LAST UPDATED: Thursday August 13th, 2020
Current Press Updates From Your Government:
For the latest, up to date press releases from:
Prime Minister of Canada, please click here.
Ontario Government, please click here
City of Toronto, please click here.

This Page: Below is a collection of information and resources business owners/managers/staff members should find helpful.

Please note, as this page continues to grow, new items will be added at the top of the list.

Some Topics Include:

  • New: PPE discount for members via group buy
  • Toronto Moving to Phase 3 Friday July 31st
  • What IS opening in Phase 3?
  • What is NOT opening in Phase 3?
  • Update: City of Toronto Guidelines for Re-Opening your Restaurant
  • New/Expanded Patios on Private Property
  • ShopHERE giving Toronto’s independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store.
  • Digital Main Street $2500 Transformation Grant
  • Mask Signage: Mask Bylaw: poster & other important information for businesses
  • How to Wear A Cloth Mask, City of Toronto
  • Re-opening Guidance From City of Toronto
  • Rent relief for small businesses (CECRA) Extended
  • CafeTO Patio Application Now Live
  • Toronto / Ontario Lists of PPE Suppliers
  • Weekly Webinars for Toronto Businesses
  • Ontario: Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace (by sector)
  • Social Distancing Signage for businesses
  • Staff Screening Sheet
  • and much more…

New: PPE discount for members via group buy

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment and supplies) have become staple items for running just about any business.

The Ontario Government and the City of Toronto have lists of potential suppliers you can check out, (see Toronto / Ontario Lists of PPE Suppliers heading below.) Plus now a local company by the name of Evrlinx is offering BIAs a discount on PPE.

Evrlinx helps businesses access better pricing through group buying. They gather orders from businesses, just like yours, and every two weeks place bulk orders with their suppliers at a discount, which they pass onto you. (You receive your order typically one to two weeks after you place it, depending on where Evrlinx is in their order cycle. Their internal order cycle resets every other Thursday.)

To learn more please visit https://www.evrlinx.com/bia and choose St. Lawrence Market as your BIA. Questions? Please call Evrlinx at 613-659-3604 or email hello@evrlinx.com.

If you decide to order from Evrlinx please let us know what you think of the product and service. Who you order your PPE from is 100% up to you. This is not an official endorsement of one or any specific suppliers. Thank you for keeping health and safety top of mind as we all navigate Covid-19.


Toronto Moving to Phase 3 Friday July 31st

Additional businesses and public spaces will be reopening as the Ontario government allows the City of Toronto and Peel Region to move into Stage 3 of reopening the province on Friday, July 31 at 12:01 a.m. Read the full press release by clicking here.


What IS opening in Phase 3?

Businesses and facilities able to reopen include:

  • Restaurants and bars are permitted to offer indoor dine-in service, provided that all patrons are seated when eating or drinking and that tables are separated by at least two metres or have plexiglass or other impermeable barriers separating them. City Council will be voting on additional measures recommended by Toronto Public Health July 29th.
  • Sports facilities, subject to conditions that include team sports only be played without physical contact or modified to avoid physical contact and organized team sport leagues are limited to 50 players. The number of spectators attending sports facilities are limited to 50 spectators at an indoor facility and 100 spectators at an outdoor facility
  • Some recreational programs and services, including fitness, sports, and art and music classes
  • Recreational attractions and businesses (i.e. museums, zoos, arcades, bowling alleys, pool halls, some karaoke)
  • Live shows, performing arts and movie theatres together with a limit of no more than 50 people at an indoor cinema or performance venue and no more than 100 people at an outdoor cinema or performance venue. There is no attendance limit on the number of people who may attend a drive-in cinema
  • Personal service settings can now perform services tending to the face (i.e. facials, beard trims, eyelash extensions, etc.), subject to patrons continuing to wear a mask or face covering unless receiving services to the chin, mouth, or nose area
  • Tours and guide services subject to capacity limits of no more than 50 people for indoor tours and no more than 100 people for outdoor toursOperators must limit the number of persons within the premises so that every member of the public is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person unless the specific type of business or facility has a reopening condition that allows persons to be closer together.Click here to review source and learn more.

