Business Support


Preparing for a safe reopening of my business

  • In the federal government’s endeavour to drive a more modernized procurement approach through challenge-based procurement, Shared Services Canada (SSC) is collaborating with TECHNATION on an upcoming Agile procurement initiative. TECHNATION has recently launched an open business intelligence platform called the TECH2GOV Digital Marketplace.  This platform is open to all incorporated technology companies in Canada to register and showcase all areas of technology specialization and experience. (June 29, 2020)
  • Invest Ottawa to deliver new Digital Main Street Program to help future-proof small businesses and to help them open their virtual doors to generate new revenue, survive the pandemic and drive our economic recovery. (June 11, 2020)
  • As Ontario begins to reopen the economy, the City of Ottawa, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health, has prepared a Business Reopening Toolkit. Subject to the direction from the Province of Ontario, the toolkit is intended to provide guidance to businesses to prepare for safe reopening. (May 20, 2020)

Grants, funding and loans for your business

  • Please see below important links to information newly announced today by the Government of Canada, on the details of the new program for businesses in highly affected sectors. (Jan. 2021)


  •  Applications now open for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will help small businesses forced to close or significantly restrict services, under the province-wide shutdown effective December 26, 2020. (Dec. 2020)
  • The Ontario government is providing nearly $41 million to help 486 non-profit organizations across the province to rebuild and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s new $83-million Resilient Communities Fund. (Dec. 2020)
  • With the second wave upon us, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages have announced an additional $600 million through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). Along with the additional funding, FedDev Ontario has also announced that it has expanded RRRF eligibility parameters and extended the duration of the program to provide liquidity support to more businesses and organizations in southern Ontario.  These changes include:

Programs to help companies make payroll

  • Canadian businesses, non-profits or charities who lost revenue due to COVID-19 may qualify for a subsidy (up to 65%) to cover part of commercial rent or property expenses. The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). The program runs from September 27, 2020 until June 2021. (Dec. 2020)
  • The Government of Ontario is making available $600 million in property tax and energy cost rebates to help eligible businesses in Control or Lockdown regions (or previously in modified stage 2 regions). Businesses struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB). (Dec. 2020)
  • The Ontario Government has increased the Employer Health Tax (EHT) payroll exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million due to the special circumstances caused by the coronavirus (COVID‑19) in Ontario. In the 2020 Ontario Budget, the government announced it was making the EHT payroll exemption increase permanent. (Dec. 2020, 2020)
  • Government announces extension of rent relief program for small businesses (June 30, 2020)
  • The Government of Canada has launched a Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator for Employers. (April 21, 2020) 
  • The Government of Canada originally announced a Small Business Wage Subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020 on April 1.
  • The Government of Canada made two notable announcements regarding support to workers, businesses, and all Canadians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: (April 8, 2020)
    • New details have been announced on the eligibility criteria for businesses to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) including additional flexibility for new businesses by reducing the 30-per-cent benchmark to 15 per cent. (April 8, 2020)
    • The Canada Summer Jobs program will help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to the jobs they need during this unprecedented time. (Feb 3, 2021)
  • Recent survey finding on the wage subsidy eligibility include the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) CEO survey results as well as survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). (April 7, 2020)
  • The temporary (original) wage subsidy for a period of three months equal to 10% of remuneration pay during the period (with maximums) may still be possible for other businesses.

