COVID-19 Information for Businesses

Supporting Outdoor Dining

The City of North Bay has waived all fees for the 2020 season (up to and including Oct. 13) associated with the creation of new or expanded outdoor patio spaces to help support local businesses as they prepare to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the folowing guidlines for details about requirments for all locations. 

 

COVID – 19 Information for Businesses


The City has established a hotline at 705-474-0626 ext. 2417 and email address invest@investinnorthbay.ca as a means of providing further assistance. Businesses can contact the hotline between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be connected with a member of the Economic Development team.

 

LOCAL UPDATES:

City of North Bay Impacted Services Updates (COVID -19)

 

North Bay Hydro understands the potential for hardship that COVID-19 may create.  If you are experiencing hardship, contact the customer service department at 705-474-8100 or by email: customerservice@northbayhydro.com

 

PROVINCIAL UPDATES:

Government of Ontario COVID-19:

 

The Province of Ontario has started with phase 3 of the reopening. For full details visit the  website, and see the linked document for additional information.

 

COVID Alert available for download

Privacy-First, Made-in-Ontario App Notifies Users of Potential Exposure to COVID-19.

 

The Ontario government is implementing additional measures for restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments. In order to keep patrons of restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments safe, the amended orders will implement the following measures:

  1. All patrons will be required to be seated at all times, in both indoor and outdoor areas, with limited exceptions.
  2. Bars and restaurants (and also tour boat operators) in Ontario will be required to keep client logs for a period of 30 days and to disclose the client logs to the medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request, which will support case and contact tracing.

iii. Complementary changes are being made in respect of existing provisions relating to tour operators and tour boat operators.

Businesses and sectors unable to open or facing significant difficulties in operating under the current restrictions are invited to visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal. Businesses are also encouraged to use the government’s guide to develop a workplace safety plan.  For questions on restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, review the Stage 3 Emergency Order on the emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1 888 444-3659.

 

The Ontario government  launches the Ontario Made program from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). This  program will promote the many world-class goods that are made across the province by helping consumers easily identify, access and purchase local products. Businesses and consumers are encouraged to visit   SupportOntarioMade.ca. and  Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

 

The government of Ontario is providing up to $10 million to Indigenous-owned small and medium sized businesses to help them with much needed capital as the province begins to safely and gradually reopen the economy.

 

o  Loans of up to $50,000 will be available to businesses that are either ineligible for, or unable to access, existing federal and provincial COVID-19 response initiatives for small businesses.

o The funding is being delivered through the Support for People and Jobs Fund.

o Loans will be available through Aboriginal Financial Institutions.

  1. Up to 50% of each loan will be in the form of a non-repayable grant, with no interest due on the loan portion until December 31, 2022.
  2. Businesses may use these funds to cover general expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities and taxes.

iii. They may also be used towards increasing production capacity, developing new products, moving to online marketing, or to make improvements to accommodate social distancing requirements, such as the installation of plexiglass barriers

 

Ontario's driver testing services provider, DriveTest, will begin to gradually offer limited driver testing services in a staggered, phased approach across the province. Driver Examination services will be reintroduced in three phases until full services are restored this fall. Effective August 4, the following services will be available:

  • Road-testing for G2 driver licences
  • Road-testing for all motorcycle licences
  • Commercial driver road testing will expand to the remaining 22 DriveTest locations across Ontario that road test commercial drivers.
  • Part-time Travel Point locations will resume driver examination services as locations become available for the public's use.

 

For more information, visit:

https://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2020/06/ontario-gradually-reopens- drivetest-centres.html

 

 

The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform.

Businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

iii. 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.

 

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. Along with the  Digital Main Street platform, the province is investing an additional $150 million in rural broadband which will help open the digital road for many Ontario small businesses.

 

For more information, visit: digitalmainstreet.ca/ontario

 

Ontario Proposing Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions

The Ontario government has announced that it intends to act 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.

  1. If passed, the proposed legislation would make it illegal to evict a commercial tenant until August 31, 2020.
  2. The legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020.

 

In partnership with the federal government, Ontario is committing $241 million to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses which is providing more than $900 million in support.

  1. The government has announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will be extended by one month to help eligible small business pay rent for August. CECRA for small businesses provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial landlords to help cover 50 per cent of commercial rent for tenants
  2. The tenant will be responsible for covering up to 25 per cent of rent, so that up to 75 per cent of the rent is covered. Tenants and landlords can learn how much they may be eligible for by visiting Ontario.ca/rentassistance.

 

The Ontario government has enacted a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19. This will ensure businesses are not forced to terminate employees after their Employment Standards Act temporary layoff periods have expired.

  1. Terminations triggered when temporary layoffs exceed the permitted length under the Employment Standards Act can result in costly payouts which, for many businesses, could be the difference between survival and closure.
  2. Under the new regulatory change to the Employment Standards Act, non-unionized employees who have had their hours reduced or eliminated because of the pandemic will be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave.

iii. Workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs.

