Why are we asking for your help?
Ottawa’s small businesses continue to struggle, and as we approach the holiday and winter season, they need our support more than ever. Livelihoods are at stake as Provincial restrictions have reduced customer traffic and sales volumes and forced business owners to make hard choices to reduce operating hours and lay-off staff.
Local businesses are essential to Ottawa’s economic health and contribute to the vibrancy of our main streets and neighbourhoods. Despite demonstrating incredibly resiliency in the face of unprecedented challenges, small businesses owners are worried about the future and their ability to survive the next several months. The financial toll is significant and the toll on mental health is concerning.
Small businesses have a long journey ahead to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic and are counting on our continued support.
What are we asking you to do?
As an employer and leader in the community, we are calling on you to rally your employees and generate even more support for small retail, restaurant and service businesses through the holiday and winter season to ensure they can continue serving our community.
There are many ways to support local businesses based on individual circumstances from purchasing holiday gifts in-store to ordering take-out and delivery from a neighbourhood restaurant to leaving a glowing review online.
Where can I find information on the Employer Outreach Campaign?
We encourage you to access this simple toolkit of creative content to generate employee messaging and encourage support for small businesses.
Where can I find information on small businesses in my neighbourhood?
For more information on small businesses in your neighbourhood, contact one of the many organizations that represent small businesses in Ottawa, including Business Improvement Areas, the Ottawa Board of Trade, and Regroupement des gens d'affaires.
What are some safe ways for employees/individuals to support local businesses?
There are several ways individuals can support local businesses, including:
- Ordering take-out or going to restaurant on a day you would normally dine at home
- Doing your holiday, birthday or other special occasion shopping at a local store or buying gift cards for local services, entertainment, etc.
- Purchasing food and beverages locally for virtual holiday celebrations and other special occasions
- Leaving a review online if you have a wonderful meal or receive exceptional customer service at a restaurant, store, or personal service provider
- Spreading the word and encouraging your family and friends to also support local businesses
- Posting your experiences to social media using the #I♥SmallBiz
Remember to ask your employees to follow public health best practices when shopping or dining in person and to consider alternatives like delivery or curbside pick-up. Employees should plan their trips outside of the home to limit the number of stops, shop during off-peak hours if possible, and shop alone or with one other household member. Please encourage employees to follow these recommended precautions and be COVID Wise to help keep COVID-19 under control.
What are some creative ways my company can collectively support local businesses?
Companies in Ottawa can help support local businesses by:
- Issuing a challenge to employees like “613 Acts of Kindness” or “5 Days of Local Support” and celebrating their contributions online or in employee communications
- Purchasing locally for employee holiday gift exchanges
- Purchasing food and beverages locally for virtual holiday get togethers
- Launching a voluntary giving initiative to support a neighbourhood food bank or charitable organization
- Using the tools provided in the toolkit, including social media posts, video, etc.
Who can I contact if I have any questions related to this effort and to supporting small businesses in Ottawa?
If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Steve Willis (General Manager, Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development, City of Ottawa) at Stephen.Willis@ottawa.ca