COVID-19 Business Support

Government Announcements

Dec 22, 2021

December 22, 2021, Federal government announces expanded eligibility for key support programs:

  • Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced the federal government’s intention to temporarily expand eligibility for key support programs.
  • Using regulatory authority provided in Bill C-2, the government intends to introduce new regulations that would:
    • Expand the Local Lockdown Program to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50% or more; and reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25%. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies from 25% up to a maximum of 75%, depending on their degree of revenue loss. The 12-month revenue decline test continues to not be required in order to access this support.
    • Expand the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50% or more. As announced previously, this benefit will provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers who are directly affected by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown, and who have lost 50% or more of their income as a result.

These updated regulations will apply from December 19, 2021, to February 12, 2022.

Click here to read the full announcement. 

December 22, 2021, Province announced new business support programs:

  • Through the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, eligible businesses will receive rebate payments of 50% of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to the current capacity limits. This program aims to provide support to businesses that are expected to be most impacted financially by the requirement to reduce capacity to 50%.
  • Eligible businesses include:
    • Restaurants
    • Smaller retail stores
    • Gyms
    • A full list of eligible business types will be made available through a program guide in mid-January 2022.
  • Online applications for this program will open mid-January 2022, with retroactive payments to eligible businesses to December 19, 2021. 

Click here to read the full announcement.

December 17, 2021, Province announced new public health measures to help curb the spread of Omicron

Effective Sunday December 19 at 12:01 am, new restrictions will come into place to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

A 50% capacity limit will be introduced in the following indoor settings:

  • Restaurants, bars, and other food/drink establishments
  • Personal care services
  • Personal physical fitness trainers
  • Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)
  • Shopping malls
  • Gyms
  • Indoor recreational amenities including clubhouses at outdoor amenities 
  • Photography studios & services

These limits do not apply to any portion of a business that is being used for a wedding, funeral, religious service, rite, or ceremony. 

To further spread COVID, additional protective measures are being applied to:

  • The number of patrons permitted to sit at a table will be limited to 10 people and patrons will be required to remain seated in restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs.
  • Bars and restaurants, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m. Take out and delivery will be permitted beyond 11 p.m.
  • Dancing will not be allowed except for workers or performers.
  • Food and/or drink services will be prohibited at sporting events; concert venues, theatres and cinemas; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.
  • The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. and consumption of alcohol in businesses or settings after 11 p.m.

Lastly, to mitigate COVID-19 transmission that can occur at informal social gatherings, the province is also reducing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Click here to read the full announcement.

December 15, 2021, updates on booster doses, capacity limits and public rapid testing

New Capacity Limits Introduced on Indoor Venues

  • To further strengthen its response to Omicron, effective December 18, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. Ontario intends to introduce a 50% capacity limit to indoor areas of venues with a usual capacity of 1,000 or more. This measure is being taken to reduce opportunities for close contact in high-risk indoor settings with large crowds and when face coverings/masks are not always worn.

All Ontarians 18+ Eligible for COVID-19 Booster Dose on Monday

  • The Ontario government is rapidly accelerating its booster dose rollout by expanding eligibility to all individuals aged 18+, as well as shortening the interval to three months following an individual’s second dose.
  • Starting Monday, December 20, 2021, individuals aged 18 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment through the Ontario’s booking portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating pharmacies and primary care settings.
  • In addition, starting today, individuals aged 50 and over as well as all those currently eligible who have already booked their appointment at an interval of six months (168 days) can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre to re-book for an earlier date at the three-month interval and can change their appointment through Ontario’s booking portal starting on Monday.

Pop-Up Rapid Testing Sites

  • As part of the government’s enhanced testing strategy, starting today up to 2 million rapid tests will be provided free of charge at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets, public libraries and transit hubs.
  • Pop-up teams will be deployed at nearly 50 locations across the province, including some co-located with GO-VAXX mobile vaccine buses. Most sites will distribute free take-home rapid antigen test kits, subject to supply, and some will offer asymptomatic rapid antigen screening on-site.
  • The government will also make take-home rapid tests available at select LCBO stores, starting with the busiest stores this week and with more stores being added in the coming days.
  • Ontarians can visit to find out if pop-up rapid antigen screening sites will be available in their area. Locations and operating hours will be updated weekly, and no appointment will be required.

Click here to read the full announcement.


October 22, 2021, Ontario releases plan to safely reopen & manage COVID for the long-term

The Ontario government has released A Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term which outlines a gradual approach to lifting remaining public health and workplace safety measures by March 2022.

  • Ontario will slowly and incrementally lift all remaining public health and workplace safety measures (including provincial requirement for proof of vaccination and face coverings) over the next 6 months.
  • This approach will be guided by the ongoing assessment and monitoring of key public health and health system indicators.

In the absence of concerning trends, public health and safety measures will be lifted on the following dates:

October 25, 2021:

  • Lift capacity limits in majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required (including restaurants, bars, indoor areas of sports and rec facilities including gyms, casinos, bingo halls, gaming establishments and indoor meeting and event spaces)
  • The government will allow other settings to life capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination. 

November 15, 2021:

  • Life capacity limits in remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required including food or drink establishments with dance facilities.