What is NOT opening in Phase 3?

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Amusement parks and water park
  • Buffet-style food service
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirement
  • Overnight stays at camps for children
  • Private karaoke room
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bar
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.

All other businesses and public spaces will be permitted to be open, subject to ensuring the appropriate health and safety measures are in place, as well as limits on gathering sizes.

Click here to review source and learn more.


UPDATED City of Toronto Guidelines for Re-Opening your Restaurant

If you operate a bar or restaurant, it is imperative you review two things.

A) Guidelines from Public Health for re-opening. (See below for A Few Additional Highlights From The Guidelines From Public Health.)

B) NEW: Municipal Code Chapter 545 has received some changes you will need to implement. They include ensuring:

(1) Customers are seated at all times. (Except when entering or exiting the area, using the washroom or paying.)

(2) Limit the number of customers inside at any one time to ensure staff and customers can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres. Furthermore, this CANNOT exceed 100 persons indoors even if 2m can be maintained. (This is subject to any exemptions as determined by the Medical Officer of Health or their designate.)

(3) No more than 10 people seated at each table indoors and outdoors.

(4) Maintain a customer log that:
– Records “customer information”, in a legible manner, including name and contact information of at least one person from each party, the date, check in and check out times, table number or, if there is no table number, the detailed location on the premises where the party was seated/served.
–  Is stored securely for 30 days and then destroyed
–  Is easily produced on request of the Medical Officer of Health or their designate for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing or other public health purposes, in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

(5) Post a sign at one or more locations providing notice to the public concerning the collection of the “customer information” for your log.

(6) Establish a COVID-19 screening protocol to be applied to each employee before they start a shift that consists of at least a screening questionnaire in a form provided by Toronto Public Health. The screening protocol shall be produced on request to any person authorized to enforce this chapter.
Click here to view source and note these have since been adopted.

A Few Additional Highlights From The Guidelines From Public Health linked above:

1) Minimum 2 meters between tables, plus allowance for movement and seated patrons.
2) Only 50% of the rated capacity for your establishment should be used. (Max 100 indoors.)
3) Consider reservations only. (This will help with collecting contact information and times.)
4) Remove waiting area seating.
5) Ensure that customers stay separate when waiting for a table.
6) Demarcate floor with markers for any areas where a line up may occur. (Line ups for washrooms are one example.)
7) Keep chairs well away from high traffic areas.
8) Do not pre-set tables. Utensils should be rolled or packaged.
9) Menus: single-use paper, online for customers’ mobile devices, menu-boards, chalkboards, or regular menus cleaned between uses.
10) Replace regular condiments with single-serve versions, or sanitise between uses, consider disposable napkins, etc.
11) Rearrange equipment and/or processes in the kitchen and other areas used by staff so that a two metre/six foot distance is achievable at all times.
12) If necessary, install barriers (e.g. plexiglass) to protect staff (e.g. host desk) or customers (e.g. between back-to-back booths).
13) Remove buffets, self-serve locations, and self–serve drink dispensing machines.
14) Reconfigure break rooms/areas and eating areas for staff to physically distance.
15) Do not let staff congregate. (Staff congregating can be a high risk for COVID-19 transmission.)
16) Signage: post signs on handwashing, physical distancing, reporting symptoms, and make them visible to staff and customers.
17) Cleaning and disinfecting: update protocols for cleaning/disinfecting surfaces and equipment. Give attention to key touch points and objects (e.g. food contact surfaces, hand contact areas, door handles, switches, table tops, chairs, sneeze guards, restrooms, taps, utensils and dispensers). Shared equipment such as credit card machines and cash registers. Thoroughly clean the premises before opening.

REMEMBER:  The use of non-medical masks or face coverings is required in all indoor public spaces, as per a new City bylaw. 

The above are just a few highlights from the guidelines. It is your responsibility to read the entire document to learn about other items not covered above and to fully understand the entire document.