Opportunities to contribute solutions to COVID-19

  • As part of the Department of National Defence response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program is participating in a multi-departmental initiative seeking innovative solutions to COVID-19. (May 28, 2020)
  • Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO) announces a Canada-wide call for applications from companies for its Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN) to address COVID-19. (May 21, 2020)
  • The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) is doing a temperature check on Canada’s tech sector with a fast survey for tech leaders. Your feedback will help inform governments across Canada of the current challenges innovators are facing and help shape advocacy regarding Canada’s post-pandemic recovery. (May 7, 2020)
  • Canada’s largest innovation hubs announced the formation of the Innovation Economy Council (IEC), a coalition of tech-sector leaders dedicated to shaping Canada’s innovation policy. Led by MaRS, OCE, Communitech, DMZ, Invest Ottawa and CCRM, the IEC produces key reports and hosts events with the goal of advocating for startups and the tech community; fostering thoughtful conversation; and growing the economy at large. (April 29, 2020)
  • The Ontario government is launching the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website. (April 29, 2020)
  • The Career Ready Program, funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) and administered by TECHNATION is a project seeking to address the talent gap in the tech sector by developing Work Integrated Learning (WIL) initiatives, and covering up to 70% of gross wages for Canadian companies and scale-ups that leverage student talent during the COVID 19 pandemic. (April 30, 2020)
  • MITACS is expanding its effort to support Canadian businesses in the fight against COVID-19. Specifically, by decreasing the cost of entry, including their Accelerate Program, to SMEs for COVID19 projects. (April 30, 2020)
  • For a limited time, to address the pandemic, college students can be added to the development portion of COVID-19 Mitacs projects. College students can support development activities such as coding, prototyping, monitoring cell cultures, managing data, and creating visual presentations of modelling, among others. (April 30, 2020)
  • Siemens Health is hiring, with roles supporting the manufacturing of their Epoc Point-of-Care Blood Test used globally in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. (April 20, 2020)
  • Mayor Jim Watson, the City, Invest Ottawa and Ottawa’s economic development leaders have provided the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario with recommendations on support for the business community during the COVID-19 crisis. (April 15, 2020)
  • SOSCIP, a FedDev funded consortium is running a SOSCIP COVID-19 Response initiative that will fast-track researchers onto their HPC advanced research computing platforms to solve problems related to pandemics, now and in the years to come. (April 15, 2020)
  • If you are a scientist at an academic institution currently working on a COVID-19 related project, you can now apply for a Fast Grants of between $10k to $500k and decisions are made in under 48 hours. (April 9, 2020)
  • To support clients and companies who have products/services/solutions to help Canada combat the current pandemic, Invest Ottawa has developed a valuable resource document to help navigate funding opportunities for COVID-19 response activities. (April 7, 2020)
  • The Digital Technology Supercluster is leading the development of solutions to some of the biggest issues created by COVID-19. Contribute digital technology solutions that help government, communities, employers, and individual Canadians. (April 1, 2020)
  • If you have equipment or facilities that can be rapidly re-tooled to meet medical needs, including for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks and surgical gowns; sanitizers; wipes; ventilators; and other medical equipment and supplies, register your product with the Government of Canada.
  • The Federal Government is seeking any businesses and organizations that can supply innovative solutions to support responses to COVID-19 including supply chain resiliency monitoring, financial planning & advising, IT support and other services. (Mar 31, 2020)
  • Help the Government of Canada combat Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
  • The Province of Ontario has launched the online portal Ontario Together, which welcomes the help from businesses and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support the Province’s response to COVID-19. (Mar 31, 2020)
  • COVID-19 Response Program – Next Generation Manufacturing Canada.
  • How the Canadian Tech Community Can Respond to COVID-19  (Upside Foundation).
  • Help Canadian manufacturers meet critical shortages in the fight against COVID-19 (NGen Supercluster funding).

Resources Specifically for Women-Led Businesses

Cost savings for your business

  • The Ontario government has announced new updates to electricity rates. (Feb 1, 2021)
  • Google is offering Google ad credits for small and medium-sized businesses. (Mar 27, 2020)
  • The Government of Ontario has provided immediate electricity rate relief for small businesses paying time-of-use (TOU) rates. (Mar 24, 2020)

Added flexibility for taxes

Direct support for employees


Full Response Plans and Links


Show Local Love

Supporting local businesses makes a big difference for the entrepreneur next door and our economy. Now more than ever, let’s show our neighbours we’re here for them. 

Visit Together Apart to find local spots to order from and support when you can.

Sponsors Step Up

Great companies have stepped-up in this time of need, including many of our corporate sponsors and community partners.  

Explore the insights, toolkits and resources they’ve made available: 


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