January 12, 2022:

  • Begin to gradually lift capacity limits where proof of vaccination is not required. 

February 7, 2022:

  • Lift proof of vaccination requirements in high-risk settings, including night clubs, strip clubs and bathhouses. 

March 28, 2022:

  • At this time, it is intended that remaining public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted, including wearing face coverings in indoor public settings.

To read the official news release, click here. 

October 15, 2021, Enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code and Verify Ontario app available for download beginning today

In advance of October 22, the Ontario government is making the enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code and the free Ontario verification app (Verify Ontario) available for download. 

For businesses:

  • Businesses and organizations can now download the free Verify Ontario app from the Apple App and Google Play stores. 
  • This app can be used without internet connection (but will require internet access periodically to ensure it's updated).
  • The app does not store personal information and only shows the minimum amount of information necessary to confirm vaccination. 
  • Businesses will need to confirm the identity of the customer by requesting a piece of photo ID.

For individuals:

  • To ensure a smooth user experience, the province is initially is initially making the enhanced vaccine certificates available for download in cohorts. 
  • Enhanced vaccine certificates with official QR codes will be made available for download from the COVID-19 vaccination portal over 3 days based on birth month.
    • October 15: All individuals born between January and April
    • October 16: All individuals born between May and August
    • October 17: All individuals born between September and December 
    • October 18: The portal will open for any individual to download their certificate, regardless of birth month.
  • Individuals can also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have their enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to them.
  • QR codes will be accepted as an electronic version or a print/paper copy.

Click here for more information.

October 8, 2021, Ontario cautiously lifts capacity limits in some settings

Effective October 9, 2021, capacity limits will be lifted to allow 100% capacity in the following settings:

  • Concert venues, theatres & cinemas
  • Spectator areas of facilities for sports and recreational fitness (does not include gyms or personal training)
  • Meeting and event spaces (indoor meeting and event spaces will still need to limit capacity to the number that can maintain physical distancing)
  • Horseracing tracks, car riding tracks, similar venues
  • Commercial film and television productions with studio audiences. 

To read the full announcement, click here.

September 24, 2021, Ontario easing capacity limits in select settings where proof of vaccination is required

As of September 25, 2021, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario has announced there will be an easing of capacity limits for select indoor and outdoor settings where proof of vaccination is required. 

  • Meeting and event spaces (such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres), sporting events, concerts, theatres and cinemas, racing venues (horse), and commercial TV and film productions with studio audiences will be increased to up to 50% capacity of 10,000 people (whichever is less) for indoor events. 
  • For certain outdoor event venues where patrons stand, capacity limits will increase up to 75% capacity or 15,000 people (whichever is less).
  • For certain outdoor event venues where patrons are seated, capacity limits will be increased up to 75% capacity or 30,000 people (whichever is less). 
  • Proof of vaccination will now also be required in outdoor settings where the normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more to help keep patrons safe. 
  • For more information, or to read to the full release, click here.

September 1, 2021, Ontario announces 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:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
  • Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
  • Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
  • Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;
  • Sporting events;
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments;
  • Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas;
  • Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs;
  • Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).

To download a copy of your vaccination receipt, click here.

An enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.

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.

To view a provided Frequently Asked Questions document associated with this announcement, please click here.

Quick Facts:

  • Individuals can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.
  • Ontarians who received their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine out of province should contact their local public health unit to record their information and receive proper documentation.
  • The province will continue to work with the federal government to ensure the integration and interoperability with a national vaccine passport for the purposes of international travel.
  • The government is continuing its last mile strategy to reach eligible individuals who have yet to receive a first or second dose.
  • To protect vulnerable patients and staff in settings where the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 and the Delta variant is higher, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health is pausing the province’s exit from the Roadmap to Reopen and providing third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable populations. The CMOH is also making COVID-19 vaccination policies mandatory in higher-risk settings.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are currently available at over 3,150 locations across the province, including more than 2,500 pharmacies and more than 650 mass immunization clinics, hospitals, primary care settings and pop up and mobile clinics.
  • A key component of Ontario’s last mile strategy is getting vaccines to people, wherever they are located. If you need your first or second shot, keep an eye out for our new GO-VAXX mobile clinics.

For additional details, please read the full release.

July 9, 2021, Ontario announces Step 3 of re-opening plan to start on Friday July 16:

  • The province into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.
  • Step 3 of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place. This includes, but is not limited to:

    • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;
    • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
    • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;
    • Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;
    • Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50% capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50% of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75% of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less;
    • Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50% capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);
    • Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
    • Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
    • Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50% capacity indoors and 75% capacity outdoors;
    • Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:
      • up to 50% capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
      • up to 75% capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75% capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).
    • Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and
    • Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25% capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).
  • Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step 3. 

For more information, please click here.

