LAST UPDATED: April 20th, 2022

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Current Press Updates From Your Government:
For the latest, up to date press releases from:
Government of Canada, please click here.
Government of Ontario, please click here.
City of Toronto, please click here.

This Page: Below is a collection of information shared with local businesses (located within our boundaries) via our Members Newsletter.

Select Topics Include:

  • CPLC Deck – Major Crime Indicators Overview (April 2022)
  • CPLC Newsletter Sign Up
  • De-escalation Training Sessions (Level 1 and Level 2)
  • Ontario Line Parliamentary Petition
  • Applications for Summerlicious 2022
  • Supports available for small businesses in Toronto
  • Rapid tests from Toronto Region Board of Trade
  • City of Toronto consultation on reducing single-use and takeaway items
  • Ontario Moving to Next Phase of Reopening on February 17
  • CafeTO Registration + $7500 CafeTO Grant
  • Ontario Outlines Steps to Cautiously and Gradually Ease Public Health Measures
  • Rapid Antigen Screening Program For Small & Medium‑sized Organizations
  • Reminder re: Federal Supports
  • Provincial Supports
  • Federal Government Temporarily Expands Access to Lockdown Program and Worker Lockdown Benefit
  • Ontario Launches New Supports for Businesses
  • Condos can be built anywhere. There is only one First Parliament site.
  • Hospitality EDGE
  • GRANTS: Toronto Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative
  • GRANT: Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program
  • Volunteer on a BIA Committee
  • 15% Property Tax Reduction to Small Businesses
  • City Council Makes CaféTO Permanent
  • Check your property monthly for graffiti
  • $2500 Digital Transformation Grant 3.0
  • Free health and safety training available for small businesses
  • Toronto Police Neighbourhood Officers Division 51
  • UPDATED & NEW: How to Report A Crime
  • Shelter at 45 The Esplanade – Info & Newsletter
  • Shelter at 45 The Esplanade – Who to call
  • Monthly Digital Main Street Webinars
  • Checklist: What to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19
  • DOWNLOAD & POST: Face Masks and Coverings Offer Best Protection & How to Safely Wear a Mask
  • Digital Main Street: Future Proof Program
  • POSTER: Mask Bylaw: poster & other important information for businesses
  • POSTER: Social Distancing Signage for businesses
  • Staff Screening Sheet
  • and more…

CPLC Deck – Major Crime Indicators Overview (April 2022)
Added April 20th, 2022

In a recent CPLC (Community Police Liaison Committee) meeting Toronto Police Division 51 shared this slide deck (click here to view) with committee members. Below are general notes on year to date findings.

  • Sexual Violations, Homicide, and Auto Thefts have increased in frequency year to date, however, total crime occurrences are lower than previous years.
  • Most assaults have occurred on weekends.
  • While sexual assaults are spread throughout the day, they have a slight propensity to occur between late morning and mid afternoon and most sexual assaults have occurred on weekdays.
  • Auto theft’s are heavily clustered along Dundas St E in the center of the Division. Additionally, Front St E & Church St has emerged as a hot spot. Individuals leaving their vehicles running and unsecure are commonly targeted.
  • Robberies have spread throughout the day, but have had a slight tendency to occur during afternoon hours on weekends.
  • Theft over occurrences are concentrated between 11:00am and 4:00pm.
  • To learn about how to report a crime and about our local Neighbourhood Officers please be sure to click here now and bookmark this page.

CPLC Newsletter Sign Up
Added April 20th, 2022

The CPLC (Community Police Liaison Committee) volunteers are starting their own newsletter. If you wish to sign up to receive this newsletter please do so here.

Your local BIA will continue to share, via our members newsletter, information decks from the CPLC and Toronto Police Division 51,  when made available to our office.

De-escalation Training Sessions (Level 1 and Level 2)
Added April 20th, 2022

The City of Toronto is again offering De-Escalation Training Sessions for Street-Front Businesses.  The sessions are geared to managers or employees who interact with the general public regularly and would like to learn strategies and skills for communicating with individuals who may be street involved or displaying agitated behaviours.  Training is facilitated by the Downtown Yonge BIA and a mental health educator.  Registration is free.

Ontario Line Parliamentary Petition
Added April 14th, 2022

The East of the Don Community Activists have launched a Parliamentary Petition to put pressure on both the Ontario and Federal government to ensure the Federal conditions for funding the Ontario Line.

The aim is to get as many signatures as possible by May 7th and use the existence of the petition to challenge provincial candidates during the coming election.

The federal conditions for funding the Ontario Line are:

  • Undergoing a substantial environmental review and approval process, including an impact analysis and mitigation measures.
  • Undergoing a federal climate lens, specifically related to our GHG reductions goals;
  • Building affordable housing near transit oriented development as is feasible;
  • Incorporating barrier-free design elements for people with disabilities;
  • Enabling early community involvement which is inclusive of diverse voices;
  • Conducting inclusive community consultation processes that address neighbourhood and community improvements;
  • Establishing hiring targets of at least 10% for historically disadvantaged communities, with possible higher targets based on local representation;
  • Ensuring that contractors have established an anti-racism strategy; and,
  • Mitigating the negative impacts of project construction and reporting on these measures for communities.

To date, few of these conditions have been met.

Applications for Summerlicious 2022
Added April 14th, 2022

The City of Toronto announced the return of its Summerlicious program, which runs from August 12 to 28. The renewed program aims to support the recovery and revival of Toronto’s restaurant industry while providing restaurant-goers with enticing experiences and delectable food. Changes to the Summerlicious program now make it easier for restaurants to participate – including waived fees for all participating restaurants, greater flexibility for restaurants to set menus and price points, and a simplified online application. Applications open from April 14 to 29.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Supports available for small businesses in Toronto
Added March 1st, 2022

The City of Toronto and its partners offer many supports to help small business owners and operators mitigate and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. These include grants, incentives, online training, advisory services and a new small business property tax sub-class. Small businesses, including restaurants, are encouraged to take advantage of these resources. Find a full slate of resources at

Rapid tests from Toronto Region Board of Trade
Added February 16th, 2022

The Toronto Region Board of Trade’s supply of rapid tests is now back in stock and they are resuming distribution of these kits for businesses. They are, however, working through a significant backlog of appointments. To sign up please click here.

City of Toronto consultation on reducing single-use and takeaway items
Added February 16th, 2022

The City of Toronto is undertaking a third phase of public consultation on reducing the use of single-use and takeaway items. (In 2018, City Council directed staff to develop a Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy.)

Work on the Strategy (paused during the pandemic) has now been reinitiated. The current round of public consultation is seeking feedback on the timing for the proposed Reduction Strategy mandatory measures (e.g. a fee or “ask first/by-request” bylaw), additional items to be addressed through the Strategy, and the suggested fee amounts for the fee-related proposed mandatory measures.

You can provide feedback via a survey found on this page.
To read the full press release, please click here.

