COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to our businesses here in Almaguin. We recognize that as a small business owner in rural Ontario, its near 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 complied a list of resources for small businesses 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 anytime 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 April 6, 2020.
Confirmed 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 infomration visit the Governemt of Canada’s Support to Businesses webpage.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Who it helps: Self employed, Contract workers, Workers who have lost their income.
Details: Financial help up to $2000 per month with a potential 10-day turn around time for applications. Application portal will be made available soon. Links to come as they are made available. Applicants born in January through March can apply on April 6, the first day the portal opens. Those born April through June can apply April 7, those born in July through September on April 8 and Canadians with birth months October through December can sign up on April 9.
Wage Subsidy Program for Small Businesses:
The Federal Government announced an up to 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll.
More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
You are an eligible employer if you:
- are a non-profit organization, registered charity, or a Canadian-controlled private corporation (CCPC);
- have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and
- pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an employee.
BDC Support – Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
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.
- Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible repayment terms such as principal postponements for qualifying businesses;
- Flexible repayment terms, such as postponement of principal payments for up to 6 months, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less;
- Reduced rates on new eligible loans;
- Additional details regarding Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) measures, including industry specific support, to be announced in the coming days.
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. Visit the FCC Website
Work Sharing Program:
For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID-19’s impact, the Government is implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employees, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76, easing eligibility requirements, an streamlining the application process.
For more information please visit The Government of Canada Website
Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes:
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
Visit the Canada Revenue Agency website for more information
NECO Emergency small business loan. Maximum of $50,000 accommodating interest schedule. Call for more information: 1-888-476-8822 / 705-476-8822 or Visit Their Website
Canada Emergency Business Account
The new Canada Emergency Business Account 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.
To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Visit the Government of Canada’s Website
Canadian Business Resilience Network
The Canadian Chamber Commerce is working on a microsite with more robust tools and resources on its way. Visit their website for more information.
Stay up to date with the most recent press releases from the Provincial and Federal Government:
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario Premier Doug Ford addresses COVID-19 projections | LIVE
Posted April 3, 2020
Best Practices and Resources:
Business Information Line Now Open at 1-888-444-3659 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
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.
The Canadian Federation of Businesses has updated their web page 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
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 must close to the public, and laying off employees is not an option, get creative on ways to keep them working. Allow them to work-from-home if possible. If that is not an option, consider assigning tasks such as:
- organizing that backroom that has needed some TLC for a while.
- Offer a delivery service to customers. Give customers the option to call in for specific items, request payment over the phone, and have employees deliver to the customers doors.
- Getting some assistance managing your social media presence or website enhancements.
Get your employees to brainstorm new ideas for promotions, special events, or campaigns to get people in the door and shopping again once you are safe to open your doors again.
Develop a continuity plan for how to get your business back on its feet. Consider these options:
- 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 / email@example.com
- Run a sale or promotion
- Develop a customer loyalty program or contest
- Host Host a grand-reopening event
If you have social media make sure to provide plenty of updates to your customers regarding special hours, precautions you are taking to keep them safe, and interruptions to regular product or service delivery.
Hydro One Pandemic Relief Fund for Customers: Visit their Webpage
Lakeland Power: Visit Their Webpage
Bell Canada will be waiving extra usage fees for all residential Internet customers until April 30th Visit Their Website
Rogers will be waiving long distance charges for wireless and wireless home phone consumers and small businesses for calls to anywhere in Canada until April 30.
Visit Their Website
Other Service Providers: 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)
- Utilities companies (hydro, gas/propane, etc.)