  1. The regulatory amendment applies retroactively to March 1, 2020 and will expire six weeks after the declared emergency ends.
  2. The regulatory amendments do not include employees represented by a trade union.

9 – Provincial

The province is investing in Ontario's first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and is helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools.

 

Additional Resources

 

Additional Resources

 

Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines. The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, in partnership with Ontario's health and safety associations, has released over 60 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for curbside pickup and delivery services.

Business owners should review the guidelines and consult with local public health officials to ensure they have the information they need to protect workers, customers and the general public.

 

Additional Resources

  1. Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak
  2. Ministry of Health's Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces

iii. Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines

 

  • Support for Industrial and Commercial Electricity Consumers. The Ontario Government is taking steps to defer a portion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for industrial and commercial electricity consumers that do not participate in the Regulated Price Plan for the period starting from April 2020. This initiative is intended to provide companies with temporary immediate relief on their monthly electricity bills.

For details, visit the website.

 

  • Launch of a $50M Ontario Together website that will help businesses and their employees work with the Province to meet the challenges of COVID-19.

The Ontario Together Fund assists businesses as they provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment.

 

  • The Regional Opportunities Investment Credit will introduce a new 10% refundable Corporate Income Tax credit for capital investments and is available only in rural areas of the province, including the District of Nipissing.

 

  • Tax Measures: effective April 1, 2020, penalties and interest will not apply to Ontario’s businesses that miss any filing or remittance deadlines under select provincially administered taxes. This will continue for a period of five months, up until August 31, 2020, under the following provincially administered tax programs:
  • Employer Health Tax;
  • Tobacco Tax;
  • Fuel Tax;
  • Gas Tax;
  • Beer, Wine and Spirits Taxes;
  • Mining Tax;
  • Insurance Premium Tax;
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement;
  • Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts and Benefit Plans; and
  • Race Tracks Tax.

 

The interest and penalty relief period is available to all Ontario businesses that are required to file returns and make remittances under these tax programs. During the relief period, penalties and interest will not apply to late returns or remittances made under these tax programs. This initiative complements the relief from interest and penalties from not remitting Corporate Income Tax owing that was announced by the federal government on March 18, 2020.

  • New online portal connecting workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. This tool will match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain. ca/AgFoodJobs provides access to information on job opportunities and training resources in all parts of Ontario's food supply chain - from grocery retailers to bakeries and cheese processing plants to opportunities on farms.

 

  • Support for individuals and families in financial crisis. This funding will support those who are not able to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food costs, rent, medicine and other essential services during this time. Individuals can apply online for assistance.

 

  • The Ontario Government has launched 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. Details can be found online.

 

FEDERAL UPDATES:

Government of Canada COVID-19: 

Federal government’s programming and support for business has been made available through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

 

The Government of Canada has launched a new web hub to bring together available resources for organizations buying and selling personal protective equipment (PPE). The Supply Hub connects Canadian organizations from coast to coast to coast with federal, provincial, territorial and other resources and information about PPE, including consumer guidance.

 

Now accepting applications for the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) which will provide financing support to small and medium-sized businesses that are not eligible for the measures already announced or that have specific needs, through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).

 

Programs for Northern Ontario (FedNor)

 

  1. Regional economy stream in Northern Ontario

FedNor is delivering $24 million of this RRRF investment through its Regional Economic Growth Innovation program.

Eligible applicants include businesses such as incorporated companies, corporations or co-operatives, or Indigenous organizations such as Indigenous/First Nation/Métis Settlement- owned businesses, as well as various not-for-profit entities. The RRRF will support a variety of costs or activities to help SMEs and not-for-profit organizations stay solvent over a period of six months.

 

  1. Community Futures stream in Northern Ontario

FedNor is partnering with Northern Ontario’s 24 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) to deliver $25.5 million in RRRF support directly to small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural areas. This includes sole proprietorships or partnerships not covered under the Regional Economy stream. Each CFDC is managing its own application and selection process in accordance with the parameters set out in the RRRF, and will determine ultimate funding recipients in accordance with its own policies and procedures.

For full details check the website.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to help workers and businesses, including EI for self-employed. Applicants who have requested EI will not need to register for the CERB. If applying online, with direct deposit requested, applicants can expect the payment within three to five days.

The Federal 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. Application to the CERB can be made no later than December 2, 2020, for payments retroactive to the period of March 15 to October 3, 2020. The CERB will be paid every four weeks. Application details are available through CRA MyAccount and My Service Canada Account.

To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the government is announcing changes to the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For full details check the website.

 

  • Business Credit Availability Program will provide $40 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.

This program includes:

  • Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.

 

  • Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.

 

Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.

Effective May 19, 2020, the CEBA has been expanded to include many owner-operated small businesses. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come.

  • To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019, and operating as of March 1, 2020.
  • Businesses are working with their own financial institutions to access this funding. First year is interest free. Repaying the balance of the loan by December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).
  • If the loan is not repaid by December 31, 2022, the remaining balance will be converted to a three-year term loan at 5% interest.

