Resources for local businesses during COVID-19

Resources for Local Businesses

This page provides information about resources for Huron County businesses affected by COVID-19. The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.

For business support and resources, email economicdevelopment@huroncounty.ca or call (519) 440-1267 .

For detailed and up-to-date information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the Huron-Perth Public Health website.

 

Link below to view:

Local Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Suppliers

Huron County Economic Development has compiled a list of local personal protective equipment suppliers. If you know any additional suppliers, please let us know.

211 Ontario - Call 2-1-1

211 connects people to the right information and services, strengthens Canada’s health and human services, and helps Canadians to become more engaged with their communities.

BizMap

With the current changes in government restrictions with the current lockdown, make sure you update your business details on the Huron County BizMap. You can add your business or suggest edits to the BizMap yourself!  

Online Business Resources

This is a short list of the most basic online tools that should be utilized by businesses of every sector. Please note that this is simply a reference guide that we have created based on our experience in servicing the small businesses of Huron County with the Digital Main Street program. We encourage you to do your own research on suitable online tools for your business while considering the contents of this list.

Digital Adertising

Facebook ads

Facebook advertising is an important way to connect with your audience on the world’s largest social network. Create and run campaigns using simple self-serve tools, and track their performance with easy-to-read reports. More than two billion people use Facebook every month—so no matter what kind of audience you want to reach, you’ll find them here

 How To Get Started:

Learn more about Facebook Ads

Create an Advertisement with Facebook for Business

 

 

Instagram Advertising

Instagram advertising is a method of paying to post sponsored content on the Instagram platform to reach a larger and more targeted audience. Since Instagram is such a visual platform, text ads are not a thing here. Rather you need an image, set of images, or video (which can be accompanied by text) to reach your audience with Instagram ads.

 How To Get Started:

Build Your Business on Instagram

 

 

Google Ads

Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. Google is where most people search for what to do, where to go, and what to buy. Your ad can appear on Google at the very moment someone is looking for products or services like yours.

 How To Get Started:

Grow Your Business with Google Ads

Web Analytic Tools

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular digital analytics software. It is Google’s free web analytics service that allows you to analyze in-depth detail about the visitors on your website, such as the details of what people do when they visit your website, how long they stay, and what all pages do they visit on your website.

How To Get Started:

Get Started with Analytics

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information.

 How To Get Started:

About Google My Business

Read & Reply to Review

Social Media Platforms

Facebook Business Page

A Facebook business page serves to help people learn about your business in terms of what you do, how you can be contacted, and where you’re located. Your Facebook page will have a menu on the left side that allows your customers to view information such as an about page, photos and videos, events, reviews, and posts. Online is the first place people look when learning more about a business, and having a Facebook page gives you a chance to put all of the most informative and credibility-growing information in one concentrated area.

How To Get Started:

Create a Facebook Page in a Few Easy Steps

 

 

Instagram

An Instagram Business Account allows you to give people more information about your products, service or business. With an Instagram Business Account, you get real-time metrics on how your stories and promoted posts perform throughout the day. Get insights into your followers and how they interact with your posts and stories.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Restaurants, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

 How To Get Started:

Click here to start your Instagram Business Account

 

 

Twitter

Twitter connects you and your business with what’s happening in the world every day. Learn the latest, real-time trends, and invest in social listening. It’s also a great way to get a read on your brand’s public reputation. By expanding your message on Twitter, you can connect and engage with new fans, network with partners, and identify influencers.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to set up your Twitter account

 

 

Pinterest

Pinterest offers businesses a fairly unique proposition. Like other social media networks, it’s a place to connect with friends and influencers. But as a visual search engine and “productivity tool for planning your dreams,” it’s also a lot more than that. Pinners come to the platform for inspiration—or “Pinspiration.” They’re planning their weddings, dream vacations, and holiday dinners. And because of that, they’re not only receptive to brand content—they find it helpful.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to set up your Pinterest page

Small Business Website

Basic Website

Your website is the backbone of your business, supporting all of your digital marketing efforts. The importance of a website for marketing extends to every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. As the backbone of your online presence, every type of communication, piece of content, or advertisement that you put online will drive the consumer back to your website. As such, it’s important that your website gives consumers a clear idea of what your brand is about and what types of products or services you offer.

