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: September 18, 2020

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 & 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.

  • York Region has a number of resources available to support business and workplace as they reopen and resume service. For a complete list, download the Re-opening and Resuming Business During COVID-19 Toolkit.

  • Effective Friday, July 17, 2020 as of 12:01 a.m., business owners and operators in York Region must have a policy in place to prohibit people from entering if they are not wearing a face mask or covering and must place approved York Region signage on the premise. Customers, employees and visitors who enter enclosed public spaces must wear a face mask or covering. 

    This policy is scheduled to remain in place until Monday, November 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.  

    To help support and educate the community about what this decision means to them, York Region has created a number of resources available 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;
    • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)’s Agri-Food Open for e-Business Program is a grant of up to $5,000 to help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations establish an online e-business and marketing presence.

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

  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to:

    • reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants
    • meet operating expenses on commercial properties

    Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April-September 2020.

  • 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.​

  • 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 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.

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $500 per week for eligible workers, including self-employed individuals, who have lost their income due to COVID-19. It also applies to those still employed, but not receiving income (allowing employers to keep employees).

  • 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.

    Extended until August 29, 2020.

  • The Government of Canada Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) and TECHNATION Career Ready Program covers up to 70% 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.

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

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

  • Innovative Solutions Canada has two streams with a combined funding of over $140 million dedicated to help Canadian innovators fight COVID-19 and solve challenges.

  • NGen COVID-19 Response Program provides funding for companies that can help build a Canadian supply of essential equipment, products and therapeutics.

  • COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program provides funding for near-to-market solutions from small and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 staff) that need financial support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to refine and sell their product or solution to meet a COVID-19-related need.

  • 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).

  • Alectra Utilities will work with customers to provide flexible payment terms and will not disconnect customers during this time of uncertainty. Late payment charges are waived for all residential and small commercial customers, effective April 15, 2020 for a 60-day period.

  • Enbridge Gas’s Energy Assistance Program – Eligible customers having trouble paying their bill may qualify for emergency relief to avoid having their service disconnected.

  • 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 Canada Arts Training Fund (CATF) provides financial support for the ongoing operations of Canadian arts organizations that specialize in training artists for professional national or international artistic careers, at the highest levels.

    Application deadline: June 30, 2020

  • 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.

  • Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund is for Canadian writers and visual artists and writers facing lost income due to the pandemic. $1500 grants available for successful applicants. See site for eligibility criteria.

  • Netflix’s Emergency Support for Workers in the Creative Community Fund ​is a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the creative community; mainly to go towards support for the hardest hit workers on NETFLIX productions around the world, as well as the broader film and television industry. $15 million of the fund will go to third-parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where NETFLIX has a large production base.

  • 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 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is maintaining a list of emergency funding and temporary/remote work opportunities for Canadian artists and freelancers.