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COVID-19 Business Support

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Business Information & Support During COVID-19 ​​

This page helps businesses access information about the various business support programs and services that are being introduced from all levels of government. It is updated regularly with information and resources that support businesses in responding to the economic impact of COVI​D-19:

The Town of Tillsonburg is continuing to work with the Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Improvement Area to help support business owners through these challenging months. The Town is also collaborating with economic developers across Oxford County, as well as the Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus.  

 

 Local Support

Digital Main Street Grant

The Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses improve the efficiency of their digital operations by providing a $2500 grant, administered by the Ontario BIA Association, to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing.

For more information about the Digital Main Street and related programs, contact Ramona Gallagher at info@thesmallbusinesscentre.ca

Emergency Micro Loan Program 

To help businesses manage their monthly financial obligations during COVID-19 , Community Futures Oxford has introduced the $30,000 Emergency Micro Loan Program

This program has been enhanced with an express process for businesses that need funds to cover their rent payments.  Through this enhancement, businesses can apply to receive up to $2,500/month for up to 12 months. The funds will be disbursed directly to the landlord each month so they are only obligated the repay the amount for the months they need funds to cover rent.

Highlights:

  • Eligible businesses must be located within Oxford County
  • Funding to be used for monthly cash flow requirements
  • Loan can be used to cover business rent/lease payments of up to $2,500/month for one year
  • Loan of up to $30,000 per client
  • No interest for the first 6 months (limited time offer)
  • Expedited application and approval process

Apply Now

Grants for Non-Profits and Community Associations 

To assist with the recovery of Oxford County’s community and economy, non-profit organizations and community associations can apply for non-repayable grant funding up to $25,000 to help make innovative community development projects possible.


Eligible Applicants:

  • Community Organizations (BIA, Chambers of Commerce, etc.)
  • Not-for-profit Organizations
  • Co-operatives
  • Social service institutions

Applications for 2021 will be accepted by Community Futures Oxford in two rounds as follows:

Round 1 applications accepted: January 4- February 26 @ 4:00pm

Round 2 applications accepted: March 1- April 30 @ 4:00pm

Register for an upcoming info session with Community Futures Oxford to learn more.

Learn more

Oxford Economic Stimulus Fund

Administered by Community Futures Oxford in collaboration with Oxford Connection, the Oxford Economic Stimulus Fund provides local businesses with flexible loans to restart businesses closed during the pandemic, revitalize downtown cores, support tourism and hospitality operators and more.

A total of $1.5 million will be distributed through the fund, $1 million from Oxford County and $0.5 million from Community Futures Oxford. Up to 10% of the original principal of the loan made to businesses may be forgiven if repayment is made within two years.

Applications to the fund open May 20 and will be accepted until December 31, 2021.

Funding Details

Successful applicants will receive business financing up to $100,000 for working capital through a repayable loan from Community Futures Oxford. 

The loan will consist of:

  • Up to a 5-year term and will be amortized over 5 to 10 years with an interest rate of Prime + 2%.
  • Special terms and conditions such as 6 months of no interest and no payments, then 18 months of interest only. 
  • 10% of the loan is forgiven if paid back in 2 years. 
  • Credit applications will be evaluated according to the business proposal, cash flow forecasts and security available.

 Learn More

 

Note:  When choosing between the Oxford Economic Stimulus Program and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund please consider the following: 

  • The Regional Recovery and Relief Fund prioritizes applicants who have not received or qualified for any other programs
  • The Oxford Economic Stimulus Fund (up to $100,000) will prioritize people who may have received other funds, but require more than $40,000

For more information, please visit www.cfoxford.ca

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund 

Community Futures Oxford is pleased to deliver the Federal Government's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), which provides financial contributions (interest-free loans) to help support fixed operating costs of SMEs, where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities they serve, CFDCs will focus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants, corner stores, and businesses of strategic importance to their communities, with loans up to $40,000.

Learn More


Note:  When choosing between the Oxford Economic Stimulus Program and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund please consider the following: 

  • The Regional Recovery and Relief Fund prioritizes applicants who have not received or qualified for any other programs
  • The Oxford Economic Stimulus Fund (up to $100,000) will prioritize people who may have received other funds, but require more than $40,000

For more information, please visit www.cfoxford.ca

Tillsonburg BIA
The Tillsonburg Business Improvement Association (BIA) is comprised of more than 230 businesses in the Downtown Core Area (Central Commercial zone) in Tillsonburg. The BIA is responsible for the promotion and beautification of Downtown Tillsonburg, and offers a variety of support services and resources to member businesses. Contact m.renaud@tillsonburgbia.ca to discuss your situation.
Tillsonburg Outdoor Patio Program

The pilot program for outdoor patios located on municipal property for the 2021 season has been approved by Town Council.

