COVID-19 Business Information and Resources

Open for Business

The Economic Development and Tourism Division is regularly updating information on this page to keep you up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 business supports and services.

Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism team is available to assist you in navigating the various resources and programs. Contact us at 905-318-5932 or by email at opportunity@haldimandcounty.on.ca

Ontario Releases Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long Term 

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has released A Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Termwhich outlines the province’s gradual approach to lifting remaining public health and workplace safety measures by March 2022. The plan will be guided by the ongoing assessment of key public health and health care indicators and supported by local or regional tailored responses to COVID-19.

Ontario will slowly and incrementally lift all remaining public health and workplace safety measures, including the provincial requirement for proof of vaccination and wearing of face coverings in indoor public settings, over the next six months.

There will be an  outline for the lifting of measures from Fall 2021 to Spring 2022 with the intention for all regulated measures to be lifted no later than March 28, 2022.

View the entire outline and additional details 

Read More 

Federal Government Announces The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will be replaced by Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit 

The federal government has announced a suite of changes to the popular income and business support programs put in place during the pandemic and set to expire on October 24, 2021

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will be replaced by the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit for those whose work is directly impacted by government-imposed lockdowns.

The program will be available until May 7, 2022, retroactive to Oct. 24, and will provide $300 a week to eligible workers.

Read More 

Ontario Tourism Recovery Program to Launch on October 13 to Support Tourism Businesses in Attraction, Accommodation, and Leisure Travel Sectors

The province has confirmed that the $100 million Ontario Tourism Recovery Program, previously announced in the spring budget, will launch in mid-October. The Tourism Recovery Program will support for-profit tourism businesses in the attraction, accommodation, and leisure travel sectors that help drive employment and visitors to their regions. Eligible businesses include hotels, inns, resorts, boat tours, ski hills, distilleries, hunting and fishing camps, airlines, motor coaches, live performance venues, cinemas, drive-in theatres, amusement parks, museums, and Indigenous attractions.

The Tourism Recovery Program will support tourism businesses that have experienced a loss of at least 50% of eligible revenue in 2020-21 compared to 2019. Eligible applicants will receive up to 20% of 2020-2021 qualifying revenue losses with a funding cap of $1 million. Program funding will go towards helping businesses reopen safely, develop innovative tourism products, and/or retain and create tourism jobs. Eligible expenses include reopening and operating costs such as staff salaries and maintenance, health and safety measures for visitors and workers, tourism product and experience development, or marketing.

Applications for the Tourism Recovery Program will open on October 13, 2021.

For more information, read the news release here.

For a full list of eligible businesses, activities, and application details, visit the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program page here.

Capacity Limits will be increased in many Indoor Settings requiring Proof of Vaccine

Effective September 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., capacity limits will be increased in many of the indoor settings where proof of vaccination is required. Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres; sporting events; concerts, theatres and cinemas; racing venues (e.g., horse racing); and commercial and film television productions with studio audiences will be increased to up to 50 per cent capacity or 10,000 people (whichever is less) for indoor events.

Learn More

Ontario to Require Proof of Vaccination with Vaccine Certificate

To further protect Ontarians as the province continues to confront the Delta-driven fourth wave of the COVID-19, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings starting September 22, 2021. 

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.

Learn More 

TIAO- Vaccine Passport Overview & FAQ’s

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) has collected a list of frequently asked questions, and an overview on the new mandated Vaccine Certification that will come into effect on September 22, 2021 for select businesses in Ontario.

Vaccine Certification FAQ’s

Vaccine Certification Overview 

Learn more about the Ontario Vaccine Certificates Announcement

Visit TIAO Website for more information/ updates at https://www.tiaontario.ca/cpages/home

Job- Protected Infectious Disease Emergency Leave extended to January 1, 2022

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The Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development has confirmed that job-protected unpaid infectious disease emergency leave (IDEL) will now be extended until January 1, 2022, inclusive. As businesses have experienced unprecedented revenue losses and interruptions due to COVID-19, the IDEL is a measure designed to ease staffing and financial burdens on businesses by temporarily freezing layoffs. Under the IDEL, non-unionized employees whose work hours have been temporarily reduced or eliminated due to COVID-19 will not be considered to be laid off under the Employment Standards Act. This layoff freeze protects employees, allowing them to be reinstated, be free from penalty, and earn credits for length of employment and seniority. It also protects businesses from the obligation to issue termination pay after the end of the layoff period.

Learn more 

Destination Ontario Research Study- Impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian Economy and Consumer Sentiment

To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, consumer mindset and to inform marketing recovery strategies, Destination Ontario has accessed various economic and public attitude and behavior studies.

