The Economic and Cultural Development team is monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Click here to learn more.

COVID-19 Resources

Supporting Vaughan business resilience

Updated: February 23, 2021

The Economic and Cultural Development (ECD) team is monitoring the impact of COVID-19. We are ready to help you access support provided by the Government of Canada and stakeholder organizations.

Our department continues to offer advisory consultations for your business via tele- or video-conference support for general inquiries via email. We are also hosting webinars.

Book a consultation      Email us      Join a webinar

Our dedicated staff will connect with you as soon as they can. To keep our staff healthy, our regular front desk phone line will not be available.


Red-Control - Stringent Measures
Effective: Monday, February 22, 2021

Vaughan logo

For questions regarding the declaration of emergency and provincial support programs, such as the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, businesses can:

  1. Call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659, open Monday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or
  2. Visit Get COVID-19 relief funding for your business.
Red-Control measures

The Government of Ontario controls public health safety measures to help keep citizens safe in public spaces during a pandemic. A comprehensive, whole-of-government response to keeping Ontario safe and open is outlined in detail in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

For a list of general and sector-specific safety measures under the Red-Control zone, visit York Region’s Public Health Safety Measures page.

  • York Region’s COVID-19 webpage is where the Region posts all of its COVID-19 updates, guidance and resources for residents and businesses.

  • Find sector-specific guidelines and posters to keep workers, customer and the general public safe on the Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace webpage.

  • Learn the latest requirements for face masks and coverings at 

  • The Economic and Cultural Development (ECD) is working with partners to host webinars on the latest trends and topics.

    These webinars—and other events relevant to Vaughan businesses—are listed on our Events page.

  • The new Digital Boost: Vaughan Small Business Resiliency Program supports local small business owners in finding new opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. 

  • During this challenging time, the City is committed to supporting businesses, consumers and all citizens, and has developed an online list of local businesses that are open during the current state of emergency. This voluntary listing includes both essential services and businesses that have modified operations and provide goods and services by phone, online, take-out or delivery.

  • Residents looking to do their part to support the local economy can do so by shopping remotely with local businesses and restaurants with #ShopVaughanLocal. Citizens are encouraged to do any of the following to show their support for small businesses in Vaughan:

    • Order take-out or delivery from a local restaurant
    • Buy gift cards for use at a later date
    • Order from local businesses online
    • Share your local love #ShopVaughanLocal
    • Access government supports for businesses on this page
  • In March 2020, the City launched the Vaughan Business Action Plan, which includes a series of measures to safeguard the local economy and protect businesses, consumers and all citizens. These measures include:

    • Support the restocking of store shelves
    • Enhance the movement of goods
    • Improve business ground transportation
    • Suspend the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT)
    • Maintain small business services

    In addition, the City also implemented:

    • A grace period of 90 days for business license renewals; and
    • A waiving of late penalty charges for interim and final tax bills until July 1.

    For more information, please visit the Vaughan Business Action Plan page.

  • The Vaughan Business Resilience Plan, launched in June 2020, is an immediate and long-term plan to help Vaughan’s business community build capacity to adapt to the post-COVID world. The Economic and Cultural Development department will:

    • help businesses and the economy build resilience;
    • build resilience into key economic opportunities and strategic sectors like healthcare, supply-chain and manufacturing, and tourism; and
    • share Vaughan’s reimagined public spaces within social distancing and invite the community to experience Vaughan’s culture and arts.

    For more information, read the Vaughan Business Resilience Plan Council Report and Project Matrix.

  • The Vaughan Rising Blog is a resource that aims to help Vaughan Businesses adapt to a post-COVID economy. The series will highlight bold and innovative ways that the Vaughan business community is demonstrating resilience and practical resources contributed by subject matter experts.

    New blogs will be posted most Tuesdays through to January 2021.

  • In response to COVID-19, the Government of Canada has introduced a suite of funding, tax credits and benefits. The programs most relevant to businesses are highlighted below.

    For more information, please visit: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan page.

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $500 per week for eligible workers, including self-employed individuals.

  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy provides 75 per cent of salaries for qualifying businesses, including all sizes and sectors, non-profits and charities.

  • Canada Emergency Business Account (part of the Business Credit Availability Program) provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits.

  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides direct support of up to 65 per cent of eligible expenses to tenants and property owners for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19.

    Qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order may be eligible for additional Lockdown Support of 25 per cent of eligible expenses.

  • Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) provides bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, including certain not-for-profit businesses.

  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides interest-free loans for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are unable to access other federal COVID-19 relief measures.

  • The AIME@Home program offers grants of up to $100,000 per company to foster training that will lead to advancements in innovation within the manufacturing sector in Southern Ontario.

  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)’s Small Business Loan offers up to $100,000 and can be obtained online in as little as 48 hours, from time of approval.

  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)’s Purchase Order Financing helps businesses increase cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with very flexible times.

  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)’s Working Capital Loan​ offers extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations.

  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)’s Capital Bridge Financing Program is for Canadian companies backed by a qualified venture capital firm, who have raised at least $500,000 in external capital before applying for the program, and  specifically impacted by COVID-19.

  • The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) will help businesses with their day-to-day operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis and enable them to invest in their longer-term prosperity.

    Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. Hard-hit businesses, like a chain of hotels or restaurants with multiple locations under one related entity, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million.

  • BioEnterprise Smartgrowth Program provides funding to small and medium businesses in Southern Ontario’s agri-technology sector to support scale-up and expansion projects.

    Application deadline: January 22, 2021

  • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits.

  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides direct support of up to 65 per cent of eligible expenses to tenants and property owners for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19.

    Qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order may be eligible for additional Lockdown Support of 25 per cent of eligible expenses.

  • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

    If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks).

  • The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) was established to help small businesses (sole proprietor to 75 employees) offset the cost of expenses to open safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online. 

    Successful applicants will receive a relief grant of up to $5,000.  

  • Digital Main Street (DMS) is a program focused on assisting main street small businesses (MSB) with their adoption of technologies. Through a partnership with FedDev Ontario and the Province of Ontario, grant opportunities are available to enable this digital transformation process.  

    The Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) program will provide funding for training, advisory support, and contributions to main street small businesses looking increase their capacity through digital transformation. Digital Transformation grants can be used to make investments in the following areas:

    • Hira consultant/agency/person to execute Digital Marketing initiatives 
    • Develop a new website or redesign an existing website 
    • Purchase graphic design, social media, productivity or other software 
    • Enroll in ongoing Digital Training courses  
    • Purchase hardware to help with executing digital marketing strategies 

    Vaughan-based businesses must be located in the Kleinburg Business Improvement Area, Maple Heritage District, Thornhill Heritage District or Woodbridge Avenue, among other eligibility criteria, in order to apply. The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) reserves the right to determine which businesses are eligible or ineligible on a case-by-case basis. 

  • Export Development Canada (EDC)’s Funding for Exporters supports all Canadian exporters by offering their banks a guarantee on loans of up to $5 million.

  • If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium-sized business or organization and have received RDA funding and COVID-19 is affecting your operations, you are encouraged to contact FedDev Ontario.​

  • Innovative Solutions Canada funds R&D and test prototypes in real-life settings. It has two streams with funding dedicated to Canadian innovators who want to start, grow and get to market.

  • Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) will be open to large Canadian employers who

    1. have a significant impact on Canada’s economy, as demonstrated by (i) having significant operations in Canada or (ii) supporting a significant workforce in Canada;
    2. can generally demonstrate approximately $300 million or more in annual revenues; and
    3. require a minimum loan size of about $60 million.
  • Mitacs is expanding its effort to support Canadian businesses in the fight against COVID-19 by boosting funding, fast-tracking proposals and adding flexibility to project requirements.

  • The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)’s Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program offers grants of 70% up to $7,500 for Ontario agriculture and agri-food businesses to implement safety measures that protect employees against COVID-19.

  • The Main Street Relief Grant for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) providing up to $1,000 for PPE costs to eligible small businesses across Ontario with 2 to 19 employees.

  • Businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures (in areas with modified Stage 2 restrictions or categorized as control or lockdown) can apply for rebates, provided in the form of grants, for property tax and energy bills.