Ontario Moving to Next Phase of Reopening on February 17
Added February 16th, 2022

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is cautiously and gradually easing public health measures sooner, with the next phase of measures being eased on February 17, and additional measures being eased on March 1st.

Effective February 17, 2022

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Increasing organized public event limits to 50 people indoors, with no limit outdoors
  • Removing capacity limits in the following indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to:
    • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities
    • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms
    • Cinemas
    • Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres or convention centres
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
    • Indoor areas of settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
  • Allowing 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity at sports arenas
  • Allowing 50 percent of the usual seating capacity for concert venues and theatres
  • Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, restaurants where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Increasing capacity limits for indoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites, or ceremonies to the number of people who can maintain two metres physical distance. Capacity limits are removed if the location opts-in to use proof of vaccination or if the service, rite, or ceremony is occurring outdoors.

Capacity limits in other indoor public settings, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, retail and shopping malls, will be maintained at, or increased to, the number of people who can maintain two metres physical distance.

Effective March 1, 2022

Ontario intends to take additional steps to ease public health measures if public health and health system indicators continue to improve. This includes lifting capacity limits in all remaining indoor public settings.

Ontario will also lift proof of vaccination requirements for all settings at this time. Businesses and other settings may choose to continue to require proof of vaccination. Masking requirements will remain in place at this time, with a specific timeline to lift this measure to be communicated at a later date.

To read the full press release and to learn about booster doses becoming available to youth aged 12-17 year please click here.

CafeTO Registration + $7500 CafeTO Grant
Added January 28th, 2022

Restaurant operators can now apply for sidewalk café permits or register for curb lane cafésThe deadline to register for curb lane cafés is April 2.

Sidewalk cafés are outdoor eating areas located on sidewalks where food or drinks are served to the public by a licensed eating or drinking establishment.

Curb lane cafés provide expanded temporary outdoor dining space by reallocating the public right-of-way on curb lanes for use by licensed eating or drinking establishments. The deadline to register for curb lane cafés is April 2.

Through CaféTO, the City has amended its regulations to make it easier for eating and drinking establishments to install or expand patios on private property.

GRANT: New for 2022, café operators are now eligible for a matching grant of up to $7,500 to cover 50 per cent of the cost of eligible property or site improvements related to curb lane café installations, sidewalk cafés or patios on private property, through the CaféTO Property Improvement Program.

Learn more about the permit, registration and zoning bylaws by clicking here.

Ontario Outlines Steps to Cautiously and Gradually Ease Public Health Measures
Added January 28th, 2022

As announced last week by the Ontario Government, Ontario will be gradually easing public health measures, starting on January 31, 2022. In the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care indicators, Ontario will follow a cautious and phased approach to lifting public health measures, with 21 days between each step. This will impact many of our local businesses.

Effective January 31, 2022 at 12:01 am Ontario will begin the process of gradually easing restrictions, while maintaining protective measures, including but not limited to:

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including but not limited to:
    • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
    • Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)
    • Shopping malls;
    • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
    • Cinemas;
    • Meeting and event spaces;
    • Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks;
    • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions; and
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
    • Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
    • Allowing spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.

For the full press release and to review expected changes for February 21, 2022 and then on March 14, 2022please review the official press release.

Rapid Antigen Screening Program For Small & Medium‑sized Organizations
Added January 11th, 2022

In collaboration with the Government of Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart will be offering increased and timely access to free rapid antigen tests for Canadian organizations to use for workplace screening of their employees.

To confirm your eligibility, please contact the Health Solutions by Shoppers Drug Mart team by emailing or completing a request on the program portal.

Currently, tests are being offered free-of-charge; however, a $14 handling fee will be charged for every box of 25 tests.

Click here to learn more.

Reminder re: Federal Supports
Added January 7th, 2022

The Government of Canada continues to offer targeted supports for businesses and self-employed individuals facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These include rent and property expenses support; wage and hiring support; Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility; Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit and more. Click here to see the supports available for businesses, self-employed individuals and sectors.

Provincial Supports
Added January 7th, 2022

The Ontario government has announced an Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. It will provide eligible small businesses with a grant payment of $10,000.

Eligible small businesses include:

  • Restaurants and bars;
  • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms);
  • Performing arts and cinemas;
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • Meeting or event spaces;
  • Tour and guide services;
  • Conference centres and convention centres;
  • Driving instruction for individuals; and
  • Before- and after- school programs.

The Ontario government is also providing electricity-rate relief to support small businesses, as well as workers and families spending more time at home while the province is in Modified Step Two. For 21 days starting at 12:01 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, electricity prices will be set 24 hours a day at the current off-peak rate, which is less than half the cost of the current on-peak rate.

Further, online applications for the previously-announced Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program will open on January 18. This program will provide eligible businesses with rebate payments for up to 100 per cent of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.

Eligible businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. Those required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs. A complete list of eligible businesses will be provided prior to the launch of the application portal.

These new programs build on previous business support programs, including the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, the Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebates, and the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant.

Also being introduced is a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes, cutting wholesale alcohol prices to provide approximately $60 million in annual support to restaurants, bars and other businesses, and extending COVID-19 paid sick days until July 31, 2022 to keep workers safe and ensure they do not lose pay if they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19.

Federal Government Temporarily Expands Access to Lockdown Program and Worker Lockdown Benefit
Added December 23rd, 2021
The federal government intends to temporarily expand eligibility for key support programs. These expansions include:
  • Expand the Local Lockdown Program to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more; and reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25 per cent. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies from 25 per cent up to a maximum of 75 per cent, depending on their degree of revenue loss. The 12-month revenue decline test continues to not be required in order to access this support.
  • Expand the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. As announced previously, this benefit will provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers who are directly affected by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown, and who have lost 50 per cent or more of their income as a result.

These updated regulations will apply from December 19, 2021, to February 12, 2022, during which time it is expected that public health authorities will continue to implement “circuit-breaker” restrictions that limit the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 across Canada.

For more information, please read the full press release.

Ontario Launches New Supports for Businesses
Added December 23rd, 2021

The Ontario government is introducing new supports for many of the businesses that are most impacted by public health measures in response to the Omicron variant. These supports include a new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program and a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes.

For more information, please read the full press release.

Condos can be built anywhere. There is only one First Parliament site
Added December 13th, 2021

On December 6, 2021, Infrastructure Ontario shared its most recent proposal for development of the Corktown Station Transit Oriented Community (TOC) with the public.

Along with your BIA, other area organizations have released a joint press release. In the press release BIA Chair George Milbrandt says, “We are disappointed that the Province is not maximizing the economic potential of the land south of Front St. They are proposing a standard mixed-use development and treating its unique heritage value as an afterthought. This leaves money and opportunity on the table. Using heritage celebration as a foundation for the development design would also maximize the value of the commercial and residential components of the proposal. Condos can be built anywhere, there is only one First Parliament site.

Read the full press release here.

Hospitality EDGE
Added December 13th, 2021

Hospitality Edge is Destination Toronto’s workforce development program helping facilitate the return of hospitality workers as more businesses in the sector prepare for the next stages of recovery.