The Town of Tillsonburg allows downtown eating establishments or coffee shops to establish temporary seasonal patios by using on-street parking spaces along municipal streets which have curb side on street parking as well as in municipal parking lots.

The 2021 outdoor patio season is established between April 15th to November 1st *. (*May be permitted earlier at the Town’s discretion depending on weather and completion of required maintenance).

All outdoor patios and/or sidewalk by-passes must be designed and constructed to the satisfaction of the Town of Tillsonburg. 

Learn more

 

Federal & Provincial Financial Assistance

Small Businesses
Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF)
Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) is a fund established by RBC, the federal government and other sponsors to help small businesses across Canada offset the cost of expenses required to reopen safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online. The maximum grant amount available per application is $5,000.

Eligible Activities and Costs

The grant, if awarded, provides reimbursement of costs incurred because of COVID-19. It is not a loan, line of credit or similar product.

There are three categories of purchases that are eligible for reimbursement under the program:

• Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

• Renovation of space to adhere to re-opening guidelines

• Enhancement of website/ developing e-commerce capability


Eligible expenses directly related to the above categories are permitted provided that purchases were made no earlier than March 15, 2020.


All eligible expenses must be incremental and a direct result of adjusting operations for COVID-19 safety guidelines. Normal or usual ongoing business costs are not eligible.

Deadline:

The frequency of application windows and delivery of funds will be dependent on the number of applications received and funding allocation. Please note, as funds are limited applications will be reviewed on a first-come-first-serve basis. Once funds are exhausted, all other applications will not be processed.

How to Apply

All applications and supporting documentation must be completed and submitted online.

https://occ.ca/canada-united-small-business-relief-fund/

Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
Visit Ontario.ca's COVID-19: Rent assistance for small businesses for up-to-date information on commercial rent payment support.
Energy Assistance Program - Small Business (CEAP-SB)

The Government of Ontario has provided $8 million to support small business and registered charity customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one- time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.

Small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $1,500 in support towards their electricity and natural gas bills, and can apply for on-bill credits for both electricity and natural gas separately.

Ontario's Main Street Relief Grant: PPE Support
Ontario's Main Street Relief Grant Relief programs are designed to support small businesses with the unexpected costs of PPE.


Eligibility

To be eligible, your business must have 2 to 19 employees and be in one of the following sectors:

  • 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.

Learn more

Ontario Small Business Support Grant

Applications are open for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which helps small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020. 


Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant provides businesses with funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown.

The business must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. This time period was selected because it reflects the impact of the public health measures in spring 2020, and as such provides a representation of the possible impact of these latest measures on small businesses.

Learn more

Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebates

All small businesses that are eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant are also eligible for these property tax and energy bill rebates.

Eligible businesses could get rebates for:

  • municipal and education property taxes 
  • energy costs, including electricity and natural gas (or where natural gas is not available, propane and heating oil)

Funding will cover the entire length of time that regionally targeted public health restrictions are in place.

Learn more


All Businesses

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
Through this program, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will provide more than $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support at market rates to businesses with viable business models whose access to financing would otherwise be restricted. By working in close cooperation with financial institutions, this program will fill gaps in market access and leverage additional lending by private sector institutions. 

These programs are now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.  Please apply through your financial institution.

Canada Emergency Business Account

The Canada Emergency Business Account provides 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 $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.

On May 19, Prime Minister Trudeau announced an expansion in the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses.  This extended measure will help small businesses protect the jobs that Canadians rely on.

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.

Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.

Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.

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.

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

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages. This subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease your business back into normal operations.

Changes to CEWS as of January 6, 2021:

  • details for claim periods 11 to 13 (December 20, 2020, to March 13, 2021):
    • the maximum top-up subsidy rate is 35%
    • the maximum subsidy amount for employees on leave with pay is $595
    • the base revenue drop comparison months for period 11 will be the same as period 10

Learn more

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) 

Qualifying businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 can access government-guaranteed, low-interest loan of up to $1M to cover operational cash flow needs. Multiple location businesses under one related entity (i.e. a chain of restaurants or hotels) could be eligible for up to $6.25M.

Eligibility

Businesses need to show year-over-year revenue decline of at least 50% in 3 months, within the 8 months prior to their application to the program. Companies need to have applied for either Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).


The HASCAP Guarantee is available until June 30, 2021. Applications open February 1 at principal financial institutions, and February 15 at a wider group of financial institutions. Companies are encouraged to contact their primary lender for information and to apply.

Learn More

Ontario Together Fund

The $50 million Ontario Together Fund has helped businesses to provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment and ventilators.


