FAQs

The Region of Durham has compiled this information to assist businesses navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Responses to COVID-19 are constantly developing. The Region endeavours to keep this site as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

General Questions

The most up-to-date information for businesses from the Province of Ontario can be found at their website.

Businesses who have questions about closures can call the provincial Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.  Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m. 

This site is a collaborative project of the Durham Economic Task Force. The task force is made up of Durham Region’s Economic Development and Tourism team; Business Advisory Centre of Durham; all of Durham’s Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade; as well as local municipal Economic Development teams. The members have also been engaging with other key stakeholders, such as local Business Improvement Associations.

The Durham Economic Task Force’s immediate priorities are to:

  • Advocate for the urgent needs of our business community to the Provincial and Federal Governments.
  • Provide resources and information about business supports available from various levels of government.
  • Work with other levels of government and stakeholders to develop and implement support programming for business owners, affected employees, and their families, who are experiencing financial impacts as a result of COVID-19.
  • Provide direct support to help guide small businesses through the process of accessing emergency financial assistance and programming from all levels of government.
  • Promote Durham small businesses that are still open, particularly the local food and agri-businesses who are offering safe, no-contact delivery and pick-up services.

The Durham Economic Task Force currently is made up individuals representing:

Municipal

  • The Regional Municipality of Durham
  • Invest Durham - Durham Region Economic Development and Tourism 
  • Town of Ajax Economic Development 
  • Township of Brock Economic Development 
  • Municipality of Clarington Economic Development 
  • City of Oshawa Economic Development 
  • City of Pickering Economic Development 
  • Township of Scugog Economic Development 
  • Township of Uxbridge Economic Development 
  • Town of Whitby Economic Development 

Chambers/Boards of Trade

  • Ajax/Pickering Board of Trade
  • Brock Board of Trade
  • Clarington Board of Trade & Office of Economic Development
  • Newcastle & District Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce
  • Scugog Chamber of Commerce
  • Uxbridge Chamber of Commerce
  • Whitby Chamber of Commerce

Business Improvement Areas (BIA)

  • Ajax BIA
  • Bowmanville BIA
  • Newcastle BIA
  • Orono BIA
  • Downtown Oshawa BIA
  • Pickering Village BIA
  • Port Perry BIA
  • Uxbridge BIA
  • Downtown Whitby BIA

Other

  • Business Advisory Centre of Durham (BACD)
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

The Durham Economic Task Force is here to support your business.

Please contact us by filling in this form, and a representative will follow up to assist you in navigating the programs.

Government Aid and Taxes

Visit the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about Federal programs for business and employees. Support for businesses include:

  • Avoiding layoffs and re-hiring
  • Taxes and tariffs
  • Financial support, loans and access to credit
  • Support for self-employed individuals
  • Indigenous businesses
  • Quick answer tool, to get a personalized list of support

The Federal Government has also introduced programs for specific industries including:

  • Agriculture and agri-food
  • Aquaculture and fisheries
  • Culture, heritage and sport
  • Air transportation
  • Tourism
  • Energy
  • Academic and research
  • Infrastructure
  • Mining 

The Business Credit Availability Package is available and includes the following 3 programs: 

Federal Programs

For avoiding layoffs, rehiring employees, and creating new jobs

  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – covers 75% of an employee’s wages for eligible employers. CEWS has been extended up to June 2021.
  • Work-Sharing (WS) program has been extended from 38 weeks to a maximum of 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. WS helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity.

Financial support and access to credit

Provincial Programs

Major Provincial Relief Programs for businesses

There will not be an extension of the relief that was announced by the CRA on March 27, 2020 which allowed all businesses to defer, until June 30, 2020, any GST/HST payments or remittances that became owing on or after March 27, 2020, and before July 2020.

Businesses must therefore make these payments and remittances and file these returns by June 30, 2020. Interest will begin to apply to outstanding remittances and payments, and penalties will begin to apply to outstanding returns, effective July 1, 2020.

