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Economic support and recovery

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

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.’’

Impacted City Services

Interim Property Tax Grace Period for All Property Owners

The interim tax bills, which represent 50 per cent of the previous year’s tax bill, were mailed to property owners in mid-February with payment to the City of Ottawa due Thursday, March 19, 2020. The City will be extending a payment grace period to April 15, 2020, pending approval at the March 25, 2020 Council meeting or at the earliest available opportunity. It is important to note that property owners who are enrolled in pre-authorized debit plans are not affected by the grace period and do not need to take any action. More information on property tax bills can be found on the Taxes homepage on ottawa.ca.

New 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program

In recognition of the evolving uncertainty for residents and small businesses related to COVID-19, Mayor Watson will bring forth a motion to City Council seeking approval of a new 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for City of Ottawa residential property owners and small business property owners (assessed property value of up to $7.5 M) that have been financially affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a targeted support program, and the identified commercial property value threshold of up to $7.5 M will help the City assist the majority of small business owners without providing financial assistance to those who do not require it. Revenue Services has chosen not to impose a cap on the assessed value for residential property owners, since many circumstances resulting from this pandemic could lead to residents’ difficulty in remitting municipal taxes on time. To qualify, an account would need to have been paid up to date before the interim tax installment. The full details of the Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program will be provided to Council for approval on March 25, 2020 or at the earliest available opportunity. If approved, the deferral application will be available online and would extend the interim (March 19) and final (June 18) tax due dates to October 30, 2020. The motion will define the criteria of property owner eligibility.

Tax and Water Bill Deferral Program for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

The City of Ottawa already offers two deferral programs for property taxes for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Under these existing programs, eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of their annual property taxes. The City also offers a deferral program for water utility bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for a deferral of their water utility bills. Applying for both programs on ottawa.ca

Water Service

The City of Ottawa has suspended all water service disconnections due to non-payment until further notice.

Farm Grant Program

The Farm Grant Program provides financial relief to working farmers. The grant program will assist eligible farm property owners by allowing the June final tax installment to be paid in December 8, 2020, as already prescribed. More information on the program and eligibility can be found on ottawa.ca.

Alternate Payment Options

The City is taking steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and wants to remind residents that the City offers several ways to pay water bills and property taxes, including:

  • My Service Ottawa portal
  • Telephone and online banking through your financial institution
  • Credit or debit card online at ottawa.ca
  • Pre-authorized debit
  • By mail

On-Street Parking

All overtime parking, signed or unsigned, will no longer be enforced on residential streets until further notice. This is to encourage and support residents to stay at home to further prevent the spread of COVID-19. All other parking restrictions remain in effect, such as No Stopping, No Parking, Fire Route, Accessible Parking, Hydrants, Sidewalks to maintain emergency access and traffic flow.

Food and Meal Donations Factsheet

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) wants to help you avoid the risk of food related illness. The website factsheet provides great information on food donations to communities or families in need. 

Guidance for Food Premises Delivery and Takeout

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is recommending that any food premises (including restaurants, take out, take out counters, drive-thru, bakeries, fast food establishments, etc.) delivering food and/or providing take out during the COVID-19 pandemic take added precautions to protect their health and the health of those around them. 

Social Distancing

Ensure that you keep two-meter distance from others

Planning and Heritage Applications Procedure Update

The continued health and safety of our staff and stakeholders remains a top priority; as well as ensuring we are providing ongoing services to our stakeholders. The Government of Ontario has enacted a declaration of emergency, and with the recent Municipal Emergency Act, 2020, unanimously passed the City has the ability to move paper processes to electronic submissions. Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development (PIED) has implemented the following changes and will continue to review items as they arise during these fast-changing times. PIED is modifying its ‘Continuity of Operations’ plans to meet the current evolving situation. Further information will be provided on Ottawa.ca to explain adjusted methods and services to help continue your required business with the City.

Please Note: these change only relate to Planning Applications and/or Heritage Applications but do not apply to Building Permit Applications.

Electronic submission of Planning Applications and/or Heritage Applications:

  • Electronic submission of planning applications will be accepted going forward (please send to the File Lead or the Planning Circulations inbox: planningcirculations@ottawa.ca)
  • Electronic submission of heritage applications will be accepted going forward (please send to the File Lead or the heritage inbox: heritage@ottawa.ca)
  • Any additional steps in the approval process will also be completed electronically, except for required legislated hard copies. The courier services at the City of Ottawa are still unaffected at this time and can continue to be used (Open from 8am – 4pm).
  • City of Ottawa buildings are closed to the public, and the PIED service counters have been closed (City Hall, Ben Franklin Place, Kanata, Centrepointe, Kinburn, Metcalfe, Mary Pitt Centre, Orléans)
  • Development, Water, and road cut field inspections continue
  • PIED is exploring all options to ensure business can continue. While staff will start the review of applications submitted digitally, paper copies of certain plans or legislatively required documentation may be requested in the future. Your File Lead will make arrangements to obtain these documents on a case by case basis.

Payments

There are two methods, one is a drop-box located at 100 Constellation Dr. and the other is using an electronic fund transfer:

Drop Box Payments:

All Client Service Centres have been closed, PIED has made arrangements to allow payments to be dropped off at the Provincial offences fine payment drop box which is located on the exterior of 100 Constellation building, to the left of the front doors. If submitting payment in the drop box, please advise your File lead by email as well.

When arriving at 100 Constellation’s main doors, there is an ‘exit only door’ to the left. Beside the door is a drop box for Provincial Offences Fine Payments – please deposit envelopes in the drop box and they will be picked up. NOTE: This drop box is for payment only, not for plans or other documents related to your submission, the submissions must be done online, and you must indicate the application number and the amount of payment.

