COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the Uptown Waterloo BIA continues to closely monitor the developments and their impact. Our first priority is to protect the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and membership. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the actions that are being taken by our association.

We have followed the advice of federal, provincial and local governments as well as Public Health. With those recommendations in mind, we have determined that BIA-related events until the end of June are all cancelled or postponed. These events require commitments of time and effort to plan and execute and the hard work of our staff and volunteers does not go unnoticed. We want to thank everyone who has helped and supported these events.

As the situation unfolds, we will continue to monitor the situation and the advice of public health officials.  We may have to make further decisions surrounding our services, events and activities in the future.

We will continue to post all news and updates on this page. 

See which businesses are open and which are closed on the following page:

Resources for Businesses

The following resources are specific to COVID-19. 

Region of Waterloo:

Province of Ontario:

Cushman-Wakefield:

Workplace Safety & Prevention Service (WSPS) Post-Pandemic Business Recovery Documents:

Retail Council of Canada Recovery Guides:

Other:

Guides to Government Support

Other

Destination Ontario

  • Destination Ontario is looking for inspirational and/or entertaining consumer-facing tourism virtual experiences to promote on their platforms. If there is anything from your destination, event, organization or operation that you think would fit the bill (like a live concert, tour, lecture, or other experience) please feel free to send to DO.info@ontario.ca

If you have an idea for a virtual experience, but need support to get it off the ground please contact Andrea Gardi at Regional Tourism: andrea@rto4.ca. I would love to discuss how we can partner on that initiative.

For more general and other resources, including free webinars and online workshops, see our Learning Resources for Businesses page. 

     

    Webinars

    Upcoming Webinars

    Updates

    Update: Sept. 17 - Prime Minister Announces Next Steps for Safe Restart Agreement

    Update: Thursday, September 17, 2020

     

    Federal Government Update

    Prime Minister announces next steps for Safe Restart Agreement

    As we move into the fall and the world continues to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, the Government of Canada remains focused on keeping Canadians safe and healthy, while continuing to ensure they have the supports needed during this global health and economic crisis.

    Yesterday, Prime Minister Trudeau shared the details of the investments that will be made through the Safe Restart Agreement. This will provide continued support to Canadians, as we safely restart our economy and build a more resilient Canada.  

    Through the Agreement, reached earlier this summer, the Government of Canada announced over $19 billion in federal funding to help provinces and territories safely restart the economy. Provinces and territories were asked to outline in a letter how these funds would best be allocated within their jurisdictions, based on their priorities. The premiers have now submitted the letters and the federal funding will be transferred to the provinces and territories.

    The Safe Restart Agreement supports measures to increase testing and contact tracing to protect Canadians from future waves of the virus. It will help support the capacity of our health care systems, including through services for people facing mental health challenges. It will also provide municipalities with funding so they can quickly deliver essential services, like public transit, that Canadians rely on every day, and secure a reliable source of personal protective equipment for essential workers. 

    The Agreement will also provide direct support to Canadian workers, including safe child care to help parents returning to work. It will also provide income support for people without paid sick leave, and takes steps to protect the most vulnerable, like Canada’s seniors.

    As we continue to deal with the health and economic challenges of the pandemic, the government will continue to invest in Canadians. Together, working with the provinces and territories, we will build a more resilient Canada – one that is healthier and safer, cleaner and more competitive, and fairer and more inclusive for everyone.

     

    Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on September 17, 2020

    In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement today:

    “There have been 139,747 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,193 deaths. 88% of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada tested an average of 47,111 people daily over the past week with 1.4% testing positive. An average of 779 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days.

    The ongoing increase in new cases being reported daily continues to give cause for concern. With continued circulation of the virus, the situation could change quickly and we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels.”

    Read the rest of the statement here

     

    Provincial Government Update

    Ontario Introduces Legislation to Freeze Residential Rent in 2021

    The Ontario government has introduced the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act that would, if passed, freeze rent in 2021 for most rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units. The bill would provide the vast majority of Ontario’s tenants with financial relief as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.

    The Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act also proposes to change the Commercial Tenancies Act to extend the temporary ban on evictions for commercial tenants. The ban was initially in place from May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, to align with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This temporary ban would continue to apply to businesses that are eligible for federal-provincial rent assistance through the CECRA for small businesses, but their landlord chose not to apply for the program. The ban will protect small businesses from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19.

    Read more about this here

     

    Ontario Launches New COVID-19 Screening Tool to Help Protect Students and Staff

    The Ontario government launched a new voluntary interactive screening tool to assist parents, students and staff with the daily assessment of COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors that is required before attending school. The results will let parents, students, and education staff know whether they should attend school each day or guide at-risk individuals to proper resources. This tool is another layer of prevention that the province is using to protect the health and safety of students, staff, and the communities where they live and work.

