FAQs

The Region of Durham has compiled this information to assist businesses navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Responses to COVID-19 are constantly developing. The Region endeavours to keep this site as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

General Questions

Please view the most up-to-date List of Essential Workplaces sourced from the Province of Ontario.

Businesses who have questions about closures can call the provincial Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.  Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m. 

This site is a collaborative project of the Durham Economic Task Force. The task force is made up of Durham Region’s Economic Development and Tourism team; Business Advisory Centre of Durham; all of Durham’s Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade; as well as local municipal Economic Development teams. The members have also been engaging with other key stakeholders, such as local Business Improvement Associations.

The Durham Economic Task Force’s immediate priorities are to:

  • Advocate for the urgent needs of our business community to the Provincial and Federal Governments.
  • Provide resources and information about business supports available from various levels of government.
  • Work with other levels of government and stakeholders to develop and implement support programming for business owners, affected employees, and their families, who are experiencing financial impacts as a result of COVID-19.
  • Provide direct support to help guide small businesses through the process of accessing emergency financial assistance and programming from all levels of government.
  • Promote Durham small businesses that are still open, particularly the local food and agri-businesses who are offering safe, no-contact delivery and pick-up services.

The Durham Economic Task Force currently is made up individuals representing:

Municipal

  • The Regional Municipality of Durham
  • Invest Durham - Durham Region Economic Development and Tourism 
  • Town of Ajax Economic Development 
  • Township of Brock Economic Development 
  • Municipality of Clarington Economic Development 
  • City of Oshawa Economic Development 
  • City of Pickering Economic Development 
  • Township of Scugog Economic Development 
  • Township of Uxbridge Economic Development 
  • Town of Whitby Economic Development 

Chambers/Boards of Trade

  • Ajax/Pickering Board of Trade
  • Brock Board of Trade
  • Clarington Board of Trade & Office of Economic Development
  • Newcastle & District Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce
  • Scugog Chamber of Commerce
  • Uxbridge Chamber of Commerce
  • Whitby Chamber of Commerce

Business Improvement Areas (BIA)

  • Ajax BIA
  • Bowmanville BIA
  • Newcastle BIA
  • Orono BIA
  • Downtown Oshawa BIA
  • Pickering Village BIA
  • Port Perry BIA
  • Uxbridge BIA
  • Downtown Whitby BIA

Other

  • Business Advisory Centre of Durham (BACD)
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

Government Aid and Taxes

Visit the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about Federal programs for business and employees. Support for businesses include:

  • Avoiding layoffs and re-hiring
  • Deferred payments
  • Access to credit
  • Supporting financial stability
  • Support for self-employed individuals

The Federal Government has also introduced programs for specific industries including:

  • Keeping workers in the food supply chain safe
  • Increasing credit available for agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture
  • Support for airports
  • Support for broadcasters
  • Support for tourism operators
  • Support for northern air carriers

On April 17, 2020, the Government of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) announced $250 million in funding for the Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) to assist Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) feeling the impact of COVID-19. IRAP IAP provides a wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks. SMEs pursuing technology-driven innovation who have been unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are eligible and can apply for financial assistance under IRAP IAP.

Please note that your company must meet the following to be eligible:

  • Be an incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized business in Canada
  • Be a company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
  • Plan to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada
  • Lack sufficient financial resources to sustain operations during the COVID-19 downturn period
  • Have a Canada Revenue Agency business number
  • Be incorporated by no later than March 1, 2020
  • Be unable to qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

All business must register via the NRC website to be considered for this program. Complete an application here.

The EDC Loan Guarantee program and BDC Co-Lending Facility program will be rolled out in mid-April and interested businesses are requested to coordinate with their current financial institutions.  

 Note that EDC and BDC are currently receiving a higher than usual number of calls and financing requests, they are treating requests as they come in. 

BDC is offering a number of products and services for clients, which include financing programs. Please visit the BDC website to learn more about specific programs which may apply to your business.  

No. For a full listing of their programs, please visit the BDC website.

