Please check this space regularly as we post updates on Canadian, Ontario, Muskoka, Funding and Health Resources related mostly to business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ll keep updating this Resource directory to:

  1. Keep you informed (Communicate)
  2. Provide ideas on what help is available for businesses (Support)
  3. Recommend measures for our governments to help (Advocate)

Last updated: May 25, 2020

New! List of local Pandemic Supplies/PPE providers (Scroll down for link). If you are providing supplies in Muskoka and are not on the list, please email us at info@muskokalakeschamber.ca.

As of May 25, to see the most up-to-date Federal and Provincial Supports, please visit the Canadian Business Resilience Network, an initiative of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, of which you are a member through your membership with the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce.

Re-opening Ontario after COVID-19 – Phase 1: https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-after-covid-19

Ontario’s Workplace Guidelines – https://www.ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace

May 14: FedNor opens Regional Relief and Recovery Fund applications: https://fednor.gc.ca/eic/site/fednor-fednor.nsf/eng/h_fn04591.html

Ontario announces guiding principles and criteria provided by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health to reopen the province, A Framework for Reopening our Province.

Access the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan »

Highlights for Business

May 14: FedNor opens Regional Relief and Recovery Fund applications: https://fednor.gc.ca/eic/site/fednor-fednor.nsf/eng/h_fn04591.html

April 27: Application process for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy launched.

Federal Government expands business support measures, such as dropping $50K payroll threshold to $20K and offering rent relief. Learn more >

Canadian Business Resiliency Network, an initiative of our partner, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

View federal government support for business programs. Click here.

Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Application portal expected to be open before end of April.

An up to 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Now also open to students and seasonal workers.  It’s to pay 75% of first $58,700 salary earned (Max $847/wk)
Who is eligible?  Firms of all sizes, including non profits, that have suffered a 15% in March and 30%+ in April/May revenue loss as a result of COVID-19.
Firms are encouraged to pay the 25% top-up to employees if they can afford it.
Firms warned not to take advantage or they will face stiff penalties

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Apply through the new CRA portal that opened April 6.

Click here for the CERB application portal >

The CERB covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Who is eligible? Anyone over the age of 15 who earned at least $5K in the last year or in 2019.

Read the latest about CERB »

Keep up to date with Resources for Canadian Businesses »

Employment Insurance Program

Any employee requiring sick days or isolation can apply for EI Illness. The wait week is waived under this program and medical documentation is not required. Regular benefits can also be obtained for employees that have been laid off. Records of Employment ARE required but not to apply.

Employment Insurance (EI): 1-833-381-2725 or apply online.

ROE Tip to Employers

If you are considering laying off staff, you should have Record of Employment (ROE) forms to provide them so they can apply for Employment Insurance (EI). However, given the unprecedented number of layoffs, CRA is not requesting them at this time – but you should have them for later. You can not download these forms from the CRA or Service Canada so be sure to order them if you do not have them in supply. Your Chamber has raised concerns to the CRA about ROEs not being readily available for smaller employers who may not have set up on line ROE access – which is normally a lengthy process.

Other Federal Aid

  • A temporary boost to Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering about $2 billion in extra support.
  • A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.
  • A doubling of the homeless care program.
  • An extension of the tax filing deadline to June 1. A policy change allowing taxpayers to defer until after Aug. 31 tax payments that are due after today and before September.
  • $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities.

General information and updates »

May 14: Ontario Re-opening phase 1: https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-after-covid-19

Phase 1 Re-opening List of Businesses: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/5/ontario-announces-additional-workplaces-that-can-reopen.html

Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace: https://www.ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace

April 27: Ontario announced guiding principles and criteria provided by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health to reopen the province, A Framework for Reopening our Province.

Essential Services

April 26: Community Gardens now deemed essential

Community and allotment gardens have been deemed essential by the provincial government and are now permitted during the pandemic state of emergency in Ontario. The province stated the community gardens are an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families. We know that there are many community gardens around our region that are a source if nutritious foods for many including those who may be experiencing food insecurity. Guidance from each local Medical Officer of Health will be forthcoming to provide parameters for the operation of the gardens.

April 3: ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES LIST REDUCED FROM 74 to 44 CATEGORIES

Following advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, on April 3, 2020, Ontario updated the list of essential businesses that can remain open. The restrictions are aimed at further reducing contact between people and stopping the spread of COVID-19. See the revised list here.

  • Cannabis stores and most construction projects, including non-critical industrial construction have been removed from this list.
  • If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • The new essential services list will go into effective at 11:59pm on Saturday, April 4.

Original Essential Services List: All non-essential businesses were to close as of 11.59pm, March 24.
View the list of Essential Services »

Questions? Call the Business Line 1 888-444-3659

Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan »

May 13: District of Muskoka Finance and Corporate Services committee agrees to loan $750K to Muskoka Futures to provide COVID-19 loans to Muskoka businesses. Motion needs to be ratified by entire District Council on May 19. ALL Muskoka Chambers joined the Muskoka Lakes Chamber in calling for a local business relief fund.

The Township of Muskoka Lakes is waiving penalties on property taxes that were due as of March 31, 2020. Please read the media release here »

Note: As well as requesting such property tax relief, your Chamber is calling on the District of Muskoka to find creative ways to provide bridge financing for businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19.

Business Loans

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The federal government had announced that the CEBA would be open for applications starting April 6, but many banks are still working to create a centralized portal through which applications can be submitted. We’ll keep you posted but the best advice now is to visit the website of the bank you do your business banking with and bookmark the spot where they talk about CEBA. Businesses and non profits are eligible to apply if they have experienced a 30% decline in revenues in March 2020 over March 2019 and the same for April and May.

