THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF STRATFORD
CITY HALL, 1 WELLINGTON STREET, P.O. BOX 818
STRATFORD ON N5A 6W1
Tel: 519-271-0250 ext. 329 www.stratford.ca
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2020
City of Stratford Announces COVID-19 Economic Support and Recovery Task Force
Stratford – The City of Stratford is working with the business community to spearhead a special COVID-19 Economic Support and Recovery Task Force that will develop immediate and long-term actions to support local industry, small business and the workforce across all sectors.
Co-ordinated by investStratford, the task force will bring together a number of partners, including the Stratford & District Chamber of Commerce, Stratford Tourism Alliance, the Stratford City Centre Business Improvement Area, local employers and businesses, Employment Ontario and others. Communications will be the top priority, and will involve the sharing of information online, through social channels and video updates.
In the short-term, the task force will focus on sharing information with the following groups:
Business Community At Large
• Ongoing updates and communications; conference calls; sharing of information
• Links to Federal and Provincial government websites
• Recommendations to City Council for deferrals of interest and penalties on payments for property tax installments, water and hydro and other City-provided services
Entrepreneurs and Small Business
• The Stratford-Perth Centre for Business is increasing consultations
* one-one time with business specialists to discuss response, recovery and small business needs in the short term.
* online content (website and Facebook) is being loaded daily and is free to view.
• Perth Community Futures Development Corporation – community loan programs
Recently unemployed workforce
• Federal Employment Insurance programs – standard, self-employed, caregivers
• Expansion of Ontario Works and emergency supports for our most vulnerable
• Recommendations to Council for deferrals of interest and penalties on payments for property tax installments, water and hydro and other City-provided services
• Online and virtual employment training and skills development via Partners in Employment and Conestoga College
“Public health and safety are the number one priority today, but we will recover,” said Mayor Dan Mathieson. “Work has begun on longer-term economic strategies. With our partners, we’ll focus on sectors hit hardest, working to unlock large project funding from all levels of government and lobbying for what our businesses need most.”
“While the current health crisis is evolving rapidly and the ultimate impact remains unknown, investStratford, the City and its economic development support partners are committed to ensuring the economic health and wellbeing of area citizens, businesses and industries,” added investStratford CEO Joani Gerber.
For more information about the task force, please contact:
Marketing & Communications Lead
March 25th, 2020
UNSURE ABOUT WHETHER TO CLOSE YOUR BUSINESS DUE TO COVID-19?
Many of you have contacted me regarding the provincial government’s decision to close all non-essential businesses as of today.
This was a difficult but necessary decision. I know that many of you have already faced tough decisions of your own since this crisis began. More tough decisions are surely ahead of us.
I want to make sure you have the latest information on how the government’s order will affect businesses here in Perth-Wellington.
Information is available here:
You will find the list of essential businesses here:
Businesses on the essential services list have been designated as necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of the people of Ontario—while supporting the economy in a way that is safe and appropriate for today’s reality.
Businesses that are considered essential must ensure all employees are working in a safe environment. They should quickly develop plans to ensure physical distancing and regular handwashing hygiene.
We are in a public health crisis. I would urge all business leaders—whether they are considered essential or non-essential—to do everything possible to limit the spread of this virus. Consider asking employees to work from home wherever possible.
The government will continue acting on the best advice of the Chief Medical Officer. As the situation evolves, further action may be necessary. The Premier has been clear that every option is on the table. Some businesses may be added to the list, while others may be removed.
You may have questions on how the order will affect your business. Today the government launched the Stop the Spread Business Information Line. If certain businesses believe they should be considered under the list of exemptions, they should call the information line to address their specific concerns.
You can call the information line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available Monday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Please contact me at any time if you have other questions or concerns. My staff and I are dealing with an extremely high volume of requests, but we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.
Thank you for your efforts to protect the health of your employees and our province.
Randy Pettapiece, MPP
- BDC loan program to help small business during the COVID-19 outbreak:
- Coping with COVID-19 for business – Free webinar session on March 25th:
- Banks concerning mortgage payments and other credit instruments:
Employment Insurance Due to Layoff
Vettorel laid off nearly all of his staff over the weekend in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he made the soup because he didn’t know what else to do, and so there was something for staff as they picked up their records of employment (ROE) from the restaurant, a vital document for applying for employment insurance (EI).
Vettorel says the best thing small business owners can do is lay off their employees sooner rather than later, because they cannot collect EI until they get that record of employment.
If you’re not going to be paying them, you owe it to them to lay them off immediately, because otherwise they have no recourse,” he said. “Once they’re laid off, then they can start applying for EI.
- Block by Block instructions on how employers fill out an Record Of Employment (ROE)
The COVID-19-related changes to the EI system announced this month will speed up access to sickness benefits, but they won’t change who qualifies for EI in the first place.