 

The Federal government has provided additional information about The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program. Specific details about the program can be found at the website. The program has been extended until December 2020.

 

Extending the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.  The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. 

 

The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services. We are making temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to allow employers to:

  • receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
    • extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
    • adapt their projects and job activities
    • hire staff on a part-time basis

 

 

Emergency Community Support Fund

Investment of $350 million to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need.

These partners will disburse funds to local community-based organizations working with vulnerable populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, members of LGBTQ2 communities, veterans, newcomers, women, children and youth, and members of Indigenous communities and racialized communities, such as Black Canadians.

Deadline to apply was July 7, 2020.  

 

The Digital Technology Supercluster will invest in projects that support the development, deployment, scale-up and adoption of products, services or technologies that help governments, communities, employers and individual Canadians address exceptional needs created by, and effects of, COVID-19. For more information visit Digital Technology Supercluster

COV – Federal Government -Support for Businesses

The Government of Canada will provide targeted support to farmers, ranchers, agricultural producers, and food processors by:

  1. Creating a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19 so they can better supply Canadians with food during this period.
  2. Launching a national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19.

iii. Announcing the intention to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste.

  1. Launching a first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.
  2. Working with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines.
  3. Working with provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. This work with provincial and territorial partners would insure against lost production due to an insufficient workforce, should producers be unable to find enough labour to harvest.

 

The enrolment deadline for the 2020 AgriStability program was July 3, 2020. For more details, visit website.

 

The Federal Government will provide $500 million dollars to Heritage Canada to support artists, creators and rising sports stars, via the new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations. Beginning May 8th, partner organizations will be contacted so that funds can begin to flow to cultural and sport organizations.

 

Canada Revenue Agency:

 

Tax or payroll related questions – sign into CRA online account or contact CRA directly at

1-800-959-5525 or online. The Canadian Payroll Association has developed a helpful guide to the process that is available online.

 

Business Development Bank of Canada:

  • Working capital loans of up to $2M with flexible repayment terms such as principal postponements for qualifying businesses;
  • Flexible repayment terms, such as postponement of principal payments for up to 6 months, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1M or less;
  • Reduced rates on new eligible loans;

Export Development Canada:

A $10B federal Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow EDC to enhance its financing and insurance programs to ensure that financially viable impacted companies have access to the credit and support they require during the coronavirus pandemic. We are working in concert with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and private sector. Businesses can register for a MyEDC account for unlimited access to expert insights and trade information.

Major Canadian Banks & Funding Agencies: 

Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges due to COVID-19. Individual Canadians or business owners facing hardship are encouraged to contact their bank directly to discuss options that could be available to them. 

NECO is a Community Futures Development Corporation, funded by FedNor/Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada that provides loans to new and existing businesses who are planning to invest in building, equipment, training and technology.

IION Innovation Initiatives Ontario North is a Regional Innovation Centre that assists innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing companies develop and scale with Step Forward and iRAPID funding programs currently still active.

NGEN Next Generation Manufacturing Canada will invest $50M in Supercluster funding to support companies as they rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by building a Canadian supply of essential equipment, products, and therapeutics. Projects will be selected for funding according to critical needs identified by the Government of Canada and the ability of manufacturers to produce products that are safe for both patients and health care workers.

OCE (Ontario Centres of Excellence) has created the Covid-19 Collaboration Platform an online portal that allows experts, agencies and companies who have a piece of the puzzle – whether it is an asset, a technology or a product – bring their solution to market.  For companies looking for partners in response to Covid-19, please visit the OCE website to connect their initiative, to assets and collaborators across the province.

National Research Council of Canada (NRC) - COVID-19 Challenge Program.

  • This program will post challenges seeking near-to-market solutions from small and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 staff) that need financial support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to refine and sell their product or solution to meet a COVID-19 related need. Innovative Solutions Canada will launch calls for proposals over the next few weeks to address challenges, to fund development of solutions, and to buy successful products and services needed to address COVID-19.
  • Challenges haven been posted on the Innovative Solutions Canada website. Businesses which are selected to proceed will receive funding to develop a proof of concept for their solution; Phase 2 funding will be awarded to firms with the best concepts, enabling them to develop a working prototype; Federal government departments or agencies will then be able to purchase the product for use against COVID-19.

 

Additionally, NRC IRAP has been tasked to work with Canadian industry to address a range of medium‑term Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada needs, including:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Sanitization
  • Diagnostic and testing
  • Therapeutics
  • Disease tracking technology

 

If your company is involved in developing or producing any of the products or technologies listed above, please complete the online registration form with all information.

 

NRC IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) and Futurpreneur Canada – Call for Applications closed on April 29, 2020. The National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to support innovative, early-stage companies.

  • IRAP IAP provides a wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks (details on amount of subsidy not yet released).
  • Small or medium-sized businesses (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 Innovation Assistance Program is available for Canadian SMEs that are already receiving IRAP support and new applicants.

 

Helpful Links: 

Toolkits and Guides: