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Support Programs

Team STC is committed to helping entrepreneurs in St. Catharines access tools, programs and funding opportunities to support and enhance their businesses.

Support for Businesses

  • Canada Small Business Financing Program

    The Canada Small Business Financing Program makes it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lenders. Loans can be used to finance the following costs:

    • purchase or improvement of land or buildings used for commercial purposes
    • purchase or improvement of new or used equipment
    • purchase of new or existing leasehold improvements, that is, renovations to a leased property by a tenant

    Up to a maximum of $1,000,000 for any one borrower, of which no more than $350,000 can be used for purchasing leasehold improvements or improving leased property and purchasing or improving new or used equipment.

    Learn More

  • Canada-Ontario Job Grant

    Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) provides opportunities for employers, individually or in groups, to invest in their workforce, with help from the government.

    The Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees. Important to know:
    - Employers can get up to $10,000 in government support per person for training costs.
    - The training has to be delivered by an eligible, third-party trainer.
    - Employers with 100 or more employees need to contribute 1/2 of the training costs. Small employers with less than 100 employees need to contribute 1/6 of training costs.
    - For employer groups who want to apply for training supports the government offers a COJG Consortium Stream. The Consortium Stream allows a group of employers (two or more employers) to pool their resources to support common training objectives and goals. To apply as a consortium, the intermediary organization needs to ensure all the participating employers and trainees meet COJG requirements, and are able to make their required contribution towards the training cost.
    - Most organizations acting as an intermediary are eligible for administrative funding equal to 15% of the government contribution.

    If you're an employer with a particular skills demand, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant might be right for you. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

    Learn More and Apply

  • Funding: Canada Summer Jobs

    Canada Summer Jobs is a long-standing Government of Canada program that strives to help youth (15–30 years of age) obtain their first summer work experience. The program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services. 

    The program provides wage subsidies to employers from not-for-profit organizations, the public sector, and private sector organizations with 50 or fewer full-time employees, to create quality summer work experiences for young people aged 15 to 30 years.

    Applications are open. Not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers, and private sector employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees can apply for funding now until January 25, 2022, to hire young Canadians next summer. Full-time job placements will take place during the summer of 2022. 

    Learn More

  • Free Business Listing on loveSTC.ca

    Shop Local with lovestc.ca

    Join our campaign encouraging St. Catharines to shop local and help customers find you with a FREE business listing on lovestc.ca.

    List your operating hours, pickup and delivery options, dining room status, health and safety guidelines, promotions and events and more so customers know before they go.

    All businesses, including retail, fitness studios, spas and personal care, professional services and more are welcome to join lovestc.ca.

    Submit Your Business Listing

  • Trade Accelerator Program (TAP)

    Are you a St. Catharines food and beverage business looking at exploring new markets, grow revenue and be better prepared to do business internationally?

    The World Trade Centre Toronto, in partnership with the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara, is pleased to host a Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) for Niagara companies beginning on February 2, 2022.

    This innovative and award-winning program is specifically designed to help small- to medium-sized enterprises leverage sales into international markets by creating a strategic growth plan. 

    Learn More

  • 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.

    Sign up for a FREE online store

COVID-19 Support for Businesses

  • Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant

    The Ontario Government has announcing an Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. It will provide eligible small businesses with a grant payment of $10,000.

    Eligibility

    To receive the grant, a small business must:

    • be required to close due to public health orders that took effect 12:01 a.m. on January 5, 2022;
    • have fewer than 100 employees
    Eligible small businesses include:
    • Restaurants and bars;
    • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms);
    • Performing arts and cinemas;
    • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
    • Meeting or event spaces;
    • Tour and guide services;
    • Conference centres and convention centres;
    • Driving instruction for individuals; and
    • Before- and after- school programs.

    Eligible businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and that are subject to closure under modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will be pre-screened in late January to verify eligibility and will not need to apply to the new program.

    Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once applications open in February. Small businesses that qualify can expect to receive their payment in February.

    Learn More

  • Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program

    The Ontario Government is introducing the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program to support businesses most impacted by public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.

    Eligible businesses required to close or reduce capacity will receive rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these measures. Eligible businesses required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs, while businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs.

    A full list of eligible business types will be available through a program guide in mid-January 2022.

    Online applications for this program will open January 18, 2022. Payments to eligible businesses will be retroactive to December 19, 2021.

    Businesses will be required to submit property tax and energy bills as part of the application process.

    If you have questions about the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, call 1-866-668-8297 (1-866-ONT-TAXS).

    Learn More

  • Reconnect Ontario

    Applications are open for the Reconnect Ontario 2022 program for eligible festivals and events taking place between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023. 

    You must submit your application by Wednesday, February 2, 2022 by 5:00 p.m.

