COVID-19 Business Continuity & Recovery Information

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Economic Development, and the Flamborough and Stoney Creek Chambers of Commerce, are closely monitoring and assessing new developments pertaining to COVID-19, as well as its impacts on Hamilton business.

As business owners, employers, employees, and citizens, we recognize that this rapidly changing situation with COVID-19 is causing worry and concern.

To support you through this uncertainty, we have gathered and prepared several resources that you can navigate through on the green drop-down menu (on mobile) or on the left hand navigation (on desktop).

On this website, you can find access to:

Monitor COVID-19

Stay up-to-date on the rapidly evolving situation, and on the nature of the virus itself, by frequently checking municipal, provincial, and national websites.

Locally (Hamilton, Ontario):

Provincially (Ontario):

Nationally (Canada) & Globally:

Important Government Updates

December 1, 2020: On November 30, the federal government presented its Fall Economic Statement which provided an update on the Canadian economy, showing that the Government of Canada’s unprecedented investment has effectively managed to stabilize the economy through the crisis. Nearly 80 per cent of the jobs lost at the start of this crisis have been recouped and bankruptcies are well below levels prior to this pandemic. However, many businesses continue to face significant challenges as Canadians limit physical contacts and employment gains have been slower for women, young people, racialized Canadians and lower income workers. The coming months will be difficult and ongoing fiscal support will remain necessary deep into 2021 in order to protect jobs and prevent widespread permanent losses in our economy.

The Fall Economic Statement calls for $51 billion in spending over the next two years and up to $100 billion on a three-year recovery package when the virus is under control and the economy is ready to absorb the stimulus. Federal COVID-19 support measures and tax deferrals have totaled $407 billion to date, or 19% of Canada’s GDP, and additional support measures were also introduced:

  • $7.5B over next two years for COVID19 health and safety, including PPE, testing, ventilation, indigenous services, long-term care, substance abuse, red cross
  • Plans for a credit program with a 100% government backed loan support for the hardest hit sectors such as tourism and entertainment, a return of the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75% and extension to mid-March, and an extension of the 25% lockdown support for businesses to mid-March
  • $1,200 boost to Canada Child Benefit next year for each child under 6 and in low and middle income families that receive Canada Child Benefit
  • Creation of a Federal Secretariat on Early learning and Child Care, with more details on a national plan expected in the next federal budget. $420M to provinces and territories next year to retain early learning workers
  • $1.2B over next two years on First Nations water and infrastructure, including mercury treatment centres 
  • Nearly $1B next year for expansion of the Canada Summer Jobs program and for youth job placements
  • Elimination of interest on 2021-22 repayments of the federal portion of Canada student Loans, Canada apprentice loans
  • Removal of GST/HST from purchase of face shields or face masks
  • $4B over six years to support home energy retrofits, electric vehicle infrastructure, and the previously-announced program for planting two billion trees
  • Ottawa to require GST/HST collection on Canadian e-commerce transactions, including app stores and goods in Cdn. Fulfillment warehouses. Government also looking to apply GST/HST to short-term rental accommodation booked online
  • RRRF to earmark at least 25% of resources to support local tourism businesses, expected to provide more than $500M through June 2021
  • Return maximum wage subsidy rate to 75% to mid-March and extend 25% lockdown support for businesses to mid-March

November 25, 2020: Both the federal and Ontario provincial governments have opened up applications for additional funding supports available to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funding programs are in place to assist those businesses experiencing significant revenue decline help make their ends meet or ensure that their employees continue to receive pay. 

The federal government has introduced the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support available directly to businesses, in addition to extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Each of these supports will be available retroactive to September 27, 2020 until at least June 2021. Please see below links to the application portal for each:

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy 

The provincial government has introduced a $600 million dollar fund available to businesses facing significant public health restrictions contained within the Red/Control or the Grey/Lockdown categories in the province’s COVID-19 Framework. This funding can be accessed to assist with property taxes, energy cost rebates or purchase necessary PPE for the safe operation of your business. 

Get help with COVID-19 costs

November 13, 2020: The Ontario government is taking immediate action to respond to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and is updating the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, by lowering the thresholds for each level in the framework.

The framework changes are in response to the current data and trends, and will lower the threshold for each of the five levels for: weekly incidence rates, positivity rate, effective reproductive number (Rt), outbreak trends and the level of community transmission.

Based on these new thresholds, Hamilton is being moved to the Red-Control zone from the Yellow-Protect effective Monday, November 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

There are new restrictions for businesses and workplaces that differ from from the current Yellow-Protect category. Please review the new Proposed Measures for your industry.

November 11, 2020: Hamilton will publicly name businesses that break COVID-19 rules. At the November 11 City Council Meeting, Council passed a motion requiring that the city publicly disclose the names of businesses charged with non-compliance of COVID-19 safety protocols.

Moving forward, the city will now make public the names of businesses charged with violating COVID-19 rules in addition to continuing to publicly announce those establishments experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak.

The motion came as a result of some criticism the city faced for publicly criticizing a Stoney Creek business for ignoring pandemic protection rules, yet did not name the offending establishment.

For more on this development, click here.

November 3, 2020: In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government has developed the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open FrameworkIt ensures that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.

The framework takes a gradual approach that includes introducing preventative measures earlier to help avoid broader closures and allow for additional public health and workplace safety measures to be introduced or removed incrementally. It categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort.

Click here to read the full release.

October 26, 2020: Federal Government announces the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will now be available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account (i.e. personal bank account).

To be eligible, businesses must have been operating as a business as of March 1, 2020, must successfully open a business account at a Canadian financial institution that is participating in CEBA, and meet the other existing CEBA eligibility criteria. The deadline to apply for CEBA is December 31, 2020.

Click here to read the full release.

October 20, 2020: The Ontario government is introducing the Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, 2020, that if passed, will provide liability protection for workers, volunteers and organizations that make an honest effort to follow public health guidelines and laws relating to exposure to COVID-19.

If passed, the Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, 2020 will provide targeted protection for those who are making an honest effort to follow public health guidelines and laws, including:

  • Healthcare workers and institutions;
  • Frontline workers who serve the public everywhere from grocery stores to restaurants and retail stores;
  • Businesses and their employees;
  • Charities, non-profit organizations; and
  • Coaches, volunteers and minor sports associations

Click here to read the full release.

For older updates, please click here.

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