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Economic support and recovery

Innovation Pilot Program

Recovery Stream - process and timeline, funding, evaluation, application form, projects underway…

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Statement from Mayor Watson following a call with leaders of Ottawa’s business community

‘’Through these very challenging times, we must come together to find ways to support Ottawa’s small businesses, restaurants, tourism operators and special events – as well as their employees, who are all hurting deeply as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following a call with the heads of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), the Ottawa Board of Trade, le Regroupement des gens d’affaires, Ottawa Tourism and Ottawa Festival Network, I have struck an Economic Partners Task Force, which I will co-chair with Councillor El-Chantiry, a former small business owner and the Mayor’s representative with BIAs. The Task Force will advise our staff in many departments on how the City can help the business community as the pandemic evolves.

Ottawa is fortunate to have a number of proactive and credible business organizations who will be valued partners and contributors in these efforts. The Economic Partners Task Force will be composed of the following leaders of our 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
  • Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa
  • Bruce Harvey, Ottawa Film Commissioner, Ottawa Film Office
  • Jamie Kwong, Executive Director, Ottawa Music Coalition

City staff are currently assessing ways the City can help small business owners get through this crisis. The Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development team will be leading this initiative and working with the Task Force to maintain open lines of communication, as well as assess and roll-out a number of measures to support locally-owned shops and restaurants.

For its part, Finance is evaluating if the City is in a position to enact tax deferral measures that would help some small businesses manage their cash flow and payroll obligations.

The City of Ottawa is committed to working with all its economic development partners over the coming weeks, as we help support our restaurants and small business owners get through this pandemic. We will also be there to help with the economic recovery once our community overcomes these challenging times for all.’’

Resources for businesses and workers

City of Ottawa

2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program
Financially affected residential and commercial property owners with an assessed property value of up to $7.5 million can apply to defer payment of 2020 property taxes to October 31, 2020.

Property Tax and Water Utility Deferral Programs
Deferral programs to assist low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.

Farm Grant Program
Program to assist eligible farm property owners by deferring the June 2020 final tax installment to December.

Corporate Real Estate
Rental adjustment for businesses renting space within a closed City facility; the adjustment will reflect the amount of time facilities remain closed

Impacted City Facilities and Services

Guidance for Farmer’s Markets - Farmer’s Markets have been deemed an essential business, under the current Order from the Province of Ontario. The following information will provide direction when used in combination with the Farmers’ Market’s of Ontario (FMO) protocols. Please note that market organizers require landowner permission to operate while Provincial orders in place. Market organizers must also contact Ottawa Public Health to review their plans before operating.


Province of Ontario

Interest and Penalty Relief for Businesses
A five-month relief period for businesses unable to file or remit select provincial taxes on time.

WSIB Financial Relief Package
Financial relief package allows businesses to defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. Businesses reporting/paying monthly, quarterly or annually based on insurable earnings are eligible.

Ontario Energy Board: Temporary Changes to Time-of-Use Rates
Effective March 24, 2020, Ontario announced temporary 45-day emergency relief. Households, farms and small businesses paying Time-of-Use electricity rates will pay the lowest rate or off-peak rate (10.1 cents/kWh) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Get support for families
While schools and childcare centres are closed, parents can apply for direct funding to offset the cost of buying materials to support their children’s learning, while they practice self-isolation and physical distancing. Eligible parents will receive a one-time per child payment.

Agriculture and food jobs in Ontario - If you’re looking for a new professional opportunity and the chance to make a difference during this COVID-19 outbreak, this is a one-stop-shop that highlights employment openings and training resources in Ontario’s agriculture and food sector.

Agri-Food Open for E-Business - Targeted Intake: The Governments of Canada and Ontario are supporting the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors to capture online e-business opportunities that will help create new, expanded or enhanced markets and open new retail channels to help generate new revenue streams for future growth. The Agri-Food Open for E-Business targeted intake will help businesses/organizations quickly expand their marketing channels and respond to new market challenges, increase online sales in the sector and provide consumers with access to more local food.


Government of Canada

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) - The LEEFF program will be open to large for-profit businesses—with the exception of those in the financial sector—as well as certain not-for-profit businesses, such as airports, with annual revenues generally in the order of $300 million or higher. To qualify for LEEFF support, eligible businesses must be seeking financing of $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Canada Emergency Business Account
The Canada Emergency Business Account will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada. Loans available up to $40,000 with zero interest payable in year 1.

SME Loan and Guarantee program
Up to $6.25 million available through either stream for approved applicants.

Employment Insurance Benefits and Leave
Employment Insurance benefits and leave information for workers, families, fishers and sickness available as well as how to apply and submit a report.

Canada Child Benefit
An extra $300 per child provided through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-2020 period. This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May 2020.

CRA and COVID-19 Income Tax Filing and Payment Dates
Penalties and interest will not be charged if the deferred payment requirements are met by September 1, 2020. Penalties and interest relief will be considered on a case-by-case basis for income tax balances that are not covered by COVID-19 relief provisions.

Work-Sharing Program
Helps avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. Provides EI benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - Information for industry (link is external). The agriculture and agri-food sector plays a critical role in distributing safe, high-quality food to Canadians. Maintaining the integrity of the agri-food supply chain during an emergency is essential for all Canadians.