June 24, 2021, Ontario announces Step 2 of re-opening plan to start on Wednesday June 30:

  • Ontario will move to Step 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 as we have vaccinated over 70% of adults with one dose and 20% with two doses for at least two weeks, ensuring a strong level of protection against COVID-19.
  • Step 2 of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of more outdoor activities and limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn, with other restrictions in place. This includes, but is not limited to:

    • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
    • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 5 people;
    • Essential and other select retail permitted at 50% capacity;
    • Non-essential retail permitted at 25% capacity;
    • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times, and at 25% capacity and other restrictions;
    • Outdoor dining with up to 6 people per table, with exceptions for larger households and other restrictions;
    • Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 25% capacity of the particular room;
    • Outdoor fitness classes limited to the number of people who can maintain 3 metres of physical distance;
    • Outdoor sports without contact or modified to avoid contact, with no specified limit on number of people or teams participating, with restrictions;
    • Overnight camps for children operating in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
    • Outdoor sport facilities with spectators permitted at 25% capacity;
    • Outdoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas, with spectators permitted at 25% capacity;
    • Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways, with spectators permitted at 25% capacity;
    • Outdoor fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals, permitted at 25% capacity and with other restrictions.


  • Please view the regulation for the full list of public health and workplace safety measures that need to be followed.

June 7, 2021, Ontario announces Step 1 of re-opening plan to start on Friday June 11:

  • Based on the provincewide vaccination rate and continuing improvements in key public health and health system indicators, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will move the province into Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021.
  • Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen includes but is not limited to:

    • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 10 people;
    • Outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
    • Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 15 per cent capacity of the particular room;
    • Non-essential retail permitted at 15 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;
    • Essential and other select retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;
    • Outdoor dining with up to four people per table, with exceptions for larger households;
    • Outdoor fitness classes, outdoor groups in personal training and outdoor individual/team sport training to be permitted with up to 10 people, among other restrictions;
    • Day camps for children permitted to operate in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines for COVID-19 produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
    • Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks, and short-term rentals;
    • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open outdoors for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance with no more than 10 performers, among other restrictions;
    • Outdoor horse racing tracks and motor speedways permitted to operate without spectators; and
    • Outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity and other restrictions.
  • For more information on step 1, click here. 

May 20, 2021, Ontario announces re-opening plan:

  • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has released its Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators.
  • In response to recent improvements to these indicators, Ontario will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
  • Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:

    • Step One (60% of adults vaccinated with one dose): An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower, and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table and non-essential retail at 15% capacity.
    • Step Two (70% of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20% vaccinated with two doses): Further expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15% capacity.
    • Step Three (70-80% of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25% vaccinated with two doses): Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness; indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits.
  • The province will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of the 21 days, the following vaccination thresholds have been met, along with positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move to the next step.

  • Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, the government expects to enter Step One of the Roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. The province will confirm closer to the expected start of Step One.

  • Due to the continuing success of Ontario’s vaccine rollout and the collective efforts of Ontarians in following public health and workplace safety measures to date, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. the province will reopen outdoor recreational amenities with restrictions in place, such as the need to maintain physical distancing.
  • These amenities include but are not limited to golf courses and driving ranges, soccer and other sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, and skate parks. No outdoor sports or recreational classes are permitted. Outdoor limits for social gatherings and organized public events will be expanded to 5 people, which will allow these amenities to be used for up to 5 people, including with members of different households. All other public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake will remain in effect.

May 13, 2021, Province extends stay at home order until June 2:

  • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended the Stay-at-Home Order until at least June 2, 2021.
  • All public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake will also remain in effect.
  • For more information, click here.

April 28, 2021, Paid-sick leave announcement from the Province:

  • Today, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, introduced legislation that would, if passed, require employers to provide employees with up to $200 of pay for up to three days if they are missing work because of COVID-19.
  • This program will be retroactive to April 19, 2021 and effective until September 25, 2021, the date the federal CRSB program will expire.
  • The province will partner with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to deliver the program and reimburse employers up to $200 per day for each employee.
  • The province has also offered to provide funding to the federal government to double federal CRSB payments to Ontario residents, adding an additional $500 per week to eligible individuals for a total of $1,000 per week. Combined with the province’s proposed three days of paid COVID-19 leave, doubling the CRSB would provide Ontario workers with access to the most generous pandemic paid leave in the country.

April 16, 2021, Ontario announces new measures:

  • Today the Ontario government announced new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
  • Effective immediately, the provincewide stay-at-home order will be extended for an additional two weeks.
  • All non-essential construction will be halted.
  • Big box retail and essential stores (such as grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) will be limited to operating at 25% capacity.
  • Outdoor gatherings are prohibited, except with those in your immediate household.
  • Weddings, funerals, and religious venues can operate with 10 people max. 
  • Travel checkpoints between provinces will be in place.
  • Police and by-law enforcement will be able to enforce public health measures and can pull you over to ask where you're from and where you're going.
  • Outdoor recreation will halt: no playgrounds, golf courses, outdoor soccer, etc.

April 7, 2021, Ontario enacts Provincial State of Emergency and Stay at Home Order:

  • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a third provincial emergency in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, the threat on the province's hospital system capacity, and the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants.
  • Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely. As Ontario's health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.
  • Learn more here. 

