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)
  • 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)
  • 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)


Grants, funding and loans for your business

  • Federal Government expands CEBA program criteria for emergency loans to include family businesses, contractors and owner-operated businesses. (May 19)
  • FedDev Ontario has announced the $962M Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), financial contributions (interest-free loans) to help support fixed operating costs of SMEs, where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund supports businesses impacted by COVID-19 that have been unable to access other Government of Canada measures. (May 13)
  • Deloitte has created a tool to help small businesses find the right support and funding to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. (May 11)
  • The federal government has announced an updated NRC-IRAP program that will provide another $250M to companies in need. The program will officially launch on April 22. Companies are invited to register immediately. (April 20)
  • Although details are forthcoming, here is what we know today: (April 20)
    • This program is highly differentiated from all previous NRC-IRAP programs. It aims to support companies that do not qualify for existing COVID-19 subsidies and related measures (such as the wage subsidy), and help them to retain highly qualified personnel.
    • If a company is eligible for the wage subsidy, the firm will not receive funding through this NRC-IRAP program. Companies are not permitted to leverage the wage subsidy and funding through NRC-IRAP.
    • The number of highly qualified personnel on the payroll will be the key metric in determining how much support a company receives.
    • Funding will help a wide range of companies including existing IRAP clients, and companies that have not benefited from IRAP funding previously
  • The Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) has launched a $200,000 COVID-19 Business Resilience Fund to support small businesses in Canada’s largest technology park with their digital transformation. (April 16)
  • BDC has developed a compilation document of federal and provincial government support measures for businesses (April 15)
  • NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grants provide up to $50,000 for one-year projects. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada funds are available immediately; no matching required. Apply before June 1. (NSERC, Mar 31)
  • EDC’s supports and develops export trade by helping businesses respond to international opportunities and this new COVID-19 mandate as Canada’s export credit agency. (Mar 27)
  • If your business is experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19, Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits through their Small Business Grants Program. (Mar 19)
  • The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) are providing more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses including the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP). See BDC’s new relief measure for qualified businesses. (Mar 13)
  • Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) loan program supports high-growth, innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural and urban communities by offering loans of $150,000 to $500,000.
  • Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) support to expand your business or bring business to your community in eastern Ontario.
  • FedDev Ontario is a Regional Development Agency (RDA) that provides programs, services and funding to support innovation and economic growth in southern Ontario. FedDev Ontario can assist small or medium-sized businesses that need assistance or advice accessing federal funding programs.
  • The Government of Canada has announced the Canada Emergency Business Account, which provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses through their financial institutions. Up to 25% of the loan will be forgiven if repaid by December 31, 2022.


Programs to help companies make payroll

  • The Government of Canada has launched a Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator for Employers. (April 21) 
  • 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)
    • 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)
    • The Prime Minister, announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program that will help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to the jobs they need during this unprecedented time. (April 8)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • In light of the pandemic, MITACS is launching a one-time call for proposals partnering postdoctoral fellows with companies or not-for-profit organizations for year-long COVID-19 related research projects. (April 30)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • SOSCIP, a FedDev funded consortium are 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)

Resources Specifically for Womxn-Led Businesses

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub has compiled an extensive list of COVID-19 resources available to women entrepreneurs including details on government relief programs, business opportunities, policy advice from experts, and upcoming webinars. (April 30)
  • A $5,000 Resiliency Fund Powered by Tease Tea has been announced as a non-repayable, zero equity fund for a woman identifying founder. Applications will be open from April 27th to May 30th and awarded in early July. (April 27)

Cost savings for your business

  • The Ontario government has announced a new four-month fixed rate for electricity of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour, set starting June 1. (June 2)
  • Google is offering Google ad credits for small and medium-sized businesses. (Mar 27)
  • The Government of Ontario has provided immediate electricity rate relief for small businesses paying time-of-use (TOU) rates. (Mar 24)


Added flexibility for taxes


Direct support for employees

  • Ontario Government funding support for families if they have children who are not in school or child care because of coronavirus (COVID-19). (April 5)
  • The Government of Canada’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides support for up to 16 weeks for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Applicants will receive $2,000 a month, for up to 4 months. This benefit replaces the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.
    • The CERB covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school closures.


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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