Last updated: May 26, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of having an online presence to sell goods and services. ShopHERE provides Toronto businesses and artists a quick, easy and no-cost way to get selling online right away.
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 through a partnership between the City and Toronto Region Board of Trade, are meant to help businesses respond to the economic impact of COVID-19.
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 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.
ShopHERE is a new initiative launched to help Toronto’s independent businesses and artists set-up their online stores with the help of volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partners. The free program provides businesses one-on-one support with building an online store to start selling their goods and services right away. The ShopHERE program is open to any business or artist that meets the eligibility requirements. ShopHERE is part of the Digital Main Street 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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read and review the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program Guidelines before making an application.
Access CFRP application forms through the City of Toronto Grants, Rebates and Incentives Portal (TGRIP), our new online granting system.
We highly recommend that you review these documents before logging in:
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
Ask-An-Accountant – Applying for Government COVID-19 Support Programs
COVID-19 Re-Opening Guidance for the Retail Sector
The City’s Business AdviceTO program is a series of free weekly online events for tech, retail, and female-led businesses. The online events encourage sharing, learning and growing with other entrepreneurs and leaders mitigating through COVID-19.
Business AdviceTO with Partners SheEO World – Female Founders
Business AdviceTO with Partners Retail Insider – Retail Sector
Business AdviceTO with Partners TechTO – Tech Sector
View pre-recorded webinars at your convenience.