BusinessTO NewsletterMay 19, 2020
BusinessTO News is a weekly newsletter that focuses on available resources and supports to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Toronto businesses. Learn about the current health situation, service changes and economic support at

Announcements and Programs

Commission-free online ordering with Ritual ONE

Mobile food ordering company Ritual recently announced Ritual ONE, an online tool that lets local restaurants and food services such as grocers, butchers and bakeries take online orders through their existing websites for either contactless pickup or delivery. In partnership with the City’s ShopHERE initiative, Ritual is waiving the monthly subscription fee for all Toronto restaurants that sign up prior to June 1.

Ontario government allows additional workplaces to reopen

The Government of Ontario announced that additional businesses and service provides are allowed to reopen on May 19. These include retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances, seasonal businesses, pet care services, and some health and medical services. Learn more about the Ontario government’s plan for the gradual reopening of the province.

Federal government fund to help sectors key to regional economies

The federal government has announced a new funding initiative to help businesses unable to access existing relief measures. The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund provides interest-free loans to help support fixed operating costs of small and medium-sized enterprises, where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative aims to help more businesses and organizations in sectors across the economy such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others, that are key to local and regional economies.

ShopHERE helps local businesses sell online at no cost 

Toronto’s independent businesses and artists can receive help building and promoting their very own Shopify online store at no cost. Supported by the City, ShopHERE brings together over 500 volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partners. Businesses receive one-on-one support in building and optimizing their online stores. More than 600 businesses have already signed up. Learn more and see if your business is eligible. Help for businesses available through BusinessTO Support CentreThe BusinessTO Support Centre is available to help businesses respond to COVID-19 with a focus on completing applications for government assistance programs and providing business advice. Get started by scheduling a one-on-one meeting or register for an introductory webinar.

Toronto businesses seeing results from Digital Main Street

From supporting companies like Chateau Carolina pivot their in-store wine making business to an online model, to assisting Magic Vision and Uptown Chiropractic leverage digital marketing techniques to grow their business, and helping Valencienne Bridal and Footprints Music continue meeting with clients virtually, Digital Main Street is supporting Toronto businesses where they need it most. Resources, connections to digital vendors, online learning, and virtual assistance is available to business at no cost. Sign up for help!

Program for retailers re-opening for curbside pickup

The City has created a plan to support retailers as they re-open for curbside pickup and delivery. This includes a program to establish temporary parking pick-up zones and curb lane pedestrian zones. All businesses should follow advice from public health experts and can learn more about government guidelines for street entrance retailers reopening for pickup services at a webinar on May 21 or May 28 at 11 a.m.

Donate to the City’s COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts

The City welcomes business community partners to help deliver vital, community-focused services for those most impacted by COVID-19 through donations such as food, technology, services or financial gifts. Partners like QuadReal Property Group donated 110,000 sq. ft. of commercial space which the City connected with three community organizations who were able to use it to prepare and distribute much needed supplies to aid the most vulnerable in our city. Learn how you can help at COVID-19: DonateTO.

Financial support for businesses

Federal, provincial and municipal supports include:Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance ProgramCanada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) programCanada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) programSupport for Indigenous BusinessesBusiness Credit Availability Program For one-on-one assistance with applications for any of these programs visit the BusinessTO Support Centre.

Business Community News 

The case for stimulus for physical & digital infrastructure to drive recovery

The CEOs of the MaRS Discovery District and the Ontario Centres of Excellence make the case that when the pandemic ends the federal and provincial governments should create stimulus programs that target sectors most likely to drive jobs and growth. They say stimulus programs should build out Canada’s physical and digital infrastructure to create incentives for tech adoption.

Custom clothier retools business to make much-needed face masks

Toronto-based bespoke clothier King & Bay Custom Clothing has retooled its business and launched  a charitable initiative called Mission2Mask, providing non-medical grade masks to hospitals, retirement communities and others. A social media campaign challenging followers to sew spare dress shirts into face masks using a DIY instructional video and a shirt donation drive brought in extra materials allowing the clothier to revamped in-house production to create masks on a larger scale. Now King & Bay is reaching out to corporate Canada with its initiative, encouraging companies to buy face masks for when employees re-enter the workplace while donating an equal number of masks to organizations in need.

Stay informed with online webinars, blogs & events

COVID-19 Re-Opening Guidance for the Retails Sector (Free)
Thursday, May 21, 11:00 a.m. – Register I  Thursday, May 28, 11:00 a.m. – Register

Ask an Accountant – Applying for Government COVID-19 Support Programs webinar(Free)
Wednesday, May 20, 3:30 p.m. – Register I  Wednesday, May 27, 3:30 p.m. – Register 

Business AdviceTO Event Series (Free)
Weekly online events for tech, retail, and female lead businesses that provide an opportunity to share, learn and grow with other entrepreneurs and leaders mitigating through COVID-19. Business AdviceTO with Partners SheEO World  | Wednesday, May 20, 9 a.m – Register  | Wednesday, May 27, 9 a.m – Register Business AdviceTO with Partners Retail Insider | Wednesday, May 20, 11a.m. – Register | Wednesday, May 27, 11a.m. – RegisterBusiness AdviceTO with Partners TechTO | Wednesday, May 20, 12 p.m – Register | Wednesday, May 27, 12 p.m – Register
Elevate Live Event Series (Free)
This 13-week series features thought leaders and entrepreneurs sharing current insights into the most pressing issues facing the tech industry. Wednesdays, 12 p.m. – Register

Collision from Home 
Collision is moving online for 2020. Join tech leaders and world-renowned speakers for one incredible online event. Toronto residents who are no longer working due to COVID-19 can attend for free, apply here before May 22. June 23 to 25 – RegisterShare your feedback on the BusinessTO newsletter. Forward
Produced by City of Toronto