Last updated: July 9, 2020 at 1:22 p.m.

The BusinessTO Support Centre provides one-on-one virtual support to help businesses, not for profits and creative/culture organizations complete COVID-19 government funding applications, while providing reopening guidelines and resources.

 

Certain businesses and workplaces may reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. View  Reopening Guidelines for Business and Organizations for sector specific information.

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.

BusinessTO Support Centre

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.

Digital Main Street Program

The City expanded 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 ecommerce 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 soon to be launched Digital Main Street Grant and Future-Proofing Main Street program.

ShopHERE powered by Google

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.

Tax Relief for Live Music Venues

The expanded Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses now provides property tax relief for live music venues. The new category applies to live music venues that meet specific eligibility criteria. The 2020 deadline for eligible live music venues was June 19.

This expansion is part of the City’s COVID-19 recovery efforts and is consistent with Council directives to promote Toronto as a city that values music and musicians. This measure will remain in place beyond this year to support the long-term viability of the live music sector.

Cultural Festivals Recovery Program

To support festivals that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has launched the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program (CFRP). The program provides up to a maximum of $25,000 to provide one-time emergency funding and advisory services to cultural festivals impacted by public health measures that reduce the spread of COVID-19. This program is for cultural festivals that were planned to take place in Toronto between March 14 and December 31, 2020.

Eligible Cultural Festivals

To be eligible, Arts and Culture focused festivals must be within the City of Toronto and have occurred at least once in the last two years. Festivals must be a minimum of two days in length and historically, have at least 50 per cent free programming. The 2020 occurrence of the festival must have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.

CFRP provides financial and in-kind support to:

  • Defray financial losses for festivals that were cancelled due to COVID-19
  • Assist festival organizers to meet payments due to their suppliers, including artists and small businesses
  • Help festival organizers maintain critical operations to survive this year and prepare for their next festival
  • Support planning and purchases that help improve the public health and safety practices of festival organizers
  • Aid collaborative efforts in areas such as event planning, insurance, volunteer training and marketing to strengthen Toronto’s network of festivals, so that they can play a key role in the City’s recovery efforts.

Not Eligible

Annual operating clients of either the City’s cultural grants programs or the Toronto Arts Council are not eligible for the CFRP.

Sporting events, one-day events, trade shows or tournaments are not eligible.

While recognizing that almost all festivals have a food component, the program supports cultural festivals. The festival must be focused on arts and culture (performing arts, dance, drama, comedy, music, visual arts, literary arts, interdisciplinary arts, photography, craft, design, and expressions of history and heritage). Food festivals are not eligible. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact a program officer at eventpal@toronto.ca.

Please read and review the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program Guidelines before making an application.

Three-Step Application Process

Access CFRP application forms through the City of Toronto Grants, Rebates and Incentives Portal (TGRIP), our new online granting system.

  1. Create an account by clicking the Register Here button
  2. Complete and submit your Organization Profile
  3. Complete and submit your application.

We highly recommend that you review these documents before logging in:

Cancelled Festivals & Events

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of Toronto is extending the cancellation of City-led and City-permitted major festivals and events with attendance of more than 250 people through July 31, and those with attendance of 25,000 or more through August 31. Learn more about changes to City Services.

Indigenous Arts & Culture Partnerships Fund

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 due on July 24 by 5 p.m.

Digital Originals

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)

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.

Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations

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.

Funding details:

  • Up to $326.8 million to be distributed by Canadian Heritage, the majority of which will go towards arts and culture funding, as well as the sports sector and the Museums Assistance Program;
  • $55 million to be distributed by the Canada Council for the Arts to help arts organizations that support artists;
  • $115.8 million to support the Canadian audiovisual sector, to be distributed by the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million).

CurbTO

To help businesses, services, and community agencies that are open 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:

  • Temporary Parking Pick-up Zones
  • Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones.

CaféTO

Once approved, 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.

Noise Bylaw & Deliveries

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.

Stay informed and learn about available supports with webinars on a variety of COVID-19 and business related topics.

Upcoming

Business AdviceTO

The City’s Business AdviceTO program is a series of free weekly online events that encourage sharing, learning and growing with other entrepreneurs and leaders mitigating through COVID-19.

Business AdviceTO with Partners SheEO World – Women Entrepreneurs

  • Wednesdays, May to August, 9 to 10 a.m. – Register

Business AdviceTO with Partners Retail Insider – Retail Sector

  • Wednesday, July 8, 11 a.m. to noon – Register
  • Wednesday, July 15, 11 a.m. to noon – Register
  • Wednesday, July 22, 11 a.m. to noon – Register
  • Wednesday, July 29, 11 a.m. to noon – Register
  • Wednesday, August 5, 11 a.m. to noon – Register
  • Wednesday, August 12, 11 a.m. to noon – Register

Business AdviceTO with Partners TechTO – Tech Sector

  • Wednesday, July 8, noon to 1 p.m. – Register
  • Wednesday, July 15, noon to 1 p.m. – Register
  • Wednesday, July 22, noon to 1 p.m. – Register
  • Wednesday, July 29, noon to 1 p.m. – Register
  • Wednesday, August 5, noon to 1 p.m. – Register
  • Wednesday, August 12, noon to 1 p.m. – Register

Business AdviceTO – SisterTalk (BIWOC) Black Indigenous Women of Colour Biz Mentorship Circle

  • Thursdays, June to September, 10 a.m. – Register

On Demand

View pre-recorded webinars at your convenience.

* Webinars were developed leveraging guidelines that had been published and available up to and including the following dates – Retail Sector: June 11, Restaurant Sector: June 12, Manufacturing Sector: June 16 and Personal Care Service Sector: June 19.

Subscribe to the City’s enewsletters to learn more about the resources and supports available for businesses and the arts and culture sector.