    Read more about this here

     

    Province Ramps Up Production of Ontario-Made Ventilators

    The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million through the Ontario Together Fund in Guelph-based Linamar Corp. to support the retooling of its assembly line to manufacture ventilator components to produce 10,000 Ontario-made e700 ventilators. O-Two Medical Technologies partnered with Linamar Corp. and other partners, including Bombardier, to produce these lifesaving devices to enhance future preparedness and help patients with severe cases of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

    Read more about this here

     

    Fall Open Air Market

    Sundays, 9 am – 1 pm, September 27 – October 25

    Waterloo City Hall Parking Lot, 100 Regina St. S.

    Following the success of our weekly summer market on Willis Way—which saw over 1700 visitors overall, an average of 400 each week—Uptown Waterloo is excited to be hosting a Fall Open Air Market on Sundays from 9 am to 1 pm, September 27 through October 25!  We are partnering with local vendors and businesses to offer the community an opportunity to safely visit Uptown Waterloo to shop local foods, retail items, artisans and more!

    We are inviting outside vendors to participate in the market with a fee of $50, which will go into the Come Back Up Fund. Uptown businesses are also encouraged to participate and this fee will be waived. 

    For more information about being a vendor, contact Dawne Taylor-Gilders: dawne.gilders@waterloo.ca

     

    Webinar: Small Business Stories

    Saturday, September 19, 2:00 – 3:00 pm

    Hosted by Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE Program powered by Google, the Small Business Stories event will bring local small business owners together for an engaging discussion. They will discuss challenges, victories, digital transformation and takeaways for fellow small business owners.

    Register here

     

    Lumen Lite

    Saturday, September 26, 2020
    6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

    Installations throughout uptown Waterloo

    Lumen is an annual, free, all-ages festival that is open to the public and run by the City of Waterloo’s Arts and Culture team, Create Waterloo. The event features the work of artists as they explore the interplay of light, art, and technology in installations located throughout uptown Waterloo.

    Traditionally hosting 30+ visual, interactive, new media, and performance-based installations, the event is adapted in 2020 to accommodate for the safety procedures of the COVID-19 pandemic. Introducing: Lumen Lite.

    Looking a little different this year, the event will still host 10+ art installations taking place all outdoors, with physical-distancing measures in place, and masks required for participation. Installations will still be interactive, but in new, contact-less ways. An exciting new addition is the drone light show at 9 p.m. above Waterloo Park. Attendees will watch as 100 drones swarm, choreographed to form images with colourful, LED lights. Spread out and enjoy the light show, which can be seen within 750 metres of Silver Lake!

    Learn more about Lumen Lite and explore the event map on the new website lumenfestival.ca

    Update: Sept. 15 - Health Preparedness and Rebuilding the Economy Top Priorities in Ontario's Fall Legislative Agenda

    Update: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

     

    Federal Government Update

    Government of Canada COVID-19 measures delivering support for young people this fall

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on Canada’s youth, with many seeing their summer jobs, internships and graduation plans disappear. To help our country’s students and young people during this unprecedented time, the Government of Canada introduced a comprehensive emergency support package earlier this year. This includes the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which has provided income support to over 700,000 post-secondary students and recent graduates across the country since its launch.

    With the school year just getting started, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, Andy Fillmore, on behalf of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, visited the Young Women’s Christian Association of Halifax (YWCA Halifax) and announced an investment of $1 million for YWCA Halifax’s Launch Atlantic project under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS).

    Read more about this here.

     

    Provincial Government Update

    Health Preparedness and Rebuilding the Economy Top Priorities in Ontario’s Fall Legislative Agenda

    The Ontario government is returning to the legislature, ready to continue implementing its made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and long-term recovery. The government’s fall legislative agenda will build on the work undertaken over the summer, focusing on job creation, skills training, attracting investment, strengthening communities, and fortifying the front lines of the province’s health care system.

    Priorities for the upcoming session include:

    • Investing in Ontario’s health care system to ensure the province is prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19 and for any future public health challenges;
    • Building Ontario’s production capacity for personal protective equipment, ventilators and other medical gear so the province never has to rely on any other jurisdiction again for these critical supplies;
    • Protecting families and those most vulnerable and helping them get back on their feet as the province reopens;
    • Helping young people and workers receive the skills training they need to join the modern workforce and contribute to the recovery of the province;
    • Accelerating the construction of critical highway, transit and broadband infrastructure projects to create jobs and boost the local economies of communities across Ontario;
    • Providing relief to Mainstreet Ontario and small business owners so they can recover from the impact of COVID-19 faster and get back to the work of building their business; and
    • Expanding manufacturing by creating the conditions to bring investment and jobs to the province and world-class, Ontario-made products to consumers around the world.

    Read more about this here.

    Ontario Investing in Hospital Upgrades and Repairs

    The Ontario government is investing $175 million this year to address critical upgrades, repairs and maintenance in 129 hospitals across the province, including $50 million for COVID-19 related and other urgent projects. Through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund, this funding will help hospitals maintain their infrastructure and ensure a safe and comfortable environment for patients to receive care.

    Read more about this here.