    Reconnect Ontario supports festivals and events that have a tourism economic impact and motivate visitors to rediscover Ontario, reconnect people with local experiences and increase tourism spending. The program aims to support innovative events in Ontario that will:

    • offer safe experiences that encourage people to travel locally, participate and rediscover the beauty and diversity of all that Ontario communities have to offer;
    • draw tourists and local visitors, whether in-person or virtually, through innovative programming, and generate positive economic impact for the local community, the region and the province;
    • provide job opportunities for Ontarians, particularly in the tourism, culture and entertainment sectors;
    • increase Ontario’s profile through media and/or social media exposure to generate interest in future travel to the province.

    Eligibility

    Eligible organizations must:

    • be Ontario-based entities in existence since January 1, 2021 or before, including those that are established by or under legislation; are federally or provincially incorporated; or are band councils as defined under the Indian Act (Canada)
    • not be in default of the terms and conditions of any grant or loan agreement with any ministry or agency of the Government of Ontario.

    In addition, your event must meet all the following requirements:

    • take place between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023;
    • occur in the province of Ontario, if an in-person event, or be produced in Ontario, if a broadcast or virtual event;
    • be open to the public at large without membership in a club or group;
    • follow all municipal and provincial guidelines, including health and safety guidelines.

    Organizations approved for funding must enter into a Transfer Payment Agreement with the province.

    For information on the program, please see the Reconnect Ontario Application Guide.

    Additional Information

    For additional resources to help with the application process, please visit the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries’ Grants and Awards page.

    Contacts 

    For any program-related questions, you can consult with your regional advisor (Niagara region: Paul Samson) or email ReconnectOntario@ontario.ca.

    Learn More and Apply

  • Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit

    The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) gives temporary income support to employed and self-employed people who cannot work due to a COVID-19 lockdown.

    The CWLB is only available when a COVID-19 lockdown order is designated for your region.

    If you are eligible for the CWLB, you can receive $300 ($270 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period. You may apply for any weeks your region is eligible between October 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022.

    The CWLB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

    Learn more

  • Local Lockdown Progam

    The Local Lockdown Program is a way businesses, charities, and non-profits affected by a qualifying public health restriction can be eligible for wage and rent support through the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP).

    You do not have to be in the tourism, hospitality, arts, entertainment, or recreation sectors to be eligible for this support.

    Learn More

  • COVID-19 wage and hiring support for businesses

    As an employer in Canada who has seen a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of the wages you pay employees. This subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease your business back into normal operations.

    For each applicable claim period, eligible employers can claim one of the following, whichever gives the highest amount:

    Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) – Wage
    Effective: October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022
    Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP) – Wage
    Effective: October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022
    Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP)
    Effective: June 6, 2021, to May 7, 2022
    Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
    Effective: March 15, 2020, to October 23, 2021
    Many of the eligibility and calculation rules for the wage subsidy under the THRP and the HHBRP are the same as they were for the CEWS.

    Read More

  • COVID-19 rent and property expense support for businesses

    As a business, non-profit organization, or charity in Canada who has seen a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your commercial rent or property expenses.

    Depending on the period you are applying for, you may be eligible to claim your commercial rent or property expenses through one of the following:

    Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) – Rent
    Effective: October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022
    Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP) – Rent
    Effective: October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022
    Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
    Effective: September 27, 2020, to October 23, 2021
    Many of the eligibility and calculation rules for the rent subsidy under the THRP and the HHBRP are the same as they were for the CERS.

    If you are eligible for a base rent subsidy, you may also be eligible for a top-up if your business location is significantly affected by a public health restriction for a week or more.

    Learn More

  • Canada Community Revitalization Fund

    The Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) aims to help communities across Canada build and improve community infrastructure projects so they can rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    With a national investment of $500 million over 2 years, the fund will support not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and other community groups, as well as Indigenous communities to:

    • build new community infrastructure and revitalize existing assets
    • bring people back to public spaces safely as health measures ease
    • create jobs and stimulate local economies

    The fund is being delivered by Canada's regional development agencies (RDAs). Eligible applicants can submit an application as of June 23, 2021.

    Learn More and Apply

  • Jobs and Growth Fund

    The Jobs and Growth Fund provides funding to businesses and organizations to help create jobs and position local economies for long-term growth. The fund, delivered by Canada's regional development agencies (RDAs), provides $700 million nationally over three years, which includes up to $70 million dedicated to businesses created after January 2020 that meet eligibility criteria.