 Popular Website Building Platforms

  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • WordPress

 How To Get Started:

Create your own Wix website    

Create your own Weebly website

Create your own WordPress website

 

 

E-Commerce Website

Online shopping is growing fast in Canada and that means e-commerce is quickly becoming a necessity for Canadian retailers. From startups to small businesses right through to huge brands, there are a huge number of companies that can benefit from their own ecommerce website, where they can sell their own products or services. In today’s competitive and convenience focused society, no longer do consumers want to venture to the high street in order to buy items, instead, consumers want to shop from their own homes, making ecommerce a flexible solution for both businesses and buyers.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Wholesale trade

Popular Website Building Platforms

  • Shopify
  • Square

 How To Get Started:

Create your own Shopify e-commerce website 

Create your own Square e-commerce website

 

 

Website Domain Name

Simply put, a domain name is the name of a website. It’s what comes after “@” in an email address, or after “www.” in a web address. If someone asks how to find you online, what you tell them is usually your domain name. Anyone can purchase a domain name by going to a domain host or registrar, finding a name no one else is using, and paying an annual fee to own it.

Popular Domain Hosting Platforms

–     GoDaddy

–     Cira

How to Get Started:

Find Your Perfect Domain Name with GoDaddy

Find Your Own Canadian Domain Name with Cira

m/blog/do-i-need-a-website-for-my-business/

Design Software

Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content. The app already includes templates for users to use. The platform is free to use and offers paid subscriptions like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise for additional functionality.

 Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to sign up and start creating your posts.

 

 

Affinity

Affinity is best in class for creating concept art, print projects, logos, icons, UI designs, mock-ups, and more, our powerful design app is already the choice of thousands of professional illustrators, web designers, and game developers who love its silky-smooth combination of vector and raster design tools.

 Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

 How To Get Started:

Click here to sign up to Affinity.

 

 

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is an online photo editing and design service that can be accessed from a web browser, or through a mobile app.

 Applicable to: Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

 How To Get Started:

Click here to set up your PicMonkey Account.

 

 

Pixabay (Stock Photography)

Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright-free images, videos, and music. All contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.

 Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

 How To Get Started:

Click here to join.

 

 

Unsplash (Stock Photography)

Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash.

 Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

 How To Get Started:
Click here to join.

Productivity Software

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that covers almost every aspect of a social media manager’s role. With just one platform users are able to do the simple stuff like curate cool content and schedule posts all the way up to managing team members and measuring ROI.

Applicable to: Restaurants, Retail Trade, Professional Services, Health Care, Social Assistance, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click to start your free trial.

Later

Later is the social media management app for people who think visually (and don’t have complex corporate needs). It requires you to focus on your visual media first, adding text, links, and hashtags later.

 Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

 How To Get Started:

Click here to create your account.

Online Software

Restaurant Online Ordering System

With the growing number of people using the internet to primarily check restaurant information and look up details about ordering food, a restaurant online ordering system is more important than ever before.

Applicable to: Restaurants

Popular Online Appointment Booking Software

  • Sociavore
  • Wix Online Ordering
  • Square Online Ordering
  • Shopify Online Ordering

 How To Get Started:

Getting started with Sociavore Online Ordering

Set up online ordering with Wix

Set up your online store with Square for Restaurants

Set up online ordering for your Shopify website

 

 

Online Appointment Booking System

Web-based applications allow individuals to conveniently and securely book their appointments and reservations online through any Web-connected device. Real-time online appointment scheduling is a solution to the frustrations that both the clients and businesses face.

Applicable to: Professional Services (e.g. dentist, salon, accounting firm)

Popular Online Appointment Booking Software

  • Square Appointments
  • Calendly
  • Acuity

 How To Get Started:

Sign up for Square Appointments

Sign up for Calendly

How to start using Acuity Scheduling

 

Online Hotel Reservation Booking System

Hotel management systems can streamline processes, reduce costs, increase revenue, improve the customer experience and provide you with a competitive advantage.

Applicable to: Accommodations (Hotels, short-term rentals)

Popular Online Hotel Reservation Booking Software

  • Hotello
  • Cloudbeds
  • Innroad

 How To Get Started:

Take a Tour and Request a Live Demo of Hotello

Request a Free Consultation and Live Demo of Cloudbeds

Request a Free Demo of innRoad

Online Training Courses

Digital Marketing Institute

Browse their range of digital marketing courses which are designed and validated by the digital industry. They have courses to suit all needs and experience levels. All are delivered in bite-sized, innovative, and interactive learning formats. Free Membership included.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the online training course list.

 

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that helps you discover and develop business, technology-related, and creative skills through expert-led course videos. With more than 5,000 courses and personalized recommendations, you can discover, complete, and track courses related to your field and interests. You can also choose to add these courses and related skills to your LinkedIn profile once you’ve completed them.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the online training course list.  