     

    Region of Waterloo Update: Compost Now Available

    Compost will be available at both the Cambridge and Waterloo transfer stations effective today.  Residents of Waterloo Region can pick up small quantities of compost at no cost at our transfer stations from today until the first snowfall, as supplies last.  Here are the details:

    • Maximum five bushels
    • Bring your own shovel and containers
    • Location and hours:
      • 925 Erb Street West (Gate 2), Waterloo, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
      • 201 Savage Drive, Cambridge, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Residents are reminded to practice physical distancing while on-site.

    Find more information about The Region of Waterloo’s programs and services on their website at www.regionofwaterloo.ca/waste.

    Waterloo Region Small Business Centre Workshop
    Retail Reset: Thriving in the New Retail Climate

    Tuesday, September 22, 10:30 – 11:30 am
    with the owner of Uni+Koncept


    If you’re looking for new ways to connect with customers to help increase sales, looking for alternative business models and revenue streams, continue consumer interaction and maintain both a healthy business and healthy habits that make customers feel safe in your store, this webinar will unveil best practices for online and offline retailers alike to consider when it comes to delivering products to consumers.

    • Learn from a successful local retail owner
    • Tips, tricks, and best practices
    • Adopting, pivoting & overcoming challenges
    • Q&A
    • Peer round-table discussion

    Register here.

     

    Tourism Industry Association of Ontario: Survey

    The Tourism Industry in Ontario is a $36bn industry that supports over 200,000 businesses and 400,000 jobs. It provides billions in tax revenues and helps to drive economic growth in our province. As we enter the early stages of recovery and a slow reopening of our economy, we know that the catastrophic effects of COVID-19 mean our industry will require prolonged and targeted support to survive a period of adaptation and reduced and limited operations.

    Help  TIAO and OBIAA shape our message to government on what support you need to secure your businesses future and ensure the tourism industry bounces back stronger than ever. As we approach a November budget, it’s never been more important for our industry to be at the decision-making table with a clear and strong message.

    Please take a few minutes to complete the survey below and help us move forward together.

    Update: Sept. 11 - Prime Minister Announces Support for Black Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

    Update: Friday, September 11, 2020

     

    Federal Government Update

    Prime Minister announces support for Black entrepreneurs and business owners

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated existing systemic barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business owners in Canada. While we have made progress in advancing equitable access to support and opportunities, much more needs to be done to better help Black business owners and entrepreneurs, and address anti-Black racism.

    This week, Prime Minister announced investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including up to nearly $93 million from the Government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. This program will help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country recover from this crisis and grow their businesses.

    The program will include:

    • up to $53 million to develop and implement a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. It will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.
    • up to $33.3 million in support through the new Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Government of Canada is also partnering with financial institutions, including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings, to make up to $128 million available in additional lending support.
    • up to $6.5 million to create and sustain a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. The Hub will be run by Black-led community and business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions.

    The government is committed to working closely with Black business owners and Black-led organizations across Canada so that the new Black Entrepreneurship Program reflects the realities and needs of Black Canadians. The new program builds on the Government of Canada’s work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians. This includes taking steps to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards, and enhanced local community supports for young Black Canadians.

     

    Provincial Government Update

    Ontario Expanding Innovative Mental Health and Addictions

    The Ontario government is providing an additional $14.75 million to increase access to mental health and addictions services across the province. This funding will help support people from all walks of life during this unprecedented time, including families, young people, children, frontline workers, and Indigenous communities.

    This investment was provided through the Support for People and Jobs Fund and will help community-based mental health and addictions programs meet increasing service demands.

    Read more about it here

    New Research Projects Aim to Improve Ontario’s Response to COVID-19

    Ontario is investing over $2.9 million to fund eight research projects that aim to support Ontario’s response to COVID-19. These projects will focus on a wide variety of areas such as supporting the mental health and well-being of families and children, assessing the long-term health effects of COVID-19, the development of an app to better manage the care of patients, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of wearing masks to block the virus. 

    These research projects will inform the health response to COVID-19 and ensure patients continue to receive quality care for their physical and mental wellness.

    Read more about this here.

     

    Uptown Safety

    Waterloo Regional Police have notified us of plans to open three new shelter sites in Waterloo, which may impact the Uptown core as far as more marginalized persons seen during the day or evening hours. In addition, the BIA has been made aware of a significant theft that occurred last night in the area of Regina and Dupont Sts. 

    In light of both of these things, WRPS is encouraging businesses to be diligent in keeping their property clean, tidy and locked and for valuable items to be kept secure. A good resource to use is the Business Audit checklist on the WRPS website. Businesses are reminded to report any suspicious behavior and in-progress emergencies to police.

    Police will continue business as usual with visibility and pro-active visits.

    Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin: Waterloo Region Showing Signs of Recovery

    The Region’s unemployment rate stayed steady at 12.9% in July and August, but that number doesn’t truly reflect the area’s possible signs of recovery. From July to August of 2020, the labour force grew by 7,000 continuing the reversal of the downward trend from March to June. While there has been a slight uptick in the number of unemployed (up 900 people), the Region is seeing its participation rate return to pre-pandemic levels with 68% of the labour force participating.

