Announcements and Programs

Free business advice from accounting and tax professionalsA new four-week program by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is providing free business advice from accounting and tax professionals for small to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profits and charities. Funded by the Government of Canada, the Business Resilience Service provides guidance on available programs and eligibility, and helps make connections with the appropriate support organizations. The service is available until June 19.

ShopHERE expands eligibility to home-based businesses

Supported by the City of Toronto, ShopHERE brings together volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partners. Through ShopHERE businesses receive one-on-one support in building and optimizing their online stores. More than 900 online stores are currently under development and 850 web developers have volunteered to assist. Learn more about the program and see if your business is eligible.

Support for businesses that are reopening

To help businesses open safely Toronto Public Health released a planning guide that includes an easy-to-use risk assessment tool and a risk mitigation guide, links to an array of industry-specific support documents and sector-specific Toronto Public Health fact sheets as well as downloadable posters and infographics.The City is also supporting retailers that are reopening for curbside pickup and delivery. This includes a program to establish Temporary Parking Pick-up Zones and Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones. All open businesses should follow advice from public health experts.Learn more about government guidelines for street entrance retailers reopening for pickup services at a webinar on June 4 at 11 a.m.

Digital Main Street connects businesses with useful programs and support 

Like many businesses, tea cafe Plentea decided to close their doors due to COVID-19. Facing decreased in-store sales, the cafe saw an opportunity to move their business online. As existing members of Digital Main Street, Plentea knew that the ShopHEREprogram could help them accomplish this goal. Working with the team they shifted their business and built an online store where they now sell loose-leaf tea blends. Businesses looking for resources, connections to trusted digital vendors, online learning, and one-on-one virtual assistance can sign up for help at no cost.

Support City of Toronto COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts

The business community can partner with the City of Toronto to help deliver vital, community-focused services for those most impacted by COVID-19 through donations such as food, technology, services, partnerships or financial gifts.Working with the City of Toronto, golf apparel manufacturer Levelwear swiftly diverted some of its manufacturing efforts to produce non-medical grade face masks in support of the community. Levelwear has donated hundreds of cloth masks to community agencies for their front-line staff and the individuals those agencies support. Learn how you can help at COVID-19: DonateTO.

Applications open for Commercial Rent Assistance Program

The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program is now open for applications. Announced by the federal government in April, the program helps landlords and tenants weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Offered in partnership between the federal and provincial governments, and administered and delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the program offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners. Assistance is available for the months of April, May and June. Property owners can apply later and the program will be applied retroactively. Learn more and apply online.

Digital resources for businesses

Stay connected with Business AdviceTO, a series of free weekly online events for tech, retail and female-led businesses.
BusinessTO Support Centre is available to help businesses complete applications for government assistance programs, retail opening guidelines and general business advice.
ShopHERE brings together volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partner to help businesses build and promote their very own Shopify online stores in a matter of days. 
Digital Main Street curated a list of platforms, marketplaces and services that are helping to support small businesses during these challenging times.

Financial support for businesses
Federal, provincial and municipal supports include:
Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program
Support for Indigenous Businesses
Business Credit Availability Program 
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) 

For one-on-one assistance with applications for any of these programs visit the BusinessTO Support Centre.
Business Community News

Incubator accepting applications for early-stage entrepreneurs looking to solve issues presented by COVID-19 

Parkdale Centre for Innovation, an incubator focused on inclusion and equity, is looking for early-stage entrepreneurs passionate about solving problems presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are now open for entrepreneurship programs centred around the themes of food security, connected communities and digital startups.

Facebook grants program for small businesses

To help support small businesses deal with disruptions resulting from COVID-19, Facebook Canada launched a program that offers cash grants and ad credits. To learn more about this program, see if your business is eligible, and apply, visit

Main street businesses step up to help healthcare workers

Thousands of Toronto’s main street businesses had to close due to emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some of these businesses decided to pivot operations to help frontline healthcare workers. From restaurants and cafes offering meals to hospital staff to a women’s wear store making face masks, their acts of generosity were a way for them to give back to the community.

Stay informed with webinars and online events

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for the Retail Sector (Free)
Thursday, June 4, 11 a.m. – Register  
Thursday, June 11, 11 a.m. – Register 
Watch On Demand

*This webinar was developed leveraging guidelines that had been published and available up to and including May 18.

Ask an Accountant – Applying for Government COVID-19 Support Programs (Free)
Wednesday, June 3, 3:30 p.m. – Register 
Wednesday, June 10, 3:30 p.m. – Register 
Wednesday, June 17, 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
Wednesdays, May to August, 9 a.m. – Register
Business AdviceTO with Partners Retail Insider
Wednesday, June 3, 11a.m. – Register
Wednesday, June 10, 11a.m. – Register
Wednesday, June 17, 11a.m. – Register

Business AdviceTO with Partners TechTO
Wednesday, June 3, 12 p.m – Register 
Wednesday, June 10, 12 p.m – Register
Wednesday, June 17, 12 p.m – Register 

TechTO Together (Free)
Friday, June 8, 7 p.m. – Register

Digital Strategies for Artists and Organizations
Wednesday, June 10, 10 a.m. – Register

Scarborough Business Association Cyber Breakfast –  A Road Map to Recovery(Free)
Wednesday, June 3, 9:15 a.m. – Register 

Collision from Home 
Collision is moving online for 2020. Join “The world’s best speakers” and tech’s leading lights for one incredible online event. 
June 23 – 25 – 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

Produced by City of Toronto