For many small businesses, 2020 has been a very challenging year. To encourage residents to support local this holiday season, Haldimand County’s Economic Development & Tourism division has launched the Haldimand Holiday Wish Book – a one-stop guide for local gift ideas, unique experiences and food & drink spots.
The Holiday Wish Book celebrates local, hand-made products and features 35 local businesses. Copies are being distributed to all Haldimand residents by mail and will also be available for pickup at local libraries. An online, downloadable version of the Holiday Wish Book is also available at www.haldimandcounty.ca/holiday-wishbook.
“Local businesses give back to our communities in many ways. They sponsor team sports and fundraisers and hire local residents. This year, show your support by purchasing local goods and services in-person and online,” said Manager of Economic Development & Tourism at Haldimand County, Lidy Romanuk.
The heart of the Holiday Wish Book is the Real. Local. Haldimand campaign, part of the County’s 2020 Business Recovery Plan. The campaign focuses on shopping local in a safe environment.
For more information on the Haldimand Holiday Wish Book or tips on how to support local this holiday season, visit BusinessHaldimand.ca.
Since 2019, Haldimand County has been working to secure a vendor capable of delivering high-speed internet to all under-serviced areas within the community. In June 2020, KWIC Internet was announced as the successful proponent and network construction planning is currently underway.
In the months ahead, Haldimand County staff and KWIC project leaders will be working closely to coordinate the installation of necessary infrastructure, including fibre trenching. KWIC will also be facilitating community consultations to determine the best placement for fixed wireless towers. Public consultation notices will be delivered to initial project build areas throughout December 2020.
Fibre construction is expected to begin in mid-late January 2021 (weather permitting) and wireless tower construction in early February 2021 (also weather permitting). Based on these timeframes, it is anticipated that services for homes and businesses in the western part of Haldimand County will start becoming available during the first half of 2021.
As network construction progresses and the project moves forward, KWIC and Haldimand County will keep residents informed of more area-specific timelines. Over the project’s 5-year timeframe, broadband services will be made available to all of Haldimand County’s under-serviced areas (areas that do not have access to unlimited broadband internet with minimum download/upload speeds of 50/10 Mbps).
“We are very excited to see this project get off the ground and look forward to working with residents and stakeholders to deliver safe, efficient, industry-leading services that empower Haldimand County to connect like never before,” said Mark Rapley, KWIC Internet’s Director of Operations.
Bringing broadband internet to rural communities is one of Council’s top priorities for the 2018-2022 term. “Council is extremely pleased to see this critically important initiative move forward. It is especially welcome news given the rapid digital shift we’ve seen over the past few months and the increasing need for individuals, families and businesses to have reliable, affordable internet,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.
This year, Haldimand County is celebrating Small Business Week virtually by offering online workshops and webinars throughout the week of October 19-23. Online workshops and webinars are being offered in partnership with the Brantford Brant Business Resource Centre (BRC); they are free and open to all local business owners within Haldimand.
Small Business Week is a national celebration that recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs, their successes and community contributions. This year’s theme is “Forging the Way Forward” and focuses on recognizing the countless examples of entrepreneurial resilience happening right now across the country.
Small businesses help shape and enhance the personality of our communities; they understand the needs of the neighborhoods we live in and are part of what make them great. Celebrating small Business Week is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all businesses that contribute to making Haldimand such an amazing place to live and work.
“Haldimand County strives to support and celebrate our community’s local businesses, and with this year’s virtual format, we hope to provide local entrepreneurs with the tools they need to thrive now and into the future,” said Lidy Romanuk, Haldimand’s Manager of Economic Development and Tourism.
Small Business Week virtual offerings include a series of inspiring and informative daily webinars, including a keynote address from innovative entrepreneurs John and Mark X Cronin, founders of ‘John’s Crazy Socks’. Other webinar topics include accessing and analyzing market research to inform business decisions, working and selling remotely in a digital world, managing social media and more.
As part of its ‘Real. Local.’ advertising campaign, Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism division has launched a Haldimand Road Trip map. The map encourages residents to stay local and explore ‘hidden gems’ in the community this fall.
The Haldimand Road Trip map features two scenic routes in Haldimand County. The South Haldimand Lakeside Route follows the shores of Lake Erie from Nanticoke to Port Maitland, and the West Haldimand Loop traverses the charming towns of Caledonia, Hagersville and Canfield.
Both routes feature recommendations for stops along the way including historical sites, breathtaking photo opportunities, unique retail experiences and great places to eat.