    Recent stats also show that there has been an increase overall in the number of businesses in Waterloo Region from December 2019 to June 2020. Construction and transportation and warehousing businesses saw significant staff reductions while accommodation and food services and retail businesses had some stabilization around business numbers, but employee levels shifted both up and down with no emerging trend.

    See a related story from Kitchenertoday.com here

    Update: Sept. 10 - Provincial Government Taking Four Week Pause on Further Loosening of Public Health Measures

    Update: Thursday, September 10, 2020

     

    Federal Government Update

    In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement yesterday:

    “There have been 133,748 cases of COVID-19 reported in Canada, including 9,153 deaths. 88% of people have now recovered. Over the past week, 47,806 people were tested daily, with 1.1% of people testing positive. An average of 618 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days.”

    Read the rest of the statement here

     

    Provincial Government Update

    At Tuesday’s Provincial press conference, Ontario’s Health Minister announced that the government is taking a four week pause before considering any further loosening of public health measures or further reopening of businesses, facilities, and organizations. This decision was made in part due to the recent increase in number of positive COVID-19 cases in Ontario. You can listen to the press conference here (Minister Elliot begins speaking at the 3:30 mark).

    Ontario-Québec Summit Strengthens Ties between the Two Provinces

    Yesterday, Premier Doug Ford and Québec Premier François Legault concluded a successful Ontario-Québec Summit, where their governments agreed to collaborate on accelerating economic recovery and job creation, working towards increasing health care funding sustainability and preparedness, and advancing other areas of mutual benefit for the people of Ontario and Québec. At the summit, Ontario and Québec agreed to continue their collaboration to share lessons learned from the pandemic and prepare their health care systems for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

    Read more about this here.

    Ontario Takes Extraordinary Steps to Reopen Schools Safely

    As students, teachers and staff return to school, the Ontario government is providing up to $1.3 billion in critical supports and has delivered more than 37 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely reopen classrooms across the province. These investments are part of Ontario’s comprehensive back to school plan which was developed in consultation with medical experts, school boards, and educators.

    Read more about this here

     

    City of Waterloo Update

    Parking enforcement resumes Sept. 15, 2020

    The City of Waterloo waived certain parking restrictions in neighbourhoods and eased parking enforcement from March to September 2020 to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As more businesses reopen and students return to school, warning tickets will be issued from Sept. 8 – 15 to give people time to reacquaint themselves with parking requirements. The City will resume enforcement of parking time limits, overnight parking registrations and school zone parking in our neighbourhoods as of Sept. 15, 2020.

    For more information about parking in Waterloo, visit waterloo.ca/parking

    Follow-up Survey: Street Closures in Uptown

    Summer 2020

    The City of Waterloo closed Willis Way and Princess Street West in July and August as a way to encourage active transportation and to help businesses expand patios. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts in the short (5-minute) survey linked below by 5:00 pm on Thursday, September 24.  

    Take the survey here

    Update: Sept. 8 - Government Announces Extension of Rent Relief for Small Businesses

    Update: Tuesday, September 8, 2020

     

    Federal Government Update

    Government Announces Extension of Rent Relief for Small Businesses

    Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, the Honourable Mary Ng, announced that Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September. All provinces and territories continue to participate in this initiative and collaborate with the federal government to provide rent supports to those small businesses most in need. Current CECRA application deadlines will also be extended to accommodate this extension.

    Across the country, thousands of small businesses that were forced to close or were especially hard hit have been able to use CECRA to help cover rent and position themselves to reopen as the economy reopens. As of September 7, 2020, over 106,000 small business tenants have been supported, representing 994,000 employees, for a total of over $1.32 billion in rent support.

    The government is continuing to process thousands of applications worth hundreds of millions of additional dollars of support. Property owners are encouraged to continue to make use of CECRA for eligible tenants and to work to provide flexibility where possible to their tenants as they recover from the crisis. The federal government also continues to support the provincial banning of commercial evictions during the pandemic.

    This will be the final extension of this program as the government explores options to support small businesses as they face the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic — including the challenges of fixed costs at a time when health concerns and precautions prevent many businesses from operating at full capacity. The federal government will continue to ensure Canadian small businesses have the support they need.

     

    Provincial Government Update

    Province Supports Ontario-Made Face Masks in the Fight Against COVID-19

    The Ontario government is providing $2 million from the Ontario Together Fund to the Bracebridge-based company, Smart Safe Science, to make lighter, breathable, and more comfortable face masks. This investment will help the company create 50 local jobs and, when at full capacity, produce 200,000 made-in-Ontario masks monthly and build up regional personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing capacity to help protect healthcare and frontline workers across the province and ensure they continue their critical work during the outbreak of COVID-19.

    Read more about this here

     

    Third Straight Month of Employment Growth Marks Ontario’s Ongoing Economic Recovery

    On Friday, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, issued the following statement on Statistics Canada’s monthly employment release:

    “Today, Statistics Canada released its monthly employment numbers which showed an increase in Ontario of 141,800 jobs in August. This marks the third straight month of employment increases, a notable milestone as the province implements our made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery.   

