Questions & Answers for Businesses: COVID-19 Resources
There are many measures in place to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Answers to some common questions have been outlined below along with direct links to the resources available. The Town of Orangeville’s Economic Development & Culture/SBEC office has also compiled a list of COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and is here to help. Contact us with your questions.
1. How do I know if my business can open?
The Province of Ontario has outlined the types of workplaces that are permitted to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to update the list. Review the list of essential workplaces and if you have questions, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Stage One of the province’s re-opening phase includes additional businesses that can re-open. Note that businesses not included on these lists can continue to provide work and services online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. Teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.
2. How does my business access financial assistance?
Start by talking to your financial institution to discuss your eligibility. Depending on your qualifications and situation, there are programs that you may be able to access:
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free loans in the form of lines of credit of up to $40,000 to businesses with payrolls between $20,000 and $1.5 million. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) offers $40 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)and Export Development Canada (EDC).
3. How can I support my employees?
For workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit that provides $2,000 a month for up to four months.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) may enable employers to re-hire workers previously laid off, and to keep those who are already on payroll. This subsidy applies at a rate of 75% and is available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 15 per cent of their revenue in March 2020 and 30 per cent for the following months. Eligible employers include individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non-profit organizations and registered charities.
4. I’m self-employed. What assistance can I access?
The CERB also applies to many Canadians including contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Effective April 15, eligibility rules were changed to allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
5. Is there any support for rent payments?
The Federal government has announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Online applications open May 25.
8. How can I start planning for the re-opening of my business?
The province has provided guidelines to help businesses in certain sectors identify the policies and procedures required to re-open. The Orangeville Economic Development and SBEC office is available to help entrepreneurs with a variety of business-related issues. Individualized, confidential consultations can be booked FREE of charge. Qualified staff, along with a bank of sector/topic specific expert volunteers are available to help business owners plan for the future. Support with business planning, marketing strategies, cash flow forecasting, and innovating to adjust for change is available. Contact us for guidance in your business planning.
We also provide access to relevant Information, resources, and online workshops.
Other helpful resources providing information for businesses include: