The Province of Ontario has declared a state of emergency ordering all businesses, excluding those that have been deemed to be essential businesses, to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th. The list of businesses ordered to close includes: bars, restaurants (excluding take-out and delivery), theatres, childcare centres, recreation centres, and private schools. The Province has also prohibited organized public events over 5 people. In addition, the City of Toronto has announced that many City Park facilities have been closed in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
– More information, Province of Ontario
– List of essential businesses, Province of Ontario
Park closures, City of Toronto
Resources for Waterfront BIA businesses 
Waterfront Businesses offering take out and delivery

COVID-19 Information and Resources for Businesses


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipal, provincial and federal governments have put measures in place to protect the public. The Waterfront BIA will be providing information for its member businesses through this webpage and by email as necessary. We encourage members to rely on government sources to ensure that information is up-to-date and correct.

Primary Government Sources

Below the Waterfront BIA has put together a list of active and announced government programs and resources to support businesses and their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic response. We will work to keep this list up to date and relevant. We encourage members to let us know if they come across additional resources that could be helpful to our business community during this difficult time. Please contact our Manager of Operations and Special Projects, Oliver Hierlihy, if you have any questions or comments that we can assist you with at this time. Contact Oliver Hierlihy at (416) 845-0084 – oliver@waterfrontbia.com

Note: Many of these programs are awaiting approvals at different levels of government. We will be updating our website accordingly.

Last Updated: 2020-04-3 at 9:41 am

UPDATED 2020/04/03 The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy – Temporary 75% wage subsidy.

Government Backgrounder

A subsidy equal to 75% of employee remuneration paid for businesses with any number of employees that can demonstrate that their business revenues have decreased by at least 30% due to COVID-19. These subsidies will be retroactive to Saturday, March 15, 2020, and will cover up to 75% on the first $58,700 that employees earn, – $847 per week. Employers are encouraged to cover the additional 25% of employees salaries if they are able. Applications for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy will be available through the Canada Revenue Agency My Business Account.

Note 1: Employees who receive the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – 75% temporary wage subsidy will not qualify to receive the Canadain Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Note 2: It has been clarified that Bars, Restaurants, Charities, not for profits, and non-publically funded businesses will qualify for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy

Note 3: Seasonal Businesses will be required to show that they experienced a 30% reduction of their revenue in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019.

Note 4: Funds will be transferred by the CRA directly to retailer’s bank account to fund payroll; however this may take time to occur, so businesses may need to contact their financial institution to bridge-finance payroll until the funding is received ***

Note 5: The system does not require employers to pay the additional 25% of employees wages if they are unable, but are strongly encouraged to and will be required to attest that they have made their best efforts to do so ***

Note 6: The wage subsidy will be treated as revenue to businesses and as taxable income to employees. ***

Primary Source:

Helpful Secondary Source:

Status: Coming Soon

Provided by: Canada Revenue Agency

Beneficial to: Businesses

Updated 2020/04/02 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Government Backgrounder

The benefit will provide $2000 / month for the next four months for workers who are not getting a paycheque because of COVID-19. To qualify the person must have received at least $5,000 in employment income and have no income from employment or self-employment for at least 14-days in a row. This includes:

  • Persons who have lost their job due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are contract workers who can no longer work due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are Self-employed who can no longer work due to COVID-19 (such as independent small business owners)
  • Persons who are sick or in quarantine and not receiving a salary due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are looking after someone who is ill due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are looking after children due to school & daycare closers caused by COVID-19
  • Persons who are employed but are not receiving an income due to COVID-19 disruptions (Such as employees of non-essential businesses)

Note 1: Employees who receive the Canadain Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) can not also receive the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – temporary 75% wage subsidy.

Note 2: Workers do not need to be laid off in order to receive the CERB benefit, they simply must have stopped working as a result of COVID-19, and be without employment income for at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period.

Note 3: Application portals are expected to be launched on April 6, 2020 through CRA MyAccount secure portal; My Service Canada Account, or by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process. Application dates will be staggered by birth-month in order to prevent the application system from being overwhelmed. More info. Applicants will receive funding within 10-days of applying. The CERB benefit will be paid every four weeks and will apply for the period of March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020.

Note 4: Employees who have been laid off and have applied for Employment Insurance (EI) will automatically be move over to receive the CERB benefit first.**

Primary Government Source: 

Helpful Secondary Sources:

Status: Expected For April 6, 2020

Provided by: Federal Government

Beneficial to: Workers, Business Owners

** denotes information from trusted, non-official sources

NEW! 27/03/2020 Canada Emergency Business Account: loans of $40,000 guaranteed by the government for qualifying small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs. These loans will be interest-free for the first year and will be offered through qualified major Canadian Banks. Businesses that repay the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

To qualify for the Canadian Emergency Business Account, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that they have paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.

Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.

More information to follow

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/additional-support-for-canadian-businesses-from-the-economic-impact-of-covid-19.html

Status: Contact your Bank

Provided by: Provided by: Federal Government via the Bank of Canada, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Major Canadian Banks.

Beneficial to: Businesses

NEW! 27/03/2020 SME Loan Guarantee Programs: For small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that need additional support can apply for guaranteed loans through their financial institutions to help them weather the impacts of COVID-19. These loans, which will be supported through the Export Development Canada (EDC) and Business Development Bank (BDC) are intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements. These two programs are outlined below:

A. BDC Co-Lending Program for Smal and Medium Enterprises: The Business Development Bank of Canada, together with major financial institutions, will co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers. The potential for lending for this program will be $20 billion.

B. EDC Loan Guarantees. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can apply through their financial institutions to get operating credit and cash flow term loans up to $6.25 million, which will be guaranteed by the Export Development Canada (EDC). The program cap for this new loan program will be a total of $20 billion for export sector and domestic companies.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/additional-support-for-canadian-businesses-from-the-economic-impact-of-covid-19.html

Status: Coming Soon

Provided by: Provided by: Federal Government via the Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada

Beneficial to: Businesses

NEW! 27/03/2020 Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance (HST and GST): The Federal Government will be deferring the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30,2020.

  • Monthly filers have to remit amounts collected for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods;
  • Quarterly filers have to remit amounts collected for the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period; and
  • Annual filers, whose GST/HST return or instalment are due in March, April or May 2020, have to remit amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.

More information to follow

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/additional-support-for-canadian-businesses-from-the-economic-impact-of-covid-19.html

Status: Available immediately

Provided by: Provided by: Federal Government via the Canadian Revenue Agency

Beneficial to: Businesses

Small Business Tax Deferral: The 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 March 19, 2020 and before September 2020.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html#Support_for_Businesses

Status: Available

Provided by: Federal Government via Canada Revenue Agency

Beneficial to: Businesses

NEW! 2020/03/25 Deferral of Business Education Tax Payments (commercial property tax) The province announced that it will defer the quarterly municipal remittance of the business education property tax to school boards by 90 days. This will allow municipalities to also provide property tax deferrals to businesses while ensuring school boards continue to receive their funding.

https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2020/03/ontarios-action-plan-responding-to-covid-19.html

Status: Announced

Provided by: Provincial

Beneficial to: Businesses

NEW! 2020/03/25 Provincial Tax Relief: The province announced that it will provide five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.

https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2020/03/ontarios-action-plan-responding-to-covid-19.html

Status: Announced

Provided by: Provincial

Beneficial to: Businesses

NEW! 2020/03/30 Delay of the property tax reassessment by MPAC: The next property valuation to be completed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) in 2020 for the 2021 year has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the assessments for the 2021 taxation year will continue to be based on the same valuation date that was in effect for the 2020 taxation year.

https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/annex.html#section-4

Status: Announced

Provided by: Provincial

Beneficial to: Businesses, Property Owners

Grace Period for Municipal Property Taxes: The City of Toronto will provide a grace period for property tax payments and payment penalties for businesses for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020:

  • For businesses on the three-instalment payment plan: the April 1 tax due date is extended to June 1, 2020;
  • For property owners on the 11-instalment pre-authorized payment plan, the 2020 due dates will be extended by 60 days;
  • Late payment penalties are waived for 60 days (as of March 16, 2020).

https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/economic-support-recovery/economic-support-recovery-for-businesses/ 

Status: Available

Provided by: Municipal Government

Beneficial to: Businesses, Property Owners

Grace Period for Municipal Utility Bills: (Water/Sewer Service and Solid Waste Management charges where applicable): The City is extending the due date for all utility bills issued to businesses by an additional 60 days in addition to the current 21 days to give utility customers an additional 60 days to make payment to take advantage of the early payment discount.

https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/economic-support-recovery/economic-support-recovery-for-businesses/

Status: Available

Provided by: Municipal Government

Beneficial to: Businesses, Property Owners

24-hour Retail Delivery Noise Exemption: All retail businesses are noise exempt from the City’s Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries. Retailers can receive deliveries 24 / 7 to ensure goods remain in stock.

https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/economic-support-recovery/economic-support-recovery-for-businesses/

Status: Available

Provided by: Provincial, Municipal Government

Beneficial to: Businesses

Employer obligations for workers infected with COVID-19: Currently under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, if an employer is advised that a worker is ill resulting from an exposure at work (including COVID-19), or a claim has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) with respect to COVID-19 exposure at work, the employer must notify the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within four days. The employer must also notify the workplace joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative and trade union, if any.

