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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Templates, Forms, and Other Documents
Government Resources
Small Business Support Resources
Exporting/Trade Resources
Employment/Legal Resources
Mental Health Resources
Toolkits and more
Post-Pandemic Resources
Chamber Resources

This page last updated on October 7th, 2020


Templates, Forms, and Other Documents

Posters – Mandatory

Posters – Hygiene & Cleaning

Posters – General Workplace

Posters – Retail

Posters – Equipment

Posters – Gardening & Landscaping

Guidelines & Templates

French Documents – Documents Français

Spanish Documents – Documentos en español

Government Resources

General Guidance and Resources

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15. For periods until July 4, the subsidy rate for eligible organizations is 75% of payroll to a maximum of $847/week per eligible employee. For periods between July 5 and November 21, subsidy is calculated based on loss of revenue.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The CEBA program offers interest-free credit of up to $40,000 to eligible businesses through their financial institutions. If the balance of the loan is repaid by the end of 2022, $10,000 of the initial loan will be forgiven. CEBA has been extended to October 31, 2020. Contact your bank or credit union to apply. For more information on eligibility and the application process, click here.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

CECRA provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners so that they can reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants by at least 75% from April onward. The program has recently been extended, with a new deadline of October 31, 2020. In Ontario, evictions of tenants that would have qualified for CECRA are illegal if the landlord failed to apply for the program. Commercial landlords who evicted tenants between September 1st (when the original eviction moratorium expired) and the date when the new moratorium came into effect are required to return tenants’ property and to allow them to return to the premises.

To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the property owner must meet the following requirements:

  • You own property that generates rental revenue from commercial real property located in Canada.
  • You are the property owner of the commercial real property where the impacted small business tenants are located.
  • You have a mortgage loan secured by the commercial real property, occupied by one or more small business tenants.*
  • You have entered or will enter into a rent reduction agreement for the period that will reduce impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%.
  • Your rent reduction agreement with impacted tenants includes a moratorium on eviction for the CECRA period.
  • You have declared rental income on your tax return (personal or corporate) for tax years 2018 and/or 2019.

CECRA for small businesses is applicable to commercial property owners with:

  • eligible small business tenants
  • eligible small business subtenants
  • residential components and multi-unit residential properties with commercial tenants (i.e. mixed usage)

Impacted small business tenants are businesses, including non-profit and charitable organizations who:

  • pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement),
  • generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level), and
  • have temporarily ceased operations (i.e. generating no revenues), or has experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues.**

** To measure revenue loss, small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same month of 2019. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020. 

CMHC administers the program on behalf of the Government of Canada and its provincial and territorial partners.

The program offers assistance for the months of April through September, 2020.

  • It can be applied retroactively.
  • Property owners may still apply for assistance once the eligible period has ended if they can prove eligibility during those months.
  • Property owners must refund amounts paid by the small business tenant for the period.*

*If rent has been collected at the time of approval, a credit to the tenant for a future month’s rent (i.e. July for April) is acceptable if agreed upon by both the property owner and the tenant. This can be a flexible 3-month period.

CMHC will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners.

  • The loans will cover 50% of the gross rent owed by impacted small business tenants during the period of April through September, 2020.
  • The property owner will be responsible for no less than half of the remaining 50% of the gross rent payments (paying no less than 25% of the total).
  • The small business tenant will be responsible for no more than half of the remaining 50% of the gross rent payments (paying no more than 25% of the total).

CECRA for small businesses loans will be forgiven if the property owner complies with all applicable program terms and conditions including to not seek to recover rent abatement amounts after the program is over.

EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

This program provides credit and cash flow term loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. Canadian businesses in all sectors that were otherwise financially viable and revenue generating prior to the COVID-19 outbreak are eligible to apply.

It allows financial institutions to issue operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to existing clients, with 80 per cent guaranteed by EDC.

This money is to be used for operational expenses, not for dividend payouts, shareholder loans, bonuses, stock buyback, option issuance, increases to executive compensation or repayment/refinancing of other debt.

This program is now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.

BDC Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises

This program provides term loans for operational and liquidity needs of businesses, which could include interest payments on existing debt. Similar to the EDC program, this program is available to businesses that were financially viable and revenue-generating prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The program is designed in three segments to target support to different business sizes.