    Eligible applicants

    • Businesses, including co-operatives
    • Not-for-profit organizations and community economic development partners

    Indigenous applicants

    • Indigenous-led organizations and/or businesses are strongly encouraged to apply
    • Under the initiative, RDAs may contribute up to 100% of eligible project costs for projects with Indigenous clients

    Eligible activities

    Activities that support the transition to a green economy, including those that:

    • support the development and adoption of clean technology
    • help communities and businesses plan and drive clean, sustainable economic growth
    • partner with organizations to catalyze the development of green regional clusters
    • work with organizations supporting businesses to transition to a green economy

    Activities that foster an inclusive recovery, including those that:

    • support businesses owned or majority-led by underrepresented groups, such as Indigenous peoples, members of racialized communities, women, youth, LGBTQ2, persons with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, and members of official language minority communities
    • increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the economy by supporting not-for-profit organizations that provide funding, business services, training and access to resources to build a more inclusive and equitable workforce

    Activities that preserve Canada's competitiveness and future-proof SMEs through digital adoption, including those that:

    • support the development or adoption of digital and technological solutions (i.e., Industry 4.0 solutions) to increase and promote business productivity
    • invest in technologies that help scale businesses, enhance their capabilities and increase resilience

    Activities that strengthen capacity in sectors critical to Canada's recovery and growth, including those that:

    • support scale-up and market expansion activities that bolster traditional areas of strength
    • develop emerging areas of global competitive advantage
    • support supply chain adaptation and diversification opportunities to build Canadian capacity in critical sectors such as food production, medical supplies and biomanufacturing

    Assistance available

    • Eligible businesses could receive interest-free repayable contributions for up to 50% of eligible costs
    • Eligible not-for profit organizations could receive non-repayable contributions for up to 90% of eligible costs

    Applications will be accepted on a continuous intake basis until such time as the funding is fully allocated.

    Submitting an application

    Start the application process by using the Applicant checklist

    Learn More and Apply

  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

    Get the cash flow you need during the COVID-19 pandemic by working with your financial institution and EDC.

    The BCAP is a guaranteed credit program for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses to cover payroll and operating costs caused by the current economic situation. The EDC will guarantee 80 per cent of your new operating line of credit or new term loan and offers a flexible term with repayment over 5 years with a benefit of 6 months principal payment postponement.

    Learn More

  • Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program

    The Government of Canada’s Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility will provide emergency funding support for large Canadian enterprises facing financial challenges in light of the economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic

    LEEFF will be open to large Canadian employers who:

    • have a significant impact on Canada’s economy, as demonstrated by
      • having significant operations in Canada,
      • or  supporting a significant workforce in Canada;
    • can generally demonstrate approximately $300 million or more in annual revenues;

    require a minimum loan size of about $60 million.

    Fact Sheet

    Learn More and Apply

  • My Main Street

    FedDev Ontario is investing more than $23 million to support the recovery and revitalization of main streets across southern Ontario through the launch of the My Main Street initiative.

    Targeted non-repayable contributions and programs will be provided across southern Ontario starting in the Fall of 2021.


    My Main Street will support new and existing businesses through funding for main street ambassadors, direct business non-repayable contributions, market research and business support programs. The initiative will also support local community projects, including events, main street enhancements and activities designed to draw visitors and increase local vibrancy.

    Learn More

  • Tourism Relief Fund

    The Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) supports tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth.

    With a national budget of $500 million over two years, including $50 million dedicated to Indigenous tourism initiatives, this Fund will help to position Canada to be a destination of choice when domestic and international travel is once again safe, by:

    - empowering tourism operators to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors
    - helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors by offering the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world

    Who can apply?
    Applicants must fall under one of the following parameters to be eligible for funding:
    - A key supplier/operator in the visitor experience
    - A key supplier/operator in the visitor experience is one that provides the infrastructure and services necessary to support a tourism economy, connects tourism products to potential markets, leads planning for sustainable destination development and supports capacity building/skill development in the sector.
    - Part of a defined tourism cluster or tourism-dependent community
    - A tourism cluster is a geographic concentration of businesses and organizations involved in tourism, linked by common and complementary products and services that are tailored to the visitor economy and supported by a network of services and associated institutions. A tourism cluster can include, but is not limited to, a community or region that is dependent on tourism for economic activity or is transitioning towards a more tourism-focused local economy.
    - An anchor product or service in a destination
    - An anchor product or service in a destination is defined as a key asset that serves as a motivator of travel to the region. It is the activity or product that provides the catalyst for the visitor to visit the destination. Anchor products may be operated by for-profit or not-for-profit organizations.

    NOTE: Eligible applicants may fit under more than one of these categories and will have the opportunity to select all and explain how in the Application for Funding.

    Eligible applicants
    Eligible applicants must be part of the tourism ecosystem and will include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors. Eligible applicants include:

    - incorporated businesses, primarily small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
    - not-for-profit incorporated organizations (including tourism associations and destination marketing organizations)
    - co-operatives (for-profit and not-for-profit)
    - municipalities, Municipal Development Corporations, and related entities
    - post-secondary institutions
    - Indigenous/First Nations/Métis Settlement owned businesses or organizations, an Indigenous organization such as Indigenous-led not-for-profits and - organizations which include but are not limited to First Nations as represented by their Chief and Council, Tribal Councils, Indigenous Representative Organizations, - Métis and Inuit organizations and Settlements

    Ineligible applicants
    Businesses that are in the following industries are normally not eligible under this initiative:
    - restaurants
    - retail sector
    - hotel chains

    Apply Now

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