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 January 21, 2021.

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. the government is issued a Province-wide state of emergency and stay-at-home order.

Read The News Release Here

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

Ontario declares 2nd state of emergency, stay-at-home order announced

Posted January 12, 2021

Previous Updates:

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

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 

NOHFC – Northern Ontario Recovery Program

Due to overwhelming demand, the Northern Ontario Recovery Program has paused application intake as of Friday, November 20, 2020 at 6:00PM EST. 

Eligible project costs include but are not limited to:

  • Capital construction
  • Leasehold improvements
  • New or used equipment
  • Restructuring of business operations
  • Marketing for new business initiatives
  • Personal Protective Equipment and customer/employee safety installations
  • Other costs deemed necessary to complete the project at the discretion of the NOHFC


  • Funding will be in the form of a conditional contribution and will normally not exceed $25,000.
  • NOHFC will cover 100% of eligible project costs.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that the amount requested from NOHFC is incremental and does not duplicate other supports received.

Visit their Website Here

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:

  • retail
  • accommodation and food services
  • repair and maintenance
  • personal and laundry services

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.

Deadline: March 31, 2021.

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

TBC Grand Opportunities Fund

Applications are due: February 1, 2021

Provides successful applicants with a grant of $1000 towards one-time professional services that will aid in businesses recovery or adaptations to the business operations and/or revenue streams.

Visit Their Website

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)

Has been extended until June 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

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.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

is a separate program that provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers. If eligible, you may be able to receive both the TWS and the CEWS.

How the TWS and the CEWS work together

Visit The Government of Canada’s Website

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS):

Canadian businessesnon-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

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

Forest Sector Safety Measures Fund

The Ontario government is investing $5.3 million, provided through the federal Forest Sector Safety Measures Fund, to help small and medium sized forest sector businesses offset the cost of COVID-19 safety measures. The funding will be used for initiatives such as setting up sanitizing stations, providing enhanced cleaning, additional worker training, measures to increase physical distancing, and to purchase personal protective equipment.

Learn More Here

After CERB: Transitioning to new benefits

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ends when you’ve received 28 weeks of benefits or on October 3, 2020, whichever comes first.

New Recovery Benefits

If you were receiving CERB, you may be eligible for one of the new recovery benefits retroactive to September 27, 2020 and available until September 25, 2021.

Learn More

Best Practices and Resources:

  • We recommend reviewing your business insurance policies to look for any support opportunities that they can offer as well as ensure that there are no exclusions that may affect any coverages that you may have.
  • Review year-over-year sales or services totals and be prepared to forecast any sales losses and impacts to your revenues. It will be important to have an evidence-based summary to provide should there be any support or relief programs made available by provincial or federal governments in the coming months.
  • Communicate with your staff on a regular basis. Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and create a comfortable environment for your employees to talk to you if they are feeling concerned with their health or safety. Let your staff know their job is not at risk, and if layoffs are required, direct them to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada webpage for Unemployment details. Visit The Goverment of Canada’s Webpage
  • If you are able to remain open to the public, consider offering special services to those in our community who are most vulnerable to the virus. Some great ideas include:
    • opening an hour earlier or designating the first hour to vulnerable people in your community. This would allow them to shop when the shelves are stocked, the store is at its cleanest, and will help reduce crowds of people.
    • Offering a phone-in service, where people call ahead with their shopping list. Have an employee find everything they need in the store and have it ready to pick-up at a predetermined time, so as to limit the number of people a vulnerable person may have to encounter.
  • If you operate an essential service (such as a grocery store) consider enforcing limits on items such as canned or frozen goods, toilet paper, disinfectants like wipes and hand sanitizers, and baby products to ensure there is enough for everyone in the community.
  • If you an alternative to purchasing cleaning supplies you can use one of these 7 Homemade Disinfectant Spray Recipes

Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.  Visit The Government of Ontario’s Website

The Canadian Federation of Businesses has updated their webpage for frequently asked questions and other resource links for small businesses.  Topics include employee management, employer obligations, general information. Visit their Website

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has updated their webpage for preparedness resources for your business. Visit their webpage

Develop a continuity plan for how to get your business back on its feet. Consider these options:

    1. Having a more active presence on social media. If you require support with ramping up your social media presence, our Communications and Marketing Officer is available by phone or email to assist you. Contact Ciara Stead at 705-783-8862 /
    2. Run a sale or promotion
    3. Develop a customer loyalty program or contest
    4. Host Host a grand-reopening event

Keep updated on what is going on in Canada and Ontario by visiting the and websites, updated twice daily.

Government of Ontario’s Webpage

Government of Canada’s Webpage

Additional Resources:

Effective immediately, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as:

  • pay disruption due to COVID-19;
  • childcare disruption due to school closures; or
  • those facing illness from COVID-19.
  • This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

Read More Here

ICAMP – Canadore College

Supporting several COVID-19 clients from North Bay to Kelowna, and offering their full suite of services for manufacturing and innovations – 3D printing, design,  supply chain challenges, technical support, advisory, funding connections, and support

Read More about Program Here

Visit Their Website Here

Check directly with the following service providers to find out what actions they are taking towards providing relief or assistance.

  • Mortgage Providers
  • Insurance Providers (life, home, auto, travel, etc.)
  • Municipal Offices (property tax deadline extensions)
  • Utility companies (hydro, gas/propane, etc.)

Request ACED Support

    David GrayDirector of Economic Development
    Phone: (705)571-1564
    Ciara SteadCommunications & Marketing Officer
    Phone: (705)783-8862