Hospitality EDGE offers a highly curated suite of courses for workers in the hospitality sector—online and at no cost—and comes at a time when the tourism and hospitality industry has needed to adapt quickly during the global pandemic.

Three new courses have now been added in addition to the previous offerings: Introduction to Hospitality Sector, Business of Hospitality, Sustainable Tourism.

Hospitality EDGE is for everyone in the hospitality industry. (Be sure to share this with your staff and co-workers.) It is developed through a partnership of Destination Toronto, the City of Toronto, the Tourism Office of the City of Brampton, and Tourism Mississauga, supported by funding from the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Tourism, Sport and Culture Industries. Learn more about the program here.

GRANTS: Toronto Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative
Added December 6th, 2021

To assist small businesses in Toronto to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic six new programs have been launched with funding attached to them. Three of the programs which may be of high interest to our members are:
1) The Retail Accelerator Program provides small retail businesses operating in the city of Toronto with access to training and a micro-grant of $10,000. Participants are required to create and submit a retail business/marketing plan after the targeted retail training is complete in order to receive the grant.

2) The CaféTO – Commercial and Industrial Property Improvement Program offers business operators matching funding of 50 per cent for the cost of eligible improvements (excluding furnishings) to café spaces on City property (where a valid permit has been issued) or on private property. Expenses eligible for funding include platforms or decking, fencing and accessibility improvements which meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Opens in new window (AODA) design standards and technical drawings.

3) The Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program offers matching funding of 50 per cent to commercial business operators and owners of storefronts that are vacant (or, in certain limited circumstances, at risk of becoming vacant) to undertake interior improvements, assisting businesses to re-lease space impacted by COVID-19.

Click here to learn about all six programs.

GRANT: Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program
Added November 30th, 2021

The City of Toronto’s Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program offers matching funding of 50% to commercial business operators and owners of storefronts that are vacant (or, in certain limited circumstances, at risk of becoming vacant) to undertake interior improvements, assisting businesses to re-lease space impacted by COVID-19. The maximum base grant under the program is $20,000 (based on a minimum of $40,000 of improvements).

The first round of applications will be accepted until February 28, 2022 or when funds are expended, whichever comes first.

Eligible Projects

  • Structural upgrades, interior light fixtures, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), plumbing, electrical, interior painting, flooring/ceiling/walls, permanently-affixed counters, merchandise displays and accessibility improvements, among others.
  • Architectural, engineering, certified Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) specialist and Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) registered designer fees may be covered to a maximum of $2,000 per application as part of the base grant.
  • Multi-unit properties are eligible for additional grant funding of up to $4,000 per unit for each additional unit for which improvements are proposed, to a maximum of $20,000.
  • Additional grant funding of up to $4,000 is available for interior accessibility improvements which meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) design standards.

A minimum of three eligible improvements must be made to each unit.

Volunteer on a BIA Committee
Added November 18th, 2021

Here at your local Business Improvement Area we appreciate the time and effort of our volunteer committee members. These volunteers meet on an as needed basis, (typically once or twice a year) and make themselves available via email and phone when needed.

Committees include:
Events and General Support Committee
Marketing and Promotions Committee
King East Design District Committee
Streetscape and Development Committee
Parks Committee
Member Services and Area Beautification Committee

If you would like to volunteer with one of our committees, please email Executive Director Al Smith at

15% Property Tax Reduction to Small Businesses
Added November 18th, 2021

City Council has voted to move forward with a 15 per cent property tax reduction to small businesses.

The new small business property tax subclass will come into effect for the 2022 tax year. It is estimated that property tax reductions will apply to approximately 25,000 small businesses across Toronto, or 60 per cent of all commercial properties.

Find out if you qualify, read examples and learn more by reading the full press release.

City Council Makes CaféTO Permanent
Added November 18th, 2021

Toronto City Council has approved a plan that will make the CaféTO program permanent while continuing to deliver needed business support to restaurants including waiving permit fees in 2022.

A public survey for restaurant operators, customers and the general public, which gathered over 10,00 responses showed overwhelming support for the program. Of those who participated, 91 per cent believed that extended sidewalk and curb lane cafés should be allowed in Toronto in the future.

A new registration process will be launched for future permanent CaféTO sidewalk cafés. The new process will be fast and streamlined and restaurant operators will only need to apply once for year-round expanded sidewalk cafés. Currently, existing temporary CaféTO sidewalk cafés can remain in place until April 14, 2022.

Please click here to read the full press release for more details and to view the City Staff report.

(Click here to download above chart.)

Ontario Releases Plan to Safely Reopen
Added October 25th, 2021

On Friday October 22nd the province announced the lifting of a number of restrictions and provided some insight into how we will proceed. You can read the FULL details here. Key dates are summarized below and include what restrictions plan to be lifted on those dates.

October 25, 2021
Ontario will lift capacity limits in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination are required, such as restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities such as gyms and where personal physical fitness trainers provide instruction; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and indoor meeting and event spaces.
At this time, the government will also allow other settings to lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination.
This will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores and medical supplies.

November 15, 2021
The government intends to lift capacity limits in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including food or drink establishments with dance facilities.

January 17, 2022
In the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care following the winter holiday months and after students returned to in-class learning, the province intends to begin gradually lifting capacity limits in settings where proof of vaccination is not required.
Proof of vaccination requirements may also begin to be gradually lifted at this time.

February 7, 2022
The government intends to lift proof of vaccination requirements in high-risk settings, including night clubs, strip clubs, and bathhouses and sex clubs.

March 28, 2022
At this time, it is intended that remaining public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted, including wearing face coverings in indoor public settings.

For the full details please view the full press release by clicking here.

Enhanced Vaccine Certificate + Verification App for Businesses
Added October 15th, 2021

In advance of October 22, the Ontario government is making the enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code and the free, made-in Ontario verification app for businesses, Verify Ontario, available for download.

To ensure a smooth user experience, the province is initially making the enhanced vaccine certificates available for download in cohorts:

  • Oct 15, 12am – 11:59pm: people born between Jan and Apr
  • Oct 16, 12am – 11:59pm: people born between May and Aug
  • Oct 17, 12am – 11:59pm: people born between Sept and Dec

(Starting Oct 18 at 6am, the portal will open for any individual to download their enhanced vaccine certificate, regardless of their birth month.)

The current vaccine receipt without a QR code remains valid and will continue to be accepted with ID. 

To prepare, businesses and organizations can now download the free Verify Ontario app. The app has been designed to help businesses by making it quicker and easier to confirm if a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Vaccine Passport Signage
Added September 22nd, 2021

Effective Sept 22 2021 Ontario will require proof of vaccination to access select settings. Please find below some links to business signage and additional resources.

Ontario’s Proof of Vaccination Page:

Business Signage:

Ontario Releasing Guidance to Support Proof of Vaccination Policy
Added September 15th, 2021

The Ontario government has released guidance for businesses and organizations to support them in implementing proof of vaccination requirements, which take effect on September 22, 2021.