“The idea behind the map is to inspire locals and neighboring communities to explore our beautiful county, while supporting local businesses,” said Lidy Romanuk, Haldimand County’s Manager of Economic Development and Tourism.
In addition to the physical map, a digital version is available at TourismHaldimand.ca which includes an interactive guide of all Road Trip stops as well as links to all local businesses.
The ‘Real. Local.’ Haldimand Road Trip map can be picked up at any Haldimand County library, museum or at the Haldimand County Administration Building (53 Thorburn St. S, Cayuga). Individuals or businesses who would like to copies of the Road Trip Map – or other Haldimand County maps or guides – may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The creation of the Haldimand Road Trip map is part of the County’s COVID-19 business recovery marketing campaign currently being implemented by its Economic Development and Tourism division. The campaign and associated initiatives were made possible through funding received by the FedDev Ontario Regional Relief Recovery Fund (RRRF).
Haldimand County has received a $94,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario for a Digital Service Squad (DSS) to help small main street businesses in the region use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Grand Erie Business Centre is supporting this grant through in-kind administrative support in excess of $12,000. Funding for the grant is provided by FedDev Ontario. The Squad will be available to assist businesses in communities across Haldimand County, including Caledonia, Cayuga, Dunnville, Hagersville, Selkirk, and Jarvis.
Established in 2018, Digital Main Street Ontario was recently extended thanks to an investment of $42.5 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and $7.45 million from the Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). The almost $50-million investment will help small businesses across Ontario pivot their operations to include online business models, regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers. The Ontario BIA Association administers the DMS grant program to Ontario’s main street small businesses.
Digital Service Squads are fundamental to Digital Main Street’s design and success, with trained specialists who meet with small businesses, at no cost, to help them improve their online presence. The squads assist with a number of activities, including developing a Google ‘My Business’ profile, enhancing businesses’ social media presence and providing support for basic website and e-commerce set-up. Squads will also assist qualified small businesses through the application process for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant, which includes an online assessment, online training modules and the development of a Digital Transformation Plan (DTP).
For more information on registration and how to be connected with a specialist from the Digital Service Squad, contact the Economic Development and Tourism Division at 905-318-5932 or email email@example.com. Digital Service Specialists will be offering one on one meetings with businesses to review current technology and to provide guidance and support in improving their online presence. To learn more about the program, visit BusinessHaldimand.ca. The Digital Main street program will run until February 29, 2021.
“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the keystone of our economic recovery. That is why we have invested in Digital Main Street to help these enterprises adapt to doing business in a digital world, and take advantage of the record number of people shopping online. Congratulations to Haldimand County on the launch of your Digital Service Squad. The work you’re doing with small businesses in your community will help keep our main streets vibrant, support good, local jobs and help our economy come back strong.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street is needed more than ever. We know that businesses that participated in Digital Main Street last year were better able to cope when the pandemic hit, and we’re excited that FedDev Ontario and MEDJCT are providing the funding to extend this important program to help small main street business like those across Haldimand County.”
– Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA
“This funding will provide the ability for Haldimand County to hire four digital service specialists to provide hands-on assistance to help our businesses improve their digital presence. It is vital that small businesses are keeping up with technology, especially in this landscape. Haldimand County is thrilled to be able to provide this service for our local business owners.”
– Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt
ABOUT Haldimand County
Haldimand County is a single-tier municipality established in 2001. Located within Ontario’s most populous region the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Haldimand County gives you the time and the space to connect in ways you can’t anywhere else. Effortlessly blending natural landscapes, farms and small town charm with emerging suburban development and nearby cities, Haldimand is community of communities. At close to 1300 square kilometers the space that separates us is also what we share; room to grow and the support that turns potential into something more. Haldimand has a population of approximately 46,000 residents (2016 census). The County is home to several charming small towns and hamlets, each with unique attractions, quaint shops, and fascinating cultural and historic sites. The Grand River’s history, cultural value and uniqueness are recognized with its designation as a Canadian Heritage River and Lake Erie’s beautiful shoreline provide both a laid back lifestyle and perfect environment for water activities of all types. With our extensive history in farming, agriculture along with manufacturing and tourism remain our top three sectors.
ABOUT GRAND ERIE BUSINESS CENTRE
Grand Erie Business Centre (GEBC) is a private non-profit business development corporation that has been serving Haldimand County and the Township of West Lincoln since 1989. We provide financing, consultation, support and advice to small businesses within this area.
GEBC is one of 269 Community Futures Development Corporations across the country. Community Futures is a not-for-profit corporation with a volunteer Board of Directors. Grand Erie Business Centre currently receives 100% of our operational funding from FedDev Ontario (the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario).
