost to businesses.
June 8, 2020 - Doug Ford says restaurants in many regions outside the GTA can reopen on Friday
Ontario Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days - Restrictions Being Eased In Communities Where It Is Safe To Do So.
The Ontario government announced that it is getting more people back to work and more recreational activities open by moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, the government is easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.
Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. include Renfrew County & District Health Unit.
Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:
- Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
- Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
- Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
- Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
- Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
- Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
- Camping at private campgrounds;
- Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
- Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
- Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
- Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in. The province will soon release more details on:
- Child care;
- Summer camps;
- Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate;
- Training centres; and
- Public transit.
June 8, 2020 - Ontario Proposing Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions
The Ontario government announced today that it intends to take action to protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19.
The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, temporarily halt evictions of businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020. The government intends to bring this legislation forward as soon as possible.
June 5, 2020 - Ontario Announces that Short term rentals including lodges, cabins, cottages, homes, condominiums and B&Bs will be allowed to resume operations in Ontario starting June 5 at 12:01 a.m. (Short term rentals are defined as accomodations for 28 days or less.)
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency to June 30. The decision supports the government's efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health and safety of Ontarians as the province reopens in a measured and responsible way. The extension, under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, was approved by the Ontario legislature earlier today.
New Regulation will protect employees from permanet layoffs and businesses from potential closures.
Funds will be made available to regional destination marketing organizations (The Ottawa Valley Tourist Association in Renfrew County) with applications to be made through the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO).
As more workplaces open, essential travel is expected to increase. If you are returning to or entering Canada for essential work and have no COVID-19 symptoms, you may not need to self-isolate. Monitor your health for 14 days after each entry and follow local public health guidance.
Full details can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/covid-19-information-essential-service-workers.html
May 20, 2020 - The Large Employers Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) is now accepting applications.
Aiming to minimize layoffs and bandruptcies, the LEEFF provides bridge loans to significant large companies in Canada with revenues greater than $300 million that require financing for over $60 million.
May 19, 2020 10:00 A.M. - Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Keep People Safe
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29, 2020. That includes the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women's shelters. The government is also allowing drive-in religious gatherings.
Today, the province officially enters the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. As part of this initial stage, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, effective as of Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province's reopening plan.
May 14, 2020 1:30 pm - Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen - Additional seasonal, retail and household businesses must follow public health guidelines
Today the Ontario government announced the retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers who will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve as part of the first stage of the government's reopening framework. The workplaces opening as part of this stage are well-positioned to put workplace safety measures in place and get more people back to work, while not overburdening public transit and other services.
The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday May 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress.
As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020:
- Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
- Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
- Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
- Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.
The government's responsible and measured approach to reopening will allow business owners and service provider's time to ensure workplaces are safe for staff, consumers and the general public. Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, Ontario's first stage of reopening will begin on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will include:
- Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
- Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
- Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
- Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
- Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.
- Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children's Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.
The government and health and safety associations have released more than 90 safety guidance documents to assist employers in multiple sectors, including construction, retail, facilities maintenance and manufacturing. As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional resources will be made available to help protect the safety of workers and the general public.
To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.
To ensure that these first actions to reopen the province are a success, the public should continue to adhere to public health measures, including practising physical distancing or wearing a face covering when physical distancing is difficult or not possible, as well as regular handwashing and staying home when ill. The Chief Medical Officer of Health will closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when certain public health restrictions, including adjustments to social gatherings can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.
May 13, 2020 - The Federal Government of Canada announced the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to be delivered through the Regional Development Agencies to support businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism, seasonal industries and others.
The RRRF is specifically targeted toward those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 but have been unable to access existing support measures such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
The RRRF is now accepting applications from businesses and communities. Details on eligibility and how to apply can be found through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).
Applications are now being accepted under two streams:
- Regional Economy: This stream supports provides $213 million in support to southern Ontario SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures.
Please visit the FedDev Ontario website for more information or to apply under this stream.
- Community Futures: This stream supports businesses in rural and smaller communities through additional funding for the existing Community Futures Program (CFP).
In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities they serve, CFDCs, who will deliver this stream of funding, will focus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants and corner stores, etc., and businesses of strategic importance to their communities, with loans up to $40,000.
Please apply directly through Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation (RCCFDC) for funding through this stream.
May 12, 2020 - Declaration of Emergency Extended While Ontario Gradually Reopens the Economy
The Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 2nd. This additional time will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely.
A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
May 11, 2020 - Ontario Retail Stores Open for Curbside Pickup and Delivery
Health and safety guidelines in place to protect workers and customers
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.
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.
May 8, 2020 - Onatario economy gradually and safely being re-opened
As of today, garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases. 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. On Monday at 12:01 a.m., non-essential retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery.
May 7, 2020 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that an agreement has been reached with all provinces and territories to top up the wages of some essential front-line workers including those in long-term care facilities where COVID-19 has spread among both residents and staff, with deadly impact. (Further details to come.)
