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Your Weekly Roundup of News 

November 16-20, 2020 
In This Issue:

Resources and Funding Opportunities

NOW OPEN! COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream for Municipalities
Ontario is now accepting applications from municipalities for local infrastructure projects under the new Local Government sub-stream of the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure stream to allow local governments to proceed with tendering and procurement as soon as possible. The application deadline is December 21, 2020, for municipalities submitting single projects and January 7, 2021, for those with multiple projects through the Transfer Payments Ontario website

Province Providing New Online Resources to Help Entrepreneurs during COVID-19
Ontario is providing $2,040,000 to support Ontario's 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBEC) led by the Business Advisory Centre Durham to create a new Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network. This network will enhance the capacity of all SBECs across the province to expand their services, supporting businesses across the province. The project will also build one central portal where businesses can access digital tools and training, connect with mentors and industry experts, and get information on government programs to help them navigate COVID-19 and beyond. Through this network, up to 75,000 small businesses in Ontario can be reached.

The government is also providing $131,000 for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada to develop and deliver a four-part COVID-19-specific financial literacy tool kit for small businesses. Key components of the project include podcasts, webinars and online booklets that will focus on pandemic recovery, cash management, managing risks, and information on small business tax.

Ontario is also providing $51,000 for Financial Advisors Association of Canada, a non-profit association of financial advisors, to provide pro-bono professional financial advice for small companies through its online platform, Advocis Connect. With the government's support, the association will connect small businesses with financial advisors for free advice on the current financial state of their business, how to pivot the business to manage the current economic emergency, and guidance for applying to federal and provincial government support programs.

The Ontario government also launched applications for eligible businesses to apply for the Main Street Relief Grant and temporary property tax and energy cost rebates through a single, online application portal. Many businesses should expect to receive their grants or rebate payments within a few weeks of finalizing and submitting their completed application. The Main Street Relief Grant is available to small businesses with two to nine employees in retail, accommodations and food services, repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services to help cover personal protective equipment costs.

Ontario Launches Workplace Education and Enforcement Campaigns
This week the provincial government announced that it is launching a series of education and enforcement campaigns to ensure businesses across the province are taking the necessary steps to keep employees, consumers and the public safe. These campaigns will support the current efforts of police, municipal by-law officers, and public health inspectors to educate businesses and enforce the COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Officers will be asking employers to produce their workplace safety plans. The campaigns are being carried out in strategic locations, drawing on a team of more than 200 provincial offences officers from across ministries. During each visit, officers provide business owners with guidance on how to operate safely during the pandemic and comply with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act

Certain businesses and establishments in the Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown levels are required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan and make it available in writing for review. Whether workplaces are currently operating or planning to start up, employers need a plan to put controls in place to make the workplace safer for everyone. Employers can use current public health and workplace health and safety information or guidance to help develop their plan.

Businesses requiring a workplace safety plan include:

  • Restaurants, bars, and food or drink establishments;
  • Sports and recreational facilities;
  • Meeting and event spaces;
  • Malls;
  • Personal care services;
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments;
  • Cinemas; and
  • Performing arts facilities.

Do you…

  • Need assistance navigating the abundance of supports available?
  • Have questions about any of the support programs?
  • Need help filling out an application form to receive support?
  • Have a product or innovative solution you want to pitch to government?
  • Need assistance in connecting with the Ontario or federal government about a specific issue?
Whether you represent a business, organization, non-profit, or need help navigating COVID-19 related supports as an individual, Pathway Group is here to help

And don't forget to check out Pathway Group's COVID-19 Resource Hub - Updated regularly, this hub connects individuals, businesses, organizations and non-profits to Ontario and Federal Government supports and additional resources. 

Ontario Government News

Toronto and Peel to Move into Lockdown on Monday
The Ontario Government announced Friday that Toronto and Peel Region will move into "lockdown" effective midnight Monday to curb a steep rise in COVID-19 cases. The lockdown will last a minimum of 28 days, equal to two incubation periods, and the province says it will fine people $750 for violating public-health rules. Earlier this month, the province launched a new colour-coded framework to assess the status of its health units, based on case numbers and trends, with lockdown being the final tier holding the tightest restrictions for regions. 

