COVID-19: Financial Supports & Resources for Business

Important

The Province of Ontario has announced that retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. Business owners must have measures in place to enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store and booking appointments beforehand.

  • Retail services with a street-front entrance – Must restrict the number of customers per square metre — for example, one customer per 4 square metres (43 square feet) — to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres at all times.
  • Vehicle Dealerships 
  • Media Operations – office-based
  • Health Services – including in-person counselling and mental health services. 
  • Animal Service – including veterinarian services and pet care services, such as grooming and training.

Click here for a detailed list.

*Note: Hair/Nail Salons, Barbershops, Tattoo Parlours, and other services that require close contact between provider and client are not yet allowed to open. Restaurants, bars, and all other businesses that are not yet permitted to open may still provide curbside pickup and delivery options. 

In addition, the City of Toronto has announced that many City Park facilities have been closed and all major City-led events, festivals, and conferences with attendance of more than 250 people are cancelled through July 31, and those with attendance of 25,000+ through August 31, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

On this page: 

  1. Government Supports for Business – Loans, Grants, Deferrals
  2. How to Contact Your Elected Representatives 
  3. Other Resources to Support Your Business

Government Supports for Businesses


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipal, provincial and federal governments have put measures in place to protect the public. The Junction BIA will be providing information for its member businesses through this webpage and by email as necessary. We encourage members to rely on government sources to ensure that information is up-to-date and correct.

Primary Government Sources

Below is a continuously updating list of active and announced government programs and resources to support businesses and their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic response. We will work to keep this list up to date and relevant. We encourage members to let us know if they come across additional resources that could be helpful to our business community during this difficult time.

Questions?

  • You can contact our Operations Coordinator, Matthew Mohan (operations@torontojunction.ca), if you have any questions or comments that we can assist you with at this time. 
  • Specific questions about the government supports outlined below? The One-Stop Information Portal, by the Toronto Board of Trade includes a handy chatbox, as well as all the resources and tools to help you manage the challenge you’re facing.

Thank you to our neighbours at The Waterfront BIA for providing much of the information & template used here.

Deferment of Municipal Property Taxes: Property owners will be able to request additional time to pay their taxes without incurring late payment penalties or interest charges for a six month period effective June 1 to November 30, 2020. This deferment is not automatic. 

The additional time given to pay your property taxes does not reduce the amount of taxes that are owed to the City of Toronto.

Eligibility: 

  1. Applicants must be able to demonstrate financial hardship stemming from COVID-19.
  2. Property owners must have a good payment history – up to date on their tax payments as of March 2020.
  3. All residential properties with a residential structure qualify. Commercial, shopping, office, industrial, multi-residential, or new multi-residential properties with a 2020 property assessment value equal to or under $10 million also qualify.

Deadlines: 

  • Property owners may apply to the program at any time between June 1 and October 31, 2020.
  • Applications received and approved before July 31, 2020 will be eligible to have late payment penalties and/or interest amounts added to the tax account in June and July waived, as well as any penalties or interest incurred up to November 30, 2020.
  • Applications approved after July 31, 2020 will be eligible to have late payment penalty or interest amounts waived from the date the application is approved up to November 30, 2020.

How to Apply: Submit your application and upload the required documents HERE

Click Here for details.

Status: Now Available

 

 

Provided by: City of Toronto

 

 

Beneficial to: Property Owners & Businesses 

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) – Loans of $40,000+: The program will seek to provide funding to help support small and medium-sized businesses that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief funding. Two funding options are available to applicants for the RRRF through FedDev Ontario:

  • Option 1: Up to $40,000 conditionally repayable interest-free contribution (loan). Repaying 75 percent, or up to $30,000 of the contribution, on or before December 31, 2022, will result in contribution forgiveness of 25 percent, or up to $10,000 of the total contribution.
  • Option 2: Between $40,000 to $500,000 fully repayable contribution (loan). Interest-free until December 31, 2022. 

Eligible applicants must be: 

  • A Canadian or provincially incorporated business, co-operative or an Indigenous-owned business located in southern Ontario with 1 to 499 full-time equivalent employees;
  • Facing funding pressures with fixed operating costs, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Have applied to other Government of Canada COVID-19 emergency credit relief measures, for which they are eligible, including:
    • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA);
    • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP);
      • BDC Co-Lending Program
      • EDC Loan Guarantee Program
    • BDC Working Capital Loans;
    • Other applicable targeted and sector-specific COVID-19 programs (e.g., funding for Indigenous entrepreneurs, Farm Credit Canada);
  • Planning to continue to operate its business or resume operations; and
  • A viable business before the COVID-19 pandemic. Must be able to show through financial statements. 