    In the month of July employment increased by 150,700, and in the month of June 377,900 jobs were added, including 66,200 in the manufacturing sector.  

    While these numbers are positive, we have a long way to go to achieve a full economic recovery. As the fall approaches, we will continue to work with our world-class entrepreneurs and innovators, and prioritize made-in-Ontario solutions so that we can shape a sustainable economic climate that will benefit all Ontarians in every region of the province.”

    Read the rest of the statement here

     

    City of Waterloo – Road Closure Notices

    Wednesday, September 9, 7:00 am – Thursday, September 10, 4:00 pm

    Father David Bauer Dr. 
    In front of 101 Father David Bauer

    • Lane reduced for sewer manhole work
    • Two way traffic will be maintained with flagging; expect some delays

    Sunday, September 13, 6:00 pm – Monday, September 14, 6:00 am

    Dupont Street West
    Dorset to King North

    • Road closed for hydro work
    • No through traffic
    • Rain date: September 20

    For more road and trail closures, visit the City of Waterloo website

    Update: Sept. 4 - Ontario Government Protecting Laid-off Employees

    Update: Friday, September 4, 2020

     

    Provincial Government Update

    Ontario Extends Support for Employers and Employees Impacted by COVID-19

    The Ontario government is helping protect jobs and businesses by extending protection to prevent temporary layoffs from automatically becoming permanent job losses. Although Ontario is now in Phase 3 of reopening, this extension will give businesses more time to reopen and return to full operations. This extension will last until January 2, 2021. 

    Under Ontario labour laws, termination of an employee after 13 weeks of being temporarily laid off triggers costly payouts which, for many businesses, could be the difference between survival and closure. This regulatory amendment delays these terminations and severance liabilities.

    “As our government continues to take the necessary steps to safely reopen the economy, we need to protect the businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19.,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “The cost of termination and severance pay can make it impossible for a business to survive and reopen. That’s why we acted to make sure businesses survive and workers have jobs to come back to.”

     

    Ontario Providing In-Demand Skills Training to Over 15,000 People

    The Ontario government is providing $37 million to help more than 15,000 people train for new jobs and upgrade their skills to enable them to contribute to the province’s economic recovery. The funding will support 86 projects and provide training in high-demand skills like information technology, advanced manufacturing, truck driving, construction, and horticulture. The programs include internships and other hands-on learning experiences, and in most cases, the training is provided at no charge.

    Read more about this here

     

    City of Waterloo Update – Closure of Princess Street

    As a result of requests from businesses in the Princess St. area, the City of Waterloo has agreed to extend the road closure of Princess St. between Dorset St. and King St. until September 20.

    Please be sure to provide your feedback about the summer road closures here

     

    Region of Waterloo Reminder to Restaurants

    With the return of students to the Region, the Region of Waterloo wanted to provide some reminders regarding operation of restaurants with the current COVID-19 restrictions in place during Stage 3 of re-opening Ontario.

    All bars and restaurants are permitted to open for patio or indoor dining, following Public Health guidelines  and requirements of the Re-Opening of Ontario Act. Nightclubs are not yet deemed safe to operate as usual, however they can open for the purpose of serving food or drinks to patrons in accordance with the same conditions that apply to restaurants and bars.

    The operating conditions are as follows:

    1. All guests must be seated at all times except when entering or exiting the facility, walking through the facility to the washroom, walking up to place or pick up an order, or when necessary for health and safety purposes. Guests should not be congregating around other tables, the bar, or standing in groups.
    2. Physical distancing of at least 2m/6ft between guests from different tables and social circles must be practiced, unless booths can be separated by a plexiglass or other impermeable barrier.
    3. You must maintain a log and record the name and contact information of at least one member of every party of patrons that enters an indoor or outdoor dining area in the establishment. You can print and use the Patron Information Collection sign to help communicate this requirement. Find a template log you can use here.
    4. Singing or music may be performed by a person or group at a restaurant or bar provided that there is a barrier between the performers and guests and physical distancing is practiced between guests.
    5. Dancing is not permitted by guests. The only dancing allowed is that of a performer who would be subject to the same requirements listed above for a music performer, behind a plexiglass or impermeable barrier.
    6. Music is not to be played at an elevated volume in order to prevent servers and guests from having to lean close to one another to be heard speaking and to avoid yelling/speaking loudly.
    7. The Region of Waterloo Face Covering By-law  applies to all indoor public areas. Staff must wear masks when in the public facing areas and guests must wear masks at any time they are not eating or drinking (e.g. Entering or exiting the facility, walking through the facility to the washroom, walking up to place or pick up an order, or when necessary for health and safety purposes).
    8. If onsite security is employed, they should be managing and encouraging guests to remain seated.
    9. In washrooms, urinals and stalls should be alternated to provide distance between guests while using the washrooms.
    10. Physical distancing must also be managed for your guests lining up outside of your facility, awaiting entry. Distancing markings are required for areas outside of the facility to encourage patrons to maintain a 2m/6ft distance from their fellow patrons while they wait to enter the facility.
    11. With the return of students, the number of patrons wishing to attend your facility may increase. The number of patrons permitted inside your facility is determined by you, the operator, based on how many people can be inside the facility while maintaining physical distance of 2m/6ft between guests while seated at the tables.  