April 1, 2021, Province to pull 'emergency brake':

  • As of Saturday April 3, 2021 at 12:01 am, the province will pull the 'emergency brake' placing all public health units into a shutdown for 4 weeks
  • Personal services and gyms will be closed
  • Restaurants can provide take-out and drive-thru services only (no indoor or outdoor dining)
  • Essential retail stores can operate at 50% capacity
  • Other retail stores can operate at 25% capacity
  • April break for schools will continue, and school will continue to stay open
  • No gatherings
  • For more information, click here. 
  • The province has also extended the application deadline for Ontario's Small Business Support Grant (extended to April 7). Click here to apply.

March 19, 2021, Wellington Dufferin Guelph moves into Orange - Restrict level:

  • As of Monday March 22, 2012, Wellington Dufferin Guelph will be moving to the Orange-Restrict level of Ontario's COVID-19 Response Framework.
  • Capacity limits for restaurants are now the lesser of approximately 50% of indoor dining area or 100 people indoors, and for outdoors, limited to allow physical distancing of 2 metres to be maintained.
  • To learn more, click here.

March 5, 2021, Ontario releases vaccination details for phase 2:

  • Today, the Ontario Government announced their updated vaccination plan for phase 2.
  • Phase Two of Ontario's vaccination distribution plan will focus on age and risk to prevent further death, hospitalization and transmission. 
  • Vaccine administration will focus on age as the most significant predictor of death or hospitalization from COVID-19, and on risk, with some adjustments for COVID-19 hot spots, specific health conditions, congregate care settings, essential caregivers and workers who cannot work from home.

    To see a list detailing who is eligible for a vaccine in Phase 2, please click here. 

February 12, 2021, Wellington Dufferin Guelph to move into RED - CONTROL zone:

  • Today, the Ontario Government announced that as of Tuesday February 16 at 12:01 a.m., our public health unit will be moved into the Red - Control zone of Ontario's COVID-19 response framework.
  • The Stay at Home order will also end at this time, although residents are being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, and to not gather with those outside of your household.
  • What does this mean for your business? Click here to read the framework. 

February 8, 2021, Ontario extending stay-at-home order & has updated the province's re-opening framework:

  • In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is moving to a regional approach and maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public health regions in Ontario, including the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures.
  • When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the "Framework"). 
  • The government has updated the Framework to allow for a safer approach to retail, for example, limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25% in most retail settings. 

  • Other measures include a requirement for individuals to wear a face covering when attending an organized public event or gathering (where permitted) if they are within two metres distance of another individual who is not part of their household (both indoor and outdoor). All other requirements for gatherings and organized public events would be maintained.

  • The  Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply to Wellington Dufferin Guelph public health unit until Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
  • The provincial emergency declared in January will be allowed to terminate at  the end of February 9, 2021.
  • More details coming soon.

January 12, 2021, Ontario announces State of Emergency and Stay at Home Order:

  • Effective immediately, the province is under a state of emergency.
  • Effective Thursday January 14 at 12:01 a.m., the province has issued a stay-at-home order.
  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. This is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
  • Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can't physically distance more than two metres.  
  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
  • Those who can work from home, should work from home.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting surveying.
  • Click here to see how your sector is impacted.
  • Under the declaration of a provincial emergency, the province will provide authority to all enforcement and provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the stay-at-home-order, or those not wearing a mask or face covering indoors as well as retail operators and companies who do not enforce. Those who decide not to abide by orders will be subject to set fines and/or prosecution under both the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, (ROA) and EMCPA
  • Click here to view details on Ontario's Small Business Support Grant, click here. 
  • Read the province's official press release here. 

December 21, 2020, Ontario announces Provincewide Shutdown:

  • Effective December 26 at 12:01 am, we will enter a Provincewide Shutdown.
  • Wellington Dufferin Guelph will be in a shutdown/lockdown for 4 weeks including (but not limited to):
    • Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
    • Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings - curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25% capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50% capacity for in-store shopping.
    • Restricting indoor access to shopping malls - patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
    • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.
    • Please note that the current COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused when the Provincewide Shutdown comes into effect. 
    • Click here to read the Provincewide Shutdown framework.
  • In addition, the Government announced the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant will offer one-time grants of a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small business owners to help navigate the new Provincewide Shutdown. Click here for more info.

  • Read the official press release here.

December 11, 2020, Wellington Dufferin Guelph moves to red-control zone:

  • As of Monday December 14 at 12:01 am, WDGPH will be moving to the red-control zone of Ontario's COVID-19 response framework.
  • Click here to see the sector-specific guidelines for your business.

November 23, 2020, Applications open for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS):

  • As of Monday November 23, the Federal Government has opened applications for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).
  • The new CERS will provide direct relief to businesses, non-profits, and charities that continue to be economically impacted by the pandemic.
  • The new rent subsidy would be retroactive to September 27, 2020 until June 2021.
  • Qualifying organizations that have suffered a revenue drop would be eligible for a subsidy on eligible expenses. The maximum base rate subsidy would be 65%, and available to organizations with a revenue drop of 70% or more. The base rate would then decline to a rate of 40% for organizations with a revenue drop of 50%, and then would gradually reduce to 0 for those not experiencing declines in revenues.
  • Eligible expenses for a location for a qualifying period would include commercial rent, property taxes (including school taxes and municipal taxes), property insurance, and interest on commercial mortgages (subject to limits) for a qualifying property, less and subleasing revenues.
  • For more information, or to apply for CERS, click here. 


