The Town of Innisfil and its partners are closely monitoring the situation, and wish to provide a growing list of resources to the business community. Please check back as the situation unfolds for new resources, or updates on existing ones.

 

For the most up-to-date Town of Innisfil related COVID-19 information please visit innisfil.ca/covid19/

 

Stop the Spread Business Information Line – 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. Help is available from Monday to Sunday from 8:30am to 5:00.pm

A fact sheet has been prepared by InnServices that is designed to assist tenants and building owners in identifying possible concerns when reopening their businesses after being closed for a prolonged period.

Find sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario.

A Framework for Reopening our Province lays out the government’s approach to the next chapter in the ongoing fight to defeat COVID-19. It outlines the principles the government will use to reopening businesses, services and public spaces in gradual stages. It also explains the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health will use to help advise the government on when it is safe to begin loosening public health restrictions. And it highlights the government’s commitment to continue providing guidance and advice as workplaces prepare to reopen, including businesses deemed essential that voluntarily chose to temporarily shut down.

Nottawasaga Futures will offer micro loans from $1,000 up to $10,000 to South Simcoe companies who cannot access additional funding through the BDC or their traditional Bank and need a cash injection to cover expenses over the next 3 months.

 

For more information, please contact 1-800-509-7554 or [email protected].

With restaurants opening in Stage 2, the Town has launched a patio expansion program to support local restaurants at no cost. Rules and guidelines are found in the linked form.

The Winter Disconnection Ban has been extended to July 31st, providing customers with an extension of time to pay their bills without the concern of disconnection. Through the Ontario Energy Board, TOU rates are held at off-peak electricity prices (10.1 cents/kWh) 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a 45-day period starting March 24.

Penalties and interest will be waived for the months of March through June. Residents and property owners can opt-out or suspend pre-authorized payment plans.

Penalties and interest will be waived for the months of March through June for those in need and request assistance. For more information, contact Customer Service at 705-436-3710.

We partnered with What’s For Dinner Today to subsidize local deliveries for Innisfil restaurants and residents.

Nottawasaga Futures hosts a free consulting program, businesses can access help to:

  • ensure your website is optimized for buying or booking appointments online
  • setup online ordering for both delivery and take-out on your website
  • convert existing stores to e-commerce to offer online buying capabilities
  • offer online and/or live classes or consultations using Skype, ZOOM, etc

For more information, please contact 1-800-509-7554 or [email protected].

The maximum duration of the Work Sharing Program is extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. This is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.

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.

Agilec Employment Services works with business owners, community leaders, and job seekers to help them navigate periods of change and challenge, and is providing free resources online to support the community. They also offer custom leadership webinars. Topics include mental health for leaders, objectivity, crisis intervention and others. Please connect with Crystal Dolliver at [email protected] for more information.

Emergency Preparedness for employers from a workplace safety perspective.

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.

The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide funding to eligible financial institutions so that they can provide interest-free loans in the form of lines of credit of up to $40,000 to businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million. A quarter of this loan (up to $10,000) is eligible for complete forgiveness. Applications will occur through existing financial institutions.

The Governments of Canada and Ontario are providing non-repayable funding to help agri-related businesses to establish an online presence.

As a result of additional authorities granted by the Minister of Finance, the government stands ready to purchase up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools through CMHC, an increase of $100 billion from the $50 billion announced on March 16, 2020. This action will expand the stable funding available to banks and mortgage lenders in order to ensure continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses.

The Bank of Canada is acting in several ways to support the economy and financial system and stands ready to take any and all actions that it can to protect the well-being of Canadians during this difficult time. The Bank has responded by lowering interest rates, intervening to support key financial markets and providing liquidity support for financial institutions.

Allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.

No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

Providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.

Premium payments will be deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.

Allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), as well as customs duties owing on their imports.

The deferral will apply to GST/HST remittances for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods for monthly filers; the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period for quarterly filers; and for annual filers, the amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.

Here are some tips from South Simcoe Chief of Police Andrew Fletcher on how you can keep your business safe from crime during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

  • Remove all valuables such as cash from the till and leave it open. Place cash tray in plain view on the counter to signal there’s no money in the till.
  • Remove signage from front windows so police can see the inside unobstructed during patrols.
  • Consider installing an alarm monitoring system. If you already have one, ensure the contact list is up-to-date.
  • Clearly post signage on the door/window to indicate: that the premises are monitored by an alarm company; that no money is kept on the premises; and contact information for police and the business owner in case a member of the public sees damage to the property or suspicious activity.
  • If the premises are closed for an extended period of time, clean all glass surfaces and create a tracking log of when cleaning was completed. This may help investigators with suspect fingerprints in the event of a break-in.
  • Consider installing a surveillance camera system that can be monitored online by owner/management.
  • Consider using a laminate on all windows and glass doors to prevent the glass from being broken by blunt force. Although damage to glass will occur in a break-in attempt, it will greatly discourage or prevent entry.
  • Install latch guards on doors to protect against prying, including on secondary doors such as employee and loading entrances.
  • Keep some lighting on inside for surveillance opportunities during the evening.
  • Ensure all doors are properly secured, and regularly check all exterior lighting is functioning.