According to the Government of Canada, you qualify for regular EI if you:
- Were employed in insurable employment
- Lost your job through no fault of your own
- Have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks
- Have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter
- Are ready, willing and capable of working each day
- Are actively looking for work.
For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. As of January 1, 2020, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $54,200. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $573 per week
You can receive EI from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in your region at the time of filing your claim and the amount of insurable hours you have accumulated in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, whichever is shorter.
Apply for regular EI here, using a record of employment and other personal documentation. Note: It can take up to 60 minutes to fill out the online forms.
For more information on the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit, check out the Government of Canada website.
It can take up to 60 minutes to fill out the online forms.
According to the government, those who are unable to work because they have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine will not have to wait the usual one week to receive EI sickness benefits.
Additionally, the sickness benefits can be accessed without the usual requirement of a doctor’s note or other medical certificate.
More information about applying for EI sickness benefits is available on the government’s website.
Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you cannot work for medical reasons. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.
How do you apply for EI?
If you’re in a quarantine or sickness situation, Service Canada has waived the regular one-week waiting period and set up a special COVID-19-related hotline at 1-833-381-2725.
You can apply online for sickness EI here. You’ll need proof of employment documentation
Emergency Care Benefit
Newly announced Wednesday were the creation of an emergency care benefit and an emergency support benefit.
The emergency care benefit will provide up to $900 every two weeks, for up to 15 weeks, to help Canadian workers who cannot go to work, do not have paid sick leave and do not qualify for EI sickness benefits. This would include: the self-employed, who are sick, quarantined or who have been directed to self-isolate; those taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent or other sick dependents; EI-eligible and non EI-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay to care for their children. The emergency support benefit will offer payments of undisclosed amounts to unemployed workers who are not eligible for EI.
Applications for both benefits will open in April, at a date to be determined. When that happens, Canadians will be able to apply for them through CRA MyAccount or My Service Canada Account or by calling a toll-free number that has not yet been made public.
General Information Line is 1-800-206-7218 – They are requesting urgent calls only – They have general info recordings but it is very difficult to get to an actual person.
Sickness Benefits (15 weeks for those quarantined/self-isolated):
- 1 week waiting periods are waived
- No medical notes required
- Separate toll free line
Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
(Toronto – February 19, 2019) – Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released its third annual Ontario Economic Report (OER), offering a unique perspective on the experience of businesses of all sizes across the province. Through the Business Confidence Survey, the Business Prosperity Index, and the Economic Outlook, this report presents a candid look at private sector sentiment and opportunities for economic growth for the year ahead.
“New research shows that businesses are gaining confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook as well as gaining confidence in themselves. At the same time, challenges relating to access to talent, embracing technological innovations, and the cost of doing business—including regulation, taxation, and input prices—remain major sources of concern,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the OCC. “Ontario’s overall prosperity depends on the strength of its regional economies, yet these vulnerabilities are expected to be most acutely felt in rural regions of the province. We should all be concerned that the province’s employment growth has been largely concentrated in the Greater Golden Horseshoe since 2003, while other regions have experienced slow or even negative growth during that same period.”
This landmark document is aimed at shaping and informing future public policy and will act as a reference and benchmark for debate and policy change.
The key takeaways include:
Confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook has improved. Thirty percent of members surveyed expressed confidence in Ontario’s outlook for 2019, up seven percentage points compared to last year.
Despite a more optimistic outlook for 2019, decreasing levels of organizational and economic confidence over the years have impacted business’ willingness to invest, take risks, and adopt technological advancements.
Businesses are gaining confidence in themselves. Sixty-one percent of respondents reported confidence in their own organization’s economic outlook heading into 2019, a seven-point increase from last year.
Revenue projections for 2019 are more positive than those of 2018. Eighty-six percent of respondents believe their organization’s revenues will increase or stay the same over the next twelve months, with only fourteen percent anticipating a decline. This represents a notable change in direction from 2018, when 27 percent were projecting their revenue to decrease.
“2019 will be a formative year for the Ontario economy. We urge decision-makers to develop thoughtful policies that foster competitiveness and address the potential vulnerabilities that loom large within our province,” added Rossi. “We need to take action and address these challenges to build a stronger Ontario for today and tomorrow.”
As Ontario’s economy continues to face many challenges outlined in the OER, the OCC’s 2019 Ontario Economic Summit will be dedicated to the question of competitiveness with an agenda that will explore how our province can lead in innovation, knowledge-generation, and trade. The OCC will be engaging its members, government and other leaders to explore these issues and develop the necessary solutions to drive forward a competitive province for years to come.
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For more information please contact:
Ceara Copps – Edwards
Senior Communications Advisor
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan voice of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.