  • Loans of up to $312,500 to businesses with revenues of less than $1 million.
  • Up to $3.125 million for businesses with revenues between $1 million and $50 million.
  • Up to $6.25 million for businesses with revenues in excess of $50 million.

Loans would be interest-only for the first 12 months, with a 10-year repayment period.

Work Sharing Program Extension

Work-Sharing (WS) is a program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. The program provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada. The program extension is effective from March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021. Under the extension:

  • the maximum duration of work-sharing agreements is extended by an additional 38 weeks, for a total of 76 weeks
  • the mandatory waiting period between agreements is waived
  • applicants need only have been in business for 1 year rather than 2.

Access more information here, and download an application form here.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The CERB program is now closed, but eligible individuals can apply retroactively for periods up until September 26, 2020. The program offered benefits to people ineligible for Employment Insurance who had lost incomes due to COVID-19, including self-employed people and business owners. As of September 27, individuals eligible for Employment Insurance are expected to transition to that program, which has been enhanced. Individuals not eligible for Employment Insurance may be able to claim the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The CRB will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Applicants must:

  • have earned a minimum of $5,000 in 2019, in 2020, or in the 12 months preceding their first application, from employment income, self-employment income, Employment Insurance (EI) maternity or parental benefits; or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
  • have stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are available and looking for work; or are working and have had a reduction of at least 50% in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19
  • not receive payments from the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, any Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits

Legislation approving the CRB was recently passed and more information will be available soon. The program, when launched, will apply retroactively to September 27.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The CRSB will provide $500 per week, for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who are unable to work because they contracted COVID-19; self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19; or have underlying conditions that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19. Applicants must:

  • have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020 or in the 12 months preceding their first application for this benefit from one or more of the following sources: employment income, self-employment income, Employment Insurance (EI) maternity or parental benefits; or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
  • have been unable to work for at least 50% of their normally scheduled work within a given week because of being sick or required to self-isolate for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • not be in receipt of paid leave from an employer in respect of the same week
  • not be in receipt of the CERB, the EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or any EI benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits in respect of the same week

Legislation approving the CRSB was recently passed and more information will be available soon. The program, when launched, will apply retroactively to September 27.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

The CRCB will provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible workers unable to work because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because they are unable to attend their schools, day-cares or facilities due to COVID-19. Applicants must:

  • have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020, or in the 12 months preceding their first application for this benefit from one or more of the following sources: employment income, self-employment income, Employment Insurance (EI) maternity or parental benefits; or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
  • have been unable to work for at least 50% of their normally scheduled work within a given week because of one of the following conditions:
    • must take care of a child who is under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which the benefit is claimed:
      • because their school or daycare is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic
      • because they cannot attend school or daycare under the advice of a medical professional because they are sick with COVID-19, or must self-isolate due to COVID-19 or are at high risk of complications if they contracted COVID-19
      • because the person who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • must provide care to a family member who requires supervised care:
      • because their day program or care facility is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to COVID-19
      • because they cannot attend their day program or care facility under the advice of a medical professional because they are sick with COVID-19 or must self-isolate due to COVID-19 or are at high risk of complications if they contracted COVID-19; or
      • because the care services or the person who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • be the only individual from their household claiming this benefit for the week in which they are applying
  • not be in receipt of paid leave from an employer in respect of the same week
  • not be in receipt of the CERB, the EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or any EI benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits in respect of the same week.

Legislation approving the CRCB was recently passed and more information will be available soon. The program, when launched, will apply retroactively to September 27.

Canada Post

  • Businesses that would like Canada Post to hold their mail can apply here,
  • Businesses that would like Canada Post to forward their mail to another address here.
  • Fees will be refunded, along with any mail holding and forwarding fees charged since March 1st.

Small Business Support Resources

Workplace Health and Safety / Federal Labour Standards:

Digital Tools to Keep Business Communications Open

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Exporting and Trade Resources

In an interconnected global economy, the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting Canadian businesses and their operations. It has resulted in restrictions on travel and public gatherings, as well as supply chain disruptions and market uncertainty.