    Please connect with your area Public Health Inspector or call the Service First Call Centre at 519-575-4400 with any questions or concerns. 

     

    Waterloo Region Small Business Centre

    Starter Company Plus Program: Applications Open Now

    Want to Launch or Accelerate your Business? Then Starter Company PLUS may be for YOU!
    Starter Company Plus is a training and mentorship program for businesses less than 5 year in age. This program offers opportunities for training in Business Planning, Marketing, and Financials. There is also an ongoing mentorship opportunity for businesses that are approved into the program.

    Applicants must be over 18, and be looking to take their business full-time or expanding. There are funding opportunities of up to $5,000!

    Learn more and apply here

    Update: Sept. 3 - Ontario-Québec Summit to Convene on Economic Recovery

    Update: Thursday, September 3, 2020

    Federal Government Update

    Government of Canada announces over 1,000 new projects in support of seniors impacted by COVID-19 

    As seniors ensure their safety by staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to provide additional support and reduce seniors’ social isolation, which can take a toll on their mental health and well-being. Physical distancing cannot become social distancing.

    Today, the Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors, and Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Erin Mills, announced over 1,000 new projects delivered by community organizations across the country to support seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects are funded through an investment of $20 million in funding through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP).

    Read more about this here.

    Travel restrictions to Canada remain in place for September long weekend

    The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reminding all travellers ahead of the upcoming Labour Day long weekend that travel restrictions are still in place at all Canadian international border crossings.

    Read more about this here

     

    Provincial Government Update

    Ontario-Québec Summit to Convene on Economic Recovery

    Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Québec Premier François Legault will convene their first-ever Ontario-Québec Summit to advance shared priorities on economic recovery and health preparedness, issues important to the people of the two provinces. The summit will take place on September 8 and September 9, 2020 in Mississauga.

    “As the economic heart of Canada, Ontario and Québec have often joined forces to create prosperity for the people of our two provinces,” said Premier Ford. “While the path to economic recovery won’t be easy, we don’t have to go it alone. Our provinces must now work together at this critical juncture to help drive the country forward. I look forward to hosting Premier Legault and members of his cabinet to fast-track a shared path to recovery.”

    Reaffirming the strong partnership between their governments, the summit will provide an opportunity for Ontario and Québec to collaborate further as they seek to rebuild their economies and help get more families and businesses back on their feet. As Canada’s economic and manufacturing powerhouses, Ontario and Québec stand ready to work together to support a strong, resilient recovery for people and communities across the country.

    Read more about this here

    Ontario Protecting Transit Riders and Workers as Province Reopens

    As the province safely and gradually reopens and more people return to work, the Ontario government is partnering with public transit operators across the province to implement measures that will ensure transit workers and passengers can safely and confidently take public transit. The government has distributed comprehensive health and safety guidance documents and is providing significant funding to cover lost revenue, enhanced cleaning and other costs incurred because of COVID-19.

    Read more about this here

     

    City of Waterloo Reminder 

    Recycling Pick-up

    Businesses are reminded to have their recycling ready for pick-up Friday mornings. For more information, visit the Region of Waterloo website or call the Service Centre: 519-575-4400. 

     

    Region of Waterloo Reminder 

    Labour Day: Monday, September 7

    See a list of what’s open and closed on Labour Day on the Region’s website here

     

    HELP For Local Businesses Addressing COVID-19!

    Driven by the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses are quickly pivoting into new business models. Whether it is bricks and mortar retailers looking to transform into a hybrid online model or restaurants trying to find creative ways to fill the gap left by 50% less dining space, technology solutions and revised business operations are going to play a critical role in the transformations taking place.

    The Information Technology Business Analysis Operations (ITBAO) program at Conestoga College is looking for businesses that have real-world problems to be solved! The ITBAO program is a post-degree 4-semester program for information technology and other professionals seeking to become IT Business Analysts. In mid-October, over 100 ITBAO students will start working on a course project in which they will work with local businesses to:

    • learn about the business goals, objectives and needs
    • document the current state
    • identify one or more areas that will be impacted by the transition to a post-COVID19 business model
    • identify the business, stakeholder, solution and transition requirements associated with the business areas selected
    • establish selection and evaluation criteria and key performance indicators for potential solutions
    • recommend one or more technology solutions
    • develop a solution prototype (e.g. web site an online reservation system)
    • perform a GAP analysis between the current and future state
    • provide a Return On Investment (ROI) analysis on potential solution(s)

    At the end of the 9-week course, participating businesses will get a prototype, report and presentation suitable for use in implementing the recommended operational changes and technologies. These deliverables could support the development of business plans, grant applications or financing applications. Businesses participating in this project should be available to participate in an online kick-off meeting on Monday, October 19th and final project presentations on December 14th. Within the first several weeks of the project, participating businesses shall provide a detailed response to a consolidated e-mail with student questions.