View the Research Summary HERE

COVID 19 Posters and Tools – Be Ready for every Stage of Re-opening

It is essential to have clear messaging for customers.  Haldimand County, with the Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit approval, has created a series of COVID 19 posters and tools to help businesses prepare for re-opening. Posters can be customized with your specific maximum capacity numbers for each stage of reopening. Or download a questionnaire or self-screening questionnaire for employees or visitors. These tools will be updated as the provincial re-opening framework changes.

View and Download Printable Posters

Peninsula: Guide to Help Manage Vaccines in your Workplace

Since vaccinations have not been made mandatory except for federally regulated workers, employers are left with some big questions about managing vaccines in their workplace. Questions like:

  • What approach should I take towards the vaccine for my employees?
  • Can I require my workers to take the vaccine?
  • What are the risks with requiring employees to have the vaccine?
  • Do vaccinated employees have the right to demand to work away from unvaccinated staff?

Finding the answers to these questions is tricky. It involves all sorts of employment legislation and an understanding of human rights law in Canada. Something not every employer is versed in.

Take a look at this one-stop Peninsula guide, COVID-19 Vaccine HR Considerations, to help you find the answers to your most pressing questions regarding vaccination in the workplace.

 Access the guide 

Government extends COVID-19 benefits and business supports to support stronger economic recovery

The Government of Canada has just announced that they are proposing to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), and Lockdown supports until October 23, 2021, which were originally set to expire in September 2021.

They are also increasing the wage and rent subsidy rates between August 29 and September 25, 2021. These programs have supported millions of workers and continue to adapt as the pandemic evolves.

The government is also proposing technical changes and clarifications to increase flexibility and certainty for organizations using these programs and the Canada Recovery Hiring Program.

Learn More 

Ontario Moving to Step Three of Roadmap to Reopen on July 16

With key public health and health care indicators continuing to improve and the provincewide vaccination rate surpassing the targets outlined in the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health the Ontario government is moving the province into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.

Learn More 

TIAO Releases Findings from Reopening and Recovery Challenges Survey

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ontario’s tourism businesses have been wide-ranging and significant.

The results of the survey show a worsening picture of financial health affecting business capacity to reopen and prospects for long-term recovery:

  • 9 out of 10 of tourism businesses reported experiencing a revenue decline due to COVID-19, with two-thirds of these businesses seeing revenue declines of more than 90%—a two-fold increase since March 2021
  • 77% of tourism businesses have taken on debt to remain afloat—a 9-point increase from March 2021
  • Almost half of all businesses cannot hire staff because they are not generating enough revenue.
  • 77% of tourism businesses accessing government aid programs would have shut down without them
  • With no changes in current levels of government support, financing, or sales, 3 in 10 businesses may be at risk of closure by the end of September

To view the full report, please click here.

Ontario Worker Income Protection Benefit

Learn about employees’ rights to paid infectious disease emergency leave for COVID-19.  Employers are generally required to pay employees the wages they would have earned had they not taken the leave, up to $200 a day for up to three days. The three days do not have to be taken consecutively. Vacation pay is payable on infectious disease emergency leave pay.
Employer reimbursement for paid leave – Eligible employers are entitled to be reimbursed the amount of infectious disease emergency leave pay that they paid to their employees, up to $200 per employee per day taken.

Learn more.

Sign up to receive the latest COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Updates

Should you wish to be notified when new groups become eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, you can sign up to receive Health Unit/vaccine rollout information via e-mail.

You can sign up here at https://signup.e2ma.net/signup/1944063/1405207/.

Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) provision extended to September 25, 2021

In response to the  pandemic, the Ontario government made a regulation that changed certain Employment Standards Act (ESA) rules during the  period. The temporary rules continue to be in effect until September 25.

Infectious disease emergency leave remains available to employees covered by the ESA after the end of the  period on September 25, 2021.

This means that the period ends on September 25, 2021, and non-unionized employees will no longer be deemed to be on infectious disease emergency leave by the regulation made by the government. However, if certain conditions are met, unionized and non-unionized employees may continue to be eligible for infectious disease emergency leave if they are not performing the duties of their position for certain reasons related to 

Learn more

Ontario Expands COVID-19 Rapid Testing Across Province

Rapid testing to help keep workers safe in small and medium sized businesses. The Ontario government , in partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce,has launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening initiative for small and medium sixed businesses across the province. The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses through participating local chambers of commerce and other organizations. The program will screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to keep workers and their families safe and businesses open.

