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

Haldimand County Moving Into ‘Orange’ Stage Of Re-Opening Framework

On Friday, February 12, Premier Doug Ford announced that Haldimand County will move into the ‘orange’ or ‘restrict’ stage of the Province’s colour-coded re-opening framework as of February 16, 2020 at 12:01am.

There are many changes under ‘orange’ stage rules, including the re-opening of indoor dining, gyms and personal care services with restrictions and capacity limits. More information and sector-specific guidelines for re-opening businesses within the ‘orange’ stage are available on the Province of Ontario’s website.

Ontario Launches Education Campaign to Help Workplaces Reopen Safely

The Ontario government is launching new health and safety education campaigns, with a particular focus on helping small businesses across the province reopen safely.

The on-the-ground assistance includes a comprehensive suite of resources business owners can access at no cost to ensure they are helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

The full suite of government educational supports available includes:

  • Provincial Employment Standards Call Centre ( and Occupational Health and Safety Contact Centre ( to answer small business health and safety questions.

Read the full Press Release HERE

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)

Government of Canada provides Additional Relief Funding to Grand Erie Business Centre 

On November 23, 2020, The Grand Erie Business Centre announced businesses in Haldimand County and the Township of West Lincoln may be eligible to benefit from additional  funding through the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.

Grand Erie Business Centre has an additional $1,360,000 available in RRRF funding to distribute to eligible local businesses. In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities we serve, Grand Erie Business Centre is focusing on assisting a range of businesses in our region with loans up to $40,000.

Interested in applying?

Please visit the Grand Erie Business  website for more information on eligibility and the application process HERE

For any questions or assistance- Contact Robert Manning at  905-765-5005 or

Applications for Ontario Small Business Support Grant are now Open!

The Ontario government has opened  applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The grant, first announced in December, provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to eligible small businesses who have had to restrict their operations due to the Provincewide Shutdown.

Find out if your business is eligible for grants to help with the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) ,your property taxes and energy bills through Ontario’s new Small Business Support Grant portal .

Learn More HERE

Apply HERE

Ontario Expands Eligibility for Main Street Relief Grant

Helping Small Businesses Access PPE as Province Returns to Framework. This one-time grant reimburses main street businesses for up to $1,000 in PPE costs incurred since March 17, 2020.

Eligible businesses for the Main Street Relief Grant now include those with 2 to 19 employees in the following sectors:

  • retail trade;
  • accommodation and food services;
  • repair and maintenance;
  • personal and laundry services;
  • gyms and yoga studios; and
  • arts, entertainment, and recreation.

Learn more

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 

Federal government announces wage subsidy rate increase to 75 per cent

The Federal government announced on December 18, that it has raised the maximum wage subsidy rate back to 75 per cent for the period beginning Sunday, December 20 until March 13, 2021 to help support businesses through the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The wage subsidy is now more flexible, allowing employers to access the maximum subsidy rate based on a single month’s revenue decline instead of requiring them to demonstrate three months’ decline.

Read the Press Release HERE 

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Now Open 

This commercial rent relief program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens November 23, 2020.

This program covers up to 65% of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue decline with an extra 25% available to the hardest hit firms.  The new rent subsidy would be available retroactive to September 27, 2020, until June 2021. The government is providing the proposed details for the first 12 weeks of the program, until December 19, 2020.

The proposed program would mirror the successful Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, providing a simple, easy-to-understand program for affected qualifying organizations. The new rent subsidy would provide benefits directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

Learn more HERE 

View the Eligibility and Application Process HERE

Travel Preferences Winter 2020/2021

Survey results from November 2020 on COVID impacts to tourism/travel within Ontario.

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.

The last day to apply for claim periods 1 to 5 (March 15, 2020, to August 1, 2020) is February 1, 2021.

Applications for claim period 11 (December 20, 2020, to January 16, 2021) are now open.

 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:

Waiving Tariffs on Medical Goods

Waiving tariffs on certain medical goods, including PPE such as masks and gloves.

This will reduce the cost of imported PPE for Canadians, help protect workers, and ensure our supply chains can keep functioning well.  Learn More

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 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

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:  Read more about it at

Destination Ontario COVID Invo

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