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

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/.

Ontario Extending Stay-at-Home Order Until June 2nd

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended the Stay-at-Home Order (O. Reg. 265/21) until at least June 2, 2021.

All public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake will also remain in effect. During this time, the government will prepare to administer the Pfizer vaccine to youth between the ages of 12 and 17, beginning the week May 31, 2021, as the province also finalizes plans to gradually and safely re-open the province.

Read the full press release 

Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant

The government is introducing the new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant, which will provide an estimated $100 million in one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Applications for this grant will close on Friday, June 25, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Examples of eligible businesses include:

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Travel agencies
  • Amusement and water parks
  • Hunting and fishing camps
  • Recreational and vacation camps (for example, children’s overnight summer camps)

Learn more

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

Ban on Commercial Evictions

The government of Ontario is proposing a bill that would support small businesses by extending the ban on commercial evictions. Learn More.

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

April 22, 2021:
Last day to apply for claim period 8

Next period opens

May 9, 2021:
First day you can apply for claim period 15

 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.  Learn More

Creating new jobs and opportunities for youth

Creating up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months.

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.

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.

Supporting Indigenous Businesses through the Indigenous Community Business Fund.

Ontario's Action Plan

Ontario COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program 

Ontario’s COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program is a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. Small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise. Small business and registered charity customers could also be eligible for up to $425 in support towards their natural gas bill.

Learn More 

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

Employer Health Tax Relief

Increasing the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million. As an employer, this means relief of up to $9,945.  Learn More

Grand Erie Business Centre
Brantford Brant Business Ctr

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (Still Available)

*Updated on October 2, 2020

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

In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities we serve, we will focus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants, corner stores, and businesses of strategic importance to our communities, with loans up to $40,000. Eligible applicants must also meet the following criteria:

  • established prior to March 1, 2020;
  • impacted adversely by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • viable and not experiencing other financial difficulties prior to March 1, 2020;
  • have attempted to access other federal relief supports and were ineligible, rejected, or require funding for expenses that have not been supported, with priority given to applicants who were ineligible or rejected from other federal relief supports.

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.

Governments Investing 26.6 Million to Further Protect Ontario Agri-Food Workers During COVID-19

The governments of Canada and Ontario are taking additional steps to help farmers better protect the health and safety of agri-food workers in the province during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the continued supply of locally grown food all year round. Learn more 

Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program

This program allows farmers and provincial meat processors to take additional steps to improve health and safety measures such as: purchasing personal protective equipment, purchasing medical testing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection equipment. Learn more.

Additional Supports for Agri-Businesses bringing in Foreign Workers

April 13 – Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced $50 million in federal funding to provide $1,500 per worker, which can be used to cover wages while they are in quarantine or the costs of space to isolate for the 14 days required under a law meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. Read more.

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.

Ontario’s New Online Portal Connects Agri-Food Employers with Workers

April 4, 2020 – The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is launching a new web portal tool to make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain. Learn More at Ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

“We know how much we depend on these foreign workers for the agricultural sector. Today we have reassured the industry that we will find a way to let them come. We still have to develop the conditions under which they will come because our priority is still to make sure that we protect the health of Canadians,” said Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. Source: PembinaValleyOnline.com.  Read more about it at Country-Guide.ca.

TIAO Federal Budget 2021- Tourism Overview

The proposed Federal Budget has just been announced, here is a quick overview of some of the tourism related programs that TIAO has identified and will be seeking further details on once the budget has been passed.

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 

Destination Ontario Releases Survey on Impact of COVID-19

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian Economy & Consumer Sentiment survey was conducted and analyzed by-weekly to track trends. Find out what Canadians are thinking in these unprecedented times. View the June 18, 2020 survey results.

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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