COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to our businesses here in Almaguin.  We recognize that as a small business owner in rural Ontario, its nearly impossible to prepare for something like this. The Almaguin Community Economic Development (ACED) is working to find ways to alleviate this pressure from businesses by researching ways to help business owners and operators manage and mitigate these challenges.

We have created a list of Best Practices for your business so you, your staff, and your customers can remain safe and healthy, as well as compiled a list of resources for small business owners in Ontario.

Some municipalities across Almaguin have made the decision to defer tax payments and others have the ability to handle situations on a case-by-case basis if certain businesses or individuals are struggling financially due to COVID-19. Please contact your municipality directly for more information.

If at any time you would like to reach out to a member of our Economic Development Team, our contact information will be listed at the bottom of this page.

Last updated on April 9th, 2021.

Declaration of emergency and provincewide stay-at-home order

As  cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, a declaration of emergency and provincewide stay-at-home order are in effect as of Thursday, April 8, at 12:01 a.m.

Read the News Release
COVID-19: enhanced public health and workplace safety measures

What this means

The  Response Framework (colour-coded zones) is paused. We must all follow temporary restrictions and public health and workplace safety measures. The impacts of these measures will be evaluated after 28 days to determine if it is safe to lift the restrictions or if they need to be extended.

COVID-19 Response Framework

What is Open and Closed

Below are some of the key public health and safety measures at this time.


With the exceptions below, most non-essential retailers may open:

  • for curbside pickup and delivery only, by appointment
  • between 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for sales, with delivery allowed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies

The following stores can open for in-person shopping at a maximum capacity of 50%:

  • supermarkets
  • grocery stores
  • convenience stores
  • pharmacies
  • farmers markets
  • other businesses that primarily sell food to the public

Discount and big box stores

Discount and big box stores can only open for in-person shopping for:

  • grocery items
  • pet care supplies
  • household cleaning supplies
  • pharmaceutical items
  • health care items
  • personal care items

Garden centres, plant nurseries and greenhouses

Outdoor garden centres, plant nurseries and indoor greenhouses may open for in-person shopping:

  • at a maximum capacity of 25%
  • between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. only
  • curbside pickup is allowed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Stores that sell liquor, beer, wine and spirits

Stores that sell liquor, including beer, wine and spirits may open for in-person shopping:

  • at a maximum capacity of 25%
  • between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. with delivery allowed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

Services available:

  • Take-out
  • Drive-through
  • Delivery


  • All indoor and outdoor dining

Night clubs and strip clubs only permitted to open if they operate as a food or drink establishment, for takeout, drive-through and delivery only.

Sports and recreation

Outdoor recreational amenities may open, including:

  • parks
  • cycling tracks and bike tracks
  • golf courses and outdoor driving ranges


  • Indoor and outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities (limited exceptions, for example, child care, access to physical therapy for people with disabilities)
  • Personal fitness and sports trainers

Meeting and event spaces

Closed for meetings and events (limited exceptions, for example child care, mental health and addiction support services)

Personal care services


Cinemas, performing arts facilities, casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments


Stay up to date with the most recent press releases from the Provincial and Federal Government:

Premier Ford provides an update at Queen’s Park – State of Emergency Annouced

Posted April 7st, 2021

Previous Updates:

If your businesses or organization is looking to take part in promoting covid-19 safe events and activities please check out Staycation in Almaguin! We are working hard to create something for all Almaguin residents to enjoy, stay tuned for updates by checking out our page below.

Staycation in Almaguin Webpage

Financial Support for Businesses:

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. For updates on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response plan in regards to individuals and businesses. For more information visit the Government of Canada’s Support to Businesses webpage. 

The Ontario government has programs and available supports as your business recovers from COVID-19. For more information click the button below. 

Help for businesses in Ontario

Grant Programs

Blue Sky Net

Blue Sky Net coverage Map 

Business Technology Improvement Fund

Blue Sky Net, through BTIF, is committed to helping small-to-medium-sized businesses in the Blue Sky Net region within Northeastern Ontario who are looking to enhance their capacity for business technology and their ability for technology adoption.

The BTIF grant helps to alleviate the costs of implementing innovative technology solutions for your business that will help take you to the next level.

Visit Their Website 

COVID Technology Adoption Fund

Now Accepting Applications Again for projects that can be completed by March 15th. 

CTAF will provide eligible businesses, start-ups, municipalities, and Indigenous communities across Northern Ontario with access to capital grant funding to acquire digital technology and e-business and marketing solutions to ensure they can survive and adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

CTAF will provide: Capital grant funding for eligible applicants of up to $10,000 with a minimum contribution of 25% from the applicant towards the project and Guidance and assistance for applicants

Visit Their Website 

Main Street Relief Grant for Personal protective equipment (PPE)

We are helping small businesses with the unexpected costs of PPE. The grant application is now live. 

To be eligible, your business must have two to nine employees and be in one of the following sectors:

Expanded to include:

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

What you’ll get
Eligible small businesses will get one-time grants of up to $1,000.

What you’ll need to apply
You will need to submit receipts or proof of costs for PPE purchased since March 17, 2020. This includes:

  • gloves, gowns, face shields, eye protection, masks, sanitizer, sanitizing wipes
  • thermometers, temperature monitors or cameras
  •  physical changes, including the installation of hand sanitizer stations and plexiglass dividers
  •  signs to guide or inform customers and employees

Learn More

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program – Small Business (CEAP-SB)

Any residential, small business, or registered charity customer with an overdue electricity or natural gas bill will now be eligible to apply. A residential customer can receive up to $750 to help cover their electricity bill and an additional $750 for their natural gas bill. Small businesses can receive up to $1500 for each. Newly eligible customers can apply for these enhanced benefits through their local utility, starting in January 2021

You must apply for CEAP-SB through your utility or USMP. Contact your utility or USMP directly as each may have a unique approach for application in-take.