  • The new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will help small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the new Provincewide Shutdown.

    Program Guide


  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides interest-free loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are unable to access other federal COVID-19 relief measures.

    If there is significant demand for the funding available, priority may be given to SMEs that are significant employers in communities and critical industries, such as manufacturing, technology and tourism.

  • Other funding opportunities that are not specific to COVID can be found on our Funding Programs and Funding for Tech Entrepreneurs pages.

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is a subsidy covering 75 per cent of salaries for qualifying businesses, including all sizes and sectors, non-profits and charities.

  • The Government of Canada Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) and TECHNATION Career Ready Program covers up to 75% of gross wages for Canadian companies and scale-ups that leverage student talent during the COVID 19 pandemic

  • Mitacs is expanding its effort to support Canadian businesses in the fight against COVID-19 by expanding internship offerings and bolstering industrial post-doc fellowships.

  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)’s Work-Sharing program is designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity, beyond the control of the employer.

  • The Magnet Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) brings together employers, students, and post-secondary school stakeholders to create quality work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities.

    The program provides employers with wage subsidies to hire post-secondary students for paid work experiences. Students in turn benefit with quality work experience so they can secure employment in their chosen fields of study.

  • The Actors’ Fund of Canada (The AFC) ​ is providing short-term emergency financial assistance to Canadian entertainment professionals.

  • The artsUNITE project is a sector-led wayfinding and support platform for the creative community.

    Its purpose is to:

    • Guide artists and creative organizations through the available resources for immediate relief;
    • Secure remuneration through paid work opportunities; and
    • Equip artists with adaptive supports for long-term sector recovery and regeneration from the pandemic.
  • The Canadian Artist + Musician Relief Fund provides support for low-income artists and musicians whose livelihoods are being affected by this pandemic. Whether it’s from cancelled gigs, lost jobs or a lack of business due to coronavirus.

  • Glad Day Lit’s Emergency Survival Fund supports paid work for LGBTQ2S artists and performers; grants to LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers for food and housing; no-interest loans to artists, performers and tip-based workers; and Glad Day Lit admin costs and toward keeping Glad Day open.

  • The Government of Canada’s PPE Supply Hub has resources and information to help organizations sell and buy personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. .

  • This risk mitigation tool will assist workplaces/businesses in considering risks to employees, customers and clients during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, and provide examples of measures that may be implemented at the workplace/business to mitigate potential risks.

  • Over 90 sector-specific guidelines and posters have been developed to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario.

  • Use the Workplace Safety Plan template to create a plan to help protect your works and others from COVID-19.

  • The PPE Exchange is a marketplace for personal protective equipment (PPE) connecting customers in need of PPE with suppliers.

  • As Canada’s industries return to work, there is an increased demand for PPE. The Rapid Response Platform automatically matches supply with demand, simplifying supplier discovery during the procurement process.

  • To assist retailers in their reopening planning, Retail Council of Canada, in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group and retailers from across Canada, has prepared the Road to Retail Recovery Playbook to help Canadian retailers, large and small, plan for the reopening of retail sector across the country.

  • The UN World Tourism Organization’s COVID-19 webpage is a central source for data, webinars and other resources, including the COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package.

  • York Region’s COVID 19: Resources for the York Region Business Community page is a central source for:

    • Business reopening guidance and advice,
    • York Region Public Health resources and guidance,
    • Workplace PPE supplier directories, and
    • Other resources.
  • The Recovery Activation Program (RAP) is a no cost, immersive series of highly practical online programs that are designed to help you identify areas to modernize your business so that you can confidently take on all the challenges that are thrown at you in the wake of COVID-19, such as managing your workforce virtually, finding new customers without going to a tradeshow, and managing disrupted supply chains – just to name a few.

  • The Government of Canada is seeking manufacturers, businesses and skilled workers that can assist Canada in meeting the need for medical supplies.

  • Ontario Together: Help fight Coronavirus is seeking businesses, researchers and organizations that can supply emergency products and innovative solutions.

    Only have part of a solution? Look for partners with OCE’s COVID-19 Collaboration Platform.

  • Public Works and Government Services Canada is seeking businesses able to supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).