 

Grow with Google

Grow with Google offers free training and tools to help you grow your skills, career, or business in Canada. Explore our various programs.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the online training course list.

.

Online Webinars

Digital Main Street

These Zoom based webinar sessions are hosted by digital marketing experts that cover a variety of relevant topics, such as social media management, online advertising on a budget, and building a website.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the available webinars.

 

 

Economic Development Webinars

Huron County Economic Development also frequently hosts online workshops covering other relevant topics.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the available webinars.

 

 

Business Blogs

 

Growing your Small Business with Social Media

Wants some tips on ways you can use your social media to grow your business? Read this blog that gives you ideas on how you can use social media to boost your sales.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view blog.

 

 

Why does your Small Business need a website?

If your business has gotten this far without a website, you might be wondering: do I need a website for my business? What’s the point if my business is already successful without one? Read this blog that lists reasons why it is important for businesses to have their own websites.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view blog.

 

 

Software Comparisons

Picking software to run your business is not a decision you make lightly. Use these head-to-head tool comparisons to find the best features and setup for your needs.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view blog.

 

Government & Financial Support for Businesses

Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) - Government of Ontario/Canada

The Ontario government is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA)

Details to follow soon

Employer Health Tax (EHT) Exemption

Increasing government funding of EHT to $1 million in order to tax relief to businesses around the province so that they can focus on supporting the well-being of their employees and their continued operations. 

Click here for more information

GST/HST Payments Deferral - Government of Canada

Allows businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.

Visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for more information.

75% Wage Subsidy - Government of Canada

Introduced to support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs. A subsidy of up to 75% for qualifying businesses, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Program extended until June 2021 with a deadline to apply by January 31, 2021. For information on how to apply, visit the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy webpage.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) - Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC)

Providing more than $10 billion of additional financial support largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses through the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP).

  • The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is offering new and existing clients’ working capital loans of up to $2 million, with 12 months principal postponement, provided they qualify. Loans are presently offered at a 3.03% interest rates. Visit bdc.ca for more information.
There was a recent expansion of the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) for mid-sized businesses that need more capital, including a new Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF). Read more here.

Income Tax Deferral - Government of Canada

Businesses have until August 31, 2020 to pay any income tax payments that become owing between March 18, 2020 – September 2020.

Visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for more information.

Canada Business App - Government of Canada

Download to find tailored supports to address your specific needs and questions about COVID-19.

Visit the Canada Business App website here

Bank of Canada

Took a series of actions to enhance the resilience of the Canadian financial system and help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to households and businesses, including cutting the interest rate to 0.75%.

Visit the Bank of Canada’s website for more information

Community Futures Huron

Is offering principle deferments of 2 months to their existing clients and are currently still hearing survival loan applications from the small business community.

Visit Community Futures Huron for more information

Canada Emergency Business Account - Government of Canada

The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.

To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.

This program will roll out in mid-April, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.

WSIB Financial Relief Package - WSIB Ontario

The financial relief package allows businesses to defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020.

  • All businesses are automatically eligible – there is no need to apply.

Visit wsib.ca for more information

 

Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19- Government of Ontario
  • The Province is setting electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days.
  • For this period, the Province will not apply any penalty or interest on any late-filed returns or incomplete or late tax payments under select provincially administered taxes, such as the Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gas Tax.

Visit Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 website for more information.

 

Labour Guidelines for Reopening

Ontario has unveiled a sector-specific list of guidelines that businesses should follow in order to be ready when they are given the green light to re-open. These guidelines are in place to protect workers, customers and the general public from the spread of COVID-19. The full list of guidelines can be found here.

Submit a Request to Province of Ontario

Ontario is moving quickly to support the frontlines and businesses during the COVID-19. To help remove obstacles and streamline Ontario’s ability to respond to the outbreak and navigate through it, several temporary rules and regulations have been put in place. To support your ongoing work during COVID-19, you can request a temporary regulation or policy to change here.

Emergency Aid for Agri-Food Sector

The Prime Minster acknowledged the hardships food producers and farmers are dealing with during COVID-19. The government is investing $252 million to help the agri-food industry.

Read more here.

Doing Business Remotely

Huron County Economic Development has created resources to help conduct your business remotely. 

