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 11, 2022

Ontario to Require Proof of Vaccination in Select Settings

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. This approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn and includes:

These mandatory requirements would not apply to outdoor settings where the risk of transmission is lower, including patios, with the exception of outdoor nightclub spaces given the risk associated with the setting. In addition, these requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, medical supplies and the like. Aligned with public health measures currently in place, indoor masking policies will continue to remain in place.

These mandatory requirements would not apply to outdoor settings where the risk of transmission is lower, including patios, with the exception of outdoor nightclub spaces given the risk associated with the setting. In addition, these requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, medical supplies and the like. Aligned with public health measures currently in place, indoor masking policies will continue to remain in place.

Read The NEWS RELEASE Here
Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations

Ontario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen

In response to recent trends that show a rapid increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Ontario is temporarily moving into Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts.

As of January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. the following measures will be in place for at least 21 days (until January 27) subject to trends in public health and our health system.

Please refer to O. Reg. 263/20 Rules for Areas in Step 2 for the complete list of measures and conditions that apply to certain businesses, organizations, places and individuals.

News Release
Public Health Measures and Advice
Rules for Areas in Step 2

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

Streamed live on January 03, 2022

Previous Updates:

For previous video updates, please visit the Premier of Ontario’s YouTube Channel.

Premier of Ontario’s YouTube Channel

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 

Infrastructure Canada – Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Program (GICB)

The Government of Canada announced up to $1.5 billion in federal funding over five years to establish the GICB program. The GICB program support retrofits, repairs or upgrades of existing publicly-accessible community buildings and the construction of new publicly-accessible community buildings that serve underserved and high-needs communities across Canada. Community buildings are non-commercial community-oriented structures and spaces that provide open, available, and accessible community services to the public. Applicants with small and medium retrofit projects to existing community buildings ranging in total eligible cost from $100,000 to $3 million will be accepted on a continuous basis and funded on a rolling intake basis.

Learn More Here

Ontario is introducing the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program to support businesses that are most impacted by public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.

Eligible businesses will receive rebate payments equivalent to 50% of the property tax and energy costs they incur while they are subject to the current capacity limits. Examples of eligible businesses include:

  • restaurants
  • smaller retail stores
  • gyms

A full list of eligible business types will be available through a program guide in mid-January 2022.

Click here to begin your application. Payments to eligible businesses will be retroactive to December 19, 2021.

Businesses will be required to submit property tax and energy bills as part of the application process.

If you have questions about the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, call 1-866-668-8297 (1-866-ONT-TAXS).

The Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant is for small businesses that are subject to closure under modified Step Two of Roadmap to Reopen beginning January 5, 2022. It will provide eligible small businesses with a one-time grant payment of $10,000.

Eligible small businesses will include:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms)
  • Performing arts venues and cinemas, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions
  • Meeting or event spaces
  • Tour and guide services
  • Conference centres and convention centres.

Eligible businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and that are subject to closure under modified Step Two of Roadmap to Reopen will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and will not need to apply to the new program. Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens in the coming weeks. Small businesses who qualify can expect to receive their payment in February.

The online application portal will open in the coming weeks.  Click here to view more details or to check the status of the portal.

Loan Programs

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

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

The Government of Ontario is

providing additional support to help improve cash flows for Ontario businesses by providing a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. This will:

  • support businesses in the immediate term while capacity restrictions are in place
  • provide the flexibility Ontario businesses will need for long-term planning

The six-month period will begin on January 1, 2022 and end on July 1, 2022.

This measure will provide up to $7.5 billion in relief to help approximately 80,000 Ontario businesses. Businesses will have the option to delay their payments for the following provincially administered taxes:

  • Employer Health Tax
  • Beer, Wine & Spirits Taxes
  • Tobacco Tax
  • Insurance Premium Tax
  • Fuel Tax
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement
  • Gas Tax
  • Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts & Benefit Plans
  • Mining Tax
  • Race Tracks Tax

For 21 days, starting at 12:01 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, electricity prices will be set 24 hours a day at the current off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is less than half the cost of the current on-peak rate. The off-peak rate will apply automatically to residential, small businesses and farms who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and get a bill from a utility and will benefit customers on both Time-of-Use and Tiered rate plans. This will provide immediate savings for families, small businesses and farms as all Ontarians work together to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

Online applications for the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program will open on January 18. This program will provide eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity with rebate payments for up to 100 per cent of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.

Eligible businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. Those required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs. A complete list of eligible businesses will be provided prior to the launch of the application portal.

Request ACED Support