May 6, 2020 - Ontario Extends Electricity Rate Relief During COVID-19
Residential, farm and small business customers continue to benefit from temporary relief measure
The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This electricity rate relief, initially provided for a 45-day period starting on March 24, 2020, has been extended by an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The rate relief is intended to be in place for an additional 24 days.
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is also extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 19, 2020. The emergency orders include:
May 5, 2020 - New Temporary Change for Cideries to Sell Directly to Consumers
Effective immediately, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has temporarily removed the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit in order to qualify for a retail store at their cidery.
Under this temporary policy change, cideries may qualify for a retail store without having five acres of planted fruit. Manufacturers with an on-site retail store authorized by the AGCO may also sell their products online.
May 5, 2020 - Changes to minimum price for spirits ordered with food for takeout and delivery
Regulation 719 under the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) has been amended to reduce the minimum price of spirits sold by licensed establishments with food takeout and delivery orders by 33 percent. This pricing change applies specifically to spirits with an alcohol content greater than 14.8 percent.
The reduction in minimum pricing will be revoked on January 1, 2021, matching the duration of the temporary ability for bars and restaurants to sell alcohol with food for takeout and delivery which is in place until December 31, 2020.
The reduced minimum pricing structure for spirits is only applicable to takeout and delivery orders.
May 4, 2020 - CERB reminder: Canadians who were among the first to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit must now reapply.
CERB offers $500 per week for Canadians who lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but recipients must confirm their eligibility for the program every four weeks. (Courtesy CTV News)
May 1, 2020 - Certain Businesses Allowed to Reopen Under Strict Safety Guidelines
Steady Decrease in COVID-19 Cases Required Before Beginning Next Stage of Reopening
The Ontario government is allowing certain businesses and workplaces to reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those permitted to start up include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.
Today's announcement was made 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.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health has provided general recommendations on how the openings of businesses and workplaces could be implemented to support safe operations, including strict adherence to health and safety requirements.
"We are allowing certain businesses to reopen under strict guidelines because we are confident they can operate safely and adapt to the current environment," said Premier Ford. "While further reductions in the spread are needed before we can begin reopening the province, we have the right framework and the right workplace guidelines in place to do so gradually and safely."
The government, in partnership with Ontario's health and safety associations, has developed more than 60 guidelines in response to COVID-19. These sector-specific measures will help employers prepare their workplaces so they can be reopened safely and ensure workers, customers and the general public are protected.
By following the proper health and safety guidelines these businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:
- Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;
- Lawn care and landscaping;
- Additional essential construction projects that include:
- shipping and logistics;
- broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
- any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
- municipal projects;
- colleges and universities;
- child care centres;
- schools; and
- site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development;
- Automatic and self-serve car washes;
- Auto dealerships, open by appointment only;
- Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public; and
- Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and w atercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.
Province Takes Critical Steps to Help Businesses Adapt to New Environment
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.
April 28, 2020 - Ontario Helping Businesses Overcome the Unique Challenges Created by COVID-19
New Website Accepting Proposals for Temporarily Changing Rules and Regulations
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 any potential roadblocks to the website. 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.
April 27, 2020 1:30 pm - Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province: Premier and Ministers Commit to New Phased Approach for a Safe Restart and Recovery
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.
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 respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.
April 27, 2020 - Applications can now be made for the Canadian Wage Subsidy, see the application guide at this link:
April 24, 2020 3:00 pm - Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs:
Governments Invest $2.5 Million to Grow Agri-food e-Business During COVID-19 giving families more choice when buying food and plants online
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online, providing more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).
The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.
This targeted application intake features two funding streams:
- Bring Your Business Online. Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions.
- Develop Online Business Opportunities. Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects.
April 24, 2020 - Ontario Provides Urgent Relief for Small Businesses and Landlords: Rent Assistance in Addition to Billions in Measures to Support Business During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Ontario government is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). The total amount of provincial-federal relief that would be provided is more than $900 million, helping to ensure small businesses are ready to reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted.
April 17, 2020 - Federal Government Announces Support for Energy Sector, Small Businesses, Arts & Culture and Sport. (Source: Global Public Affairs)
As well as various supports for the energy sector, the Government of Canada will be providing $962 million to regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network to support smaller businesses that don’t qualify for Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) & and the Canada Emergency Business Account.
Also, for innovators and other early-stage development firms that cannot access the CEWS, the PM announced $270 million to Futurpreneur and the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
For the Arts, Culture and Sport Sectors, the government announced the Emergency Support Fund. Canadian Heritage will receive $500 million to ensure the survival and stability of the sector and to allow Canadians to continue to have access to culture and sports. It is expected the funds will supplement the shortfall in wage supports that many organizations are facing.
