Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, is encouraging the people of Ontario to establish a social “circle” of no more than 10 people who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing.

To form a safe social circle, the Ontario government has outlined five simple steps:

  • Start with your current circle: the people you live with or who regularly come into your household.
  • If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including those from another household, family members or friends.
  • Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle.
  • Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle.
  • Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.

Ontarians should think of their circles as the people they can touch, hug, and come into close contact as we continue the shared fight against COVID-19.

These social circles are meant to help improve people’s mental health and reduce social isolation, as well as supporting rapid case and contact tracing by limiting the number of close contacts in the event of a case of COVID-19 within that circle.

Click here to read the full article.

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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 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 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 their new economy.

“The global marketplace is rapidly changing, and in order to compete and succeed Ontario must adapt.” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Along with the Digital Main Street platform, the province is investing an additional $150 million in rural broadband which will help open the digital road for many Ontario businesses.

To read the full article, click here.

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The Government of Canada is providing $816,507,200 million under the Gas Tax Fund (GTF) to Ontario. More than $813 million is being provided to the following 642 recipients across Ontario, including 443 municipalities and 199 local road boards. The remaining funding is going to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to administer the GTF. Sarnia and Lambton County will both receive funds.

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On June 10, 2020, a new bill was tabled in the House of Commons that will allow the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry to issue orders to extend various deadlines for federal businesses, not-for-profits, cooperatives, and boards of trade.

Bill C-17 affects the following acts administered by Corporations Canada:

  • Canada Business Corporation Act
  • Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act
  • Canada Cooperatives Act
  • Board of Trade Act

The Bill grants authority to extend the period of holding annual meetings and, for boards of trade, the deadline for filing annual summaries. We will provide more information as soon as it is available.

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The Government of Canada is taking action to further support Indigenous businesses and the Indigenous tourism industry in response to hardships created by COVID-19. Many of the 30,000 Indigenous businesses in Canada are small to medium sized-enterprises and operate in sectors particularly hard-hit by COVID-19.

$133 million in new funding was announced  to support Indigenous business through the pandemic and into recovery. Of these additional funds, $177 million will reach more community-owned First Nation, Inuit, and Metis businesses including microbusinesses, who are not eligible for existing business support measures.

Both investments will support Indigenous businesses and expand the reach of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 relief measures.

To read the full statement, click here.

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RBC Bank has shared a report titled ”Small Business, Big Pivot”, in which they lay out the highs and lows of the pandemic and the economic consequences that follow. We have included some of the findings summarized below:

Small firms need to compete in a world that has become more virtual, local, and fragmented since the pandemic – and because of it the pandemic has transformed our economy. Online shopping has become the norm with almost one-third of Canadians now purchasing items they would’ve normally bought in-store. Economic nationalism is on the rise, as are ‘buy-local’ campaigns. Finding ways to compete and win in a more virtual and fragmented economy will require all Canadian businesses to adapt. Many of Canada’s million plus small businesses will be challenged to do so. In 2017, nearly half of Canadian firms with fewer than 500 employees didn’t even have a business website, according to Statistics Canada. Of those that did, fewer than 10% were enabled for online payments.

To view the full report, click here.

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The Ontario Government announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province to support the next stage of the province’s reopening framework. Developed in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and medical leaders at the Hospital for Sick Children, the plan will require child care operators to follow strict health protocols to ensure the safety of child care staff and children.

As the province continues to implement its Framework for Reopening the Province, child care centres and home care providers across Ontario will be able to reopen with strict safety and operational requirements, including:

  • Cohorting: Putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day.
  • COVID-19 Response Plan: All child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent, or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19.
  • Screening: All staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home.
  • Daily Attendance Records: Child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing.
  • Cleaning: Child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter.
  • No Visitors: Only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting.
  • Implementing drop-off and pick up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.

Staff can re-enter child care facilities immediately to begin preparing for reopening. When these operators have met all the strict and stringent guidelines for reopening, they will be permitted to reopen.

For the full statement, click here.


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The Ontario government announced 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 Commercial Tenancies Act would 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.

The tenant will be responsible for covering up to 25% of rent, so that up to 75% of the rent is covered. Tenants and landlords can learn how much they may be eligible for through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses which is providing more than $900 million in support.

To read the full statement, click here.

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The provincial government announced it will be moving with a regional approach to Stage 2 of re-opening the province.

The move is made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so based on trends of key public health indicators.

Stage 2 includes:

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars, and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots, and adjacent properties.
  • 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 such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools.
  • 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.
  • Film and television production activities with limits to enable physical distancing.
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in. The province will soon release more details on services such as: child care, summer camps, post-secondary education, training centres, and public transit.

Though Sarnia-Lambton was not included as a region able to move on to Stage 2 just yet, the government will be assessing each region weekly to determine whether they are ready to move into Stage 2.

To read the full statement, click here.

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The Canadian Businesses Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund will provide 62 grants, each worth $10,000 to Canadian businesses to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times. These grants from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce are made possible through the generosity of Salesforce.

The grants will be targeted at small, for-profit businesses that have been operating for several years and are now experiencing challenges because of COVID-19. Applications are now open on the CBRN website until June 12, 2020 at 8:00 pm.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Canadian Chamber’s mission is to help as many businesses as possible stay afloat and remain open. Small business owners put everything they have into their businesses, and these grants will help give a little bit back to them.

For the full article, click here.

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