Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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Toronto Mayor Tory launches campaign to help small businesses during their pandemic recovery

At Trinity Common, Mayor John Tory announced a new business supports campaign to help make small business owners and operators more aware of grants, incentives, training and other available resources as they recover from the pandemic. Small businesses, including restaurants, are encouraged to take advantage of these resources, which include access to one-on-one virtual assistance, COVID-19 guidelines, and links to other financial resources and relief measures.

At the announcement, the Mayor was joined by Minister Lisa MacLeod, Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries; Arif Virani, Member of Parliament, Parkdale-High Park and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development; and Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre).

Small businesses are a vital part of what makes Toronto a great place to live, work, invest in and visit. Small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) make up close to 98 per cent of all businesses in the city and employ approximately 60 per cent of Toronto’s workforce. Together, COVID-19-related restrictions and closures, along with changes in consumer demand, technology and labour supply, have made it challenging for certain small businesses to operate profitably, let alone plan or invest for future growth with confidence.

The City is committed to having local businesses thrive once more and is working closely with many partners, including other orders of government and business associations, to provide training, grants, incentives, advisory services, enhanced access to space (through programs like CaféTO), a new small business property tax sub-class and other supports.

“Small businesses across our city have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to provide them as much support as possible we are launching a campaign that will connect them to the resources that are available to them. Toronto’s small businesses and restaurants are vital to our city’s success and we know it will take a lot of work from everyone to ensure that they can continue thriving. I want to thank the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, for providing much-needed support and funding to help small businesses and restaurants recover from the impacts of the pandemic. I encourage small business owners and operators to learn more about these programs and take advantage of them so that we can move forward together and come back stronger than ever,” Mayor John Tory said.

To ensure equitable opportunities to access the financial supports available, the City’s campaign will include multilingual, community and neighbourhood targeted advertising and outreach. The City’s webpages are translatable into 51 languages and free access to a translation service is available for calls to 311 upon request, to help remove any potential language barriers.

Key small business supports provided by the City currently include:

Toronto Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative

To assist small businesses in Toronto to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Opens in new window is providing up to $18 million for six inclusive and sustainable economic recovery projects, including CaféTO.

Free business webinars

The City, with support from the Government of Ontario through the Small Business Enterprise Centre program, offers year-round, free online learning opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners, from regularly scheduled seminars such as marketing, tax literacy and e-commerce to large networking events.

Digital transformation resources for businesses

Provides businesses with help accessing and adopting digital tools, technologies and services, including the Digital Main Street Program and ShopHERE powered by Google.

CaféTO

Back for 2022, CaféTO provides restaurants and bars in Toronto with the opportunity to expand and offer outdoor dining space through sidewalk cafés, curb lane cafés or patios on private property. Restaurant operators can apply for sidewalk café permits or register for curb lane cafés. The deadline to register for curb lane cafés is Saturday, April 2.

Small business tax subclass

In 2022, many small businesses in Toronto will benefit from the new Small Business Tax Subclass and a 15 per cent reduction in the commercial property municipal tax rate.

The City also encourages businesses to actively participate in and benefit from the services provided by local Business Improvement Areas.

Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee, said, “Toronto’s small businesses employ tens of thousands of people and comprise the backbone of our economy. To support them, the City offers an array of grants, incentives, training and other instruments to help small business get started and grow. I encourage small business operators to learn more about these programs, and I urge Torontonians to make a point of patronizing local businesses and restaurants in all neighbourhoods across the city.”

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