You may be eligible for EDC Loan Guarantee and BDC Co-Lending Facility for SMEs. Eligibility is based on several factors including whether your business model falls within their mandate. Businesses seeking support through these programs should contact their financial institutions or BDC and EDC directly.  

The Business Credit Availability Package is available and includes the following 3 programs: 

*Note: Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. This program might help cover operational costs. While applications will begin in coming weeks, you can sign up to receive more information as it becomes available. 

The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until the end of June 2020, any GST/HST payments or remittances that become owing on or after March 27, 2020, and before June 2020. This means that no interest will apply if your payments or remittances are made by the end of June 2020. 

More information for deferring GST/HST Tax Remittances (COVID-19 Measures) can be found here 

Entrepreneurship, Research and Development, Start-ups 

The Plan to mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19 was announced by the government recently. This includes:  

  • The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which is set to deliver support to large-scale projects 
  • The National Research Council of Canada will expedite research and development with small and medium-sized enterprises 
  • The Innovation Superclusters are being asked to tap into their networks to help companies commercialize products more quickly 

More information about funding and programming is available through the following:   

If your business is able to provide an innovative solution to fight against the COVID-19, you may be eligible to the following supercluster funding programs: 

  • Digital Technology Supercluster Call for COVID-19 Solutions focused on five key areas: Health System, Community Health, Safe Living, Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Emergency Response.  
  • NGen supercluster funding program - $50 million in Supercluster funding to support companies rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and projects may be eligible for 100% funding for projects that can be executed between April and June 2020. (Projects are not expected to exceed $5M in funding)  
  • Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. While applications will begin in the coming weeks, you can sign up to receive more information when it becomes available 

The following options may be available for you in case your company is adopting a digital technology or deploying its efforts in R&D to help fight against COVID-19.  

Assisting in the COVID-19 Response

Both the Government of Ontario and Canada are calling on businesses to help in the response to COVID19.  If your organization can provide medical supplies or services, visit these two portals:  

  • Ontario Together: Looking for supplies, innovation, innovative ideas and volunteers 

 

There is an electronic submission form on the page "Calling all suppliers" on Buyandsell.gc.ca. On that form, there is a question about “other” products and services. This is where you should indicate clearly what products and services you can supply that relate to the government’s emergency response to COVID-19 but were not included in the non-exhaustive list. 

The specifications for certain types of products, including certification standards where applicable, are listed on the Specifications for COVID-19 Products Products page on Buyandsell.gc.ca. 

Information relating to manufacturing and distributing Diagnostic tests, ventilators, disinfectants, PPE, vaccines and providing medical supplies can be found by visiting the Government of Canada Health Product Industry Website. 

The Government of Canada has issued a call to action for Canadian manufacturers needed to help combat COVID-19. If you can say yes to the following questions – they want to hear from you:  

  • You manufacture in Canada and/or have ready access to necessary inputs through your supply chain. 
  • 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. 
  • You have skilled workers who are able to respond and who could be available for work in the current circumstances. 

Visit Government of Canada Call to Action for Canadian Manufacturers to learn more.

The Durham Region bid opportunities website provides the most up to date information on procurement requirements for PPE in response to the COVID 19 Emergency.  

For other information about local organizations, please contact your local municipality Economic Development office or email investdurham@durham.ca 

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is identifying the innovative technologies, SMEs and experts from across the province to help fill the current product and service gaps related to COVID-19. If you have a piece of the puzzle – whether it is an asset, a technology or a product – and are looking for collaborators to assist your efforts, they want to hear from you. 

Access the OCE Collaboration Platform here 

If your company is able to manufacture technology, equipment, and medical products to aid in the fight against COVID-19, you may be eligible for funding from:  

  • The Ontario Together Fund. $50 million in provincial funding to help companies retool, build capacity, or adopt the technological changes needed to produce supplies and equipment for hospitals, long-term care homes, and other critical public services. Funding will go towards the most viable, innovative proposals.  
  • Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen). Supercluster funding to support companies as they rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by building a Canadian supply of essential equipment, products, and therapeutics. Learn more
  • The National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program and Innovative Solutions Canada. Funding for small- and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 staff) to supply products or solutions in response to COVID-19 related challenges. Learn more