Businesses are responsible for ensuring they meet the requirements regarding proof of identification and proof of vaccination.

The guidance document can be found here  and explains what types of businesses are impacted (page 3), the steps required when reviewing a vaccine receipt (page 8), exemptions (page 4). You are encouraged to review the entire document.

NOTE: An enhanced vaccine certificate and verification app will be available by October 22, 2021. Ontario’s proof of vaccination guidance will be updated to reflect the new processes.

To read the full press release this post is based on (and learn how to obtain your vaccination receipt), please click here.

Check your property monthly for graffiti
Added August 26th, 2021

Graffiti has been and will continue to be an ongoing issue in our city. Here in Old Town Toronto your local BIA spends time weekly reporting graffiti on publicly owned assets, such as utility boxes, Canada Post boxes, parking meters etc. We also over this past year have invested in cleaning up to 65 graffitied Toronto Hydro poles per month. These actions/programs help lower the number of “tags” visible in our neighbourhood, helping to create a more welcome environment for all, but we cannot do it alone.

All businesses and property owners are encouraged to maintain their property on an ongoing basis in accordance with Chapter 485, which states “The owner or occupant of property shall maintain the property free of graffiti vandalism.” Failure to do so can result in the city serving a notice to comply. If the notice is not adhered to, the city can opt to do the work and add the cost to the property’s taxes. (Read the chapter for full explanation.)

Be proactive. Check your property monthly and clean off any graffiti in a timely fashion. Together we can help keep Old Town Toronto a welcoming area. Thank you for your ongoing efforts!

To report graffiti, please email the City of Toronto with the address and a photo at

Letter to restaurant operators from Toronto Public Health
Added August 26th, 2021

Toronto Public Health issued this letter last week. In it they note that businesses are required to continue following applicable requirements in Step 3 of the Reopening Ontario Act to reduce opportunities for virus spread.

They also note that to date most inspected businesses are following the rules, but here are the most common issues they are seeing:

A) Active screening of employees as well as patrons who dine-in the indoor and/or outdoor dining areas is not implemented or adequate.

B) Personal protective equipment (PPE) that covers the person’s eyes, nose and mouth is not worn by employees when indoors, as required.

C) Safety plans are not available or address all required elements listed in the provincial Regulation.

D) Capacity signage, indicating capacity limits, is not available or posted in conspicuous locations.

E) Customer information is not collected or not collected adequately.

F) Mask or face covering policy is not available or does not address the elements required under the Mask Bylaw 541-2020.

Please take a moment to read the full letter now and ensure you are complying with all regulations.

Click here now for the letter.

COVID-19 Guidance: Food Premises
Added August 4th, 2021

The City of Toronto updated their website to include the most up to date Covid-19 guidance for restaurants and other food related businesses on July 29th at 2:05pm.

It provides some clarity and interpretation to help you comply with all applicable legislative requirements under provincial and municipal law. It also includes links to sample resources such as Patron Screening Posters, Safety Plan Checklists, Maximum Occupancy Signs and other usable resources.

A few topics included / explained are:

  • Active Screening of Patrons
  • Entrance and Line Management
  • Customer Records
  • Tents, Canopies and Retractable Roofs
  • Capacity
  • Cleaning and Disinfection
  • Safety Plan
  • Live Entertainment
  • and more…

$2500 Digital Transformation Grant
Added July 21, 2021

Digital Main Street (DMS) is a program focused on assisting small businesses with their adoption of technologies. The Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) program will provide funding for training, advisory support, and grants to brick-and-mortar small businesses looking to increase their capacity through digital transformation.

To learn more and see if you qualify, click here and scroll down. Want to book a free meeting with DMS Squad Member Chelsea to learn more about Digital Main Street? Click here to book a meeting or email her at

Toronto City Council repeals some COVID-19 bylaws related to Step Three reopening
Added July 21, 2021

Toronto City Council approved the repeal of bylaws that regulated physical distancing in City of Toronto parks and public squares, as well as a section of a bylaw related to licensing that implemented additional COVID-19 measures for food and drink establishments.

The repeal of the bylaws was based on a report from Toronto Public Health that took into consideration Toronto’s current epidemiological context, as well as overlap with the COVID-19 regulations contained in Step Three of the Government of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen. These current provincial regulations include capacity limits for both indoor and outdoor dining, require employee screening, and make it mandatory for premises to keep customer logs for at least one month. The regulations also requires that there be physical distancing and masks worn in lines and indoors.

All Toronto businesses are expected to review and familiarize themselves with the Step Three provincial regulations in the Reopening Ontario Act.

Free health and safety training available for small businesses
Added July 21, 2021

The Ontario government is rolling out a new Small Business Health and Safety Training Program to improve health and safety awareness and help prevent illnesses and injuries. The program provides training for health and safety representatives of small businesses on how to keep workers safe in the retail, construction, health care, accommodation and food services, and other sectors. Businesses will be reimbursed for the time the representatives are away from work.

Click here to learn more.

COVID-19 screening kits to help businesses safely reopen
Added June 16, 2021

The City of Toronto has partnered with the Toronto Region Board of Trade to provide free COVID-19 rapid screening kits to small- and medium-sized businesses across Toronto.

Use of rapid screening kits by employees of small- and medium-sized businesses can help identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace, thereby reducing the spread of COVID-19 in those workplaces, at home and in the community.

Eligible businesses can visit  to order their initial four-week supply of testing kits from the Toronto Region Board of Trade and book a time slot for pickup.

To make it easier for eligible businesses to participate in this voluntary initiative, the rapid screening kits will be available for scheduled pickup at the following locations beginning Friday, June 18:

  • Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall
  • North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St.
  • Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.
  • Fort York Visitor Centre, 250 Fort York Blvd.

These distribution sites will be open for scheduled pickups by appointment only from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This initiative is one of several ways that employers in Toronto can obtain rapid tests for their staff. Other opportunities include:

Find the full press release by clicking here.

Break & Enter Crime Stats
Added May 20, 2021

Toronto Police Services Division 51 recently shared some numbers on Break & Enter reports. They have broken it down into hard numbers below for commercial and residential, however, combined year-to-date Break & Enters have decreased by 21%. Note: An increase in storage locker/bicycle storages has been observed.

Commercial Break & Enters totalled 27 from April 10th to May 9th. Hot spots in division 51 for Commercial break and enters included:
Yonge Street (Queen to Gould)
Parliament and Winchester
Church and Shuter
Church and Front

Residential Break & Enters totalled 33 from April 10th to May 9th. Hot spots in division 51 for Residential Break and Enters included:
-The block defined by Yonge/Dundonald/Church/Wellesley
-Wellesley Place Road

It is imperative that members report all instances of crime. Every time. When crime goes unreported, police do not have the accurate data needed to respond to our area’s needs over time. For example, your ongoing collective reports may help police see trends and know where and when to reallocate resources. Many reports can now be done quickly online, 24 hours a day at:

To learn more about how to report, please click here to access and print the How To Report A Crime Info Card here:

Interested in discovering more data? Visit

Rapid Testing For Businesses
Added May 20, 2021

The government has launched a new rapid testing portal making it easier for all essential businesses to participate in its free Provincial Antigen Screening Program-with rapid testing kits being shipped directly to businesses to help screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 and keep essential workers safe.

