Team STC is committed to helping entrepreneurs in St. Catharines access tools, programs and funding opportunities to support and enhance their businesses.
City Support for Businesses
- COVID-19 Non-residential Property Tax Deferral Program
COVID-19 Non-residential Property Tax Deferral Program
The City of St. Catharines is offering tax relief to non-residential property owners to provide support from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This new program is open to owners of the following non-residential properties who can demonstrate financial hardship related to COVID-19. If the application is approved, property tax payments can be deferred from July 31 and Oct. 30 to Nov. 30, 2020.
- occupied commercial
- shopping centre
- parking lot or
- office property
This application-based program offers assistance to commercial property owners who have no other financial options and who continue to experience severe financial impacts. Property owners with tenants are expected to transfer the benefits of this deferral to their tenant, in order to support our local business owners.
Applications must be accompanied by documents that demonstrate financial hardship from excessive business revenue loss or temporary business closure, or some other financial hardship related directly to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All other property taxes and subclasses do not qualify for the deferral, including residential, multi residential, new multi residential, farm landfill, managed forest, vacant land, excess land, farmland awaiting development, industrial, large Industrial and all payment in lieu.
Support for Businesses
- Canada United Small Business Relief Fund
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund is offering grants up to $5,000 to eligible small businesses to help cover the costs of physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements. The grant can also be used to help with the cost of Personal Protection Equipment and enhance e-commerce capabilities so businesses can do more business online. Canadian small businesses can learn more and apply for the grant online.
The new application window will for the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund will open on Monday, October 26, 2020.
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund will be 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 intention is to support local businesses of all kinds from across the country (from retailers to barbershops to farmers).
If awarded, a relief grant can be used for any of the following activities purchased, before applying:
- Purchased Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and latex gloves.
- Renovated physical space to adhere to local, Provincial or Federal reopening guidelines.
- Developed or improved e-commerce capabilities for your business.
- Digital Main Street Digital
St. Catharines main street small businesses could be eligible for a $2,500 digital transformation grant through Digital Main Street.
The program is focused on assisting main street small businesses adopt technologies.
Read about how a Digital Transformation Grant helped Little Chief and Co. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digital Service Squad
Our Digital Service Squad is ready to help support main street businesses in our downtown, in Port Dalhousie and on Queenston and Facer streets adapt to the online world.
The squad will be reaching out soon to provide one-on-one support on enhancing your online presence.
Meet the Squad
Small Business Stories Webinar
Mike McKenna from Little Chief Dog and Co. will join other small businesses sharing their experiences with the Digital Main Street 'Small Stories' panel.
Hosted by Digital Main Street's ShopHERE Program powered by Google program, the free webinar is set for Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
- Ins and outs of being a small business owner
- Challenges and wins (COVID-19 and more)
- Business impact through going digital
- Takeaways for small business owners
Help customers find you with a FREE business listing on PickUpSTC.
List your operating hours, pickup and delivery options, status for patio and dining room, health and safety guidelines and more so customers know before they go.
All businesses, including retail, fitness studios, spas and personal care, are welcome to join PickUpSTC.
- Recovery Activation Program (RAP)
COVID-19 has left many Canadian businesses scrambling to pivot digitally in order to meet the new needs of their customers. Making big changes to how you do business can be daunting at the best of times, but it doesn’t have to be – not when you have the right expertise and support to make it happen.
That’s precisely why the Toronto Region Board of Trade and World Trade Centre Toronto created the Recovery Activation Program (RAP). This new, free initiative is designed to help businesses improve their digital capacity, and build their network through curated programs that will help them take the next step toward their digital restructuring.
Participants start this process by completing the Digital Needs Assessment, which will gauge their digital competencies against industry benchmarks and allow course experts to connect them with the program that is best suited to their needs.
The learning framework of the program is built around five key pillars:
Learn how to use technology to transform internal processes like HR, and business opportunities like sales management and
customer relationship management.
Discover the equipment and techniques needed to make digital transformation possible.
STRUCTURAL AND REGULATORY ALIGNMENT
Ensure your approaches meet legal and regulatory requirements.
DIGITAL RESTRUCTURE FINANCING
Get access to the right mentors, resources, and investors to prepare businesses to undertake a restructuring.
MARKETING AND SALES
Explore how leveraging data-driven marketing and sales insights can guide business forward.
