News Release
July 13, 2021

Today, Mayor John Tory welcomed an important announcement by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, that will provide much-needed relief and support for small retail-based businesses and their workers in neighbourhoods and business districts across Toronto that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Joly confirmed that the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) will provide $19 million to the City of Toronto and its partners over the next two and a half years for investment in a range of main street and small business recovery initiatives.

The City will receive $18 million from FedDev Ontario to support Toronto’s Main Street Recovery and Rebuild program that includes the following initiatives:

  • Retail Accelerator Program
  • Main Street Innovation Fund
  • CaféTO (pending Council approval)
  • plazaPOPS
  • Support for Businesses in Little Jamaica/Eglinton West (in partnership with the Black Business Professional Association)
  • Vacant Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program (pending Council approval)

Today’s funding announcement by Minister Joly:

  • will allow Toronto to extend existing programs and supports to hundreds of new small businesses, neighbourhoods and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs),
  • will allow implementation of certain new programs, pending consideration and required approval by Toronto City Council this fall,
  • reflects advice the City has received from business leaders and associations; and,
  • will provide opportunities and resources to support an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery in neighbourhoods with different needs across Toronto.

The City of Toronto also welcomes a $1 million investment from FedDev Ontario for Destination Toronto’s support of the upcoming ShowLoveTO campaign to boost consumer confidence and encourage Toronto residents to discover, shop and dine at Toronto’s amazing small retail-based businesses and restaurants.

In late 2020, Toronto City Council endorsed the recommendations of Building Back Stronger: Report of the City of Toronto Economic & Culture Recovery Advisory Group. A central recommendation of this report is to incentivize and facilitate local retail innovations to promote local resilience during the recovery period and expand opportunities for small businesses.

In response to this recommendation, as well as direction from City Council to support the sustainability of independent main street businesses, the City sought funding support from FedDev Ontario for a Main Street Recovery and Rebuild program.


“We need to ensure our businesses are set up for recovery post-pandemic, and in years to come. Today’s support from the federal government will provide much needed help for our hard hit main street and small businesses. Thank you to our federal partners for this funding that will be vital to the survival of our small businesses and in the success of our city.”
– Mayor John Tory

Federal funding is vital to the City’s support of main street and small business recovery initiatives. The funding announced today reflects advice from the business community as to the kinds of supports that are needed to deliver on the recommendations of the Building Back Stronger report and expand opportunities for small businesses. I am confident that together with our partners in the business and culture sectors, we will build a more prosperous, resilient and successful Toronto.”

– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“This much-needed support will help small businesses continue to be the backbone of our main streets, providing vital jobs, goods and services to countless neighbourhoods across this city. Toronto’s small business communities have not only weathered the many challenges posed by the pandemic but have also been incredible advocates for the supports needed to help our main streets thrive. These supports will be crucial as we not only recover but build back stronger.”

– Councillor Brad Bradford (Beaches-East York)

“Toronto’s vibrancy stems from its diversity of neighbourhoods and main streets throughout this global city. Our government is proud to support the City of Toronto to help retail and main street businesses to bounce back, stimulate local tourism and invite foot traffic back to Toronto’s restaurants, shops and sites, protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for tourism.”

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible FedDev Ontario

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations