COVID-19 Business Continuity & Recovery Information

Last Update: 06/26/2020, 9:00AM

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.


Recent Government Updates

For all older updates, please click here.

AS OF June 17, 2020: The Ontario government passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020.

AS OF June 16, 2020: The Ontario government is providing employers with a new general workplace guide, to help develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients. The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province. Check out the new resources here.

AS OF June 16, 2020: Prime Minister Trudeau announced the federal government will be extending the CERB by 8 weeks.

AS OF June 15, 2020: The Ontario government announced today that Hamilton can move forward into Stage 2 of reopening. This means more people can get back to work and more recreational activities will reopen. 

Effective Friday, June 19 at 12:01 a.m. the following will be permitted to open: 

  • Personal care services
  • Personal services
  • Restaurants & bars
  • Shopping malls & centres
  • Photography, Film & TV
  • Tour & guide services
  • Water recreational facilities
  • Outdoor recreational facilities and team sports
  • Beaches, parks & camping
  • Drive-in & drive-thru venues
  • Weddings, funerals and similar gatherings
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Attractions & heritage institutions
  • Small outdoor events

For a detailed list of what can reopen in Stage 2, click here.

For sector specific guides to help prevent COVID-19 in the workplace, click here.

AS OF June 15, 2020: On May 19, Prime Minister Trudeau announced CEBA (emergency business loan of $40,000) would be extended to cover sole owner-operators, businesses who rely on contractors, and family-owned businesses who pay employees through dividends. The extension will be in place on Friday, June 20.

AS OF June 11, 2020: The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario announce they are extending the Digital Main Street program, to help small businesses.

Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario’s strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.

In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. 

More details to come.

AS of June 8, 2020: The Ontario government announced that it intends to take action to protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19. 

The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, temporarily halt evictions of businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020. The government intends to bring this legislation forward as soon as possible.

AS of June 8, 2020: The Ontario government announced that it is moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province. Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. 

Hamilton and the rest of the GTHA will not be entering Phase 2 on Friday.

The GTHA will be assessed for Phase 2 as early as June 19th.

For those areas allowed to enter Phase 2, the following will be permitted:

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
  • Camping at private campgrounds;
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

For all regions of the province, the province will soon release more details on:

  • Child care;
  • Summer camps;
  • Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate;
  • Training centres; and
  • Public transit

AS OF June 1, 2020: The Ontario government announced that it has enacted a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19. This will ensure businesses aren’t forced to terminate employees after their ESA temporary layoff periods have expired.

Terminations triggered when temporary layoffs exceed the permitted length under the Employment Standards Act can result in costly payouts. Under the new regulatory change to the Employment Standards Act, non-unionized employees who have had their hours reduced or eliminated because of the pandemic will be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs.

The regulatory amendment applies retroactively to March 1, 2020 and will expire six weeks after the declared emergency ends. The regulatory amendments do not include employees represented by a trade union.

AS OF May 25, 2020: The Government of Canada announced the launch of a four-week hotline service called the Business Resilience Service. This service will help entrepreneurs and small business owners in need of financial planning advice, particularly those who may not have access to an accountant. The service will also be open to not-for-profit organizations and charities.

The hotline is a national, bilingual service operated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. As of today, small business owners with pressing financial needs can call 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).

Business advisors—125 members of Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada)—will be available to provide customized financial guidance to the smallest business owners in the most urgent need and help them make the best decisions for their business as they navigate this crisis. Advisors can answer questions about tax regulations and the implications of COVID-19, inform business owners about government support programs that best fit their unique circumstances, and provide strategic financial planning for their road to recovery.

For all older updates, please click here.


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