    This project represents an excellent opportunity to explore a wide variety of operational and technological ideas ranging from online stores to integrated marketing, scheduling and resource management.

    For more information, please contact:
    David Petro, P.Eng., Professor
    School of Workforce Development, Continuing Education, and Online Learning
    Conestoga College – ITAL
    dpetro@conestogac.on.ca

     

    Community Foundations of Canada: Investment Readiness Program

    Applications now open for new round of Investment Readiness funding for local Social Purpose Organizations in Waterloo Region, Guelph, Stratford, Perth South and Centre Wellington to grow their positive impact

    KITCHENER, ON — Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) is offering eligible social purpose organizations that are working to do more good in Waterloo Region, Guelph, Stratford, Perth South and Centre Wellington the opportunity to access non-repayable capital through the Investment Readiness Program (IRP).

    Social enterprise is creating meaningful jobs, advancing new revenue possibilities and addressing social challenges to build back better after COVID-19. Social purpose organizations will be better prepared to receive investment, including through the Government of Canada’s Social Finance Fund.

    Read more about this here

     

    Message from Dr. Anthony Vannelli, Provost and VP: Academic, Wilfrid Laurier University

    After carefully considering the options and potential future scenarios in this rapidly-evolving environment, as well as getting advice from public health professionals, we have decided that the majority of the winter 2021 term will continue to be offered in a remote and online format, with select in-person courses resuming as outlined below.

    In consultation with the deans and academic leaders in the faculties, we will determine which courses and/or programs may be able to resume in-person instruction. These decisions will be guided by the following principles:

    • Providing a safe environment as determined by public health and university requirements for students, faculty, and staff;
    • Following all of the rules set out by the government and university, such as physical distancing, limits on size of gatherings, and use of personal protective equipment;
    • Providing options so that no student is required to return to in-person instruction; and
    • Preparing so that all programs that resume in-person instruction can return to fully on-line/remote programming if the situation changes.

    Although this means that the winter term will be similar to the fall term, I want to assure you that the university is very carefully considering which courses could return to in-person instruction in winter term 2021. Specifically, we will be looking at the following types of courses/programs to see which could be considered for a return to in-person format, and providing a detailed list in late September:

    • Experiential learning courses that take place off-site (e.g. at a placement location);
    • Research-based courses that require access to laboratories for data collection and analysis;
    • Practical study courses that require access to learning materials (e.g. instruments); and/or
    • Courses that fulfil licensing or accreditation requirements.

    Because the winter term is also the final term for many students scheduled to graduate, there will also be a special focus on ensuring that students have the opportunity to complete courses that are required for graduation and that require some form of in-person instruction.

    We are continuing to work through many of the details and we continue to update our website content as decisions get made.

    Update: Sept. 1 - Federal Government Extends Application Deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

    Update: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

    Federal Government Update

    New measures to ensure the supply of future vaccines and therapies against COVID-19

    Yesterday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that agreements in principle have been reached with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax to procure millions of doses of experimental COVID?19 vaccines. These agreements add to those already reached with Pfizer and Moderna, which were made following the recommendations of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.

    With these additional agreements in place, Canada has now secured access to four of the leading vaccine candidates. The government will continue to negotiate and sign other agreements with a number of leading pharmaceutical companies, to ensure the supply of potential vaccines in Canada.

    The Prime Minister also announced funding to establish a new biomanufacturing facility at the Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre in Montréal. Through a public-private partnership, the new building will enable the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to increase vaccine manufacturing to up to two million doses per month by next year. This will help ensure our country’s ability to produce enough doses of the vaccine for Canadians who need them, such as front line workers, long-term care workers, and those at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract COVID-19.

    The Government of Canada will continue to explore and pursue all promising options to ensure the supply of potential vaccines and better protect the health and safety of Canadians.

    Government announces greater flexibility and extension of Canada Emergency Business Account

    The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced yesterday that the application deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is extended from August 31 to October 31, 2020. The government is working closely with financial institutions to make the CEBA program available to those with qualifying payroll or non-deferrable expenses that have so far been unable to apply due to not operating from a business banking account. Further details on these changes will be released in coming days, including a new business account opening process through which qualifying businesses will be able to apply.

    The Deputy Prime Minister is also announcing that the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is extended to June 2021. Through BCAP, the government is supporting the flow of additional credit that businesses need to maintain operations and keep employees on the payroll. Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will continue to work with lenders to support access to capital for Canadian businesses of all sizes in all sectors and regions.

    CEBA and BCAP are both part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which is helping Canadians and businesses deal with the economic impact of the ongoing pandemic. The measures under this plan are helping businesses protect the jobs that Canadians depend on, keep their doors open, and bounce back as the economy gradually recovers.