November 2020, Develop your COVID-19 workplace safety plan:

  • Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, it is the employer's obligation to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers. During an inspection of your workplace, a ministry inspector may ask you about your COVID-19 workplace safety plan. 
  • All businesses should develop a COVID-19 workplace safety plan. Click here to view the templates released by the Ontario Government to create your own COVID-19 workplace safety plan. 

November 2020, COVID-19 response framework - keeping Ontario safe and open:

  • The Province of Ontario has released new framework for monitoring COVID-19 on a regional level that will determine if regions can tighten or loosen restrictions. 
  • To view the province's framework and levels, please click here.


July 13, 2020, Premier announces Wellington Dufferin Guelph's move into Stage 3:

  • Today, Doug Ford announced the public health units that will move into Stage 3 of Ontario's re-opening. 
  • Including Wellington Dufferin Guelph, Stage 3 for specific health units will begin at 12:01 am on Friday July 17.

What does this mean?

  • Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people (physical distancing is still required for those not a part of one another's bubble)
  • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people (physical distancing is still required for those not a part of one another's bubble)
  • All businesses and public spaces such as libraries and parks are permitted to re-opening (physical distancing rules still in effect)

To read Ontario's Framework for Re-opening and more details on Stage 3, click here.

July 13, 2020, PM announces Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) extended to December:

  • Today, Justin Trudeau announced the CEWS will be extended until December.
  • Stay tuned for more information & eligibility requirements. 

June 15, 2020, Government of Canada announces more businesses will soon be able to access the Canada Emergency Benefit Account:

  • Today, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced that as of Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
  • This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week. 
  •  To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need: 

    • A business operating account at a participating financial institution
    • A Canada Revenue Agency business number
    • A 2018 or 2019 tax return
    • Eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million
  • Eligible businesses will qualify for financing of up to $40,000, with 25 per cent of this being forgivable based on the current terms of CEBA loans.

How can I apply?

  • Please contact your primary financial institution to apply.
  • For more info, click here. 

June 11, 2020, Ontario & Canada helping small businesses go digital:

  • The Ontario government, in partnership with the Federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.

  • Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

    • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. 
    • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing.
    • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. 
  • For more information on these programs, please click here. 

June 8, 2020, Doug Ford announces regional re-opening approach to Stage Two:

  • This Friday June 12, certain regions will be able to move to Stage Two of the gradual reopening of the economy, including Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health (WDGPH). 
  • As of Friday, the limit on social gatherings will increase from 5 to 10 people and places of religion/worship can re-open at 30% capacity. 

What businesses can re-open in Stage Two?

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars (including patios)
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries
  • Water recreational facilities 
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks
  • Camping at private campgrounds
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people

For more information, please click here.

Click here to see our Returning to Work Safely page.

Click here to see our PPE Directory. 

June 8, 2020, Ontario government announces a proposed ban on commercial rent evictions: 

  • The Ontario government announced today that it intends to take action to protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19.
  • The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, temporarily halt evictions of businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020. The government intends to bring this legislation forward as soon as possible.
  • For more information, click here. 

May 25, 2020, Commercial Emergency Rent Assistance now open for applications:

  • Today, Justin Trudeau announced the Canada Commercial Emergency Rent Assistace (CECRA) program is now open for applications.
  • Starting Tuesday May 26th, property owners who are located in Ontario, with up to 10 tenants eligible for the program can apply.
  • Starting Wednesday May 27th, all other property owners in Ontario can apply. 
  • The program reduces rent by at least 75% April, May and June (retroactive) for small business tenants; CECRA covers 50% of the rent, with the tenant paying up to 25% and the property owner forgiving at least 25%.
  • To apply, please visit CMHC's website here. 

May 19, 2020, PM announces expansion of CEBA program to help small businesses:

  • Today, Justin Trudeau announced the expansion of eligibility requirements for the Canadian Emergency Benefit Account (CEBA), which offers interest-free loans (until December 2022) to businesses to help cover operating costs.
  • The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.
  • To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:
    • a business operating account at a participating financial institution
    • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
    • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
  • Businesses will be able to apply in the coming weeks through their primary financial institution. Stay tuned for more information. 

May 15, 2020, PM announces extension of CEWS program:

  • Today, Justin Trudeau announced the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program will be further extended until August. 
  • Finance Minister Morneau is set to make an additional announcement with details, including broadening the program. 
  • More details are to come.

May 14, 2020, Doug Ford announces beginning of Phase One & PPE directory for businesses:

    • As the number of daily new cases is trending down, Premier Doug Ford announced details about Phase One of the gradual re-opening the economy.
    • As of Saturday at 12:01 am, marinas, golf courses, private parks, campgrounds and businesses that board animals will be allowed to re-open.
    • As of Tuesday May 19 at 12:01 am, retail stores with storefronts (excluding stores in malls), all construction, regular vet appointments, pet grooming, routine surgeries, and all construction can resume/reopen.
    • The Government of Ontario is stressing that physical distancing measures are still in place. They are urging businesses on this list to only re-open if they are ready and comfortable to do so.
    • To view the full list of businesses permitted to resume operations and restrictions, click here. 
  • PPE:
    • For businesses looking for a directory of PPE, click here to view the government's new PPE directory. 

