Find the Support Your Business Needs
A comprehensive library of the best COVID-19 information and resources for SMEs, critical business support programs available to you—and how to apply.
COVID-19 represents an enormous—often existential—challenge for Toronto small and medium-sized businesses like yours. We have aggregated resources, tools, and business support programs for SMEs in one place. Click the descriptions that apply to you and see what’s available.
More questions? Send us a chat message in the bottom right corner of your screen.
I Need Financial Support
Support for individuals or small business owners who have lost income due to COVID-19.
The Government of Canada has enacted Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), for those who have lost their jobs, are forced to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, or are working or self-employed but earning $1000 or less per month. If employees run out of employment insurance, they can now access the CERB.
Payroll support for struggling businesses.
For businesses suffering a 15% or more decline in revenue because of the pandemic, the federal government is offering the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to subsidize up to 75% of employees’ wages, capped at $847/week for each employee and backdated to March 15. The Subsidy has been extended to the end of August. Click here to learn more.
The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy is a three-month measure allowing eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the CRA.
To help evaluate whether your business is eligible for CEWS, Moneris has created a Revenue Analysis tool. Click here to learn more.
Financing support for my business.
The Federal government announced a series of initiatives intended to provide financial assistance to Canadian businesses during COVID 19.
The federal government is establishing a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers in order to keep their operations going.
The Canada Emergency Business Account is providing interest-free loans for small businesses. This program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus. To qualify, organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.
UPDATE: CEBA will now also be offered to businesses without payrolls (e.g., sole proprietors who draw income from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends). Applicants that have a payroll of less than $20,000 must have non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.
Export Development Canada’s (EDC) new Loan Guarantee program will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow.
Additionally, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has launched a Co-Lending Program with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
**Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.**
Private sector financing.
Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in 30 countries.
Shopify is offering cash advances of $200 – 500,000 to its online merchants.
Support for rent.
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program can lower rent by 75% for small businesses affected by COVID-19. The application documents and updated criteria are now available, and the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25. You can find the most up to date information here.
Support for food producers, agribusinesses and food processors.
Farm Credit Canada can help you manage the COVID-19 crisis through a new COVID-19 support program.
The new Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business.
The federal government has recently announced $252 million in assistance to Canadian farmers and others in the agri-food sector impacted by pandemic. The government intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector. Click here for more information.
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing in farmers and provincially licensed meat processing plants to better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of products. Click here to learn more.
The federal government has announced $469.4 million in new measures to support Canada’s fish harvesters.
Support for SMEs unable to access other resources.
The federal government’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) program provides $675 million in funding for financing support to SMEs that are unable to access the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures, through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies. Click here to learn more and apply to the program.
Support for charities and non-profit organizations.
The federal government is setting up a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to help charities and non-profits.
Support for indigenous SMEs and Aboriginal Financial Institutions.
The federal government has announced $306.8 million in funding to help SMEs, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.
Support for young entrepreneurs.
The federal government announced $20.1 million in support for Futurpreneur Canada to continue to support young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19. Click here to learn more about Futurpreneur Canada.
BLG is hosting a “Start Up and Grow” webinar series to provide COVID-19 updates to early-stage businesses.
Support for arts, culture, and sports sectors.
The federal government has also announced $500 million of funding to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors so they can continue to support artists and athletes.
Support for tech companies and start-ups.
BDC Capital, BDC’s investment arm, has launched the BDC Capital Bridge Financing Program which matches, with a convertible note, a current financing round being raised through qualified existing and/or new investors made into eligible Canadian start-ups.
The federal government is also offering $250-million in pandemic support to the technology sector to assist innovative, early-stage companies through the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.
The Career Ready Program, funded by the federal government’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) and TECHNATION, covers up to 70% of gross wages for Canadian companies and scale-ups that leverage student talent during the pandemic.
I need savings on my shipping costs.
UPS is currently offering an up-to 50% discount for its members. Learn more by visiting their website.
I Need Decision-Making Guidance
I want to know more details about the Government of Ontario’s decision to close and re-open non-essential businesses.
The province has released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.
Certain businesses and workplaces in Ontario are being allowed to reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures (see the Ministry of Health’s Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces) and occupational health and safety requirements..
- Click here for a list of businesses that have been allowed to reopen as of May 4.