Emergency Aid for Agri-Food Sector

Various groups have collected information and resources that can help businesses prepare to reopen as safely as possible.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) launched on May 13, 2020. It is being delivered by Regional Development Agencies (RDA) across the country to help organizations continue their operations and position themselves for a successful recovery. 
Funding amounts vary by RDA, and fall under two categories.
  • $675 million to support regional economies, businesses, organizations, and communities in regions all across Canada;
  • $287 million to support the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations, which will specifically target small businesses and rural communities across the country.
More information on the fund can be found here.
For information on how to apply to our local Community Futures Huron, please click here.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Canada is covering up to 65% of an employee’s wages for qualifying eligible employers, with this subsidy rate in effect until December 19, 2020. The wage subsidy supports you to keep and re-hire your employees and avoid layoffs.

The CEWS is available until June 2021.

Apply here

Government & Financial Support for Individuals

EI Sickness Benefits - Government of Canada

The one-week waiting period will be waived for new claimants. Those who are eligible can apply online.

  • If your employees are directly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and they are no longer working, you must issue a Record of Employment (ROE).
  • When the employee is sick or quarantined, use code D (Illness or Injury) as the reason for separation (block 16). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee is no longer working due to a shortage of work because the business has closed or decreased operations due to coronavirus (COVID-19), use code A (Shortage of Work). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee refuses to come to work but is not sick or quarantined, use code E (Quit) or code N (Leave of Absence), as appropriate. Avoid adding comments unless absolutely necessary.

More information is available on the Government of Canada’s webpage.

 

Ontario Works - Government of Ontario

Ontario has made additional resources available to enable Ontario Works administrators and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) staff to provide additional assistance for those currently receiving social assistance, who are facing additional costs related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding can be used to meet a broad range of needs, for example: cleaning supplies, non-medical transportation, food or clothing that individuals and families may require due to COVID‑19. To qualify you must:

  • Live in Ontario
  • Be in financial need (your household doesn’t have sufficient financial resources to meet basic living expenses)
  • Be willing to make reasonable efforts to find, prepare for and keep a job (unless you have specific circumstances that temporarily prevent you from doing so, such as an illness or caregiving responsibilities)

You can start the application process online, using the Online Application for Social Assistance. By phone or in person, call or visit your local Ontario Works office

Ontario Electricity Support Program - Ontario Energy Board

The OESP is an Ontario Energy Board (OEB) program that lowers electricity bills for lower-income households. The OESP provides a monthly credit to eligible customers based on household income and household size. The OESP credits are applied directly to eligible customers’ bills.

  • Available to lower-income customers
  • Must have accounts with electricity distributors or unit sub-meter providers.

Apply online or visit their F.A.Q for more information.

Energy Relief Support - Government of Ontario

The province is setting electricity rates to the “off-peak” price for 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage. This program was extended on May 6 for an additional 24 days. 

Click here for more information.

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program - Ontario Energy Board

Low-income customers can get up to $500 in emergency assistance for their electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically) and $500 for their natural gas bills. In order to qualify, your household income has to fall below a certain limit. The amount of income it takes to qualify depends on two factors:

  • How many people live in the house
  • Your combined household income

The assistance is only available if you are behind on your bill – or in arrears – and may face having your service disconnected.  Visit oeb.ca for more information

GST/HST Payments Deferral - Government of Canada

Allows businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.

Visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for more information.

Bank of Canada

Took a series of actions to enhance the resilience of the Canadian financial system and help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to households and businesses, including cutting the interest rate to 0.75%.

Visit the Bank of Canada’s website for more information

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The CRB provides $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).

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The CRSB provides $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who:

  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
  • Are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19
  • have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Apply here

Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB)

The CRCB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers:

  • unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19
  • because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19.

Apply here

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

CERB provides a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 28 weeks to eligible workers who stopped working or whose work hours were reduced due to COVID-19.

CERB is continuing to accept and process retroactive applications until December 2, 2020.

If you continue to need financial support, find out if you are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI)

You can also look for employment opportunities through the Job Bank

 

Mortgage Payment Deferral

Homeowners facing financial hardship may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral of up to six months.

The deferral is an agreement between you and your lender. Typically, the agreement indicates that you and your lender have agreed to pause or suspend your mortgage payments for a certain amount of time. After the agreement ends, your mortgage payments return to normal and the deferred payments — including principal and accumulated interest – are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.

To know if you are eligible for a mortgage payment deferral or to learn what options are available, contact your lender — your bank or your mortgage professional.

Learn more about Mortgage Payment Deferral.

How Can We Help?

Huron County is always excited to support new and innovative ideas and businesses.
We’re here to help!

Find Us

57 Napier Street,
Goderich, ON N7A 1W2
Canada

Phone

+1 (519) 524-8394 ext.6