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/employment-standards-amendment-act-infectious-disease-emergencies-2020.html

Status: Available

Provided by: Provincial, Municipal Government

Beneficial to: Businesses

The Employment Standards Amendment Act 2020: Provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or daycare closures or to care for other relatives. Retroactive to January 25, 2020, and employees cannot be required to show sick notes.

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/employment-standards-amendment-act-infectious-disease-emergencies-2020.html

Status: Available Retroactive to January 25, 2020

Provided by: Provincial Government

Beneficial to: Workers

Employment Insurance Work Sharing Program: This EI program benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, splitting the work between two or more employees. These measures make it easier for businesses and employees to apply for a work share agreement by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process.

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing/guide-applicant.html#hb3

Status: Available

Provided by: Federal Government via Employment Insurance

Beneficial to: Businesses, Workers

Banking Solutions: The Bank of Canada has cut the interest rate to 0.75%, and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced the release of an additional $300 billion in lending capacity by the major banks with the expectation that they will support Canadian businesses and households.

In turn, the big six Canadian banks: 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.

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/maintaingrowimprovebusiness/resources-for-canadian-businesses.html

Status: Available, Case by Case

Provided by: Federal Government via the Bank of Canada, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Major Canadian Banks.

Beneficial to: Businesses, Property Owners, Workers

Business Development Bank Financing: Small business loans up to $100,000 that can be obtained in as little as 48 hours, working capital loans, and purchase order financing loans.

Note 1: Businesses are encouraged to seek commercially available financing first as were enabled through the measures put in place through Banking Solutions. Businesses should reference this Government of Canada flowchart prior to applying for BDC financing. http://www.waterfrontbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Business-Flowchart-EN.pdf

Note 2: Some businesses such as pubs/ bars/ clubs and marijuana companies, and non-Canadian companies are not eligible to apply.

https://www.bdc.ca/en/about/mediaroom/public_statements/pages/useful-advice-help-entrepreneurs-plan-respond-impacts-coronavirus.aspx

Status: Available, Existing Program

Provided by: Federal Government via Business Development Bank of Canada

Beneficial to: Businesses

Business Credit Availability Program: Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to 6 months for qualifying businesses.

https://www.bdc.ca/en/about/mediaroom/public_statements/pages/useful-advice-help-entrepreneurs-plan-respond-impacts-coronavirus.aspx

Status: Coming Soon

Provided by: Federal Government via Business Development Bank of Canada

Beneficial to: Businesses

Employment Insurance (EI) – Regular Benefits: Employees who lose their job through no fault of their own, and have been without work and pay for at least seven consecutive days, and have worked for the required number of insurable hours in the last 52 weeks since their last claim.

Employees who have applied for EI due to COVID-19 related layoffs will be automatically enrolled into recently announced the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program, which they will receive prior to their EI benefits.

Note: individuals should apply for EI as soon as soon as they lose their job, even if their Record of Employment (ROE) is not yet available.

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

Status: Available immediately, Existing Program

Provided by: Federal Government via Employment Insurance

Beneficial to: Workers

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit: An increase to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child.

NOTE: persons who expect to receive the Enhanced Canada Child Benefit are encouraged not to delay the filing of their taxes due to the personal tax filing deferral in order to ensure that their entitlements are properly determined for 2020-21.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html

Status: Early May

Provided by: Federal Government via the Canada Revenue Agency

Beneficial to: Workers

Enhanced GST Credit for low & modest income families: A one-time special payment to families with low to modest incomes in early May through the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) providing families with close to $400 for single individuals, and close to $600 for couples.

NOTE: persons who expect to receive the Enhanced GST Credit are encouraged not to delay the filing of their taxes due to the personal tax filing deferral in order to ensure that their entitlements are properly determined for 2020-21.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html

Status: Available

Provided by: Federal Government via the Canada Revenue Agency

Beneficial to: Workers

Digital Main Street one-on-one support for getting businesses online: Digital Main Street is a program provided by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Association of BIA’s to help businesses develop their online footprint. They have made their staff person Bashar Saqr available to support Waterfront BIA Businesses increase their online business presence through free one-on-one online consultations.