- Since May 11, retail stores with a street entrance have been allowed to offer curbside pickup and delivery,
- Stage 1 of reopening Ontario: Most retail businesses (not restaurants) with a street entrance, construction projects, pet care services, household services and individual sports may resume on Tuesday, May 19. Private parks and campgrounds, golf courses, marinas and animal boarding businesses may re-open on Saturday, May 16.
You can call the Government of Ontario’s toll-free line at 1-888-444-3659 to ask any questions about the emergency order. Learn more about the emergency order and access the full list of essential services published by the Government of Ontario.
I need access to Personal Protective Equipment as I reopen my business.
The Rapid Response Platform matches PPE suppliers with businesses who need it.
The Government of Ontario also maintains a PPE supplier directory.
What is the government of Canada doing to help Canadian businesses amid COVID-19?
Innovation Canada’s Interactive Business Benefits Finder offers a user-friendly way of finding the latest COVID-19 supports for businesses as well as hundreds of other programs and services offered by federal and provincial governments.
What is the Ontario government doing to help businesses amid COVID-19?
You can access the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 response page here.
Ontario’s Tackling the Barriers website is accepting proposals for temporary changes to rules and regulations to support businesses facing challenges during the pandemic.
The Provincial government’s Ontario Together Fund of $50 million will financially support eligible companies to retool, build capacity or adopt the technological changes needed to produce supplies and equipment for hospitals, long-term care homes and other critical public service. You can find more information about the fund here. The province is working with Medical Innovation Xchange to provide non-medical manufacturing companies free support as they retool.
The $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, calls on Ontario’s world-class research institutions, post-secondary institutions, and non-profit scientific partners to take action and advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
The Ontario government is providing emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020.
Ontario is permitting corporations to conduct virtual meetings and to defer certain annual meetings and will accept copies of documents, e-signatures and e-filing of documents.
What is the City of Toronto doing to help businesses amid COVID-19?
You can access the City of Toronto COVID-19 response page here.
The BusinessTO Support Centre provides one-on-one virtual support to help businesses complete applications for Federal COVID-19 funding programs and get general business advice.
The CurbTO Program allows businesses to request a temporary parking pick-up zone, a curb lane pedestrian zone, and/or physical distancing signage for sidewalk line-ups.
Where can I locate insights and resources to help my business adapt to the impacts of COVID-19 and prepare to reopen?
Click here to access various Ontario health and safety associations’ guidance documents for workplaces in various sectors operating during the pandemic.
MaRS has assembled resources to help start-ups navigate this crisis.
Cushman & Wakefield’s Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening your Workplace is a comprehensive resource. The firm also offers retail and warehouse specific readiness checklists.
McCarthy Tetrault discusses the re-opening of agri-food and manufacturing sectors in this article. McCarthy Tetrault also published an article, Moving Forward – Considerations for the Re-Opening of Physical Workplaces, considering key questions facing businesses as they look at re-opening.
The Retail Council of Canada offers recovery planning resources for retailers, including retail recovery playbooks and checklists.
BDO Canada LLP has a COVID-19 portal for businesses, covering trending issues and impact on industries.
Deloitte has created a live dashboard allows you to monitor health, community/social activity, financial and economic indicators that will signal when the rebound stage has arrived.
KPMG Canada has published a guide to robust business continuity planning. Featured topics include cash management, building agile and resilient operating models, taxes, employment matters, and contracts and legal obligations.
McCarthy Tetrault’s article, Moving Forward – Considerations for the Re-Opening of Physical Workplaces, considers key questions facing businesses as they look at re-opening. McCarthy Tetrault also has a specific guide for re-opening construction businesses in Ontario.
Randstad has developed a step-by-step Accelerating Business Recovery guide to walk you through key considerations you will need to evaluate before determining if it’s safe and economically viable to reopen your business.
I need informational resources on tax and finance.
Business Resilience Service (BRS) will provide options for any vulnerable SMEs, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country from professional services firms. The service will be provided for four weeks from Monday, May 25. Organizations can access the BRS seven days a week by calling 1-866-989-1080.
RBC launched a podcast series #SmallBusinessMatters, bringing together owners and business experts to share insights, advice and tips for survival.
Ernst & Young’s Tax Alerts cover significant tax news, developments and changes in legislation that affect Canadian businesses. They act as technical summaries to keep you on top of the latest tax issues.