Businesses can check if they qualify and register to participate at:

This is one more way that businesses can help workers and their families stay safe and keep the virus out of workplaces. Program eligibility was recently expanded to include any business that is allowed to be open and requires staff to work on-site.

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact Natalia Tkacz,
Director of Stakeholder Relations at

Toronto Police Neighbourhood Officers Division 51
Added Apr. 29, 2021

Toronto Police Services (TPS) Division 51 recently divided the division up into neighbourhood boundaries (see below). Each neighbourhood has minimum 4 Neighbourhood Officers assigned to it. This does not replace officers that work across the entire division.

If you have a persistent problem (for example, a recurring trespass issue) that Neighbourhood Officers should be aware of and can assist with, have information about concerns in the community etc, please use the below email to alert them.

Old Town Toronto is located in The Waterfront Neighbourhood. Our Community Officers can be reached by email at

IMPORTANT: Please do NOT use this email as a replacement to calling 911 in an emergency or 416-808- 2222 in a non-emergency situation. Those are your first line of defence. To learn more, please click here to access and print the How To Report A Crime Info Card.

All Neighbourhoods:

UPDATED & NEW: How to Report A Crime
Added Apr. 1, 2021

The Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and other local organizations recently updated the How To Report A Crime infographic.

Your neighbours, local businesses and Toronto Police need your help. If you see something, say something, using this handy How To Report Crime graphic. The easiest way to advocate for more police in our area is to show TPS where their services are needed, by filing reports, so resources can be allocated better.

Download, print and post this handy How To Report A Crime graphic next to your phone or computer. To download the graphic here please visit:

Many reports can now be done quickly online, 24 hours a day at
Here you can report issues such as:
-Damage to property/vehicle under $5000
-Theft or fraud under $5000
-Theft from vehicle under $5000
-Neighbourhood driving complaint
-and more!

Insurance Location Help For Hospitality Industry
Added Mar. 11, 2021

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has launched a new Business Insurance Action Team (BIAT) to support small businesses in Ontario’s hospitality sector that are having difficulty finding insurance as a result of the pandemic.

How does BIAT work? BIAT will help to find viable insurance solutions for as many small restaurants, bars, pubs and banquet halls in Ontario as possible. BIAT consists of three steps:

1: Working with their insurance representative – e.g., an insurance broker, agent or managing general agent (MGA) – a business owner that is unable to find insurance submits an application to BIAT. (Don’t currently have an insurance broker? Click here for resources to help you find a broker within your region.)

2: A risk manager determines if the application meets the eligibility requirements. If it does, the risk manager assesses the applicant’s risk profile and makes risk control and loss-prevention recommendations to improve the insurability of the applicant’s business. The applicant, through their insurance representative, must commit to undertake the risk control and loss-prevention recommendations within an agreed upon time period.

3: The applicant’s insurance representative subsequently works with a BIAT insurer to secure insurance coverage for the applicant. An applicant is not obligated to accept coverage from BIAT, and there is no guarantee that all businesses can obtain coverage.

It is the industry’s priority to ensure consumers can find coverage and preferably without the involvement of BIAT. BIAT coverage will not be as comprehensive as the coverage found through the regular insurance market.

Shelter at 45 The Esplanade – Info & Newsletter
Added Mar. 11, 2021

A few of our members have reached out about the new shelter at 45 The Esplanade. We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what we have shared with them on this topic. (Be sure to also see the post below about who to call and when, when you observe an issue.)

1) We ARE disappointed that this area of downtown takes on a disproportionate responsibility for the City’s social obligations. What we have always advocated FOR is a transition in policy from temporary shelters to permanent housing. In many ways the city is presenting this program at 45 The Esplanade as a piece of a strategy that addresses this desire, with supports on site to help transition it’s residents into permanent housing. If this strategy is successful the city can increase the long-term usability and security of our neighbourhood public spaces by removing unwanted uses (tents, etc.) leaving our parks, boulevards, and plazas more welcoming to all.

2) The BIA was not consulted prior to the placement of this shelter at 45 The Esplanade, nor the shelter at 56 Yonge Street. We will be very active in ensuring that any negative side-effects of the shelter at 45 The Esplanade are identified by the community liaison committee. You can click here to read a recent Community Bulletin from 45 The Esplanade from the shelter’s operators for more information, including contact info.

3) The original shelter on 98 The Esplanade will be closed and their residents will be moved to the new shelter.

4) The new shelter at 45 The Esplanade differs from the old one at 98 The Esplanade as it is not a drop in centre, and has numerous supports for its clients such as job and housing placements, programs for mental illness and drug addiction, and most importantly a more robust security detail with patrolling security details.

5) We have been advocating for neighbourhood community Toronto Police officers for a long time now and recently learned that two new officers have been assigned to a newly identified neighbourhood, Queen to the waterfront and the width of TPS 51Division. The Neighbourhood Officer program has advantages as these officers cover a smaller area than regular officers and therefore get to know the area better.

6) Safety and security is not an issue unique to our area, but rather has crossed into many, if not all, neighbourhoods across our city. In that respect we have ongoing discussions with our councillor, the mayor’s office, the police, and the downtown core BIAs to investigate solutions together to address the issues.

7) We are also asking for help from our residents and businesses as well to be proactive as possible.

  • Ensure your outdoor and indoor lighting when you are closed are functioning properly.
  • Check your security camera connection and ensure there are no issues.
  • If you have not already, familiarize yourself with the online reporting tool with Toronto Police Services to be used for non emergency items ( As this process unfolds if there are issues, it is crucial that you and your neighbours report every instance of crime, no matter how small or frequent it is. The more reports in the system the better. It will help police allocate resources to the right area AND illustrates to them and city council when reviewed what sort of impact has been experienced.
  • You may also reach out to our councillor in the event of any concerns (Councillor Wong-Tam ) so that she understands the breadth of any issues. Please note, before reaching out to the councillor ensure you have reported any criminal issues to Toronto Police using the link above and always call 911 in case of an emergency

Shelter at 45 The Esplanade – Who to call
Added Mar. 11, 2021

A number of inquiries have been made to the shelter at 45 The Esplanade regarding neighbourhood situations, and who to call and when. You are encouraged to click here now to download a PDF version of the above contact chart. Take time to print, read and post this chart near your phone or computer.

Community Engagement: Shelters
Added Mar. 4, 2021

The City is currently undertaking a third-party review of its community engagement process for new shelter and other services for people experiencing homelessness. This review will identify what currently works well and what can be improved.

There are two ways you can provide input into the Community Engagement Review:
1.    Participate in an anonymous online survey
2.    Participate in a virtual focus group

If you are interested in either of these opportunities, please visit the Welcoming New Shelters web page for more information and instructions on how to participate.

If you have any questions about the Community Engagement Review or how to participate, please contact Amber Krogel, one of the consultants supporting the Community Engagement Review, at

Monthly Digital Main Street Webinars
Added Mar. 4, 2021

Last month we offered two free online workshops with Digital Main Street. These were small intimate workshops just for our local business owners/operators/staff. DMS also offers their own FREE monthly workshops. Read the description of each below and visit the included links to learn more and choose an upcoming date to attend by clicking register. Feel free to forward this to any other businesses you know who might be interested.

Web Presence 101: Your customers are on the web. Having a strategy for your online presence allows you to market your small business online so customers can easily find you. In this workshop hosted by the Toronto Digital Service Squad we’ll discuss the importance of getting your business online and where to start with developing your online presence.

Find out what you will learn and pick a date to sign up for by visiting the link below. 

Social Media for Your Business: Social media is an invaluable tool for today’s business, whether you are just starting out or have been established for years. Not understanding how to use social media effectively can leave you overwhelmed and ultimately hurt your bottom line as your potential customers can easily find your competitors. This workshop hosted by the Toronto Digital Service Squad will leave you with a better understanding of how to leverage the power of social media to grow your online community, drive sales and reduce marketing costs.

Find out what you will learn and pick a date to sign up for by visiting the link below.

eCommerce 101: What, Why, and How: More consumers than ever before are turning to online shopping for greater convenience, safety, and variety. In this webinar, the Toronto Digital Service Squad will teach you the basic steps to setting up an online store. We will cover everything from what you need to prepare before launching a store, to choosing an e-commerce platform, to providing excellent customer service online. You’ll finish this session feeling excited about how e-commerce can help you reach new customers and expand into different markets.

Find out what you will learn and pick a date to sign up for by visiting the link below.

Checklist: What to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19
Added Jan. 29, 2021

The City has put together a COVID-19 guide for businesses and a checklist to guide employers in reporting workplace outbreaks of COVID-19. Please print, review and have ready the checklist so you do not have to search for it should you ever need it.

As per the Letter of Instruction from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, employers must immediately notify Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 as soon as they become aware of two or more people who test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day interval in connection with their workplace premises.

Click here for checklist.

Grant – Ontario’s COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program
Updated Jan. 14, 2021

A one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. Small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise. Small business and registered charity customers could also be eligible for up to $425 in support towards their natural gas bill.

Click here to learn more.

Grant – Ontario’s Starter Company Plus Program
Updated Jan. 14, 2021

This program provides funding up to $5,000, one-on-one advice from a Small Business Advisor and 6 biweekly coaching sessions for businesses in their first 5 years in business. The program is accessed through the province’s 47 Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network locations.

Click here to learn more.

Ontario Permanently Allowing Alcohol with Food Takeout and Delivery
Added Dec. 16, 2020

The province is now permanently allowing licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order.

Additional permanent reforms for the hospitality sector will allow:

  • alcohol service on docked boats by operators with a liquor sales licence;
  • reduced minimum pricing of spirits consumed on-site, to align with the reduced pricing introduced for takeout and delivery orders;
  • the length of time for temporary patio extensions to be set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO); and,
  • for a requirement that ensures third parties delivering from licensed restaurants and bars have a delivery licence.

The requirements that apply to alcohol sales, service and delivery will continue to apply to boats with a liquor sales licence and liquor delivery services, including checking ID, Smart Serve training and not serving or selling to intoxicated people.

The province is also supporting businesses by:

  • removing restrictive rules to allow for the delivery of alcoholic beverages in food boxes and meal kits;
  • allowing eligible alcohol manufacturers to deliver their own products and charge a delivery fee;
  • allowing restaurants and bars to offer mixed cocktails and growlers as part of a takeout or delivery order; and,
  • permitting eligible manufacturers to sell spirits and 100 per cent Ontario wine at farmers markets.

Read the full press release by clicking here.

Face Masks and Coverings Offer Best Protection & How to Safely Wear a Mask
Added Dec. 14, 2020

The City of Toronto has published the above info graphics. Please review and share with your staff.  You can download each to print:



Thank you for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our communities. For more tips on social distancing, please click here to download the city’s info sheet.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Updated Dec 3, 2020
Added Nov. 23, 2020 

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

Please click here to learn who qualifies and how to apply.

UPDATE: Questions?
If you have questions about the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), there will be two sessions in English (Dec. 4th & Dec. 9th) as well as two sessions in French (Dec. 7th and Dec. 11th), all taking place from 1 – 2pm ET. Due to limited space, we recommend that you register as quickly as possible. Click here to REGISTER and learn more.

In addition to this, the CRA has launched CERS webpages, an online CERS calculator, and CERS infographics (Take a look at the new Canada Emergency Rent SubsidyThe Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy has got you covered, and We’re here to help) to assist organizations in preparing their applications.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support
Added Nov. 23, 2020

Above is a useful summary chart for Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support. To access the actual website and learn more, please click here.

Please be sure to take advantage of these programs.

Lockdown Support for Businesses Facing Significant Public Health Restrictions (under CERS)
Added Nov. 12, 2020

On October 9, the government proposed new targeted, direct supports for businesses, non-profits and charities facing ongoing economic challenges amidst the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. For organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws), the government proposed a top-up under the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to provide additional support while they face lockdowns.

Learn more by clicking here.

UPDATE ON: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Extension
Added Nov. 12, 2020

The government is proposing to further extend the wage subsidy program until June 2021 and implement other enhancements to the program to better respond to the evolving economic and health situation. These proposed changes will make the program more flexible and more generous, and ensure that the program provides continued support to employers.

Details of the program until December 19, 2020 are provided here. The government will provide details for the upcoming periods in advance of the current terms’ expiry and will ensure the wage subsidy program continues to be responsive to the economic situation.

Click here to learn more.

UPDATE ON: Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Added Nov. 12, 2020

On October 9, the government proposed the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to provide direct relief to businesses, non-profits, and charities that continue to be economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new rent subsidy would be available retroactive to September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

The government is providing the proposed details for the first 12 weeks of the program, until December 19, 2020.

Click here to learn more.

PATIO UPDATE: Important Steps To Keep Outdoor Dining Safer
& Extension of Winter Patio Program 

Stay Safe:
1) Coverings (e.g. roof/tent) must have 2+ sides open to the outdoors.
2) Separate customers seated at different tables by at least 6 feet/2 metres.
3) Staff/customers must wear a mask inside (e.g. washrooms) & are recommended to wear one outside.
4) Enclosed dome coverings are not allowed while indoor dining is prohibited, (see item 1# above.)
5) Frequently clean & disinfect all potentially contaminated surfaces.
6) Post Coovid-19 screening sign & keep a log with staff / customer contact info.

