We will provide you with expert advice and ensure that you have all of the latest information on government announcements and available support.
During this time, we will be suspending site visits and the scheduling of in-house consultations. But we welcome businesses to reach out to our team with requests for information or support.
This page has a list of resources and relief programming available for your business during this crisis. We will continue to update the page as more information becomes available.
For additional information and support with your business.
Local COVID-19 Information
Based on the provincewide vaccination rate and continuing improvements in key public health and health system indicators, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will move the province into Step three of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.
In advance of October 22, the Ontario government is making the enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code and the free, made-in Ontario verification app, Verify Ontario, available for download. Together, these tools will make it easier, more secure and convenient for individuals to provide proof of vaccination where required to do so, and for businesses and organizations to verify vaccine certificates while protecting people’s privacy. FAQs on Enhanced Vaccine Certificates.
In keeping with the government’s cautious approach, effective Saturday, October 9, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., capacity limits will be lifted to allow 100 per cent capacity in the following settings:
- Concert venues, theatres and cinemas;
- Spectator areas of facilities for sports and recreational fitness (would not include gyms, personal training);
- Meeting and event spaces (indoor meeting and event spaces will still need to limit capacity to the number that can maintain physical distancing);
- Horseracing tracks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues; and
- Commercial film and television productions with studio audiences.
As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. This approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn and includes:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;
- Sporting events;
- Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments;
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas;
- Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs;
- Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).
Ontario will require proof of vaccination focused on indoor public settings. All Ontarians who registered their vaccines are encouraged to download their vaccine receipt as proof of their vaccine status until an enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code is available in October.
How will businesses verify digital vaccination certificates?
Ontario will develop and implement an enhanced vaccine certificate with unique QR code and accompanying verification app that will allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned. The enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22. Guidance for businesses and organizations.
Who is considered fully vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated after receiving the full series of a COVID 19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines approved by World Health Organization (e.g., two doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine series).
How can I get my proof of vaccination?
Currently, vaccine receipts are available in PDF form to be downloaded or printed to your computer, phone or tablet. Ontarians who received their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine out of province should contact their local public health unit to record their information and receive proper documentation. Both proof of identity along with proof of vaccination will be required. Individuals can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.
How do I prove I am fully vaccinated if I am from out of province or out of country?
Individuals visiting from outside the province or the country will be required to show their full vaccination status and identification to enter prescribed settings.
Ontario will develop and provide additional tools to improve user experience, efficiency, and business supports in the coming weeks, including ensuring verification of fully vaccinated individuals from outside of province or country.
What will happen on September 22nd? What will happen on October 22nd?
As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination as well as proof of identity (such a driver’s licence or health card) to access certain public settings and facilities.
An enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.
In settings where you have to be vaccinated to attend, is recent negative test sufficient to attend if you are unvaccinated?
A negative COVID-19 test or recent COVID-19 infection will not entitle a person to enter these settings, with narrow time-limited exceptions for testing. For the period between September 22 and October 12, 2021, it is intended that people attending wedding or funeral receptions at meeting or event spaces will be able to provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test from no more than 48 hours before the event as an alternative to proof of vaccination. These rapid antigen tests would have to be privately purchased. The only exemptions are for unvaccinated people with medical exemptions and people under 12 years old will also be permitted to enter these settings.
Will people with medical exemptions be allowed to access settings requiring proof of vaccination?
The only exemptions permitted to enter these settings are for unvaccinated people with medical exemptions and people under 12 years old. Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted with a doctor’s note until the medical exemption can be integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate.
Learn more about proof of vaccination
If I am offering online sales or take out/delivery how can I get the message out that I’m open?
I really want to move to more online sales but have no idea where to start, can I get help with this?
There are many ways to sell your products and service online. Strategies for how to get started will vary based on your industry and products. The best way to get started is to start, however that looks for your business. We’ve listed some resources to help get you started on our Go Digital page.
ShopHERE creates online stores for independent small businesses and artists at no cost.