RSM’s Coronavirus Resource Centre provides insights and tools for businesses navigating the crisis, including tax updates related to COVID-19.
I need resources on how to pivot to a digital strategy.
Toronto’s Digital Main Street program offers tools, resources, connections to trusted digital vendors, online learning and a Digital Service Squad who provide one-on-one virtual assistance.
ShopHERE will help 3000 of Toronto’s independent small businesses and artists build an online store at no cost.
McKinsey and Co. recently shared an article on how to create a digital strategy in a time of crisis.
I am in the food and restaurant industry.
The City of Toronto and Ritual are offering free lifetime food ordering services to local food service businesses that sign up before June 1.
Browse Restaurants Canada’s updates and resources for food service operators here.
The Government of Canada has announced a $50 million fund to help farmers, fish harvesters and all food production and processing employers to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. Support of $1,500 will be made available for each temporary worker.
I need help with staffing and HR during COVID-19.
Boomers Plus is helping organizations impacted by COVID-19 find experienced talent online.
Start-ups looking to post job vacancies can share their openings on Prospect’s job board.
The federal government has drastically reduced the time it takes for a temporary foreign worker to start a new job. Click here to learn more.
Ted Rogers School of Management has released an online resource to help organizations tackle the world of remote onboarding.
Odgers Berndtson’s Insights portal offers articles with insights relevant to businesses facing HR questions during the pandemic.
Deloitte’s recent publication, Workforce strategies for post-COVID-19 recovery, provides a framework for HR leaders to think through business continuity and recovery.
I Need Help with Taxes, Hydro Bills, and Other Government-Related Costs
I need help with my taxes.
The Federal government also announced a number of extensions on Income Tax filing for 2019. You can find all the relevant dates here.
The Government of Ontario is offering deferral on select provincially administered taxes until August 31, 2020.
The Ontario government has temporarily increased the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million until January 1, 2021.
The Government of Ontario is also offering deferral of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premium payments until August 31, 2020 with no interest or penalty.
I need a break on my property taxes or hydro bill.
The City of Toronto has put in place a temporary grace period for paying property tax and hydro bills. Learn more and review other measures put in place by the municipal government.
I Need Help Supporting My Employees
How can I keep my employees safe?
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has outlined operational recommendations for keeping your team safe. Learn more about these and other resources for small businesses navigating the crisis.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has created resources for how workplaces and businesses can prepare and protect their workers, including posters and other items.
I have laid off employees as a result of COVID-19.
You are required to issue them a Record of Employment. Visit the Employment and Social Development Canada website.
The Government of Ontario is investing in UNITE HERE’s Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and is helping apprentices by providing grants for tools, PPEs and clothing.
I am considering a work-sharing program for my employees.
I need help setting up my employees to work online from home.
ESET is offering 90-day free access to their remote workforce support.
TELUS is offering 90-day free access to their Virtual Workplace Solutions package.
Cisco is offering free services and training to support remote workers across the globe.
I’m concerned about my employees’ mental and physical health during this crisis.
The Action Guide by Ellevate Network provides resources to help employees, managers and executives cope with work challenges posed by COVID-19.
Wellness Together Canada connects Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls and makes it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.
Sunlife is offering free access to their Lumino Health platform, featuring a wide variety of mental health resources.
CAMH has developed a website to provide information and suggestions about how to best cope in this difficult time. It is not intended to be a resource for people who require screening for COVID-19 or are experiencing a mental health crisis.
WellCan offers free well-being resources to help Canadians develop coping strategies and build resilience to help deal with uncertainty, mental health and substance abuse concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I Need Help with Global Markets
I am an exporter/importer.
Export Development Canada (EDC) is providing critical COVID-19 information for exporters, including new financial supports available through EDC.
EDC is also providing advice to exporters for managing business risk through the crisis.
EDC’s updated Global Economic Outlook offers insight on challenges faced by Canadian exporters to help them make better business decisions during these challenging times.
The federal government is waiving tariffs on certain medical goods, including PPE such as masks and gloves.
I am concerned about my global supply chain.
Deloitte Canada offers insights on managing supply chain risk and disruption in this article.
If you depend on a global supply chain, this Export Development Canada webinar will show you what’s happening and how to protect your company. Watch the webinar.
I would like funding to support international market development activities.
Consider applying for CanExport SMEs funding, which can support up to 75% of your international market development activities.