York Region remains in the red control zone it entered Nov. 16, with additional restrictions limiting public gatherings to five people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Durham and Waterloo regions will be moving into the red "control" zones.

Huron-Perth, Niagara, Simcoe-Muskoka, southwestern Ontario and Windsor are moving to the orange "restrict" zone. That means:

  • No indoor gatherings with anyone outside a person's household.
  • Individuals who live alone can have close contact with one other household.
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.
  • Restaurants are limited to take-out, drive-through and delivery only.
  • Religious services, funerals and weddings are limited to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors.
  • Gyms are closed.
  • Non-essential retail and malls are limited to curbside pickup or delivery only.
  • Personal care services, casinos and bingo halls are closed.
  • Post-secondary institutions move to virtual instruction with some exemptions, such as for clinical training.
  • Pharmacies, doctor and dentist offices, grocery stores, essential services remain open.
  • Schools will also remain open.

The measures come as Ontario reports 1,418 more cases of COVID-19. Eight more people with COVID-19 have died, the province said Friday, bringing the official death toll to 3,451. So far this month, 315 people have died of COVID-19 in Ontario.

Ontario Launching New Agency to Centralize Government Procurement
This week the Ontario Government  announced the establishment of Supply Ontario, a new centralized procurement agency that will enable a whole-of-government approach to purchasing goods and services, saving taxpayers money. Supply Ontario will ensure that schools, hospitals, and the entire public sector always have the critical supplies and equipment they need to keep individuals and families safe, while supporting job creation and economic growth. The new supply chain agency is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario's COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that will change the way people and businesses interact with government. Projects in the Action Plan fall into four categories:

  • Making government services more digitally accessible
  • Reducing red tape and simplifying policies
  • Improving government purchasing
  • Creating more responsive and flexible public services

Federal Government News


New, Targeted Support to Help Businesses Through Pandemic Receives Royal Assent
Yesterday Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) received Royal Assent, implementing new, targeted support to help hard-hit businesses. The measures adopted as part of Bill C-9 are:
  • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which will provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Claims can be made retroactively to September 27, 2020.
  • The new Lockdown Support, which will provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict 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). Combined, this will mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.
  • The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which will continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire workers. The wage subsidy will remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

Upcoming Events

November Events

Tourism HR Canada: Adapting to New Market Realities: Products, Pricing, Placement, Positioning
November 24, 2020 - 2:00 p.m. (ET)

With a focus on marketing and communications, this webinar will help small businesses revisit business strategies to align products and services with new and different markets. The session will include tips on developing a sales and marketing plan for new markets. Register here to join the session.

Western Canada Executive Summit Series
Hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
November 24, 2020

This exclusive event will bring together senior executives and thought leaders for a dialogue on top issues affecting Canadian business. Participants will hear from our President and CEO, the Hon. Perrin Beatty, PC, OC, President of the Treasury Board, the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos and some of Canada’s most influential business leaders. The event will consist of three panel discussions that will take a deeper looking into specific measures that our political leaders must consider to ensure a sharp and lasting recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Panel 1: Harnessing Canada’s Tax System for Recovery  

Looking towards recovery, the federal government can choose to spend money it doesn’t have or mobilize private capital for targeted recovery investments and lower the cost of doing business through micro tax reforms. Building on the work of our Think Growth initiative, this session will explore how Canada’s tax system can be harnessed for inclusive recovery and growth for Canadians and businesses of all size.

Panel 2: Regulatory Recovery: Removing Red Tape so Business Can Grow

Building on the work of our Regulate Smarter campaign, this session will discuss the impacts of regulatory burden in Canada, how to build on the federal government’s existing regulatory commitments, and how Canada should leverage regulatory reform and a driver of growth in the current COVID-economy.