How to Apply:

Applications for funding are accepted on an ongoing basis with no submission deadlines, until the Fund is fully committed.

  1.  Read thoroughly the Application Guide for instructions and details. 
  2. Apply using the RRRF Application for Funding.

Click Here for more information. 

Status: Now Available

 

 

Provided by: Federal Government via FedDev Ontario 

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo at least 75% of the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. This will include:

  • A 50% forgivable loan to property owners, who agree to cover the additional 25% of rent. 
  • The balance (25%) will be on the tenant. This way all three parties contribute to the solution.

Example: A $1000 lease = $500 Government Grant; $250 Property Owner Covered; $250 Tenant Covered.  

Eligibility:

  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations (generating no revenue) or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
  • CECRA for small businesses is administered undifferentiated for properties with mortgages, other forms of debt or no mortgages at all.

How to Apply:

  • NEW: To help you prepare, sample versions of the application documents are available HERE. They are for illustrative purposes only but make sure that you (business owner and the property owner) review them before applying.
  • Expected to be operational in the second half of May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenants payable by at least 75% for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.
  • If rent has been collected at the time of approval, a credit to the tenant for a future month’s rent (i.e. July for April) is acceptable if agreed upon by both the property owner and the tenant. This can be a flexible 3-month period.
  • The loan would also be contingent on the signing of a rent forgiveness agreement between impacted tenants and landlords. This would also include a moratorium on evictions for three months.
    Photo Credit to The Waterfront BIA 

More information to follow. See below for details (so far): 

Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website. 

Federal update.  

Provincial update. 

Status: Open May 25

 

 

Provided by: Federal Government & Provincial Government via The Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation

 

 

Beneficial to: Property Owners, Businesses

The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy – Temporary 75% wage subsidy: This wage subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position you to resume normal operations following the crisis.

These subsidies will be retroactive to Saturday, March 15, 2020, and will cover up to 75% on the first $58,700 that employees earn, – $847 per week.

Note 1: Rehired employees who may have received, or continue to receive, the $2000 Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (outlined below). Depending on the specific situation, these individuals may be required to repay some or all of the amounts they received. More information to come.  

Note 2: Employers are encouraged to cover the additional 25% in wages for employees, if possible, but it is not required. 

Note 3: Not sure what your employees’ legal obligations are to return to work? Check out the article by employment and labour lawyer Howard Levitt: Can Employees Refuse to Return to Work Now They’re Earning More on CERB? for a handy Q&A.

Eligibility: 

  • Businesses must demonstrate that their revenues have decreased by at least 30% when compared to January-March of 2019; AND/OR
  • Businesses must demonstrate that their revenues have decreased by at least a 30% when compared to January-February of 2020 and at least 15% when compared to March 2020.  

Calculate Your Subsidy Amount: Calculator now available. 

How to Apply:

Beginning April 27, applications will be open for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Most businesses may apply using My Business Account. 

About 90% of applications should be processed by May 5th, followed by direct deposit of payments and/or cheque payments.

The CEWS will be processed at the payroll program (RP) account level, so you will have to file a separate application for each RP account.

Click here for details.  

Status: Now Available

 

 

Provided by: Federal Government via Canada Revenue Agency

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

Canada Emergency Business Account – Loans of $40,000: Loans of $40,000 guaranteed by the government for qualifying small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs. 

These loans will be interest-free until December 31, 2022 and will be offered through qualified major Canadian Banks. Businesses that repay the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

NEW: The program will soon be available to businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll. See below for expanded eligibility. Launch date for application under new criteria to come. 

Eligibility:

  1. To qualify for the Canadian Emergency Business Account, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that they have paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019; OR
  2. To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

    • A business operating account at a participating financial institution
    • A Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
    • Eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

How to Apply:
BMO – BMO small and medium business clients can apply directly from the bank’s COVID-19 Business Support Page.

CIBC – Business owners may file an application through CIBC Online Banking for Business if they are currently registered to bank online. Upon approval, clients will receive a confirmation email from CIBC, and the $40,000 loan will be deposited into their existing CIBC Business Operating Account. The entire process is expected to take up to five business days from the date of submission.