Our mandate is to partner with local businesses and organizations in Haldimand County and the Township of West Lincoln to facilitate community economic growth. We measure our success by the number of jobs that are created and maintained through the businesses and projects that we support. GEBC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of successful business people and professionals from throughout Haldimand County and the Township of West Lincoln.
OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. The Association supports and advocates on behalf of its members through the building and nurturing of strong relationships and partnerships. OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.
ABOUT Digital Main Street
Digital Main Street is an innovative program designed to help main street small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, grants and Digital Service Squads teams of street-level experts that help main street small businesses manage and grow their operations through technology adoption. The program was originally created in 2016 by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and a group of strategic partners including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Shopify. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca
ABOUT Digital Main Street Ontario
Digital Main Street was expanded across all of Ontario in 2018 with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the $38 million Main Street Revitalization Initiative. It has been further extended through a funding from FedDev Ontario and MEDJCT. The new round of funding includes $42.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, a national recovery initiative delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies. With $7.45 million from MEDJCT, this combined federal and provincial project will strengthen Ontario’s economic capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration, and will promote the development of a strong and diversified Ontario economy. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants.
In early June, Haldimand County was successful in its application for the FedDev Ontario Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). The County has received a grant to be used for tourism marketing. The funding was available to Destination Marketing Organizations across Ontario to help promote tourism which has experienced significant impacts since the start of the pandemic.
As part of this funding, Haldimand County’s Economic and Development and Tourism division has been hard at work debuting a new ‘Real. Local.’ advertising campaign. The campaign features a new graphic that helps to promote a unified marketing message through print media, social media, and radio campaigns that is inclusive of all Haldimand County businesses.
“Our hope is that by including this graphic into our marketing campaigns, it will bring together all Haldimand County businesses as a cohesive group, promoting to locals and neighbours that Haldimand businesses are open,” said Lidy Romanuk, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism. “It is important we are all supporting one another, and promoting Haldimand County as a whole”.
The goal of the marketing initiative is to reignite the local economy and showcase all of the amazing businesses and unique experiences that exist in Haldimand County. The County’s Economic Development Division has published two print campaigns thus far highlighting local food and unique retail experiences, and have created interactive web pages with the same information at www.tourismhaldimand.ca.
In addition, local social media and radio campaigns have been launched to encourage residents to shop locally. As re-opening plans continue, and we are ready to welcome visitors back, the campaign will eventually expand to include more urban areas in southern Ontario.
Local business owners are welcome and encouraged to utilize the ‘Real. Haldimand. Local.’ graphic and incorporate it into their own marketing. Local business owners can download this graphic from www.businesshaldimand.ca.
Over the last month, Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism division has been reaching out to businesses across the county to collect key information on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses locally.
The division has developed a 10-15 minute survey for businesses. The information collected will be used to track the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Haldimand County businesses, and to understand how the County can offer additional assistance to local businesses.
“This is new territory for all of us and Haldimand County wants to understand how we can help businesses during these unprecedented times,” said Lidy Romanuk, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism. “It is important businesses are heard, and that we are implementing tools and resources that will help our community directly.”
The Haldimand County Economic Development and Tourism Division has contacted over 850 local businesses, completed 151 surveys, and has provided follow up information and resources to 91 businesses. Staff are currently in the process of compiling and analyzing the data collected to develop a wrap-up report.
Business owners who have not yet completed this survey may access it online. Business owners/operators may also contact the Economic Development and Tourism by phone at 905-318-5932 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff are encouraging business owners to submit surveys by August 21, 2020.
In recognition of the rapidly changing rules relating to business operations and public spaces during the COVID-19 emergency and to assist the community in obtaining important information, Haldimand County is reminding community stakeholders where to obtain the most accurate, up-to-date COVID-19 information and who to contact for specific enquiries and guidance.
The County’s COVID-19 information web page – HaldimandCounty.ca/covid-19 provides detailed local information, key contacts and links to helpful resources from provincial and federal healthcare authorities.
☎ Province of Ontario’s Business Information Hotline – 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.