May 12, 2020, Province extends Declaration of Emergency while gradually opening economy:

  • Premier Doug Ford announced plans to extend Ontario's Declaration of Emergency today, until June 2.
  • This will allow Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as restricting retirement and long-term care home employees from working in more than one facility and prohibiting events and gatherings of more than 5 people.
  • An announcement is expected to be made on Thursday with plans to begin phase one of re-opening the economy. 

May 8, 2020, Trudeau announced extension of wage subsidy program:

  • Today, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended past June. 
  • More details coming next week. 

May 6, 2020, Premier announces list of new businesses that can re-open:

  • Doug Ford announced a list of new businesses that can begin re-opening soon.

  • As early as Friday, May 8 at 12:01 a.m., garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies.

  • Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 9.

  • On Monday, May 11 at 12:01 a.m., retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health's Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.

  • In addition to easing restrictions on retail, the government is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue. 

  • Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines, such as promoting physical distancing and frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19.

May 5, 2020, PM announces support for agri-food industry:

  • Today, Justin Trudeau announced important measures within agriculture programs and an investment of more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors who provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring a safe and reliable food supply.
  • The government intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector.
  • Targeted support will be provided to farmers, ranchers, agricultural producers, and food processors through:
    • Creating a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Launching a national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants. 
    • Announcing the intention to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste. 
    • Launching a first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories.


May 1, 2020, Premier announces certain businesses allowed to begin reopening as of May 4:

The Ontario government is allowing certain businesses and workplaces to reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those permitted to start up include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects. By following the proper health and safety guidelines these businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;
  • Lawn care and landscaping;
  • Additional essential construction projects that include:
    • shipping and logistics;
    • broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
    • any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
    • municipal projects;
    • colleges and universities;
    • child care centres;
    • schools; and
    • site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development;
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes;
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only;
  • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public; and
  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

April 28, 2020, Premier announces website for businesses to overcome challenges: 

  • Today, Doug Ford announced the launch of the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic.
  • Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website.
  • The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario's supply chain.

April 27, 2020, Premier announces a framework for reopening Ontario:

  • Today, Premier Ford released a roadmap to opening Ontario's economy which includes a slow, methodical and gradual opening of the economy. 
  • This will happen in 3 stages:
    • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
    • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
    • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
  • To read the framework, click here.

April 24, 2020, Premier announces Province's partnership with the Federal government for rent relief:

  • Today, the Premier announced a partnership with the Federal government to provide rent relief to Ontario commercial landlords and businesses.
  •  The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The program has been developed to share the cost between small business tenants and landlords, who would each be asked to pay 25% of the before profit costs and the provincial and federal government would cost share the remaining 50%. 

  • To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75%.

  • The loan would also be contingent on the signing of a rent forgiveness agreement between impacted tenants and landlords, which would also include a moratorium on evictions for  3 months. 

  • The OCECRA would be administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and would be available until September 30, 2020. Support would be retroactive to April 1, covering April, May and June 2020.
  • To read the Ontario government's full press release, click here. 

April 24, 2020, PM announces rent relief program for small businesses:

  • Today, Justin Trudeau announced details on the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program. 
  • This program will lower rent by 75% for small to medium sized businesses that have been strongly affected by COVID-19 through forgivable loans*. 
  • This relief will be for the months of April, May, June for businesses whose rent is less than $50,000/month and who have ceased operations or who have seen a drop of revenue of at least 70%.
  • The Government will cover 50% of the reduction and the owner of the building will cover the rest of the 25%. 
  • *The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the 3 corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent. 
  • Rent support for larger businesses coming soon. 

April 23, 2020, PM announces research and medical strategy to fight COVID-19:

  • Today, Justin Trudeau announced $1.1 billion for a national medical and research strategy to address and fight COVID-19. 
  • The funds will go towards research on vaccinations and other treatments (hospitals, universities, etc.) and testing vaccines. 

April 22, 2020, PM announces Canadian Emergency Student Benefit, will create 76,000 jobs for students, and announces Canada Student Service Grant:

  • Justin Trudeau announced today that the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit is a $9billion relief fund for students.
  • Eligible students will receive $1052/month from the CRA from May to August and will be retroactive from May 1.
  • Post-secondary students enrolled in school now, those who graduated in December 2019 or those going to post-secondary school next school year are eligible. Students who are working and making less than $1000/month will also be eligible for this benefit. 
  • 76,000 jobs for students will be created by the government. Sectors who need extra hands right now and front-line sectors of the pandemic will have more jobs created with extra support for Indigenous students. 
  • The Federal government will be extending scholarships, fellowships and grants for grad students. 
  • Students volunteering in COVID-19 relief, instead of working, will soon be eligible for $1000-$5000 depending on hours worked through the Canada Student Service Grant.  

April 21, 2020, PM announces more details on wage subsidy and announces Emergency Community Support Fund :

  • Justin Trudeau announced more details on the wage subsidy program today. 
    • Employers can use a calculator on the CRA website to determine what the subsidy will cover.
    • Organizations can start applying on Monday April 27, via the CRA online portal. 