New/Expanded Patios on Private Property

Read and familiarize yourself with the Ministerial Zoning Order for Toronto before installing or expanding a patio on private property.

The City of Toronto has received a new Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) from the Province of Ontario that will help ease zoning restrictions on outdoor patios while allowing for expanded patios on private property, including parking areas.

The MZO clearly describes area limits, restricts patios from being above the first storey of a building, and requires a patio to not be in or within 30 metres of a Residential Zone. The Order will expire on November 16 to coincide with the end of the CaféTO program. Indoor dining remains prohibited in Toronto under stage two of the provincial recovery plan.

Physical extensions of liquor sales for an outdoor patio on private property are permitted under the applicable zoning bylaw, and no further action is required by business operators. However, the City may withdraw this permission if a business fails to comply with the applicable zoning bylaws or other applicable City by-laws, policies or orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Restaurant and bar operators who wish to expand their patio on private property should also contact their landlord(s) for permission. Restaurant and bar owners in a business improvement area may wish to contact their BIA for design support.

In order to ensure safe operation of outdoor patios on private property, while recognizing that the CafeTO program is for 2020 only, operators may not:

-Build or expand permanent structures like decks, walls, stairs, etc.
-Install new fueled fire appliances, i.e. propane heaters, BBQs
-Amplify sound of any type
-Construct or install awnings or tent-like structures
-Block access to fire connections or adjacent businesses
-Private patio operators are solely responsible for ensuring their patio meets accessibility (AODA) requirements, complies with the Noise Bylaw and meets any other regulatory requirements.

Conditions imposed by the City (e.g. hours of operation) will apply to any expanded patio area.


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.


Digital Main Street $2500 Transformation Grant

Digital Main Street (DMS) is a program that helps main street small businesses (MSB) adopt technology. Grants are available to help you with your digital transformation and may be used towards things such as:

1) Digital Marketing – Hiring a consultant/agency/person to execute Digital Marketing initiatives.

2) Website – Redesign/improvement of existing website or development of new website.

3) Software – Graphic design software, productivity software (ie. LastPass, Hootsuite, Dropbox, etc.), social media software (ie. Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.), security software and other software.

4) Digital Training – Ongoing digital training courses (in-person & online).

5) Hardware – Must be hardware deemed necessary (as determined by OBIAA in its sole discretion).

Hundreds of Toronto businesses have already completed the program over the past few years and received the grant allowing them to implement and use new technology. Now it is your turn, click here to learn more


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.


Rent relief for small businesses (CECRA) Extended
CECRA has been extended until the end of July 2020. Click here to learn more and to find out if you qualify.

On Friday April 24th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced rent relief for small businesses  that can’t afford to pay their landlords at a time when their operations are shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments payable by eligible small business tenants experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June. The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a pledge not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. To continue reading click here to jump to our source.

Note: While the above and below linked sources state that this would be available to landlords with mortgages, we are told the federal government has confirmed that this will be available to all landlords, regardless of whether or not they currently have a mortgage. We await official public confirmation.

More details: Official news release can be found by clicking here.


Please click here for the Additional Support for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19 webpage.


Who can open in Phase 2?

On Monday June 22nd, 2020, the Ontario Government announced it would be moving Toronto and Peel Region to Phase 2, starting Wednesday June 24th, 2020

To find a list of business types that may reopen please click here. (This includes restaurant patios where there are existing patios, only. This does not at this time include CafeTO.)

To reopen safely, employers must review the workplace health and safety guidance and ensure that appropriate measures are in place. Employers must also meet all existing occupational health and safety requirements.


CafeTO Patio Application Now Live

If you plan to apply for a CafeTO patio this summer,  please go ahead and complete the application by visiting the link below, (but first read the CafeTO Guide Book in full) and if possible submit no later than 12 noon Tuesday June 23rd.  (Please also let us know that you plan to apply by emailing stephenm@stlawrencemarketbia.ca  with your name and best phone number to reach you at as the city plans to meet with the BIA to review site plans.)

You are STRONGLY advised to read through everything carefully before you start, and ensure you have everything it states you need.