Details:

  • The Canada Emergency Business Account provides an interest-free, government-guaranteed loan of $40,000 to help you pay for operating costs that you’re not able to defer as a result of COVID-19.
  • $10,000, which is 25%, of the $40,000 loan is eligible for complete forgiveness if $30,000 is fully repaid on or before December 31, 2022.
  • If the loan can’t be repaid by December 31, 2022, it can be converted into a 3-year term loan charging an interest rate of 5%.

Who is eligible for the loan?

Businesses or not-for-profits will be eligible to apply for this loan if they have:

  • an operating company registered in Canada;
  • an annual payroll of between $50,000 and $1 million, based on their 2019 T4SUM Summary of Remuneration Paid; and

A Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) has been set up through Business Development Canada (BDC):

  • Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online
  • Working capital loan: For loans over $100,000 and can support everyday operations
  • Purchase Order Financing: Loans to fulfill domestic or international orders

Note: BDC is experiencing high volume of inquiries, and you may not qualify for a BDC loan if your company has not been in business for more than two years. For more information, call 1-877-232-2269 or visit the special support page of the BDC website.

Important for businesses in Muskoka and Northern Ontario
Track the impact of COVID-19 on your organization

Use our COVID-19 Impact Tracking Template.

Download the PDF tracker template document or contact us to access version in Word. You can then fill it out and email it back to norah@muskokalakeschamber.ca. We will forward it to FedNor for you as they are asking us to collect this data.

Your COVID-19 impact tracking report should look like this:

Many of our Chamber members are reporting people are coming into essential service stores or requesting property maintenance services after having just travelled across the border or from abroad.

Everyone who has travelled needs to self isolate for 14 days. Health officials say we should all consider ourselves sick, whether we’ve recently travelled or not, and stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to go out.

You must practice social/physical distancing.

What does that mean?

It means staying away from each other.

It means staying in your home with the people you live with.

You should not visit family members in other homes to help stop community spread of the virus.

Your Chamber recommends connecting virtually using the many social apps that are available to you, most at no charge. If you need to run a video call and share documents on screen, for example, and you do not have an app to do that, contact the Chamber and we’ll help facilitate sessions for you.

April 17: Chamber forwards document, Economic Recovery Strategy, to District of Muskoka to request District facilitate an Economic Recovery Task Force

April 16: Chamber meets with District of Muskoka officials to discuss the potential for a Muskoka Emergency Response Fund

March 31: Chamber calls on governments to consider businesses impacted by 2019 floods to be given special consideration given the 30%+ revenue downturn criteria to provide our businesses access to 75% wage subsidy

March 23: Chamber in partnership with Bracebridge Chamber requests District consider setting up a bridge financing fund for Muskoka businesses

March 19: Chamber recommends Township of Muskoka Lakes consider deferring property tax deadlines and to waive property tax penalties. We applaud the Township and District for taking these measures and for District on providing water and sewer payment relief.

Check back here as we add providers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other Pandemic Supplies. You can order online with many of the providers listed below.

Important to Note: Medical masks, including surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators (like N95 masks), must be kept for health care workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients. Wearing a homemade non-medical mask/facial covering in the community is recommended for periods of time when it is not possible to consistently maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others, particularly in crowded public settings, such as stores.

Our Chamber Members Providing Pandemic Supplies

Action First Aid, Bracebridge. Click here to see PPE supplies (masks, hand sanitizer, face shields, gloves).

Apothecary Shop (The), Port Carling.  Click here to see PPE supplies (custom starter kits and general supplies)

McLaren Graphics, Bracebridge – Signage and Marketing Materials

Muskoka Brewery – Hand Sanitizer Contact Jamie at Jamie.giardini@muskokabrewery.com

Muskoka Signs and Graphics, Gravenhurst – Plexiglas & Signage

Staples, Bracebridge – Click here to see PPE supplies (Plexiglas,  PPE, Signage, Stickers)

Sublime Graphics, Bracebridge (Plexiglas & Signage)

Other Muskoka Providers – check their websites for more information

Glendon and Danotti, Gravenhurst

Muskoka411, Gravenhurst (Do Muskoka line has shifted its resources to providing PPE – see below)

Here is a list of suppliers by item and price courtesy of the Town of Bracebridge

Disposable Masks $52.50 for a box of 50 South Paw Promotions Barry Hammond barry@southpawcanada.com
Reusable Masks for staff $4.98 each South Paw Promotions Barry Hammond barry@southpawcanada.com
Hand Sanitizer 8 oz. bottle (80%) $4.25 and

3.79 litre refill – $53.70

Action First Aid Kim Cunningham kim@actionfirstaid.ca
Hand Sanitizer 12 (1 litre) bottles -$120

$179 – 20 litre bulk pail

Muskoka Brewery Jamie Giardini jamie.giardini@muskokabrewery.com
Hard Surface Sanitizer 6 (32 oz.) spray bottles  – $75.00 South Paw Promotions Barry Hammond barry@southpawcanada.com
Plexiglas Guard $50 for 30” x 40” acrylic panel that can be hung either portrait or landscape (need to provide your own wire and hooks to hang True North Printed Plastics Andrew Struthers Andrew@bracebridge.ca
Signage Customizable Smellies Design and Print Shop Andrew Smellie andrew@smellies.ca

This is a Resource page only.
Other updates of interest you will appear on our Home page under News Updates.

Stay well.