This initiative has quickly garnered significant interest with chambers of commerce across the province. More than 760,000 rapid test kits have already shipped to 28 chambers and more than 50 others have expressed interest in participating.

Businesses are encouraged to participate in the program by registering at ontario.ca/testingonsite. It provides free rapid antigen screening kits to help screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 that might otherwise be missed.

Read the full press release

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Inquiry Form for Businesses and  Environmental Health Team Hotline

If you have questions about your business operations related to COVID-19 regulations, you can use the Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit’s Inquiry Form for Businesses.

For COVID-19 inquiries related to or regarding food premises, migrant farms, special events, personal service settings, child care centers or workplaces (non-healthcare setting), you may also call the HNHU’s Environmental Health Team Hotline at 519-426-6128 (Mon-Fri, 8:30am to 4:30pm)

Mental Health Resources

The  COVID-19 pandemic has been overwhelming for many entrepreneurs, as so much is currently unpredictable and uncontrollable. Haldimand County recognizes this and we are here to help. Included below are a few free resources for businesses owners that advise on how to protect your mental health during these unprecedented times.

CAHM – Workplace Mental Health Resource Centre
How To Protect Your Mental Health in a Crisis
How To Support Your Employees Mental Health: An Employers Guide
Mental Health Commission of Canada: Resource Hub: Mental health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic
Mindfulness Quick Reference Sheet
Stronger Minds by BEACON: A Digital Therapy Resource

COVID-19 Canada Information

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Up to 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll.

Next deadline

July 15, 2021: Last day to apply for claim period 11

Next period opens

July 7, 2021: First day you can apply for claim period 17

Claim period 17 is the first claim period that the Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) is also available. The CEWS and the CRHP support wages you pay through different phases of your economic recovery. For claim periods 17 to 20, eligible employers can claim either CEWS or CRHP, whichever is higher.

 Learn More

Extending work sharing program

Extending the maximum duration of the Work Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. This program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.  Measures extended to September 26, 2021

Learn More

Creating new jobs and opportunities for youth

The Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiative is for post-secondary students.
It helps them find opportunities related to their studies. I-WIL focuses on short and intensive activities that use technology.

Learn more about the various programs:

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

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, exportation and tourism. Learn More

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

Providing funding to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access other support measures.  Learn More

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) provides bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.

The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF allows Canada’s largest businesses, their workers and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.  Learn More

Support for Individuals

The federal government is also providing support for individuals in the following ways:

Support for the Self-Employed through the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit .

Supporting Black business owners and entrepreneurs through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. More information can be found HERE.

Ontario's Action Plan

Ontario Grant Funding Programs

Click HERE to view funding currently available from the Government of Ontario, information on eligibility and what you need to apply.

Province of Ontario’s Business Information Hotline

If you have questions about the Province’s list of essential services and rules/regulations regarding business operations during the pandemic, contact the Province’s Business Information Hotline at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available from Monday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Requests for temporary rule/regulation changes in support of business operation

Learn how to request a temporary rule or regulation change to help your business respond to COVID-19 via the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade’s website.

Recovery Activation Program (RAP)

The Recovery Activation Program (RAP) is a no cost, immersive series of highly practical online programs that are designed to help you identify areas to modernize your business so that you can confidently take on all the challenges that are thrown at you in the wake of COVID-19, such as managing your workforce virtually, finding new customers without going to a tradeshow, and managing disrupted supply chains etc.

Learn more 

Digital Mainstreet- Future Proof

Future Proof is a program that assists businesses with identifying new markets, pivoting their business model and developing and implementing a deep digital transformation plan. The program is meant as a detailed deep dive to support businesses that require support in either transforming their business model or developing and implementing an advanced digital transformation plan.

Learn More

Support for Industrial and Commercial Electricity Users

Companies that participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will not be required to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours, as their proportion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for these companies will be frozen. Due to COVID-19, electricity consumption in Ontario has been below average and the province is forecast to have a reliable supply of electricity to accommodate increased usage. Learn more

Grand Erie Business Centre
Brantford Brant Business Ctr

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Funding available through Grand Erie Business Centre (Community Futures Development Corporation) 

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides liquidity support to businesses and not-for-profit organizations affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, that are unable to access other federal relief measures or require additional support.

Learn more

Local Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Support Local!

View the list of where you can purchase local businesses selling PPE by viewing the  Local PPE List

Know of another business that isn’t on the list? Contact opportunity@haldimandcounty.on.ca and we will be happy to add them.

*Please note that the availability of this list may change, and no items are guaranteed to be in stock. We recommend you contact the store/business before visiting to ensure there is inventory.