Special note: When it comes to insurance, the City of Toronto WILL NOT accept your application if you just send them your current certificate. There is an insurance form you need to download and have your insurance provider complete.

Once the city has received ALL applications in our area, the City will set up a meeting with the BIA to review site plans. With this in mind, please do not wait to start this process, or you may be holding the process up for our entire BIA.

We look forward to seeing many patios popping up this summer through the CafeTO program.

Here is the link: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-reduce-virus-spread/covid-19-cafeto/


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.


 

Additional Time To Pay Toronto Property Taxes

The City understands some residents and businesses may be experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Property owners will be able to request additional time to pay their taxes without incurring late payment penalties or interest charges for a six month period effective June 1 to November 30, 2020.
The additional time given to pay your property taxes does not reduce the amount of taxes that are owed to the City of Toronto.

Additional information can be found at the link below:

https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/property-taxes-utilities/property-tax/financial-assistance-for-property-owners-during-covid-19/


Weekly Webinars for Toronto Businesses

These repeat weekly. You can attend more than once.

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.)
https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-economic-support-recovery-for-businesses/covid-19-business-sector-resources/


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.


Extending eligibility for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (Plus Proposed Changes)

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced that the Government of Canada will extend the CEWS, Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. Extending the program will give workers greater confidence that they will continue to get the support they need during these difficult times. For full details, including information regarding proposed legislative changes, (such as support for seasonal employees) please click here.

For further information on CEWS please click here.


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.


Requesting A Temporary Parking Pick-up Zone and/or a Curb Lane Pedestrian Zone

The City of Toronto’s CurbTO program offers businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and community agencies the opportunity to request a temporary parking pick-up zone and/or a curb lane pedestrian zone for their business/community agency.

For tracking purposes, please email stephenm@stlawrencemarketbia.ca to alert the BIA of your interest in this program. Then complete your application clicking here.


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.


How is Ontario planning to reopen?

The Ontario government has released A Framework for Reopening the Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. This “is a roadmap, not a calendar.” – Premier Doug Ford.

Learn more about the outlined three stages and further details 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.



Is a small business owner eligible for the $2,000 temporary wage subsidy?

The following is from a Video Tax News, provided by a tax advisor and shared with us by John Kiru of TABIA (Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas).

In order to be eligible, the employer must meet three criteria:*
      1. *employ one or more individuals in Canada (“eligible employees”);*
      2. *was registered, with a business number and a payroll remittance
      account, on March 18, 2020; *
      3. *and be any of the following:*
         1. *most Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs), based
         on eligibility for the small business deduction (see below);*
         2. *an individual (other than a trust);*
         3. *a partnership, all members of which are entities described in
         (i), (ii), (iii) or (v) (it is not clear why (iv) is excluded);*
         4. *a non-profit organization (exempt from income tax pursuant to
         Subsection 149(1)(l)); or*
         5. *a registered charity.*

Recap – It appears any small business person who had one or more employees, beyond themselves, and who operated their business properly/legally, and was registered, is eligible for the temporary wage subsidy.


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.

www.payroll.ca/PDF/Resources/Payroll-and-Covid19-Infoline.aspx



Can my restaurant deliver alcohol?

If you have a liquor license, and do food delivery, you will most likely be permitted to deliver liquor as part of any food order. Before beginning, please carefully and thoroughly review the announcement and all requirements from the AGCO, to ensure you qualify and are in compliance. You can view the anncoument here: www.agco.ca/bulletin/2020/info-bulletin-no-61-liquor-sales-licensees-may-now-sell-liquor-takeout-or-delivery


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 canada.ca/covid-19-business.


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: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/economic-support-recovery/economic-support-recovery-for-businesses/


How can I presell gift cards to raise funds?

A growing trend we have seen is people buying gift cards to local businesses, to support them as they struggle with temporarily closing due to COVID-19. The idea is the business gets the cash injection when revenues are down, and the consumer can redeem the gift card when the business is allowed to open again. Below are two options of platforms that enable this service.