The Ontario Government is also inviting companies to apply to be on the Provincial Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supplier list

Student Work Placement Program

The Student Work Placement Program connects employers with student talent. Funded by the Government of Canada, SWPP provides employers with wage subsidies of up to $7,500 to hire post-secondary students for paid work experiences. Students in turn benefit with quality work experience so they can secure employment in their chosen fields of study. 

SWPP is administered through Magnet at Ryerson University, a digital platform with a mission to accelerate inclusive economic growth across Canada by advancing careers, businesses and communities

Learn more

Work Sharing Program

The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. 

Learn more

WSIB Health and Safety Excellence Program
Financial supports for businesses include the Workplace Safety Insurance Board’s (WSIB) Health and Safety Excellence Program, which offer rebates to safe employers. 

Support for Sectors
Employment Opportunities in Agriculture and Food Processing Sectors
For people seeking alternative employment opportunities as well as the chance to make a difference during this COVID-19 outbreak, a new web portal has been created to highlight employment openings and training resources in Ontario’s Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Processing sectors.

 

Support for Employees

Also see the COVID-19 Resource Page and search function released by Finance Canada

 

 

COVID-19 Workplace Safety

Reopening Safely

  • Provincial Employment Standards Call Centre (webes@ontario.ca) and Occupational Health and Safety Contact Centre (webohs@ontario.ca) to answer small business health and safety questions.

For more information on these tools, visit covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-help-businesses-ontario

Workplace Safety During COVID-19

  • To help businesses understand how to use health and safety guidance to develop a safety plan for their unique situation, the government has developed a toolkit that includes a guide, template and checklist.

  • Corporations can be fined $1,000 for failing to comply with the orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Individuals, including employees and patrons, can also be fined $750 for failing to comply with orders under the Acts.

  • For more serious offences, a person can be charged under Part III of the Provincial Offences Act. If convicted, the court can impose fines as high as $100,000 for individuals, and up to up to $500,000 for directors and officers of a corporation. Both could also receive terms of imprisonment of up to one year.

 
Additional COVID-19 Employer Resources

COVID-19 safety checklist for workplaces

Business Support Centres 

Community Futures Oxford
This is your federally-funded small business support centre serving Oxford County. If you need to talk through how you can adjust your business or what to do next, contact:

Lindsay Wilson - lwilson@cfoxford.ca

Oxford Connection
The Economic Development Offices of Oxford County (Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, Woodstock and Rural Oxford) are working together to help businesses respond to the challenges created by the global COVID 19 pandemic and have launched a collaborative website at www.OxfordConnection.ca
Supporting Oxford Web Portal 
www.supportingoxford.ca lists businesses providing gift cards for purchases at a later use, as well as businesses that are offering local delivery or alternate accommodations due to closures amid Covid-19. 

Submit your information

The Small Business Centre
The Small Business Centre is an on-going economic development partnership between the Province of Ontario, the City of Woodstock and Oxford County. The Small Business Centre has been approved as the delivery agent for the re-launched Digital Main Street program, which has the following components: 
  • Digital Main Street
    • ishopHERE powered by Google will help small businesses that did not previously have online stores to launch one
    • Available to all small businesses, including home based businesses
  • The Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses improve the efficiency of their digital operations by providing a $2500 grant, administered by the Ontario BIA Association, to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing
    • Expanded to CC zones (not just main streets), but excludes agricultural (except where commercial), industrial
    • Less than 10 FTEs except restaurants and accommodations up to 25 FTEs
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will help existing main-street firms adapt to changes by providing specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms, and content,

For more information about the Digital Main Street and related programs, please contact Ramona Gallagher at info@thesmallbusinesscentre.ca

Tourism Oxford

If you’re a tourism-related business, Tourism Oxford and Oxford Fresh will be doing their best to help you promote your business. The team will also keep you informed about regional, provincial and national conversations that support tourism moving forward.

To discuss unique opportunities to promote your business in partnership with Tourism Oxford, please contact:

Meredith Maywood- mmaywood@oxfordcounty.ca

Gabrielle Mueller- gmueller@oxfordcounty.ca

 

 Learn more about:


Other steps you can take to assist your businesses are:

  • Review the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade's Consolidated Summary of Programs as of February 19, 2021. This list includes programs from both the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario.  

  • Visit the Federal Goverment's website for businesses for information about supporting your employees and your business. This website will be updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.
  • Download the Canada Business App to find tailored supports to address your specific needs and questions about COVID-19.
  • Consult the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare your business in the days and weeks to come.
  • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has launched the Canadian Business Resilience Network in partnership with the Government of Canada and some of Canada's leading business and industry associations, including the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

 

Contact(s)