Last updated: July 31, 2020 at 9:28 a.m.
Certain businesses and workplaces may reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
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. 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 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.
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.
Free Nights with:
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 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.
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.
As of July 13, the City has received 47 applications for requests totalling $537,994 and has approved 20 of these applicants for a total of $263,000 in emergency funding. Among the initial recipients are the Contact Photography Festival, African Women Acting, Toronto Queer Media Arts Centre and Big on Bloor.
To be eligible, Arts and Culture focused festivals must be within the city 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 email@example.com.
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:
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.
Stay informed and learn about available supports with webinars on a variety of COVID-19 and business related topics.
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
Business AdviceTO with Partners Retail Insider – Retail Sector
Business AdviceTO with Partners TechTO – Tech Sector
Business AdviceTO – SisterTalk (BIWOC) Black Indigenous Women of Colour Biz Mentorship Circle
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, Personal Care Service Sector: June 19 and Events and Festivals: July 27. 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.