1 of 2) Gift Forward

One Old Town Toronto business has used a service called GIFTforward  to do this. Click here to view their listing and visit the site’s FAQ page to learn more. This seems to be gaining traction in Toronto. If you decide to sign up for this or something else similar, please let us know.

2 of 2) Sell gift cards now, for later via The Neighbourgood

The Neighbourgood is a social good initiative that helps you sell gift cards to raise funds now. They do not take any cuts. They’ve partnered with a gift card platform that handles everything from instantly sending you payment to easy redemption. No setup fees, no monthly fees, nada. Use the link below to learn more then start selling gift cards for clients to redeem later.

Website: theneighbourgood.com


Recovery Readiness. A How To Guide For Opening Your Workplace

While no official timelines or requirements have been released yet in Ontario in regards to reopening businesses, this how to guide could help your business start to plan and think about what may be required when the time comes.

As a global organization, Cushman & Wakefield has offices around the world. They have been working very closely with their operations in Asia who are ahead of other parts of the world with respect to the pandemic. To date, they have helped their clients return over 1 million people back to work.

The guide outlines “The Safe Six” workplace readiness essentials including, Preparing the Building, Preparing the Workforce, Controlling Access, Creating a Social Distancing Plan, Reducing Touch Points and Increasing Cleaning, and Communicating for Confidence.

To download the guide and start thinking of things you may need to do, please visit: https://info.cushmanwakefield.com/l/263412/2020-04-20/2lpnkx


Distantly – Accepting Donations For Your Business

For the past few weeks TABIA (Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas) has been collaborating with a Toronto-based technology firm, and a number of concerned local citizens, to launch a tool to allow your small business to receive donations to put towards the overwhelming expenses you are likely experiencing at this time, such as rent and payroll.

The tool is  https://www.distantly.ca/

Create a free business profile in a few short minutes and securely connect your bank account to receive donations. Then share your page, via email and social media to advertise that you are grateful to accept any financial contributions from the community starting as low as $1. Donations are deposited directly into your bank account securely within 48 hours and there is no cost to you.

You can sign up for FREE here: https://www.distantly.ca/


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.

Survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdHbAiojfiuB6lRF2LL51RliTGFag7-ynf1kQoK8RBDlcBtZQ/viewform


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 https://www.kristynwongtam.ca/covid19
  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.

Website: supportbusiness.bot.com


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: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/small-business-resources-dealing-covid-19


Who can I write a letter to?

All levels of businesses are facing challenges due to COVID-19. Public officials need to hear from you now. Please click here  to copy and paste, review, edit, sign and send our drafted  letter. A list of public officials and their contacts is included.

Direct link: https://oldtowntoronto.ca/letter


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.


Who can promote my restaurant takeout/delivery service for free?

Find information below about the Tourism Toronto powered www.ToGoToronto.com and Old Town Toronto’s list of businesses open:

1 of 3) If you are open, let Old Town Toronto help promote you.

Many of our members are still offering services, in modified fashion. For restaurants, this means takeout and delivery options. For other lines of business this often means online sales, virtual consultations etc. We are constantly updating our list of businesses open and want to add you. The list is published on our webpage and the webpage’s link has been emailed to our entire email subscriber list and shared on social media. Please click here now to add your business. We update daily.

2 of 3)  TO GO Toronto is offered free by Tourism Toronto

To Go Toronto will act as a resource for the delivery and takeout options that are currently available throughout Toronto – encouraging residents to support local businesses while respecting health guidelines and staying home. This new site is powered by Tourism Toronto in partnership with industry leaders and advocates.

To sign your restaurant up with a FREE listing:
1. Visit www.ToGoToronto.com
2. Click “Add Your Restaurant”
3. Fill out the fields, make sure to include an image.
4. Hit ‘submit’ when complete.

3 of 3) Canada Take Out

Canada Take Out is encouraging Canadians across the country to order takeout en-masse in a show of support for their favourite local restaurants every Wednesday. Take a moment to visit the link below and add your establishment to the list. Together we can make Wednesdays #TakeoutDay.

Website: canadatakeout.com


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.