Resources for Canadian Businesses
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. During this extraordinary time, the Government of Canada is taking strong action to help Canadian businesses as COVID-19 is affecting them, their employees and their families.

Canadian Business Resilience Network - In partnership with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce established the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery.

Deferral of GST/HST Tax Remittances - The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until the end of June 2020, any GST/HST payments or remittances that become owing on or after March 27, 2020, and before June 2020. This means that no interest will apply if your payments or remittances are made by the end of June 2020.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program - We intend to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses that, will seek to provide loans and/or forgivable loans to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.

NRC IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) - On April 17, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $250 million in funding for the Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) to assist Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). IRAP IAP provides a wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks. SMEs pursuing technology-driven innovation who have been unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are eligible and can apply for financial assistance under IRAP IAP. The call for applications will close Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund - The Fund will help to mitigate the financial pressure experienced by businesses and organizations to allow them to continue their operations, including paying their employees; support projects by businesses, organizations and communities to prepare now for a successful recovery.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) - The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).

Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) - As part of the larger pan-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program is participating in a multi-departmental initiative seeking innovative solutions to help in the fight. In order to assist in this effort, IDEaS has launched its first set of COVID-19 related challenges.

Additional Resources

Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Resources for COVID-19: CFA has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it relates to Canadian Agriculture. We will be providing our members with weekly updates on the virus as information emerges. Please check this page regularly for resources on the virus.

The Canadian Agricultural HR Council
Information and Tips on COVID-19: Keeping up to date with COVID-19 details and recommended protocols is challenging for everyone at this time. CAHRC is here to help. We have created a dedicated webpage with the latest information, recommendations, employee management tips, tools (posters, policies) and links to authorities. We will also continue to share relevant news articles through our Newsfeed. These details will help you respond to the pandemic and limit the impact and spread of COVID-19 within your business.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce
COVID-19 Business Resilience: 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.

Ottawa Board of Trade
COVID-19 Guidance and Resources

Invest Ottawa COVID-19 Response and Resources
Welcome to out COVID-19 page which aims to equip our companies and community with key information, tools and support.

Farm Credit Canada
To ensure producers, agribusinesses and food processors can remain focused on business-critical functions, FCC has put customer support programs in place

Canada Council for the Arts - Artists, groups or organizations can either adapt their existing work or create a new work for digital dissemination to the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital Originals offers a $5,000 micro innovation grant from the Canada Council.

Business closure best practices during COVID-19 pandemic

With many of you closing in the coming days, we would like to provide you with some best practices to ensure that your business remains safe and secure in this challenging time. Additional information can be found at

  • Keep the lights on
  • Remove ALL cash and receipts
  • Do not leave any valuables clearly visible or accessible
  • All safes and tills should be emptied and moved off-site for safe storage
  • All ATM's should be emptied and moved off-site for safe storage
  • Keep all cash drawers open to show that nothing is in the drawers
  • All alcohol products should be removed from bars and put in secured storage areas (no alcohol left visible from outside)
  • Consider posting NO CASH or Valuables on Premises signage
  • Deactivate all scheduled FOB door openings (ie. Cleaners, deliveries etc.)
  • Disconnect all kitchen gas lines from their gas source
  • Make regular site visits to monitor your shop/business and to manage inventory and storage conditions (consider scattering the times this is done to not establish a pattern)

Procedures during facility closures for new business licenses and business license renewals

While Client Service Centres and the Business Licensing Centre at 735 Industrial Avenue are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, services continue to be offered for new business licenses and business license renewals,

Effective March 23, those wishing to obtain a new business license are asked to complete the general business licensing application form. The completed form, along with all required documents for the specific licensing category may be emailed to

Licensees wishing to renew, may submit any required documentation to the above email address. Check for updates on expiry dates which may be extended given the current circumstances.

Payment for new or renewed licenses will be accepted by phone (credit card) or by mail (cheque). If opting to pay by phone, you will be contacted with further instructions.

Please note, inspections have been postponed. Licensees who require an inspection will be contacted with more information.

Please contact the Business Licensing Centre at 613-580-2424 ext. 12735 with any questions.

For those wishing to obtain a noise exemption, please visit the Noise Exemption webpage.

License renewal period for several types of businesses extended until June 30

On March 25, 2020, City Council voted to permit the extension of the renewal period for business licenses, to support local businesses during this difficult time.

The renewal period for the following types of business licenses will be extended until June 30, 2020:

  • Amusement Place
  • Auctioneer
  • Body-rub parlour
  • Food Premises
  • Kennels (Boarding, In-home Breeding, Recreational)
  • Public Garage
  • Rickshaw Owner, Operator
  • Rooming House
  • Second Hand Goods Shop
  • Taxicab: Drivers, Plate Holders, Brokers

Calendar of business webinars

May 26, 2020

May 27, 2020

May 28, 2020

May 29, 2020

June 4, 2020

June 8, 2020

June 9, 2020

June 11, 2020

June 16, 2020

June 17, 2020

June 23, 2020

Updates from the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada

Planning applications and building permits during COVID-19