  • Trudeau also announced a $350 million fund, the Emergency Community Support Fund to support charities and not-for-profits who are delivering essential services to vulnerable populations. 
    • Money will flow through national organizations and will be distributed to organizations and non-profits to expand programs due to growing need for services.
    • Services may include: volunteer-based home deliveries of essentials, transportation services, scaling help lines, helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits, and training/supports for volunteers contributing to COVID-19 response.

April 17, 2020, PM announces $250million in funding for early-stage tech companies:

  • The federal government is offering $250-million in pandemic support to the technology sector through its Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), run by National Research Council of Canada.

  • This will help small and medium-sized (SMEs) businesses commercialize their work – a key factor in helping grow a country’s technology ecosystem.

April 16, 2020, PM announces Canadian Emergency Commercial rent assistance program & changes to the Canadian Emergency Benefit Account:

  • Justin Trudeau announced that the Federal government is making changes to the Canadian Emergency Benefit Account, making it more accessible to businesses. Loans are available to more businesses to help with operational costs and other immediate needs:
    • If your organization spent between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019, you will now be eligible to receive loan through this program (up to $40,000, no-interest loan until Dec. 31, 2022).
  • The Prime Minister also introduced the Canadian Emergency Commercial rent assistance program which will help support small businesses with rent for the months of April, May and June.
    • The PM noted the Federal government must work with Provinces & Territories to roll this program out.
    • More info coming soon. 

April 15, 2020, Prime Minister announces new eligibility for CERB:

  • Justin Trudeau announced that the Federal government is loosening the eligibility criteria for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The program is now expanded to:
    • People earning up to $1000/month 
    • Seasonal workers - expecting a seasonal job that is not coming
    • If you have run out of EI as of January 1st 
  • Trudeau notes that an announcement for students and businesses worried about commercial rent will be coming soon. 

April 14, 2020, Ontario extends declaration of emergency:

  • Today, the Provincial government announced to extend the province's declaration of emergency until at least May 12, 2020. 
  • More info.

April 14, 2020, Federal government gives $20 million to safeguard food:

  • The Government of Canada is providing $20 million to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to support critical food inspection that help to ensure that Canadians will have continued access to safe, high-quality food. 

  • This investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train and equip additional staff to conduct critical inspection activities.

  • The funding will also support the CFIA in developing flexible ways to carry out inspections, including electronic tools. This increase in competencies will ensure that the CFIA can remain agile and responsive despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.

April 8, 2020, changes to wage subsidy program:

  • Justin Trudeau announced changes of the wage subsidy program to make it more accessible and inclusive to businesses (including start-ups and new businesses).
  • Businesses will only have to show a 15% drop in revenue (rather than the originally announced 30%).
  • Businesses have the option of using January and February 2020 as reference points to prove loss of revenue (opposed to the originally announced same month as previous year).
  • Charities and not-for-profits can choose to include or exclude government funding when calculating revenue loss. 

April 8, 2020, temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program:

  • There will be an increase to the wage subsidy, for the CSJ program, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100% of the provincial minimum hourly wage for each employee. 
  • The time frame for the job placements are also being extended until the February 28, 2021. The student hires can also be employed part-time, given many businesses have had to scale back their operations.
  • The prime minister said the Liberals are asking MPs across the country to help connect businesses and organizations that are providing critical services with students who can help at this time.
  • For more information, click here.

Canada Post news, free emergency mail forwarding for businesses:

  • Emergency Mail Forwarding for business customers who need it is offered free of charge online as of April 3.
  • Business customers who already purchased the service as of March 13 will be able to receive a refund by calling customer service. We apologize for any delays. 
  • For more information, click here. 

April 6, 2020, CERB open & more new measures coming:

  • Beginning today, the CERB applications are open. To see how to apply, visit our Business Support page. 
  • Justin Trudeau announced that "new measures" are coming soon to help people who are not covered under the CERB (including contractors, those with lessened hours, etc.) Stay tuned for more details. 

April 3, 2020, Ontario government releases new list of essential businesses:

  • If your business is not on the essential service list here, you must close by Saturday April 4 at 11:50 pm. 
  • Questions about the Province's recent emergency order to close at-risk businesses? Call 1-888-444-3659 - help is available Monday-Sunday from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. 

April 1, 2020, Federal Minister Morneau announces wage subsidy details:

  • Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the following qualification details for the previously announced 75% wage subsidy program. 


  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75% of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
  • Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, OR compare to January and February 2020 would be able to access the subsidy.
  • Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.
  • For non-profit organizations and registered charities can choose to include or exclude government funding when calculating loss of revenue. 
  • An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.
  •  Those organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may continue to qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
  • Please note that applications will be through the CRA online portal, but are not yet available (coming in the next few weeks).

April 1, 2020, Ontario joins forces with private sector to fight COVID-19:

  • Doug Ford announced the new $50 million Together Fund.
  • This fund will help businesses 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 government is providing one-time funding of $50 million. It is time-limited and will be available to organizations across the province.
  • Businesses who can help are encouraged to submit a proposal. The government will be looking for the most viable, innovative proposals that can quickly provide critical goods and services and the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario. 
  • For more information or to submit a proposal, click here.