He also announced that Canada Day will be hosted virtually and that they are working with Canadian artists and artisans to put together a virtual program
April 16, 2020 - Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
Businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019 are now eligible for CEBA. Previously, the eligibility threshold for the CEBA loans was a minimum payroll of $50,000 and a maximum payroll of $1 million. Applications can be made through your bank or credit union.
April 16, 2020 - Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.
The Prime Minister reiterated the ongoing collaboration with the Premiers in the provinces and territories to launch a program that will help small businesses offset commercial rent. Further details and information on how to apply will soon be available.
The Government of Canada announced $50 million to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers, put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad.
The federal government will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory 14-day isolation protocols or any other public health order. This program will be available as long as the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol is followed.
April 11, 2020 - House of Commons Passes Wage Subsidy Legislation, which was also given Royal Assent (Source: Global Public Affairs)
In a rare Saturday sitting in Ottawa, the House of Commons passed the federal government’s emergency wage subsidy legislation – “the largest Canadian economic policy since World War II,” the Prime Minister told the Commons. The legislation, Bill C-14, is now in the Senate which, like the House, is expected to pass it quickly, to have Royal Assent by the end of the day.
With the passage of today’s bill, the federal government will now begin to implement and deliver the $73 billion Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the 75 per cent subsidy designed to help companies avoid laying off employees over the next three months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 11, 2020 - Province Extends Emergency Orders until April 23
TORONTO — To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of people across the province, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until April 23, 2020, including the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price gouging.
In addition, new measures have been introduced to address surge capacity in retirement homes, restrict recreational camping on Crown land, and allow the repurposing of existing buildings and temporary structures. All of these actions are based on the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
April 9, 2020 - Ontario Starts Planning for Economic Recovery
Premier Ford Appoints Team to Develop Plan for Post-Pandemic Growth and Prosperity
TORONTO — The Ontario government has launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. While the government's primary focus is on combatting the virus, supporting frontline health care workers and providing immediate relief to people and businesses, this new committee will be developing a plan to stimulate economic growth and job-creation in the weeks and months ahead.
April 8, 2020 - Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program - Flexibility Details Announced (Curtesy of Global Public Affairs)
As expected, this afternoon in Toronto, the Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains confirmed that the government will expand access to the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, providing greater flexibility for businesses, non-profits and charities to access to it. These new measures come almost a week after the initial eligibility details were released by the government and, according to Ministers Morneau and Ng, after extensive consultation with many across the country. There have also been significant consultations with the federal opposition parties.
Further eligibility requirements announced today include:
- To measure revenue loss, all employers will have the flexibility to compare revenues from March, April and May 2020 to those of the same months in 2019, or to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
- For March 2020, the government proposes to make the subsidy more accessible than originally announced by reducing the 30% revenue drop requirement to 15%, in recognition of the fact that many businesses did not begin to experience the effects of the COVID-19 crisis until partway through the month.
- Recognizing that the time between when revenue is earned and when it is paid could be highly variable in certain sectors of the economy, the government is proposing that employers be allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received). Special rules would also be provided to address issues for corporate groups, non-arm’s length entities and joint ventures.
- Registered charities and non-profit organizations would also be able to benefit from the additional flexibilities being provided to employers with respect to the revenue loss calculation. In addition, recognizing that different types of organizations are experiencing different types of funding pressures, it is proposed that charities and non-profit organizations be allowed to choose to include or exclude government funding in their revenue calculation for the purposes of applying the revenue reduction test.
- As well, the government is proposing that employers eligible for the wage subsidy will be entitled to receive a 100-per-cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. This refund would apply to the entire amount of employer-paid contributions in respect of remuneration paid to furloughed employees in a period where the employer is eligible for the wage subsidy.
With these new proposed changes, the total cost of the program is expected to be $73 billion, up from the original $71 billion earmarked last week.
Important Considerations for Employers:
- For employers that are eligible for both the wage subsidy and the temporary 10 per cent wage subsidy that already received Royal Assent, any benefit from the 10 per cent wage subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period would generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy in that same period.
- For employers and employees that are participating in a Work-Sharing program, EI benefits received by employees through the Work-Sharing Program will reduce the benefit that their employer is entitled to receive under the CEWS.
- Applications will be made through the Canada Revenue Agency’s “My Business Account” portal as well as a web-based application. Employers will have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees.
For more background on the details announced today, see here.
April 7th, 2020 - Renfrew County Economic Task Force to Guide COVID-19 Response and Recovery
In an effort to ensure the future sustainability of the County of Renfrew’s business, agriculture, tourism, commercial and manufacturing sectors, an economic task force has been created by the County’s Development and Property department. For full media release:
April 6, 2020 Canada Emergency Response Benefit - Applications Open Today
April 6, 2020 - The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has established the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) in partnership with the Government of Canada to help the business community prepare, persevere and, ultimately, prosper in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 4, 2020 - Ontario Takes Steps to Keep Food on the Table during COVID-19
New online portal connects employers with workers looking to make a difference
TORONTO - In order to ensure grocery store shelves remain full and families have food on the table during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government of Ontario is launching a new web portal, connecting workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. This new online tool will make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain.