Farm Organizations’ COVID-19 Resources

There are many farm organizations that have information and resources available to help with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the agriculture industry. Please follow the links below to learn more about these available resources:

OFA COVID-19 Resources

CFFO COVID-19 Resources

NFU COVID-19 Resources

Union Des Cultivateurs Franco-Ontariens COVID-19 Resources

Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario COVID-19 Programs

Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program

Support to help agri-businesses guard against the spread of COVID-19 in agri-food workplaces so that worker/employee health and safety is protected, and the sector is supported. Learn more.

Keeping Agricultural Businesses Staffed

Learn more about your options for staffing your agricultural operation.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

Ontario Federation of Agriculture provides Guide to Operating your Essential Farm Business during COVID-19

The Guide for farms and farm businesses is split into three parts: Facilitating Business Interactions on the Farm, Responding to Exposure to COVID-19, and Managing Risk during Business Operations. View the guide.

Portal Connects Agri-Food Employers with Workers

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ web portal tool makes it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain. Learn More at Ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs

TIAO Federal Budget 2021- Tourism Overview

The Federal Budget announced tourism-related programs that the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario has identified and will be seeking further details as they unfold.

Tourism: General*

  • Proposing supports that total to $1 billion over three years, starting in 2021-22

Major Festivals

  • $200 million through the regional development agencies to support major festivals.

Community Festivals and Events

  • $200 million through Canadian Heritage to support local festivals, community cultural events, outdoor theatre performances, heritage celebrations, local museums, amateur sport events, and more.

Discovering Canada

  • $100 million to Destination Canada for marketing campaigns to help Canadians and other visitors discover and explore the country.

Support for Tourism Businesses

  • $500 million Tourism Relief Fund, administered by the regional development agencies to support investments by local tourism businesses in adapting to the pandemic

Indigenous Tourism

  • $2.4 million in 2021-22 to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to help the Indigenous tourism industry rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

  • Budget 2021 proposes to extend the wage subsidy until September 25, 2021. It also proposes to gradually decrease the subsidy rate, beginning July 4, 2021, in order to ensure an orderly phase-out of the program as vaccinations are completed and the economy reopens.

Canada Recovery Hiring Program

  • Canada Recovery Hiring Program, which will run from June to November and will provide $595 million to make it easier for businesses to hire back laid-off workers or to bring on new ones.

Supporting the Recovery of Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors

  • $300 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage to establish a Recovery Fund for Heritage, Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors

More Tourism Related Support

  • $101 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to implement a program for the wine sector
  • Supporting Safe Air Travel
  • Continuing to Protect Air Travellers

*Note that the $1 billion over three years consists of the Major Festivals, Community Festivals and Events, Discovering Canada and Support for Tourism Businesses.

See the full budget here.

Destination Ontario Research Study- Impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian Economy and Consumer Sentiment

To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, consumer mindset and to inform marketing recovery strategies, Destination Ontario has accessed various economic and public attitude and behavior studies.

View the Research Summary HERE

Safe Travels Stamp Administered by TIAO

TIAO has been chosen by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to administer the Safe Travels Stamp in Canada. The Safe Travels Stamp is an international symbol designed to allow travellers to recognize governments and companies around the world, which have adopted health and hygiene, standardized protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

Apply here

See list of applications here

FREE Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit

The COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit is a practical, no-cost web program designed to help tourism operators succeed during this unprecedented crisis – now and into the future. Drawing from a myriad of public-domain, academic and business resources, this Toolkit – which includes presentations, checklists and downloadable content – will be frequently updated to support tourism operators at every stage of their journey.

View the toolkit HERE 

Are You Covered?

A reminder to businesses that are adding home delivery, check with your insurance company to ensure you have adequate coverage for your employees undertaking new functions.

Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (SWOTC) holding FREE Tourism Webinars

Peninsula Employment Services – Series of free webinars for small businesses including recalling employees, preparing for a second wave, and COVID-19 workplace training.

Brantford/Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre – FREE Webinars to Manage COVID-19 Crisis

Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium – COVID-19 Labour Law Q & A

BDC – How To Cope with the Impacts of COVID-19 on Your Business

BDC- How to get through the crisis with an online strategy

BDC-Profit From Technology: Digital Tools to drive Efficiency and Revenue 

BDC- COVID-19: How to Adapt Your business to Thrive in the New Normal 

Canadian Federation of Independent Business: Weekly COVID-19 Webinars

Conference Board of Canada – Advice for employers dealing with COVID-19

Credit Counselling Society – Schedule of Webinars for those impacted financially by Covid-19

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