WBIA members can book their free consultations with Bashar Sqar through the below link, or by email: bashar@digitalmainstreet.ca

https://calendly.com/bashar-dms

Status: Available

Provided by: Municipal Government via the Toronto Association of BIA’s

Beneficial to: Businesses

Ontario Providing Electricity Relief to Small Businesses: The provincial government has suspended time-of-use hydro rates for a period of 45-days, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This discount will be applied automatically for all customers.

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-providing-electricity-relief-to-families-small-businesses-and-farms-during-covid-19.html

Status: Available

Provided by: Provincial Government via the Ontario Energy Board

Beneficial to: Businesses, Workers, Property Owners

NEW! 2020/03/26 – Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario allows for licensees to now sell liquor for takeout or delivery along with food. The AGCO will now allow bar and restaurant licensees to temporarily sell beer, wine and spirits as part of a food order for takeout or delivery. These changes are effective immediately and last until December 31, 2020.

https://www.agco.ca/bulletin/2020/info-bulletin-no-61-liquor-sales-licensees-may-now-sell-liquor-takeout-or-delivery

Status: Available

Provided by: Provincial Government via the AGCO

Beneficial to: Businesses

As a reminder – businesses are advised to check their insurance policies to see if and how they are covered by Business Disruption Insurance.


Additional Resources & Guides

Business Surveys and Advocacy Efforts.

NEW! 27/03/2020 City of Toronto COVID-19 Business Survey https://s.cotsurvey.chkmkt.com/?e=192083&d=e&h=C10B481F4DB6030&l=en

Save Canadian Small Business Petition: https://savesmallbusiness.ca/

UPDATED 2020/04/02 The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy – Temporary 75% wage subsidy: A subsidy equal to 75% of employee remuneration paid for businesses with any number of employees that can demonstrate that their business revenues have decreased by at least 30% due to COVID-19. These subsidies will be retroactive to Saturday, March 15, 2020, and will cover up to 75% on the first $58,700 that employees earn, – $847 per week. Employers are encouraged to cover the additional 25% of employees salaries if they are able. Applications for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy will be available through the CRA Website.

Note 1: Employees who receive the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – 75% temporary wage subsidy will not qualify to receive the Canadain Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Note 2: It has been clarified that Bars, Restaurants, Charities, not for profits, and none publically funded businesses will qualify for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy

Note 3: Seasonal Businesses will be required to show that they experienced a 30% reduction of their revenue in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019.

Note 4: Funds will be transferred by the CRA directly to retailer’s bank account to fund payroll; however this may take time to occur, so businesses may need to contact their financial institution to bridge-finance payroll until the funding is received ***

Note 5: The system does not require employers to pay the additional 25% of employees wages if they are unable, but are strongly encouraged to and will be required to attest that they have made their best efforts to do so ***

Note 6: The wage subsidy will be treated as revenue to businesses and as taxable income to employees. ***

Primary Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html

Helpful Secondary Source:

Status: Coming Soon

Provided by: Canada Revenue Agency

Beneficial to: Businesses

Updated 2020/04/02 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): The benefit will provide $2000 / month for the next four months for workers who are not getting a paycheque because of COVID-19. To qualify the person must have received at least $5,000 in employment income and have no income form employment or self-employment for at least 14-days in a row. This includes:

  • Persons who have lost their job due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are contract workers who can no longer work due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are Self-employed who can no longer work due to COVID-19 (such as independent small business owners)
  • Persons who are sick or in quarantine and not receiving a salary due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are looking after someone who is ill due to COVID-19
  • Persons who are looking after children due to school & daycare closers caused by COVID-19
  • Persons who are employed but are not receiving an income due to COVID-19 disruptions (Such as employees of non-essential businesses)

Note 1: Employees who receive the Canadain Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) can not also receive the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – temporary 75% wage subsidy.

Note 2.
 Early indications suggest that CERB will be an extremely flexible program to assist small businesses in maintaining their staffing – allowing employees to continue working while receiving the CERB benefit, with the opportunity for employers to top-up their workers’ compensation beyond the $2,000 that is provided to them by CERB. We will provide updates on this program as they become available. **

Note 3: Application portals are expected to be launched on April 6, 2020 through CRA MyAccount secure portalMy Service Canada Account, or by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process. Application dates will be staggered by birth-month in order to prevent the application system from being overwhelmed. More info. Applicants will receive funding within 10-days of applying. The CERB benefit will be paid every four weeks and will apply for the period of March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020.

Note 4: Employees who have been laid off and have applied for Employment Insurance (EI) will automatically be move over to receive the CERB benefit first.**

More Information: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

Helpful Secondary Sources:

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