Learn More

Ontario Business Supports Grant

The grant is to help small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the new Provincewide Shutdown.

The government’s new Ontario Small Business Support Grant will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help eligible small business owners during this challenging period.

Closed March 31, 2021. However anyone who called in with technical difficulties and received a ticket number will still be able to submit their application. Anyone who was approved for funding will have their eligible amount automatically doubled. PPE, Energy and Gas rebates will still be available.

Click here to apply

View The Guidelines

NECO: Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC)

Funding is eligible until March 31 2021

Up to $5,000.00 will be granted to the SME applicant to be issued to a third-party delivery agent, training consultant or independent service provider for eligible services.

Funding will be issued on a continuous intake model to ensure funds are disbursed as quickly as possible.

View Informational PDF

IION: Step Forward Entrepreneurs Program (SFEP)

Effective August 1, 2020 – $5K, $7.5K, $10K to March 31, 2021 – The previous eligibility and cost categories remain the same; sales and marketing, product development and business enhancement. Examples of these costs include, but are not limited to;

  •         Training, Certifications or Licenses
  •         Market/Product Research or Market-entry Fees
  •         IP Assessment / Protection
  •         Marketing and Promotional Materials
  •         Business Growth Expertise
  •         Export Development

Learn More Here

Healthy Communities Fund

The Healthy Communities Initiative will provide funding to a broad range of organizations, including local governments, charities, Indigenous communities and non- profits, for projects, programming and services that help communities: • create safe and vibrant public spaces, • improve mobility options and • provide innovative digital solutions to connect people and improve health. Organizations can apply to the Healthy Communities Initiative starting February 9, 2021, through March 9, 2021, at 5:00 PM PST.

2021 Reconnect Festival and Event Program (Provincial) 

Supports innovative programming and marketing for festivals and events.

You must submit your application by April 20, 2021 by 5 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time).

Learn More Here

Ontario Arts Council COVID-19 Grant (Provincial)

Artist-Presenter Collaboration Projects.

Learn More Here

Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music Sectors Fund (Fed)

The Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music Sectors Fund is designed to: support the arts and cultural sectors in immediately contracting and employing artists and cultural workers, as part of the federal government’s overall efforts to help Canadians and Canadian businesses weather the effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic provide arts and cultural experiences to Canadians, both live and digital, while restrictions on gatherings and travel continue across the countryThere is no deadline to apply for the Fund. Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis for projects to be carried out between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022. Funding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, until all funds are disbursed. Eligible organizations are encouraged to apply before October 15, 2021, to ensure that the Department has sufficient time to assess their application and the applicant has enough time to carry out its project before March 31, 2022.

Learn More Here

Loan Programs

BDC Support (CEBA & BCAP Programs)

These new measures aim to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on business activity and complement services offered by other financial institutions, with whom BDC will continue working. For BDC, eligible businesses needed to be financially viable entities prior to the impact of the coronavirus.

Visit BDC Website

EDC Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Applications Extended until December 2021

  • Up to $6.25 million to help cover operating costs during a period where revenues have been temporarily reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Repay over 5 years and benefit from 6 months principal payment postponement.
  • EDC will guarantee 80% of your new operating line of credit or new term loan.

Visit EDC’s website to find out if you are eligible

Learn More

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Has been extended until October 31, 2021

  • Access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000 in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. This program is meant to help you pay non-deferrable operating expenses and quickly return to providing services to your community and create employment – extended until March 31, 2021
  • By repaying $40,000 from your total $60,000 loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 33 percent (up to $20,000).
  • If the loan cannot be repaid by December 31, 2022, it can be converted into a 3-year term loan with an interest rate of 5%.
  • Principal payments can be made at your pace, without fees or penalties, by December 31, 2022.

Learn More

Farm Credit Canada (FCC)

To ensure producers, agribusinesses and food processors can remain focused on business-critical functions rather than worrying about how to access funds to keep operating through this challenging period, effective immediately, FCC has put in place:

  • a deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans; or
  • a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
  • access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Québec only)

If you’d like more information on these options or on how FCC can help improve your financial position, please contact your local office or the Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 for further details.

Program Details

Visit the FCC Website

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

FedNor is delivering $24 million of this RRRF investment through its Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. Eligible applicants include businesses such as incorporated companies, corporations or co-operatives, or Indigenous organizations such as Indigenous/First Nation/Métis Settlement-owned businesses, as well as various not-for-profit entities. The RRRF will support a variety of costs or activities to help SMEs and not-for-profit organizations stay solvent over a period of six months.

Visit Their Website

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program

Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million.Hard-hit businesses, like a chain of hotels or restaurants with multiple locations under one related entity, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million.HASCAP will help businesses with their day-to-day operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis and enable them to invest in their longer-term prosperity. Applications open until June 30th 2021

Learn More

Benefit Programs

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The Canada Recovery Benefit will provide eligible workers with $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to 26 weeks for those who are not employed or self-employed due to COVID-19 and who are not eligible for EI, or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in two-week periods.

Learn More

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWS)

is a 3-month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions they need to remit to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This only applies to the federal, provincial, or territorial income tax portion of the remittance.

Learn More

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The CEWS has provided businesses with financial assistance to cover the salaries and wages of employees since March 15, 2020. In addition to a June 2021 extension, changes have been made to the program’s qualifying period, subsidy rates, and top-up percentages.

Learn More

Request ACED Support