March 31, 2020, Prime Minister announces new partnerships with Canadian industries to fight COVID-19:

  • The Prime Minister announced progress under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19, which increases Canada’s ability to respond to the outbreak with necessary medical equipment and supplies.
  • The Government of Canada is investing $2 billion to support diagnostic testing and to purchase ventilators and protective personal equipment.

  • More info.

March 27 & March 30, 2020, wage subsidy increased to 75% and details released:

  • Justin Trudeau announced the Federal government will increase the wage subsidy from 10% to 75% for businesses. 
  • This will be back-dated to March 15, 2020.
  • Businesses who have seen a decrease in revenue by 30% will be eligible for the wage subsidy regardless of size, sector, number of employees, etc. More details to be released this afternoon, please check back for more (March 30). 

March 27, 2020, Canada Emergency Business Account:

  • The Federal government announced the Canada Emergency Business Account, which will offer government guaranteed loans of up to $40,000 for small to medium sizes businesses (SMEs)
  • This will be interest-free for the first year and some qualifying businesses will have $10k forgiven in debt. More details to come.

March 26, 2020, Ontario government announces financial relief for businesses through WSIB:

  • The Ontario government is providing $1.9 billion in financial relief, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

What does this mean for my business?

  • Premium payments on WSIB will be deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.
  • WSIB will not charge interest on all outstanding premium payments and will not charge penalties during this six-month deferral period. T
  • There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments and the WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.

Who is eligible? 

  • All employers covered by the WSIB's workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020.
  • You will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit.

March 25, 2020, Canada Emergency Response Benefit:

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit that will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The CERB is a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
  • The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures, among others.
  • The CERB would apply to wage earners, contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
  • Please note that you cannot yet apply for the CERB. However, in order to apply, you will need a CRA online account, your SIN #, 2018 tax filing, your ATM card number and your online banking password. 
  • Click here for more info and to apply (applications open April 6).

March 24, 2020, Provincial government on hydro rates:

  • Electricity rates will be reduced to off-peak rates, 24/7, for the next 6 weeks.
  • Businesses, farms and households will all see the relief. 
  • Update: Premier Ford released the off-peak hydro rates will apply through to the end of May. 

March 23, 2020, Provincial government orders all non-essential services to shut down: 

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Monday afternoon that all non-essential businesses should shut down in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

What does this mean?

  • As of March 24 at midnight, any business deemed non-essential must close for at least two weeks. 
  • Click here (updated April 3, 2020) to see the full list of what an essential businesses is. 

Questions about the Province's recent emergency order to close at-risk businesses?

  • Call 1-888-444-3659 - help is available Monday-Sunday from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Click here for more info. 

March 23, 2020, are you an Ontario business that can help fight coronavirus?

  • The Ontario government welcomes help from businesses who can supply emergency products and/or innovative solutions to support the response of COVID-19. 
  • Click here for more info. 

March 23, 2020, Prime Minister announces support for farmers and agri-food businesses:

Justin Trudeau announced important new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Farm Credit Canada (FCC) will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.
  • This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong. 

March 20, 2020, Ontario government protecting Ontario drivers:

Minister Elliott (Deputy Premier and Minister of Health) and Minister Mulroney (Minister of Transportation) announced there will be no penalties for rescheduling drivers tests or updating your license during this time.

March 20, 2020, Federal government announces closure of Canada-US border:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada-US border will close to non-essential travel as of midnight tonight.

What does this mean?

  • Tourists and visitors will not be able to enter the countries as of Saturday morning. 

March 19, 2020, Ontario allows 24-hour truck delivery for essential services: 

Today, the Ontario legislature voted unanimously to pass a motion to allow 24-hour truck delivery for essential services to pharmacies and grocery stores. 

What does this mean?

  • Local noise by-laws, that limits deliveries at certain hours of the day, are currently not being enforced. 
  • This ensures essential goods are able to be delivered and the supply chain is adequately supported. 
  • The Ontario Chamber of Commerce hopes to work with municipalities and the province in the future to find ways to continue this policy beyond the current situation, as its proven to reduce trucks on the road during rush-hour, and results in both fuel savings and GHG emission reductions (more info)

March 18, 2020, Support for Canadians & 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. Read the full plan here.  

What does this mean for businesses?

  • The Government will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses. 
  • These measures are being implemented in an effort to help stabilize the economy. 
  • There will be income support, flexibility for taxpayers, mortgage default management tools, among others, to help Canadians.
  • 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 today and before September 2020.

March 17, 2020, Are you a business that can supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19?

  • Canada wants to hear from you. Find out more here.

March 17, 2020, Ontario declares a state of emergency:

  • Ontario has declared a state of emergency until May 12, 2020 based on advice from Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams. 

March 16, 2020, Changes to job-protected leave: 

  • Today, the Provincial Government announced that they intend to introduce legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees 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 day care closures. Read the full release here. 

What does this mean?

  • Employees will have the right to job-protected leave for COVID-19 quarantine or isolation, or to care for children.
  • Employees will not have to provide a doctor's note for COVID-19 leave.
  • Job protection for COVID-19 leave will be retroactive from January 25th, 2020.