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Economic support and recovery

Innovation Pilot Program

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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

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

Ontario Small Business Support Grant
Applications are open for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which helps small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020. Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant provides businesses with funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown.

Get Support for Learners
You can get financial support to help with additional costs during the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19. Eligible parents or guardians will receive a one-time payment of:
$200 for each child up to age 12
$250 for each child or youth up to age 21 with special needs
The deadline to apply is January 15, 2021.

COVID-19: Help for businesses in Ontario
Learn about changes to government programs and available supports as your business recovers from COVID-19.

Businesses: Get help with COVID-19 costs - Find out if your business is eligible to recover costs for personal protective equipment (PPE) or for rebates to help with fixed costs, such as property tax and energy bills.

Reconnect Festival and Event Program 2020-2021
The Reconnect Festival and Event Program offers non-capital funding to in-person and online events in Ontario that: provide experiences that encourage people to travel locally and rediscover the beauty and diversity of their community; draw attendees and provide positive economic impact for the local community, the region and the province; create job opportunities for Ontarians, particularly in the tourism, culture and entertainment sectors; and increase Ontario’s profile through media and/or broadcast exposure to generate interest in future travel to the province once it is safe to do so again.

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.

Francophone Community Grants Program: As was done last year, applications must be submitted through the Transfer Payment Ontario portal. Applications are open from June 24 to August 5, 2020 and projects must be implemented between October 15, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

COVID-19 response framework: keeping Ontario safe and open - Read how we’re keeping Ontario safe and open, including regional health measures and sector-specific public health and workplace safety measures.

Government of Canada

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) - The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they're sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) - The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they're sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) - The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

CMF COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund: Phase 2 - The Department of Canadian Heritage announced Phase 2 of the Emergency Support Fund on July 7, 2020. This phase aims to support Canada’s live music industry as well as recording studios and other companies and organizations that did not receive funding under Phase 1. FACTOR will be launching Phase 2 support in two steps. They are now accepting applications from venues, booking agents, artist managers and for-profit festivals. The deadline to apply is July 29, 2020.

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. Starting on Friday, December 4, 2020, eligible businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access a second 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.

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 - Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID‑19.

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.

Essential Services Contingency Reserve - Organizations that provide essential services may request access to the Government of Canada’s Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR). Through the ESCR, eligible essential service business or organizations may apply to receive personal protective equipment (PPE), non-medical masks and disinfection products to address urgent, short-term (45 days) needs. Supplies are provided on a cost-recovery basis to businesses or organizations that cannot access supplies through other means and when significant service disruptions are imminent. Support provided to provincial or territorial governments will not be cost recovered. The ESCR will begin operations on August 3, 2020, when you may register your organization.

Managing your business during COVID-19

Additional Resources

Tourism Relief and Investment Program
The Tourism Relief and Investment Program (TRIP) provides one-time, non-repayable funding support of up to $20,000 to eligible francophone, Indigenous, rural and semi-urban tourism businesses in the Ottawa region (Renfrew – Lanark – Ottawa – Prescott-Russell corridor). This program has been developed in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to ensure our industry can effectively meet the evolving health, safety and experience needs of residents and visitors.

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 Digital Main Street:
Digital Main Street, It’s not one-size–fits–all. Every small business is dealing with different challenges. You might need to build a website. Introduce a point of sale system. Create promo videos or take high–end photos for Instagram sales. Attract new customers with digital marketing campaigns. With all the above – we’re here to help. We designed our new services for all kinds of local businesses, from owners of retail stores, plumbing companies, auto-mechanic shops, art studios, and restaurants, to home-based businesses and more.

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.

The Recovery Activation Program - Part of the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Reimagining Recovery Framework, the Recovery Activation Program (RAP) is an immersive online workshop program that connects businesses with industry experts for guidance, mentorship and practical advice about process modernization and end-to-end digital transformation. (English only)

Updates from the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada

Planning applications and building permits during COVID-19

Café permits, Patio permits, and Vending on the right of way