Contact Chris Morris for support:
Digital Business Advisor
I think I have an idea to help with the fight against COVID or a new support mechanism for local businesses. Where do I take this?
Contact one of our Business Development Officers for a walk-through available R&D support and to connect with community organizations and contacts.
Business Development Officer
I could really use some extra eyes on my financial forecasting for my business future. Where can I get help?
Our Small Business Advisors are available to help you with financial overviews. Please contact Norman to set up a meeting.
Small Business Advisor
I’m looking to connect with like mind entrepreneurs to discuss the current climate and do some virtual networking, how do I connect with other businesses?
We have a vast network of business contacts in the region, we would be more than happy to connect you with others who come from varying backgrounds and length of time in business. Our small business advisors would be happy to help connect you and even set up virtual meeting’s in the near future.
I am a solopreneur, what funding is available for me to apply to?
If you have received an income of at least $5,000 in 2019, you are eligible to apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). If you are not eligible for CERB, you may be qualified for the Ontario Emergency Assistance.
If you're having a problem accessing these funds, contact:
MP Gerretsen’s Office
613 542 3243
I do not need financial support now, should I still apply to the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)?
If you anticipate that you might need financial support, it will not hurt to apply to BCAP. There is also a $10,000 forgiveness if you repay $30,000 before December 31, 2022.
Contact your financial institution directly for support.
What programs are available to hire students?
The Career Ready Program: is a project funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) and is administered by TECHNATION. Briefly, this project seeks to address the talent gap in the tech sector by developing Work Integrated Learning (WIL) initiatives, and many other projects by covering up to 70% of gross wages for Canadian companies and scale-ups that leverage student talent during the COVID 19 pandemic.
For SMEs, MITACS is boosting their Accelerate Program funding to 75% of a project’s cost from 50%.
The Government of Canada has announced $263 million in funding to the Canada Summer Jobs Program to help Canada’s small businesses that depend on the employment of young Canadians.
I am a business owner, what programs are available to help with commercial rent?
Businesses are encouraged to speak to their landlords to apply for the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA).
If you have questions or concerns contact:
MPP Arthur's Office
613 547 2385
I’m a sole proprietor and only have a personal chequing account. Can I still apply to Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)?
Unfortunately, no you cannot. Only business clients who have a business account and have been a registered operation on or prior to March 1, 2020, are eligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account. Sole proprietors may be able to gain financial support from another program, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). With this program, individuals who have lost their income due to COVID-19 and are unable to apply for EI may be qualified to receive $2000 a month for up to 4 months. In order to qualify for this benefit, you may need to show that you have had to stop working because of COVID-19. Your income has to be a minimum of $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months before the date that you apply, and you believe that you won't be generating any income for at least 14 consecutive days over the initial 4-week time frame.
I am a business looking to have a patio permit, how can I go about applying for one?
The City announced that it was introducing a streamlined patio application process, to make it easier and faster for businesses that operate patios to obtain a patio permit this year. City staff are working hard to support businesses facing challenges related to COVID-19, and are in communication with the AGCO on recent provincial changes to licensing requirements.
For all inquiries and requests for patios, please email [email protected]. If you have already been in contact with City staff about requests (including if you're a downtown business that has completed the survey circulated by the BIA), there is no need to re-apply/email this account.
When requesting patio or outdoor space for queuing or displays, please include the following information.
- Proposed location(s) shown on a sketch
- Whether the patio will be licensed or not
- Whether a patio on private property is intended to be temporary or permanent – please note additional approvals may be required for permanent proposals
- Detailed use of the outdoor space or patio, including locations of tables or displays and dimensions
Please note that an application form will be prepared for the requests for space in the City's right of way - this will be circulated to those that have been in contact or completed the survey and available on the website shortly with more information on the space available and the next steps in this process.
This new process is effective immediately and applies to all businesses across the city. Businesses are responsible for ensuring these spaces comply with direction from Public Health and the ACGO, when liquor licenses are involved.