☎ Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Environmental Health Team Hotline 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, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Information & key contacts for community members
Residents who have questions about municipal services, including facility/amenity closures, use of parks and trails, program cancellations, etc. will find current information at HaldimandCounty.ca/covid-19. A number of resources including stay-at-home activities, employment assistance and supports for housebound individuals (e.g. food or essential item delivery) are also available on this page. Residents with public health-related questions are encouraged to contact:
☎ Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit COVID-19 Hotline For general enquiries regarding COVID-19, please call the HNHU’s COVID-19 Hotline at 519-426- 6170 ext. 9999. Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Residents with questions related to municipal services, facilities/amenities are encouraged to contact:
☎ Haldimand County customer service For general enquiries regarding municipal services, facilities/amenities, programs or related matters, contact Haldimand County at 905-318-5932 or email@example.com Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In response to extended closures and the suspension of non-essential services by the Province of Ontario, Haldimand County has made the difficult decision to temporarily put a number of casual, part-time and full time employees affected by service and facility closures on a Declared Emergency Leave of Absence.
Since the declaration of the COVID-19 Emergency the County has closed all public libraries, parks and recreation facilities, museums, community halls and has reduced other services to promote social distancing.
“We have wonderful and committed employees who care very much about their community,” said Craig Manley, Haldimand County’s Chief Administrative Officer. “This is an action we had hoped we would not have to take but unfortunately one we needed to as COVID-19 continues to affect our community and some of the services we’re able to deliver.”
The emergency leave affects approximately 107 employees who deliver recreation programs, library & cultural services, economic development services, some facilities maintenance staff, some administrative support functions, part-time staff and others. Essential and critical services relating to roads operations, water and wastewater services, garbage and recycling, critical maintenance and repair, by-law and permits, emergency services, Grandview Lodge and essential supporting functions continue to be provided.
Some functions such as building maintenance and outside park maintenance will continue on a limited basis and will be restricted to essential minimum levels until the emergency is over. Where possible, staff have been redeployed to other functions to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
The County is supporting staff affected by the temporary emergency leave including continuing eligible benefits, ensuring they have the resources they need to access government support services including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and/or employment insurance benefits.
The County has been taking a tiered approach in its response to COVID-19, which includes evaluating the implications of Provincial Emergency Orders and information provided by Health Officials in terms of the likely duration of the emergency. Like other municipalities facing extended closures and cancellations, the County is adapting to ensure the safety of its workforce and the continued delivery of critical community services.
“The County will continue to provide the critical and essential services our community relies on every day as we continue responding to this unprecedented situation,” noted Manley.
“The decision to reduce our staffing levels was an extremely challenging one. We’ve made extended efforts to keep all staff at work for as long as possible, but under these extraordinary circumstances, have had to make some difficult decisions that are in line with a new economic reality. Our commitment to providing high quality services to the community remains unchanged in this emergency, and I look forward to welcoming staff back once COVID-19 is no longer a threat to public health & safety,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.
Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the local economy, and it’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your business. We know that for business this is a difficult time, the information you need to run your business changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep track and make sense of it all. Local businesses are facing immediate challenges, or closures, and are worrying about how the situation will continue to evolve. During these critical times, it’s important to slow down, be thoughtful and proceed with a plan that is going to stabilize your business in the long-term. Amid this uncertainty, we want to be clear. We are here to support you.
“Business owners are having to navigate a very uncertain future right now and it’s not a one size fits all impact on local business,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. “As efforts ramp up to keep COVID-19 from spreading, industry works to achieve business continuity while focusing on the health and safety of their employees. It’s no simple task. As we collectively work through this challenging period together, we would like to emphasize that the Economic Development and Tourism Division in Haldimand County continue to be available via phone and email to discuss how ongoing Provincial and Federal announcements may apply to your individual business situation.”
Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism Division continues to work collaboratively with industry associations, provincial governments, and local businesses to provide input, inform discussions and collect information that can assist business owners in rural communities through these difficult times. We are calling on all local businesses to provide us insights into how the situation has directly impacted your operations. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BFZT9P7 and its responses will be used to detail the impacts that COVID-19 is having on our local business community. The survey will continue to be circulated every few weeks to gain insight into the longer-term impacts.
Even during these challenging times, local businesses in Haldimand County are continually showing their resilience. Finding ways to support those in need in our communities, re-tooling to produce much needed supplies, and engaging their customers in new and innovative ways. If your business is one of those companies that has been able to introduce modifications to your operations that keep you safely open, a new product/service you have created to continue operating your business, or your operation is helping support the needs of the medical community, we want to hear from you. Send your good news to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share the good work you are doing with our community.
For those who live in our community, we encourage you to consider ways to support our local small businesses, purchase products online, share their special offers, and help them boost their online reach. Remember to stay home, wash your hands and support local whenever you can!
Economic Development and Tourism staff are available to provide you with ongoing support, advice and resources – contact us by phone 905-318-5932 or email email@example.com.