RBCTo enroll for CEBA, clients must log into their RBC Online Banking for Business account. The online enrollment process for RBC clients will only be available through this platform.

Scotiabank –  The application process will be available via the Scotia mobile banking app and Scotia online banking for Scotiabank Small Business Banking customers. 

TD – TD Business Banking customers are able to apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) online at www.td.com/businessrelief.

Ultimately, small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution if they have any questions.

Click here for details

Status: Now Available

 

 

Provided by:The Federal Government via the Bank of Canada, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Major Canadian Banks.

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

 

The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit – Benefit of $2,000/month: The benefit will provide $2000 / month for the next four months for workers who are not getting a paycheque because of COVID-19. To qualify the person must have received at least $5,000 in employment income and have no income form employment or self-employment for at least 14-days in a row. This includes:

  • Persons who have lost their job due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are contract workers who can no longer work due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are Self-employed who can no longer work due to COVID-19 (such as independent small business owners)
  • Persons who are sick or in quarantine and not receiving a salary due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are looking after someone who is ill due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are looking after children due to school & daycare closers caused by COVID-19
  • Persons who are employed but are not receiving an income due to COVID-19 disruptions (Such as employees of non-essential businesses)

Early indications suggest that CERB will be an extremely flexible program to assist small businesses in maintaining their staffing – allowing employees to continue working while receiving the CERB benefit, with the opportunity for employers to top-up their workers’ compensation beyond the $2,000 that is provided to them by CERB.** However, this information is still being verified and we will provide updates on this program as they become available. As with many things, you don’t know for sure until you apply.

Note: Employees who receive the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% temporary wage subsidy, outlined above) will not qualify to receive the $2000 Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. 

How to Apply:
The application form will be available on April 6. If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to also apply for this new benefit, your claim will be automatically moved over to the CERB and you will receive the 16-week benefit. If needed, you can use your hours to apply for EI benefits after you have exhausted CERB benefits.

You can apply in one of these three ways:

  • by accessing it on your CRA MyAccount secure portal;
  • by accessing it from your secure My Service Canada Account; or
  • by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.

The applications will be CERB payments will be issued every four weeks and will be available from March 15, 2020 to Oct. 3, 2020. **

Click here for details.  

Other source. 

Status: Now Available

 

 

Provided by: Federal Government

 

 

Beneficial to: Workers, Businesses Owners

 

**Information from trusted, non-official sources.

SME Loan Guarantee Programs: For small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that need additional support can apply for guaranteed loans through their financial institutions to help them weather the impacts of COVID-19. These loans, which will be supported through the Export Development Canada (EDC) and Business Development Bank (BDC) are intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements. These two programs are outlined below:

  1. BDC Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises: The Business Development Bank of Canada, together with major financial institutions, will co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers. The potential for lending for this program will be $20 billion.
  2. EDC Loan Guarantees. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can apply through their financial institutions to get operating credit and cash flow term loans up to $6.25 million, which will be guaranteed by the Export Development Canada (EDC). The program cap for this new loan program will be a total of $20 billion for export sector and domestic companies.

How to Apply:
Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.

Click here for details.

Status: Expected mid-April

 

 

Provided by: The Federal Government via the Bank of Canada, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Major Canadian Banks.

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance (GST & HST): The Federal Government will be deferring the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30,2020.

  • Monthly filers have to remit amounts collected for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods;
  • Quarterly filers have to remit amounts collected for the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period; and
  • Annual filers, whose GST/HST return or instalment are due in March, April or May 2020, have to remit amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.

Click here for details.

Status: Available Immediately

 

 

Provided by: Federal Government via the Canadian Revenue Agency

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

Small Business Tax Deferral: The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 19, 2020 and before September 2020.

Click here for details.

Status: Available Immediately

 

 

Provided by: Federal Government via the Canadian Revenue Agency

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

Flexible Banking Solutions – Including Mortgage Deferral: Canada’s 6 largest banks 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. This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

How to Apply:
Individual Canadians or business owners facing hardship are encouraged to contact their bank directly to discuss options that could be available to them. 

Click here for details.

Other Source.

Status: Available Immediately, Case-by-Case

 

 

Provided by: Federal Government via the Bank of Canada, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Major Canadian Banks.

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses, Property Owners, Workers

Provincial Tax Relief: The province announced that it will provide five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.

The relief period does not include business accounts with outstanding taxes, interest or penalties owing to the government from previous filing periods. Existing debts from before the relief period will continue to accrue interest.