Panel 3: Canadian Transportation and Trade Infrastructure 2020 and Beyond

The February rail blockades and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have posed threats to Canada’s import and export-based economy. The Canadian and global supply chains have been especially affected by the pandemic and will require innovative and cost-effective solutions to mitigate the impacts on business operations. To do so will require coordination among all orders of government as well as better data, insight, and increased investment in Canada’s multimodal transportation networks. Our discussion will focus on some of those efforts and will explore how, with the right investments, Canada can get back on track to not only meet pre-COVID levels of competitiveness, but to surpass them.

Registration for the Summit is now open

NEW! Transportation Summit 2020 - Recovery Summit Series
Hosted by the Toronto Board of Trade
November 25, 2020

The Recovery Summit Series is bringing together leaders from across the public and private sectors for a thoughtful discussion on the recovery of our region, our transportation networks, and our talent pipeline. In part two of the series, we examine the long-term recovery of the Toronto Region’s transportation sector including what innovations and policy changes could be on the horizon. Bringing together policy makers, thought leaders, and industry, the summit will take a hard look at some difficult challenges. How does the Toronto region integrate a fragmented transit network? With governments facing ever-increasing financial pressure, how can they maximize the value of transportation infrastructure investment? What investments and policies are needed to ensure the efficient movement of goods? Register now for the Transportation Summit here.

NEW!  Hospitality & Alcohol Industry Survival & Competitiveness through COVID-19
Hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce 
November 30, 2020 - 11:00 a.m. (ET)

Canadian restaurants, pubs and bars have been devastated by the impacts of COVID-19 with more of these businesses closing their doors permanently every day. The impacts of lockdowns and closures extend far beyond these businesses as Canada’s beverage alcohol industry has seen a collapse in bar and restaurant sales of their products. While restaurants and bars fight for their survival, they must also contend with Canada’s increasing alcohol taxes, which are some of the highest in the world. This tax burden is scheduled to increase again next year due to the alcohol escalator tax which increases alcohol taxes on April 1 every year.

Please join the discussion with Industry leaders:

  • Larry Isaacs, President, Firkin Group of Pubs
  • Peter Watts, Managing Director, Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre
  • Michael Brennan, Chief Executive Officer, Great Western Brewing Company
  • Marc Valencia, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Vice President, Public Affairs, Corby Spirit and Wine Limited

The discussion will focus on what the industry is doing to survive the pandemic and what Canada can do mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our restaurants and bars while improving the competitiveness of its breweries, wineries, distilleries and all of the agricultural and other supply chain members that contribute to this industry.

MaRS Impact Week
November 30 - December 4, 2020

With the goal of finding and adopting viable solutions, MaRS Discovery District is hosting the first-ever MaRS Impact Week - five days of immersive online events, can’t-miss conversations, informative breakouts and more. MaRS Impact Week brings two streams together — Social Finance and Cleantech — for one comprehensive online experience. Learn more and register now.

December Events

NEW! Successfully Managing Your Workplace During a Global Pandemic
Hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
December 1, 2020 - 1:00 p.m. (ET)

Canadian businesses are facing unique challenges in managing through COVID-19. Including issues related to:   

  • Health and safety   
  • Increased absenteeism   
  • Work refusals   
  • Accommodating human rights   
  • Implications of a vaccine 
  • Workplace restructuring   

This session will provide employers with practical tips and tools to address these issues when they arise and to minimize related legal liability as they move into 2021. This webinar will be led by Priya Sarin, Partner at Sherrard Kuzz LLP, a leading Canadian employment and labour law firm. Register online here. 

Tourism HR Canada: Workforce Power Session
December 9, 2020 - 2:00 p.m. (ET)

This webinar will help employers navigate challenging staffing issues, exploring ways to recalibrate the staffing structure, plans to help employees transition back to work or new roles, and best practices to support employees with managing difficult circumstances such as transitioning to different jobs or coping with mental health needs. Register here to join this session.

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