The Trade Commissioner Service has an unmatched network of over 1,000 business-savvy experts in 160 cities worldwide who help Canadian businesses trade, grow, and succeed. Trade commissioners can provide you with market-specific insights and guidance to help you mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

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COVID-19 and Ontario’s Human Rights Code – Questions and Answers
The OHRC has developed a series of questions and answers for understanding your human rights and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These questions and answers cover the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, tenants and landlords, as well as residential institutions.

Disclaimer: The answers to the questions posed do not constitute legal advice. The OHRC continues to monitor the evolving situation and will update or add to these questions and answers on an ongoing basis as needed.

Changes to Job-Protected Leave
On March 16th, the Province of Ontario  announced  legislation which, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or daycare closures. The legislation would ensure that an employee  will not be required to provide a medical note  if they take the leave. The measures would be retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.

What this means for businesses:

  • Employees will have the right to job-protected leave for COVID-19 quarantine or isolation purposes, or to care for children.
  • Employees will not have to provide a medical note for COVID-19 leave.
  • Job protection for COVID-19 leave will be in effect from January 25th, 2020 onwards.

WSIB Health & Safety Excellence Program

The WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence program is designed to help employers on their journey to develop and maintain a healthy and safe workplace.  Participating in the program will make it easier to improve workplace safety, whether they’re just getting started or want to optimize processes they already have in place. Success in the program will earn employers financial rebates and other recognition for their investments in health and safety. All employers are eligible to participate in the program! Find out more.

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Mental Health Resources

For many, the pressure and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a serious toll. Please see the materials below that will help business, employers, and employees manage their anxiety during this time:

Canadian Mental Health

6 tips to respond to employee anxiety about COVID-19

Mental health tips during COVID-19

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Toolkits

Ontario Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit

Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness for Business

Business Support: Government of Canada
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Resources for Canadian Businesses

Business Development Bank of Canada
Support for Entrepreneurs Impacted by Coronavirus

Business Development Bank of Canada
Business Continuity Plan and Templates for Entrepreneurs

Business Development Bank of Canada (Export Development Canada)
Managing the impact on global supply chains

Employment Insurance and Labour and Occupational Health and Safety
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada

Ontario Ministry of Health
Stats and Self Assessment Tool

World Health Organization
COVID-19 Information for Business and Employees

Niagara Construction Association
COVID-19 Information for the Construction Industry

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Post-Pandemic Resources

Post-Pandemic Business Playbook
A guide for COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Response

Post-Pandemic Business Resumption Checklist
This guidance document is a self-assessment tool intended for Business Returning after Shutdown of Operations and includes links to credible resources and valuable information to assist you where you have identified gaps.

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Chamber Resources

You matter to us and here are just a few of the ways that we can help:

  • Resources: The GNCC is closely monitoring and assessing new developments pertaining to COVID-19, and its impact on Niagara businesses. This rapidly changing situation creates uncertainty and we have gathered and prepared extensive resources to help you through this time (Incl. link to Resources slider with the info as indicated above)
  • Digital marketing is of utmost importance to businesses as Niagara practices social distancing. Let us connect you to customers through our social media reach of 21,770 targeted local businesses, entrepreneurs, and engaged community members. With over 170,000 y-t-d impressions across our channels, your message will be heard. Please contact Corrina Massicotte, Director of Operations and Communication, at corrina@gncc.ca for further information.
  • Certificates of Origin – We have partnered with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to provide a fast, easy and effective way to obtain Certificates of Origin using an online platform called TradeCert that allows you to apply for Certificates of Origin from the comfort of your office Certificates-of-origin
  • Advocacy – We understand the stress and uncertainty of the last few weeks, and continued uncertainty looking towards the next few weeks and months for the physical and economic health of our community. We are confident that together, we can meet this challenge. In order to ensure this, the GNCC is lobbying for additional measures to help you through the COVID-19 crisis
  • Together 
    • The GNCC is reaching out to our members to learn more about their needs, to connect them with the resources they need, and to relay feedback to government.
    • The Chamber has issued a member survey for members to provide feedback during this time.
    • The Chamber is at the table with government officials to share information, provide advice, and problem-solve.

If you are a business owner and you are unsure what steps you should be taking, please contact the Chamber team info@gncc.ca

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