Utilize an e-commerce platform to sell and market your products. Platforms such as Shopify offer all of the ecommerce and point of sale features that you need to get your business up and running virtually. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period as well as access to an online academy to get you up and running.

 

Create a simple website to showcase your products/services. Platforms such as Wix give you the freedom to spin up a web presence for your business within minutes. Wix offers easy to use drag and drop technology as well as industry-leading SEO, making it easier for customers to find you via Google. They also offer a 14-day free Premium free trial. If wish to avoid integrating e-commerce, simply have customers call, text or email to place an order.

 

Learn how to sell and market your products/services across social media channels, such as Instagram or Facebook. Billions of people use channels such as Facebook and Instagram every month to connect with friends and family and to discover things that matter. Utilize this time to establish or refine your social selling strategy. Find new customers and build lasting relationships with them.

 

Want to offer your services virtually? Download a free ZoomMicrosoft Teams or WebEx account. Or for very large audiences utilize a YouTube Live Stream. Platforms such as Zoom allow you to video conference with up to 100 participants at no cost. You can get started within minutes and easily interact with your customers online. If you’d like to charge a fee for attendance, have registrants pay via your Business PayPal account or via e-transfer ahead of time.

 

Try Slack with your team for free. Think of Slack as a chat room for your whole company. Its workspaces allow you to organize communications by channels for group discussions and allows for private messages to share information, files, and more all in one place. Slack is offering free licenses for small teams for an unlimited period of time, as well as complimentary premium plans for non-profits. If you’re part of an organization fighting Covid-19 you can request three months of a paid Slack plan free of charge.

 

Pivot to offering an online course. Teaching an online course is a great way to leverage your skills and earn income at the same time. Platforms such as Teachable allow you to create an online course for free and market it to over 23 million students.

 

Get creative and utilize online applications that transform traditionally manual tasks, such as Docusign. Docusign offers a 14-day free trail that allows your team to sign documents anywhere from any device, avoiding any in person contact. All documents are encrypted, and a complete audit trail is maintained.

 

Need a hand going digital? Connect with specialized, affordable talent online. Services such as Upwork allow you to post your job (or task) for free and within hours be connected with specialized talent that can solve your challenge (at an affordable rate). Services range from web and mobile app development to SEO, social media marketing, content writing, graphic design, admin help and thousands of other projects.

 

Take advantage of free resources that better enable remote operations. Several technology companies have banded together to assist small businesses to operationalize remotely by offering free services.

 

Connect and share ideas with fellow small business owners globally (they may be experiencing the same challenges as you. Social media platforms such as Reddit and Facebook allow you to access informal groups of fellow professionals to network and share valuable ideas with each other.

  • Canada Arts Councilprovides information on government support measures, including artists abroad, grant applications and assessments, and employment insurance
  • Ontario Arts Council–  provides updates on the status of various provincial grants and reports back on information collected through surveys to track the impact of COVID-19
  • Candian Artists Representation – CARFACprovides tips to artists to help them through this challenging time, including how to track income losses, where to go for credible information, and how to stay connected
  • Facebook Journalism Grant– offers a total of $1 million in grants to support US and Canadian local news organizations covering the coronavirus
  • Photographer Fund Granta $25 thousand fund to help photographers impacted by COVID-19
  • Professional Association of Canadian Theatresresource page, impact surveys, online performance opportunities, and community funding
  • National Arts Centre – Canada Performs Grant– The National Arts Centre will receive and administer applications until April 20, 2020 with performances currently scheduling until May 31, 2020 from professional Canadian performing artists who would like to post an online performance. Selected artists will receive a financial grant, and their performances will be shared on the NAC’s Facebook page which will be discoverable by searching #CanadaPerforms.
  • Unison Benevolent FundCOVID-19 financial assistance resource list and counselling services
  • Writers Trust of Canadaemergency funding to Canadian writers facing lost income because of the global COVID-19 pandemic
  • I Lost my Gig– a space for creative industries and other vulnerable freelance and gig economy workers to connect and share stories in response to growing income precarity in Canada
  • SOCAN’s Emergency Program– provides financial assistance to struggling members as a result of the COVID-19 crisis by allocating up to a total of $2 million for emergency royalty advances
  • FACTOR– provides financial support to Canadian recording artists, labels, songwriters, publishers, event producers and distributors.