Businesses that are continuing to experience difficulty in making a GST/HST remittance or payment or filing a GST/HST return can contact the CRA to make a request for the cancellation of penalties and interest, and/or for a flexible payment arrangement.

For more frequently asked questions about tax deferrals, please visit the CRA website.

Entrepreneurship, Research and Development, Start-ups 

The plan to mobilize industry to fight COVID-19 was announced by the Federal government. This includes:  

  • The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which is set to deliver support to large-scale projects 
  • The National Research Council of Canada will expedite research and development with small and medium-sized enterprises 
  • The Innovation Superclusters are being asked to tap into their networks to help companies commercialize products more quickly 

More information about funding and programming is available through the following:   

If your business is able to provide an innovative solution to fight against COVID-19, you may be eligible to the following supercluster funding programs: 

  • Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster is leading the development of solutions to some of the biggest challenges created by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Program aims to find solutions to protect the health and safety of all Canadians and our economy through the development, deployment and scale-up of digital technologies. Learn more.  
  • NGen supercluster funding program - $50 million in Supercluster funding to support companies rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and projects may be eligible for 100% funding for projects that can be executed between April and June 2020. (Projects are not expected to exceed $5M in funding)  
  • Visit the Government of Canada website: Innovation funding and support

The following options may be available for you in case your company is adopting a digital technology or deploying its efforts in R&D to help fight against COVID-19.  

Assisting in the COVID-19 Response

Both the Government of Ontario and Canada are calling on businesses to help in the response to COVID19.  If your organization can provide medical supplies or services, visit these two portals:  

  • Ontario Together: Looking for supplies, innovation, innovative ideas and volunteers 

 

There is an electronic submission form on the page "Calling all suppliers" on Buyandsell.gc.ca. On that form, there is a question about “other” products and services. This is where you should indicate clearly what products and services you can supply that relate to the government’s emergency response to COVID-19 but were not included in the non-exhaustive list. 

The specifications for certain types of products, including certification standards where applicable, are listed on the Specifications for COVID-19 Products Products page on Buyandsell.gc.ca. 

Information relating to manufacturing and distributing Diagnostic tests, ventilators, disinfectants, PPE, vaccines and providing medical supplies can be found by visiting the Government of Canada Health Product Industry Website. 

The Government of Canada has issued a call to action for Canadian manufacturers needed to help combat COVID-19. If you can say yes to the following questions – they want to hear from you:  

  • You manufacture in Canada and/or have ready access to necessary inputs through your supply chain. 
  • You have equipment or facilities that can be rapidly re-tooled to meet medical needs, including for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks and surgical gowns; sanitizers; wipes; ventilators; and other medical equipment and supplies. 
  • You have skilled workers who are able to respond and who could be available for work in the current circumstances. 

Visit Government of Canada Call to Action for Canadian Manufacturers to learn more.

The Durham Region bid opportunities website provides the most up to date information on procurement requirements for PPE in response to the COVID 19 Emergency.  

For other information about local organizations, please contact your local municipality Economic Development office or email investdurham@durham.ca 

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is identifying the innovative technologies, SMEs and experts from across the province to help fill the current product and service gaps related to COVID-19. If you have a piece of the puzzle – whether it is an asset, a technology or a product – and are looking for collaborators to assist your efforts, they want to hear from you. 

Access the OCE Collaboration Platform here 

If your company is able to manufacture technology, equipment, and medical products to aid in the fight against COVID-19, you may be eligible for funding from:  

  • The Ontario Together Fund. $50 million in provincial funding to help companies retool, build capacity, or adopt the technological changes needed to produce supplies and equipment for hospitals, long-term care homes, and other critical public services. Funding will go towards the most viable, innovative proposals.  
  • Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen). Supercluster funding to support companies as they rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by building a Canadian supply of essential equipment, products, and therapeutics. Learn more
  • The National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program and Innovative Solutions Canada. Funding for small- and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 staff) to supply products or solutions in response to COVID-19 related challenges. Learn more