Winter Patios:
Toronto City Council has approved the extension of the winter patio program for curbside (not curb lane) cafes and expanded private patios. The full press release can be found here.

More information, including new guidelines, will become available early November at

Homelessness & Encampments – Take Action

Before the COVID-19 global pandemic, Toronto was already facing a homelessness crisis of massive proportion. During the pandemic, the crisis has become more visible and incredibly more acute.

Issues contributing to homelessness, mental health and addictions are all within the legislative jurisdiction of the Provincial and Federal Governments. Without the active participation from the other orders of government, Toronto will be unable to meet the demand for affordable and supportive housing, an overdose epidemic, mental health and public safety issues.

Take action by using the pre-populated email found on City of Toronto Councillor Wong-Tam’s website to help draw more attention to this issue. Simply click here and scroll down to the form.

Restaurants invited participate in ToGoToronto for FREE is up and running again to support the economic recovery of the restaurant community. The platform provides an easy way for Toronto residents to find restaurants that are open for safe takeout or delivery. Register for free to add your restaurant.

Learn more here:

City of Toronto partnering with Ritual to launch Open For Business

The City of Toronto is extending its partnership with Ritual to launch Open For Business, a collaboration to help small businesses across Toronto increase online delivery sales.

As part of the initiative – which also includes food delivery service DoorDash – the digital ordering platform Ritual ONE is available to any Toronto business at no cost through the end of this year. In addition, Toronto businesses will receive two weeks of free delivery from DoorDash from October 26 to November 8.

Any business that completes one delivery order on Ritual ONE powered by DoorDash Drive by December 31 will also receive Ritual ONE for free through 2021.

Learn more by clicking here.

Patio Heaters Fire Prevention

During the recent Fire Prevention Week, the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA), the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) and the Canadian Propane Association partnered to educate the hospitality industry and the public about potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards associated with the improper use of patio heaters.

Please review this important press release and the guidelines you should post in your staff room.

REMINDER: Keep these units locked up outside at night to avoid theft. See Safety Guide for rules, regulations and additional storage information.

$2000 in FREE LED Interior Lighting Upgrades

Don’t miss your chance to receive up to $2,000 in free LED interior lighting upgrades to your business.

LED lighting upgrades can save you up to 20% on your electricity costs.

Email or call Nick Brown, Energy Manager of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas to be connected with a program representative who will schedule a free lighting assessment to determine what lighting upgrades you are eligible for.

Nick can be reached at or (416) 886-1244.

Role of employer during a workplace COVID-19 outbreak
Are you ready for an outbreak? Here is what you need to do now and during an outbreak:

1) Develop a preparedness and response plan in the event someone becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19.

2) Communicate with employees and business partners early and often to ensure accurate information is being shared.

3) Keep a list of the names and contact information of all participants at in-person meetings or events. Toronto Public Health will use this list to notify and provide instructions for close contacts to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

4) Any personal information that is collected for COVID-19 contract tracing can only be used for this purpose, unless an individual provides their consent. Records should only be kept for 30 days, and then shredded.

5) Contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 for guidance if you have been notified that an employee has tested positive and/or you have concerns that employees may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the workplace.

6) Provide Toronto Public Health with contact information of exposed employees and customers to assist with contact tracing.

7) If a staff member, client or customer has tested positive for COVID-19, Toronto Public Health will interview the person to determine if he/she was contagious while on your premises. Consent is obtained from the employee before disclosing personal health information to the employer.

8) Clean and disinfect surfaces that may have been touched by the sick employee as soon as possible.

9) Additional public health advice in the event of an outbreak may include additional cleaning and disinfecting measures to reduce the risk of spread in the setting.

10) Follow public health guidance on additional preventive measures.

11) Support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or being a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

12) Maintain confidentiality of employees’ personal health information.

13) Report to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) if you have been advised that one of your employees has tested positive due to exposure at the workplace.

14) Encourage staff to download the COVID Alert app so they can be notified directly if they have been in close contact with someone who was contagious with COVID-19.

For more please visit:

POSTER: Covid-19 Alert App to post

The City of Toronto is sharing the above poster and asking all businesses to consider posting in a highly visible area. You can download the poster by clicking here. Additional posters can be located by clicking here.

Toronto Hydro’s COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Businesses (CEAP-SB)

The Government of Ontario has introduced the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to support small business and registered charity customers struggling to pay their electricity bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. CEAP-SB provides a one-time, on-bill credit to eligible customers in need of financial assistance during this time.

Learn more:

Digital Main Street has officially launched the Future Proof Program

We have told you before about the many resources Digital Main Street offers businesses. Today we are excited to share information on their new program, called Future Proof, which will help businesses adapt, change and grow, in a world impacted by Covid-19.

Future Proof is a program that assists businesses with identifying new markets, pivoting their business model, and developing and implementing a deep digital transformation plan.

The program is meant as a detailed deep dive to support businesses that require support in either transforming their business model or developing and implementing an advanced digital transformation plan.

There are 3 streams:

1) TRANSFORMATION TEAMS: The Business Transformation Teams will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that help existing main street firms adapt to changes in their respective sector.

2) DIGITAL MAIN STREET LAB: The Digital Main Street Lab is focused on building collaborations between technology companies and communities to pilot innovations that encourage transformational change along main street for businesses.

3) COMMUNITY COLLABORATION PROJECTS: The Community Collaboration Projects will connect regional innovation centres and other community-based organizations in a series of conversations that will reveal common issues facing small and medium main street businesses and focus on developing workable solutions.

Learn more at

ShopHERE giving Toronto’s independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store.

Covid-19 has highlighted for businesses how important it is to have an online presence. To address this, Digital Main Street is collaborating with Google, Shopify, Mastercard and Microsoft to build and optimize online stores for small independent businesses and artists in just a matter of days. The ShopHERE program is free for participants to sign up and have a Shopify store built. Businesses will be responsible for the monthly Shopify fee after the initial 90-day trial.

What do I get?
As part of the program you get…

1) An online store customized with your information, branding, logo, etc.
2) Hands-on assistance setting up and launching your online store.
3) Training to support your online store, including topics such as digital marketing, shipping and inventory management.
4) Access to free tools to help support the launch of you online store.

Signage: Mask Bylaw: poster & other important information for businesses

Masks to be worn indoors.
Wearing a mask or face covering is required in indoor public spaces in the City of Toronto as of July 7, 2020.  With some exceptions, all customers or visitors entering an indoor public premise are required to wear a mask or face covering while inside.

Please ensure that…

  • Masks and face coverings cover your nose, mouth and chin, without gapping.
  • Wash your hands before and after putting on your mask, and again after removal, (to reduce cross contamination.)
  • Store your mask in a clean paper bag, (to stop cross contamination.)
  • Wash your mask (and hands) regularly.