The following MUST be on your envelope or it will not be processed:

Your Company Name
Application Number
City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue
Mail Code: 01-10

Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) Payments:

Please ensure that Rose Kieley is notified of any EFT by email at Rose.Kieley@ottawa.ca, and copy the File Lead. The email must include the application number and the amount transferred to allow staff to appropriately track the funds. Note: if you are not set up for an EFT, you can still submit your application electronically, ensure to note this when submitting to the inbox. PIED will reach out to you for next steps on how to set this up.

Banking information to use when transferring funds is as follows.

  • Name on account: City of Ottawa
  • Address: 100 Constellation Crescent
  • Bank Name: Royal Bank of Canada
  • Bank Address: 90 Sparks St, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Bank Phone number: 514-874-6730
  • Bank Transit # (5 digits): 00006
  • Institution # (3 digits): 003
  • Account number: 0000380

Please note that above instructions apply to planning applications and heritage applications, and do not apply to building permit applications. Further information will be provided with respect to building permits at a later date.

The City of Ottawa is closely monitoring the situation and listening to the recommendations of Ottawa Public Health, industry experts and other levels of government. We are adjusting and revising our continuity of operations plan to adjust to the fluidity of the current situation. This is a direct result of the proactive and innovative steps we are taking to ensure continuity of service while ensuring the health and safety of staff, residents, and stakeholders. City staff are available and able to assist.

Thank you,

Stephen Willis, MCIP, RPP
General Manager 

Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development 
City of Ottawa 
110 Laurier Avenue West 
Ottawa (Ontario) K1P 1J1
613-580-2424, ext 16150
FAX: 613-560-1273
Email: Stephen.Willis@ottawa.ca

Submitting Building Permit Applications and the Issuance of Building Permits during COVID-19

Building Code Services has been working diligently to address emerging issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak and most recently the provincially enacted declaration of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public. Currently all Client Service Center counter services are closed. As a result, Building Code Services is providing the following alternate service delivery for building permits:

Submitting Building Permit Applications

Clients can submit their complete Application submission packages with payment (cheque) via Courier to:

City of Ottawa- Building Code Services
100 Constellation Drive
Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8

Alternatively, smaller applications can be submitted online via buildingpermits@ottawa.ca.

Issuance of Building Permits

Clients should contact Building Code Services at 613-580-2424 ext. 29312 or e-mail buildingpermits@ottawa.ca.

In the interest of maintaining the health and safety of residents, clients and staff, inspection requests will be prioritized and or deferred.

Building Inspections

BCS Inspections staff will not enter occupied areas of the following building types for the purposes of carrying out their duties:

  • Personal dwellings, including homes, apartments and condo units
  • Long-term care facilities, seniors’ residences and retirement homes
  • Hospitals
  • Daycare facilities

Permit Holders are encouraged to speak directly with their assigned inspector regarding options for an in-person inspection.

Further questions relating to permit processing or inspections can be forwarded to buildingpermits@ottawa.ca or call 613-580-2424 ext. 29312 and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

We are committed to keeping all clients informed during this time of uncertainty and encourage you to visit Ottawa.ca regularly for future updates.

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 ottawapolice.ca.

  • 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 businesslicensing@ottawa.ca.

Licensees wishing to renew, may submit any required documentation to the above email address. Check Ottawa.ca 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 30th

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 30th, 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

Support for Businesses and Workers

  • Employment Insurance: The Government of Canada will waive the one-week waiting period for people who are in quarantine or have been directed to self-isolate and are claiming for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
  • Work-Sharing Program The Government of Canada will also introduce enhancements to the program to earmark an estimated of $12 million to help employers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, and their workers.
  • Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - Information for industry. 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • WSIB Financial Relief Package: The financial relief package allows businesses to defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. Businesses who report and pay monthly, quarterly or annually based on their insurable earnings are eligible for this deferral.
  • 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.

Government of Ontario COVID-19 Updates and Response

Government of Ontario Updates

Learn how the Ministry of Health is helping to keep Ontarians safe during the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak. Find out how to protect yourself and how to recognize symptoms.

  • Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to Covid-19. Given the global uncertainty during an unprecedented public health crisis, economic outlooks are changing at a rapid pace. In order to provide a financial update that is as current as possible, the government of Ontario is releasing a one-year economic and fiscal update that is based on the best information available.

Ontario Together: Help fight Coronavirus 

We welcome help from businesses and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support our response to COVID-19.

 

Government of Canada COVID-19 Updates and Response

Community Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • Eligible businesses are those whose revenues decreased >30 % regardless of number of employees.
  • Applies to non-profits and charities and big and small companies.
  • If you work for an eligible company, you will receive up to 75% of your salary on the first $58,700 (to a maximum of $847/week) backdated to March 15.
  • Technical documents being prepared and will be available shortly.

Additional Support for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19: The Government of Canada is making additional investments to support Canadian businesses from the economic impacts of COVID-19. These new investments provide support to financial institutions and allow them to quickly provide credit and liquidity options for a range of businesses. These measures are a part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which provides direct support and tax deferrals to Canadian workers and businesses to help them in these difficult times.

Government of Canada COVID-19 General Page 

Government of Canada Support for Canadians 

Government of Canada Support for Businesses 

Federal Government Updates

Canada Revenue Agency

Helping Canadians with the Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has developed this page to provide updates on the fiscal measures taken by the Agency to help Canadians manage their tax and benefit affairs as this situation evolves. This page will be updated as new information is available.

Calling all Suppliers

Help Canada combat Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

In support of the Government of Canada’s whole-of-government response to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we are asking suppliers about their ability to provide products and services.