Last updated: November 14, 2020 at 3:41 p.m.
The resources posted on this page, including Federal, Provincial and local relief programs intended to help local businesses, including not-for-profit and creative/culture organizations, impacted by COVID-19. New resources will be added as they become available.
Additional resources, tools and programs are posted on this COVID-19 Business Support website established by the City and Toronto Region Board of Trade.
Also read the City’s tips for non-essential businesses reopening during COVID-19.
The BusinessTO Support Centre, facilitated by the City of Toronto, provides support to businesses, including not-for-profit and creative/culture organizations, with a focus on completing applications for government assistance. Businesses will be paired with an advisor to receive one-on-one consultation and guidance with applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers, Work-Sharing Program. Business advisors will also provide guidance on other City programs and general business advice. Interested businesses can get started by completing the registration form.
The City is further expanding the Digital Main Street program, which offers tools, resources, connections to trusted digital vendors, online learning and a Digital Service Squad who provide one-on-one virtual assistance.
Working with community partners, the program has helped small businesses, including not-for-profit and creative/culture organizations, with everything from websites and social media, to launching e-commerce platforms.
Digital Main Street was created by the City and Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas in 2016 and the expansion of the Digital Main Street program is a part of the Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force’s short-term economic support and recovery plan for Toronto’s businesses. Building on Toronto’s foundational investments into Digital Main Street and ShopHERE, the federal and provincial governments announced a $57-million investment to extend the support to businesses across Ontario. This expansion includes ShopHERE powered by Google, and the Digital Main Street Grant. It also includes the Future-Proofing Main Street program to help businesses adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 by developing a digital transformation plan and building collaborations between technology companies and communities.
ShopHERE powered by Google provides independent businesses and artists with a quick, easy and no-cost way to sell online. With the help of volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partners, this program provides businesses with one-on-one support building and launching a Shopify online store. The ShopHERE program is open to any business or artist that meets the eligibility requirements.
Businesses enrolled in the City’s ShopHERE program are also eligible to participate in the Ritual – Open for Business program.
The DriveInTO program helps organizers safely set up large-scale, high-value, temporary drive-in experiences throughout Toronto during the summer months at select sites. The Program supports free nights offered by local film and arts organizations to create a diversity of programming and provide community access to these popular events. For information about the program, email DriveInTO@toronto.ca.
DriveInTO Partner Sites:
Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Guidance for Drive-in & Drive-thru Events helps organizers properly design and produce these temporary events. The document is an addendum to the Province of Ontario’s Health & Safety Guidelines around Outdoor Recreations.
For temporary infrastructure building permit applications please email firstname.lastname@example.org. City staff are available to review event production plans to ensure plans meet Province of Ontario and Toronto Public Health requirements.
The City of Toronto has committed more than $1.2 million in cultural and economic investments to confront anti-Black racism.
The Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses will be providing property tax relief to 45 live music venues to support Toronto’s live music industry and address the unprecedented challenges that are threatening live music venues across the city.
This relief measure will be implemented through the final supplementary property tax notices that will be issued in the fall and is intended to remain in place beyond this year to support the long-term viability of Toronto’s live music sector. The 2020 deadline to apply was June 19.
To support festivals that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City launched the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program (CFRP). The program provided up to $25,000 in one-time emergency funding and advisory services to cultural festivals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of August 1, the City received over 60 applications. Through this program, the City will distribute a maximum budgeted amount of $500,000. Among the initial recipients are the Contact Photography Festival, African Women Acting, Toronto Queer Media Arts Centre and Big on Bloor.
The CFRP closed intake to new applications as of July 31 at 5 p.m. All applications submitted on or before that date will be assessed for funding. Any applications submitted after that date will not be considered. All successful applicants will be notified and will be required to execute an agreement for funding, including reporting on the use of funds.
The Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnerships Fund supports partnerships and collaborations that create new opportunities for Indigenous-led arts and culture. Providing a maximum of $10,000 per project, incubation funding will support the development of new partnerships and first-time initiatives. Activation funding, a maximum of $30,000 per project, will support projects and initiatives that have the potential for lasting impact.
Applications are now closed.
CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Originals is a new time-limited funding initiative to help artists, groups and arts organizations pivot their work for online audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will directly benefit creators of original digital content. The Canada Council will provide a total of $1 million in funding to successful applicants.
The Leadership Emergency Arts Network (LEAN), a network composed of sector leaders within the arts and culture community, is providing strategic decision-making, crisis response, financial analysis, board direction, relationship mediation, HR management, systems change and inspirational leadership to arts organizations dealing with the current crisis. Sign-up to receive help.
The Government of Canada announced more details regarding relief measures to support the culture, heritage and sport sectors.
A total of up to $500 million has been set aside to help alleviate the financial pressures of affected organizations. Canadian Heritage is working closely with its partners – in particular, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canada Media Fund, FACTOR, Musicaction and Telefilm Canada – to distribute the funds as quickly as possible using existing channels. Partner organizations will be contacted so that funds can begin to flow to cultural and sport organizations.
To help businesses, services, and community agencies support physical distancing outside and inside their buildings while also accommodating increased demand for delivery and pickup services, the City is offering CurbTO, which is made up of two programs:
The CaféTO program aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months.
All retail businesses are exempt from the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries.
The City’s Noise Bylaw includes the ability to provide an exemption in response to extraordinary circumstances affecting the immediate health, safety or welfare of the community. This exemption will ensure retailers can receive deliveries 24 hours of a day, seven days a week to ensure essential goods remain in stock.
The City of Toronto is extending its partnership with Ritual to launch Open For Business – a collaboration with Ritual and DoorDash to help local businesses across Toronto increase their commission-free online sales. Any Toronto business that wants to access commission-free pickup and delivery can participate.
From October 26 to November 8, all flat fee delivery charges will be waived for both customers and local businesses during this two-week period.
Businesses enrolled in the City’s ShopHERE program will also be eligible.
The program runs until the end of the year.
Learn about Open For Business and enroll.
Stay informed and learn about available supports with webinars on a variety of COVID-19 and business related topics.
Business AdviceTO – Cleantech North:Resilience and Recovery
November 19, 4 – 5 p.m.
View pre-recorded webinars at your convenience.
* Webinars were developed based on guidelines that had been published and available up to and including the following dates – Retail Sector: June 11, Manufacturing Sector: June 16, Events and Festivals: July 27, Personal Care Service Sector: August 7, Food Service Sector: August 7, Gym and Fitness Services Sector: August 17 and Indoor Event Venues: September 18. Please note, effective July 7, a new City of Toronto Bylaw came into effect, related to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings that are now required in all indoor public spaces.