    Unfortunately, the pair offered nothing about the CECRA program, which ended August 31. Freeland said in a news conference in Toronto that she has been speaking to provincial and territorial finance ministers about ways governments can offer new support to small businesses, including for fixed costs such as rent. “We’re working on it, and we’re going to have more to say about it very soon,” she said.

     

    Provincial Government Update

    Ontario Helps Young People Along the Path to Lifelong Success

    As the province gradually starts to recover, Ontario is creating opportunities for young people through the inaugural work and membership of the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity. To further support disadvantaged youth and job seekers from underrepresented groups, the province is investing $2.2 million to help them develop the skills they need for successful careers.

    Read more about this here

     

    Canada United Small Business Relief Fund

    The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund grant window application opened yesterday. This fund is managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network in support of other Chambers and partners to help small Canadian businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.

    The grant can be used for purchasing PPE, renovating physical spaces to adhere to reopening guidelines, and developing/improving e-commerce capabilities for your business.

    Learn more about the program and eligibility criteria here.

     

     

    Zown: Launch a curbside pick-up program with a few clicks

     
    Sign up today for Zown, a local Waterloo-based startup helping small businesses provide easy curbside pick-up and delivery options to their customers.

    How Can Zown help your business?

    • Create 100% contactless pick-ups
    • Alleviate downtime & confusion 
    • Attract new customers through additional delivery providers

    Get started at App.zown.it – it’s free to use. Add your business and designate the ideal location where drivers should stop to pick up their order from you. Once you’re setup, we’ll help inform your customers and delivery drivers where to go when picking up orders.

    Sponsorship Opportunity: Kidspired Media

    Kidspired Media has put together a special ‘welcome back’ offer to help reconnect your business to thousands of families in Waterloo.

    You have the opportunity to sponsor two indoor soccer teams (one boys & one girls team) plus get a digital advertisement for just $595.  That is a savings of over $600!  Waterloo Minor Soccer is very popular with local families and keeps your business connected to your community all season long.

    Sponsorship is a welcomed form of advertising.  Youth sports sponsorships are a positive and engaging way to market your business.  Parents like to support companies that are supporting local sports!

    We have a limited number of teams available.  If you would like to take advantage of this great opportunity, please contact John today at john.macintosh@kidspired.ca.

    Previous Updates - July
    Previous Updates - June

    Uptown BIA Office

    The City of Waterloo has reopened City Hall to the public as of Monday, June 15. As of Monday, June 22, one member of the BIA team will be in the office (while the rest of the team continues to work remotely) during the following summer hours:

    Monday – Thursday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
    Friday 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

    If you need to come into the office to purchase Uptown dollars and/or parkade tokens or for any other reason, please call the office at 519-885-1921 or email us at uptownwaterloobia@waterloo.ca to make an appointment.

     

    Regarding Spotlight Waterloo Events/Funding:

    We will continue to assess information collected by the Region of Waterloo Public Health, Destination Ontario and Destination Canada and update the status of upcoming events.

    If you have received Spotlight Waterloo funding and are considering cancelling your event, please send us communication in writing as soon as possible so that we can work together to come up with an action plan. This may include re-scheduling your event – in which case you may still be entitled to the approved funding.

    If re-scheduling your event is not an option, and you have received 50% of your approved Spotlight funding, we will require the 50% funding deposit returned to us and will require submission of a new Spotlight application if you are planning to run your event at a later date.

    Financial Support for Businesses and their Employees

    For employees:

    • To help businesses hold on to their employees, the federal government is providing a temporary wage subsidy equal to 75% for the first $58,700 of salary, up to $847 per week. All businesses – the number of employees on the payroll doesn’t matter – that have seen revenue drop by 30% or more because of COVID-19 are eligible for the wage subsidy. This measure is retroactive to March 15. Businesses can re-hire recently let-go workers and place them on subsidized wages. The Department of Finance will release technical information (e.g. how to obtain the wage subsidy) for employers in the coming days.
    • To help businesses avoid layoffs, the federal government is also enhancing the Work-Sharing Program. The program works this way: Instead of being laid off, multiple workers’ hours and pay are reduced, with the federal government making up the shortfall in the workers’ income.

    For businesses:

    • More credit is available to Canadian businesses through the new Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP). You can access the BCAP via BDC or EDC.
    • Through the Canada Emergency Business Account, banks will soon offer $40,000 loans, guaranteed by the government and interest-free for the first year, to small businesses. If recipients meet certain conditions, $10,000 will be forgivable. The government will release more details in the coming days.
    • More generally, the federal government is providing additional liquidity to Canadian banks. In return, the banks have committed to working with companies to help them get through COVID-19. Talk to your bank if you haven’t already done so.
    • Businesses can defer, until after Aug. 31, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 19 and before September. In addition, GST/HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports, are deferred until June.
    • In Ontario, the provincial government is helping businesses with cash flow through a number of measures: payment of most provincial taxes is deferred for five months without penalty or interest; Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) payments are deferred for six months; municipalities will be providing property tax relief; and most businesses are not required to pay the Employer Health Tax.
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