How to Apply:
Relief is automatic. If a business is unable to file their return or remittance during the relief period, they do not need to contact or notify the Ministry of Finance. Penalties and interest will be waived automatically for all late returns or remittances by Ontario businesses during the relief period.

Ontario businesses are required to file any late returns or remittances by the end of the relief period.

Click here for details.

Status: Available Immediately

 

 

Provided by: Provincial Government

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

Grace Period for Municipal Property Tax: The City of Toronto will provide a grace period for property tax payments and payment penalties for businesses for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020:

  • For businesses on the three-instalment payment plan: the April 1 tax due date is extended to June 1, 2020;
  • For property owners on the 11-instalment pre-authorized payment plan, the 2020 due dates will be extended by 60 days;
  • Late payment penalties are waived for 60 days (as of March 16, 2020).

How to Apply:
Click here for details.

Status: Available Immediately

 

 

Provided by: Municipal Government.

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses, Property Owners

Grace Period for Municipal Utility Bills – Water/Sewer Service and Solid Waste Management charges where applicable: The City is extending the due date for all utility bills issued to businesses by an additional 60 days in addition to the current 21 days to give utility customers an additional 60 days to make payment to take advantage of the early payment discount.

Click here for details.

Status: Available Immediately

 

 

Provided by: Provincial Government.

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses, Property Owners

24-Hour Retail Delivery Noice Exemption: All retail businesses are noise exempt from the City’s Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries. Retailers can receive deliveries 24 / 7 to ensure goods remain in stock.

Click here for details.

Status: Available Immediately

 

 

Provided by: Provincial, Municipal Government.

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

Restaurants and Bars May Now Sell Liquor w/ Takeout and Delivery: The AGCO will now allow bar and restaurant licensees to temporarily sell beer, wine and spirits as part of a food order for takeout or delivery. These changes are effective immediately and last until December 31, 2020.

Click here for details.

Status: Available Immediately

 

 

Provided by: Provincial Government via the AGCO

 

 

Beneficial to: Businesses

Contact Your Elected Representatives

The Junction BIA is in contact with our elected representatives to ensure that the concerns of our members are heard. Further, the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA) and the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) provide representations and lobbying on behalf of our BIA to all levels of government. However, business & property owners may be interested in reaching out to their elected members of government themselves. Should it interest you, you can: 

  • Download, Edit, and Send the Urgent Request for April 1 Small Business Relief Letter to the emails below. 
  • Share a letter by our provincial representative, MPP Bhutila Karpoche, calling on the provincial government to establish Rent Relief for Small Businesses. See emails below. 
  • Read, sign, and share a Petition to the Federal Government to further support small business, urging them to direct their COVID-19 aid package for small businesses away from providing credit and toward rent relief, labour subsidies, and debt deferral. 
  • Write your own letter or email about your experience as a commercial property/business owner! 

See below for the emails of our elected representatives and members of government: 

As always, The Junction BIA is happy to speak on your behalf. You can always contact us (operations@torontojunction.ca) or cc us in your communications with any and all elected officials. 

Other Resources

Other Resources small businesses may find useful: 

  • Promotion for Junction Business Offerings: We have publicized a list of all operating businesses with the community, sharing Gift Card, Delivery, and Pick-up Offerings. Please Like, Share, and Comment on these posts! If you have any Junction Business Offerings that you would like to share with the public and have not yet signed up (or require a revision), please CLICK HERE.
  • The Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for Businesses: It is critical that businesses are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to respond to protect public health and ensure the continued essential operations of their organizations. The guidelines and resources contained in This Toolkit have been prepared by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to help businesses plan for and adapt to the disruption of COVID-19 and any future influenza pandemics. 
  • Small Business Grants Program: Facebook is offering a grant program to support small businesses that are experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. They will begin taking applications in the coming weeks. To stay informed and sign up for updates, CLICK HERE.
  • Protective Equipment for Business: Astley Gilbert offers items that could help you protect your customers and employees: Indoor/outdoor floor decals to remind of social distancingThermoplastic barriers; & Face shields. If interested, contact Amy Arthur or call 416-288-2775.
  • City of Toronto COVID-19 Business Survey: Click Here

All prior updates and other resources & services re COVID-19, including Crime Prevention Tips, Digital Marketing Supports, and Rent Relief Options, are documented in our Member Resources page.