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-Norfolk Health Unit area will be moved into the yellow “Protect” category of Ontario’s new COVID-19 response framework, taking effect as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 7. Learn more.

Haldimand – Yellow “Protect” Category

The Protect category includes a range of required measures designed to protect public health and prevent further business closures, some of which are already in place in Haldimand and Norfolk. These measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Limited operating hours at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space
  • Limiting the number of people who may be seated together to six at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space
  • Requiring contact information at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space, and for all patrons of sports and recreational facilities
  • Requiring attendance records for all team sports
  • Requiring appointments for entry to sports and recreational facilities
  • Increased spacing requirements at facilities where there are weights or weight machines and in exercise or fitness classes (minimum of three metres)
  • Recreational programs limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors

Gathering limits remain capped at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Read the Press Release from Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

Learn More about Level Categories.

Ontario Main Street Relief Grant- Applications now Open

The Ontario government is also helping main street businesses stay open and stay safe by offering a grant of up to $1,000 for the costs of personal protective equipment (PPE), with applications for the $60-million Main Street Relief Grant becoming available online on November 16, 2020.

Small businesses with two to nine employees in the retail, accommodations and food services, repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services sectors can apply for this one-time grant.

Eligible businesses, whether applying for the Main Street Relief Grant for PPE or for property tax or energy rebates in affected regions, will be able to do it all through one application on a new online portal.

Applications opened Monday November 16, 2020.

Click HERE for more information.

Click HERE to register to apply, *Waitlist for access may apply.

Ontario Release COVID-10 Response Framework to Help Keep the Province Safe and Open

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government has developed the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open FrameworkIt ensures that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care. Learn More 

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

Haldimand County is in Stage 3. 

  • Nearly all businesses and public spaces will be able to gradually reopen in Stage 3, with public health and workplace safety restrictions in place, while some high-risk venues and activities will remain closed until they can safely resume operations.
  • Haldimand County’s temporary Face Covering By-Law No. 2191/20, which took effect August 1, 2020, expires November 3. Council will not be extending the by-law as stricter, provincially-mandated regulations are in effect.
  • A Framework for Re-opening – Stage 3

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

If you have questions about your business operations during the emergency period, 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)

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.

RE3: Rebuild, Reopen, Revive Program

Funding specifically for Women-led small and medium-sized enterprises in Western Ontario, which includes Haldimand. Up to $5,000 on eligible expenses for the acquisition of required/mandated Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), workspace reconfiguration to accommodate physical distancing, or hardware/software upgrades to enhance online capacity, client servicing, and accessibility. Applications currently on waitlist.   Learn More or Apply

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. (Now extended to December!)  Learn More

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy

The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy is a three-month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.  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-led business organizations through the National Ecosystem Fund. More information about this program can be found HERE.

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

Canada United Small Business Relief Fund 

Eligible businesses can apply for up to $5,000 from the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund to reimburse them for COVID-19 related expenses, such as purchases of PPE, physical space renovations and developing website and e-commerce capabilities.

Purchases on or after March 15, 2020 are considered eligible expenses. To qualify businesses must be registered in Canada and record between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales and employ no more than 75 people. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is administering the fund.

Open for applications starting October 26, 2020.

For additional Information and eligibility visit

Ontario Extends Temporary Layoff Provisions

The Ontario Government announced further amendments to extend the maximum periods of temporary layoffs to January 2, 2021, before they could be deemed to be terminations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Learn more.

Reconnect Festival and Event Program

The Reconnect Festival and Event Program offers non-capital funding to in-person and online events in Ontario that:

  • Provide experiences that encourage people to travel locally and rediscover the beauty and diversity of their community.
  • Draw Attendees and provide positive economic impact for the local community, the region and the province.
  • Create job opportunities for Ontarians, particularly in the tourism, culture and entertainment sectors
  • Increase Ontario’s profile through media and/or broadcast exposure to generate interest in future travel to the province once it is safe to do so again.

For eligibility, Application and more information Click HERE

Deadline to apply is December 1st, 2020 at 5 pm (EST)

Public Health Measures – Restaurants & Bars

The Ontario government amended order O. Reg 364/20 (effective September 22): Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, to tighten public health measures in response to the recent rise in cases of COVID-19. 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 Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Province of Ontario’s list of Essential Services

View the most up-to-date list of essential services as issued by the Province via the Province’s website.

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

Ontario Implementing Additional Measures at Bars and Restaurants

  • All patrons will be required to be seated at all times, in both indoor and outdoor areas, with limited exceptions (effective July 31st); and
  • Bars and restaurants (and also tour boat operators) in Ontario will be required to keep client logs for a period of 30 days and to disclose the client logs to the medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request, which will support case and contact tracing (effective August 7th).
  • Complementary changes are being made in respect of existing provisions relating to tour operators and tour boat operators.

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

WSIB Payment Deferrals

All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package.

  • Schedule 1 employers who owe premiums to the WSIB will be allowed to defer reporting and payments until August 31, 2020.
  • Schedule 2 businesses that pay WSIB for the cost related to their workplace injury and illness claims can defer reporting and payments until August 31, 2020.

No interest will be accrued on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.

Pausing Commercial Evictions

We are temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. This applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1 to August 31, 2020.


The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses.

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

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 

FREE Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) Membership for 2020

The Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries has made it possible for TIAO to extend complimentary membership to the entire tourism industry in Ontario for 2020. Contact TIAO directly at:  to set up your membership and provide you additional information.

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.

SWOTC Announces ‘Safe Openings’ Grant for Tourism Operators

The Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (RTO1) are eager to announce a new limited time ‘Safe Openings’ Program that will reimburse tourism operators within Ontario’s Southwest for a portion of their safe opening expenses.

This program is now closed for September Intake. There will be a second intake in December 2020. (date to be determined)

For more information, eligibility and updates- visit their website – 

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