As a business you must:

  1. Create a mask policy for your establishment. Click here and see page 3 for a sample.
  2. Communicate this new policy to staff and customers.
  3. Train your staff on the policy and who is exempt.
  4. Post signs at all entrances reminding everyone to wear a mask and must include the language used in the bylaw. Click here to download a pre-made sign with the mandatory wording.

Please note: All staff, customers or visitors must wear a mask indoors, with some exceptions (e.g. children under the age of two and people with certain health conditions, employees in designated areas or protected by a physical barrier). Proof is not required if someone has an exemption.

To learn more details please visit the City of Toronto’s webpage, COVID 19: Mandatory Mask or Face Covering Bylaw and watch this on demand webinar by clicking here.

Signage: How to Wear A Cloth Mask, City of Toronto

Please refer to the sign above to learn how to wear a mask properly. To download and print, please click here.

Re-opening Guidance From City of Toronto

The City of Toronto is preparing to oversee the safe restart of some services and partial reopening of many businesses. Resources have been developed to help support business through this time. For guidance on safely reopening, business operators can reference the Toronto Public Health Planning Guide, and visit the COVID-19: Reopening Guidelines for Businesses & Organizations to view sector specific resources.

Decisions about when and how businesses can begin operating will be made by the Government of Ontario in accordance with its framework to reopen the province after COVID-19.

Toronto / Ontario Lists of PPE Suppliers

The City of Toronto has a webpage where you can find a list of suppliers of PPE and other needed goods & services, or apply to a be supplier. Please click here to visit the page to learn more and to download the most up to date list.

The province of Ontario has set up a Workplace PPE Supplier Directory, where employers can find suppliers who sell personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to support a safe reopening of their workplaces.

Weekly Webinars for Toronto Businesses

These repeat weekly. You can attend more than once. Here are a few of the webinar titles:

1) Ask-An-Accountant – Applying for Government COVID-19 Funding Programs
2) Business AdviceTO Female Founders with SheEO
3) Business AdviceTO Retail with Retail Advantage
4) Business AdviceTO Tech with TechTO

Sign-up for future weekly Online Events & Webinars using the link below. (Scroll to the drop down labelled Online Events & Webinars once the page loads.)

Ontario: Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace (by sector)

Ontario is releasing safety guidelines to protect workers, customers and the general public from COVID-19 as it prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy.

These resources are available for different sectors. They will help employers and workers better understand how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sector guidelines contain recommendations and tips for employers on how to keep workers safe on the job. Posters for both employers and workers also offer advice on preventative actions, including physical distancing and workplace sanitation. Employers are encouraged to download the posters to print and post in the workplace.

As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional COVID-19 workplace safety resources will be added.

Click here now to continue reading and to access resources.

Relief and Recovery Fund – (Funding to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are unable to access the government’s existing support measures)

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) is now accepting applications under the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).

Regional Economy Funding Stream: This stream provides support to southern Ontario SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures. Please visit the FedDev Ontario website for more information or to apply.

For full eligibility criteria and additional information, please visit FedDev Ontario’s RRRF page.

Social Distancing Signage for businesses

DOWNLOAD: Line Up Signage: Click here for signage for encouraging social distancing in lines.

Front Door Signage for businesses

DOWNLOAD: Front Door Signage: Click here for signage you can use on your front door.

Staff Screening Sheet

DOWNLOAD: Click here to download a screening checklist created by Toronto Health for your employees they can complete at the start of every shift.

Who can help me with government funding applications and general business advice?

The City of Toronto has launched the BusinessTO Support Centre to provide businesses with one-on-one support with applications for government support resources/funding programs & general business advice. Learn more by clicking here.

Where can I learn about the emergency benefit or the wage subsidy?

For Employers: Click here to read about The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), 75% wage
subsidy. Please note this program has been extended… For full details, including information regarding proposed legislative changes, (such as support for seasonal employees) please click here.

For Employees: Click here to read about The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB), $2k benefit
for impacted employees.

What is the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)?

To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada has launched the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which has been implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

This $25 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs… click here to continue reading.

NEW UPDATE: May 19, 2020, The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. This extended measure will help small businesses protect the jobs that Canadians rely on. Click here to continue reading and to learn criteria.

Where can I find answers to my payroll questions?

Canadian Payroll Association FAQ: a listing of frequently asked
questions and answers from employers regarding employee payroll during
the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who can I call with questions? 

The province has launched a toll-free line called the Stop the Spread Business Information Line, 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Read the full press release by clicking here.

What is the Canadian Government doing to help?

The Government of Canada has assembled a webpage of Resources for Canadian Businesses experiencing the effects of COVID-19.

The page includes, but is not limited to:
1. Support for employees
2. Support for businesses
3. Business travel and events
4. Business in international markets

Please visit

What is the City of Toronto doing to help?

The city of Toronto has assembled a page with the information small businesses may need. on one single  It also details information at the provincial and federal levels. Consider bookmarking this page:

SURVEY: COVID-19 Impact Survey By St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA / Old Town Toronto Members

Through the survey LINK below, please share how things have changed for you and your staff, due to COVID-19, and any advice you have for other businesses.


User Friendly List of Government Resources via Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam

Ward 13 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam’s office has compiled a user friendly list of resources offered from all levels of government in one place.

To access:

  1. Visit
  2. Scroll down to Links and Resources
  3. Choose User Friendly List of Government Resources

 One-Stop Information Centre For Businesses

The City of Toronto and the Toronto Region Board of Trade are partnering to deliver you a one-stop information centre where you will find the resources, tools, and critical support programs you need to manage the challenge you’re facing. Right now, you can watch and read how to access new government supports.


Canadian Federation of Independent Business

CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) has created an exceptional set of resources and FAQs including materials like a template lease deferral agreement to help with rent negotiations and other useful templates and guides.

Learn more:

10 Tips for closing your business securely

1)  Remove cash and place empty til in window/door.
2)  Lock visible goods in storage, (offsite if possible.)
3)  Post sign in door stating “NO CASH OR GOODS ON HAND/ YOU ARE ON CAMERA.”
4)  Ensure cameras, alarms and locks are all functioning properly.
5)  Leave lights on inside and out.
6)  Take a copy of insurance contacts, policies and inventory list.
7)  Post emergency key holder contact information inside, but not visible from windows.
8)  When checking on your business, do so during the day with a partner.
9)  Tell your business neighbours your plans and exchange contact information.
10) Report all suspicious activity by calling Toronto Police, non emergency at 416-808-2222.

Make sure your insurance is up to date

Right now, if something happens, the last thing you want deal with is a lapsed insurance policy. Make sure you have a copy of your insurance certificates and all the appropriate contacts (both at home and at work) and that your payments are up to date to avoid insurance interruption.

Am I a member?
Every business and commercial property owner within the boundaries of The St. Lawrence Market Business Improvement Area (BIA), also known at Old Town Toronto, are automatically members of our not-for-profit organization. To view a map of our boundaries, please click here now.

Old Town Toronto encourages you to follow all recommendations and orders of public health officials including, but not limited to, staying at home as much as possible. Together we will #FlattenTheCurve.