Ontario creates new website for small businesses dealing with COVID
by CM Staff
The province will allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove barriers hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario's supply chain
TORONTO — The Ontario government has launched the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses retooling their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit potential roadblocks to the website. The province will allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove barriers hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain, according to the government.
“We must be prepared to work with businesses and show some flexibility in helping them to overcome challenges they may have never faced before,” said Premier Doug Ford in a prepared statement. “This website will allow us to listen to and support businesses as they adapt to this new environment. At the same time, it should also make it easier for businesses to retool to produce the health-related supplies and equipment that our frontline workers need.”
“Clearly, it is not business as usual for anyone, and that’s why our government is prepared to temporarily adjust our processes, rules, and regulations to accommodate unforeseen circumstances,” added Prabmeet Sarkaria, associate minister of small business and red tape reduction. “I encourage everyone to visit our new website if there are any questions or concerns.”
Ontario says the website builds on steps taken to help businesses respond to COVID-19, including:
- providing $10 billion in provincial tax deferrals, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium deferrals, and other business supports;
- providing more than $900 million in urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords through a new program, the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA);
- providing $50 million to help businesses such as manufacturers and distilleries retool so they can produce health-related products and supplies, such as ventilators, gowns, face masks and hand sanitizer;
- permitting 24-hour construction for critical infrastructure;
- permitting 24-hour deliveries in every municipality across the province to help grocery stores and pharmacies keep their shelves stocked; and
- allowing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout or delivery orders.
The province is also pausing or extending any existing public consultations, delaying non-urgent related consultations while the emergency situation remains in place, and considering extending deadlines for reports and audits.