April 3, 2020 - Ontario Extends Business Closures to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
The updated essential businesses list can be found here.
April, 2, 2020 - Unemployed during COVID-19? Here’s how to navigate federal programs
April 1, 2020 - New $50 million Ontario Together Fund will support the development of essential equipment and supplies
TORONTO ― To stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe, the Ontario government is launching a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment and ventilators. This new Fund will support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal.
March 31, 2020 7:00 am Premier Ford announces the extension of the State of Emergency in Ontario for another 2 weeks
March 30, 2020 8:45 pm - Ontario Extends Emergency Declaration to Stop the Spread of COVID-19. All Outdoor Recreational Amenities across Province Now Closed
March 30, 2020 Ontario Launches Dedicated COVID-19 Website with Expanded Information of Confirmed Cases Across the Province. https://covid-19.ontario.ca/
March 28, 2020 Ontario issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people.
March 27, 2020 12 pm - Prime Minister Announces Increased Support for Businesses:
- Wage Subsidy Increased to 75% from 10%,
- the Canada Emergency Business Account. Banks will offer $40,000 guaranteed, interest-free loans for one year and, for businesses who meet certain conditions, the first $10,000 of that amount will be forgivable,
- Additional $12.5 billion will be made available to Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada to help SMEs with their cash flow requirements.
- The government will defer GST, HST or duties on taxes on small business imports until June 2020. This will be equivalent to $30 billion in interest free loans.
More Detials to come.
March 27, 2020 9:21 am - The Bank of Canada cut its key interest target by half a percentage point to 0.25 per cent in an unscheduled rate announcement today.
March 26, 2020 1 pm Ontario Provides $3.3 Billion More to Increase Health Care Capacity
Funding will add more beds, testing and protective equipment for frontline workers fighting COVID-19
March 25, 2020 10 pm - Renfrew County & District Health Unit Confirmed First Case of COVID-19 in Renfrew County
https://www.rcdhu.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020_March_25_COVID-19_Media-Release_Positive-Case_UpdatedCB.pdf Please take and practice social/physical distancing seriously.
March 25, 2020 9:45 am - Stop the Spread - Ontario Business Information Line Now Open at 1-888-444-3659
March 23, 2020 8:00 pm - Ontario issues Essential Workplacese List, Link below:
March 23, 2020 - Ontario Orders the Madatory Closure of All Non-Essential Workplaces to Fight Spread of COVID-19
March 21, 2020 1:00 P.M. TORONTO — The Ontario Government is launching Ontario Together, a new website that will help businesses and their employees work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. This initiative will remove barriers allowing Ontario's manufacturing sector to redeploy capacity towards the production of essential equipment like ventilators, masks and swabs. (Click here to go to news release)
Businesses having questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line with help available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m.
March 20, 2020: Calling all suppliers – Help Canada combat Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (click on the previous text to take you to the Government of Canada Procurement site, www.buyandsell.gc.ca)
March 17, 2020: Ontario Enacted Declaration of Emergency to Protect the Public.
March 13, 2020 The Canadian government announced additional support to businesses by establishing a Business Credit Availability Program. This program will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses.
March 25, 2020 4:00 pm Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19
Media Release: https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2020/03/ontarios-action-plan-responding-to-covid-19.html
March 30, 2020 (Courtesy Global Public Affairs) Prime Minister Trudeau offered more important details on the Government of Canada’s Emergency Wage Subsidy that was first announced on Friday of last week.
The following eligibility parameters and details were announced:
- Businesses that can show that their revenues have decreased at least 30% since the start of the pandemic will be eligible for the 75% wage subsidy.
- The assessment of the 30% revenue drop will be done after the fact. If the drop was actually not this low, the company will have to repay.
- The number of employees a company has will not determine eligibility.
- The subsidy will apply to non-profit and charities, as well as companies that are both big and small (no cap).
- The government will cover up to 75% of the first $58,700 that employees earn. That means up to approximately $847 a week. This will be backdated to March 15.
- The subsidy will be a direct payment to the company so they can pay employees.
The Prime Minister indicated that there will be additional background documents and details coming tomorrow, including the estimated fiscal cost of the new program, from both the Minister of Finance and Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade.
In his remarks after announcing the new details of the Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Prime Minister also made very clear that any businesses that seek to take advantage of the new program, or game it, will face strict consequences – expect those details tomorrow as well. He also noted that should employers be able to cover the additional 25% of salaries not covered by the subsidy, they should pay their employees that difference.