The program offers participants unprecedented access to engage with industry leaders, and build their personalized plan to digitally grow their business – at no cost to them.
A strong digital approach can help all businesses operate better, create new opportunities, and support future growth. RAP ensures that participants feel confident they are approaching their digital transformation the right way.
- ShopHERE Powered by Google
St. Catharines small businesses: here's your chance to build an eCommerce site for free.
ShopHERE powered by Google Canada is providing independent small businesses and artists with a quick, easy and no-cost way to get selling online right away. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of having an online presence to sell goods and services. To address this need, Digital Main Street is collaborating with Google, Shopify, Mastercard and Microsoft to build and optimize online stores for small independent businesses and artists in just a matter of days.
COVID-19 Support for Businesses
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID‑19.
UPDATE: September 30 is the last day to apply for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance. Apply now to support your tenants with rent relief.
CECRA provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners, whether they have a mortgage on their property or not. The loans cover 50 per cent of three to six monthly rent payments for eligible small business tenants during April, May, June, July, August and September.
The loans will be forgiven if the qualifying property owner agrees to reduce their small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent under a rent reduction agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Canadian employer who have seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19 may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of employee wages, retroactive to March 15. This subsidy will enable employers to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease back into normal operations.
Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy are open.
Eligible employers who had any drop in revenue can now qualify for the wage subsidy, starting with the claim periods that began July 5.
Eligible employers would include individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non‑profit organizations and registered charities.
This subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 15 per cent of their revenue in March 2020 and 30 per cent for the following months. In applying for the subsidy, employers would be required to attest to the decline in revenue.
Amount of Subsidy
The subsidy amount for a given employee on eligible remuneration paid in respect of the period between March 15 and June 6, 2020 would be the greater of:
75 per cent of the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week; and
the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week or 75 per cent of the employee's pre-crisis weekly remuneration, whichever is less.
Employers will also be eligible for a subsidy of up to 75 per cent of salaries and wages paid to new employees.
Eligible remuneration may include salary, wages, and other remuneration like taxable benefits.
- Canada Emergency Business Account
The Canada Emergency Business Account is intended to support businesses by providing financing for expenses that cannot be avoided or deferred as they take steps to safely navigate a period of shutdown, thereby helping to position them for successful relaunch when the economy reopens.
This $55 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits.
Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).
As of June 26, 2020, businesses eligible for CEBA now include owner-operated small businesses that do not have a payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll.
Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.
To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.
- Canada United Small Business Relief Fund
Applications for the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund are now open. Successful applicants will receive a relief grant of up to $5,000.
All kinds of businesses, from retailers to barbershops to farmers, are welcome to apply.
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund will be 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.
If awarded, a relief grant can be used for any of the following activities:
- Purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and latex gloves.
- Renovating physical space to adhere to local, Provincial or Federal reopening guidelines.
- Developing or improving e-commerce capabilities for your business.
- COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business
Applications for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) are open.
Small businesses and charities behind on their payments due to COVID-19 can apply now.
Natural gas and electricity utilities across Ontario, such as Alectra Utilities, are now making the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business available. The program is funded by the Government of Ontario and provides $8 million to support small business and registered charity customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.
UPDATE: The Ontario Energy Board has updated eligibility criteria to help more energy customers qualify for assistance.
Small business customers who made partial payments in early 2020 for amounts owing on their bills prior to March 17 are now eligible to apply for CEAP-SB. You may be eligible if:
- There were not any overdue amounts on your small business or registered charity electricity bill on March 17, 2020, the date of the Provincial Declaration of Emergency, or there were at least partial payments on amounts overdue prior to March 17, 2020.
- After March 17 you failed to make complete payment for the electricity charges (as applicable) on at least two bills issued since March 17, 2020, and have an overdue balance on the date of their application for CEAP.
- If the customer made partial payments on their bills, they may still qualify for CEAP.
The customer’s small business or registered charity premises was required to close* to the public for regular operations for at least 15 days as a result of a government order or inability to comply with public health recommendations., and as of the date you are applying you have any overdue amounts owing from at least two electricity bills since March 17, 2020, your account may be eligible for a credit towards your electricity arrears.
- If the customer made partial payments on their bills, they may still qualify for CEAP.
- Your small business or registered charity premises was required to close* to the public for regular operations for at least 15 days as a result of a government order or inability to comply with public health recommendations.
Small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise.
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