Navigating COVID-19: Resources for Your Business

March 18, 2020

Although we’ve closed our physical doors to the public, the ventureLAB team is still here to help. We’re committed to providing you with exceptional experiences (virtually!) and supporting you while we navigate this new normal for the next while.

Last updated: January 18, 2021

ventureLAB has implemented a work-from-home policy for its team until further notice, but we are still working remotely to help you navigate your business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about the policies and precautions we’ve taken during this unprecedented time.

We understand that this time for a small and medium-sized business may be uncertain or confusing, so we’ve compiled some resources your company can use to navigate this unfamiliar landscape:

Re-opening Resources

  • Updated June 26 2020

Public Health Agency of Canada has also published considerable guidance on measures for workplaces that could be of assistance:

In addition, the following links are to specific resources for businesses to support their reopening:

Help Combat the Fight Against COVID-19

Canada Emergency Business Account

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) eligibility has expanded to include many owner-operated small businesses.The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:
  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come. The government will continue to work on solutions to help business owners and entrepreneurs who operate through their personal bank account, as opposed to a business account, or have yet to file a tax return, such as newly created businesses.

Ontario Small Business Grant: Updated January 18, 2021

The Ontario Small Business Grant provides a between $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses who restricted operations due to COVID-19.

Eligibility is for businesses who:

Were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26.
Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level.
Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.


FedDev Ontario Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

The RRRF provides $213 million in support to southern Ontario SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures.

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a Canadian or provincially incorporated business, co-operative or an Indigenous-owned business located in southern Ontario with 1 to 499 full-time equivalent employees;
  • Be facing funding pressures with fixed operating costs as a result of COVID-19;
  • Have been a viable business before the COVID-19 pandemic and plan to continue to operate their business or resume operations;
  • Have already applied to other Government of Canada emergency credit relief measures for which they are eligible, as outlined in the program guidelines.
Priority may be given to SMEs in the manufacturing, technology, tourism and other sectors key to the region, that are major employers in small communities or that support the government’s commitment to underrepresented groups.
Applications can be submitted for:
  • Funding support for fixed operating costs, where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, including how to apply, please visit the FedDev Ontario website.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Updated July 30

The new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The CEWS prevents further job losses, encourages employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has launched a calculator for businesses to determine what the subsidy will cover. The calculator is now available on the CRA website; businesses can begin to apply to the subsidy on Monday, April 27. In an effort to help businesses keep employees on the payroll, the subsidy will cover up to $847 per employee for up to 12 weeks — retroactive to March 15, 2020.

The CEWS is now providing a 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for eligible employers for up to three months.

Learn more about the CEWS.

NRC IRAP Innovation Assistance Program Updated July 30

Applications for NRC IRAP are now closed.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Updated April 24

On April 16, the Government of Canada announced its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses that will seek to provide loans and/or forgivable loans to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.

Announced April 24:

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

Financial Resources

Business Continuity Resources

Supports for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Working Remotely

Mental Health and Well-being

Global Supply Chains

Government responses to COVID-19


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