Economic Relief for Burlington Businesses

We understand the financial hardship that members of our community are facing arising from the COVID-19 crisis. There have been continuous updates from various levels of government as their efforts to provide financial relief to businesses and employees have evolved.

Since the crisis emerged, we have been working closely with all levels of government to explore and advocate for a broad range of relief measures for residents and businesses across Burlington and beyond. The City of Burlington, Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada have each released economic relief packages that are intended to provide protection. It is our hope that the consolidated list below will be of assistance to outline the key options that may be available to employers and employees during this unprecedented time.

Federal Measures 

The following lists programs funded by the Government of Canada as well as private programs. For a full list of programs funded by the Government of Canada visit the Government of Canada COVID-19 Economic Response Plan or visit all federal government announcements.  

Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP)

The CRHP is now open for application. As a Canadian employer who continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible to apply for one of the two subsidies to cover part of your employee wages. The CRHP and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) support wages you pay through different phases of your economic recovery. Each claim period, eligible employers can claim either CRHP or CEWS, whichever is higher. The program closes on December 30, 2021.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The federal government has extended the eligibility period for CEWS until October 23, 2021. Use the calculator to find the amount of CEWS you can claim. 

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) 

The June 30, 2021 CEBA application period deadline has now passed. New applicants can no longer apply for a $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion at their financial institution. Please click here to review upcoming CEBA Program deadlines.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) Guarantee

The HASCAP Guarantee is available until December 31, 2021.

Businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 can access guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs. These loans are for small and medium-sized businesses that have seen their revenues decrease by 50% or more as a result of COVID-19. Applicants must contact their primary financial institution to apply for this loan.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021. The federal government has extended the eligibility period for CERS until October 23, 2021.

Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is a partnership between the Government, Black-led business organizations, and several financial institutions. It will provide loans up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country. The Government of Canada has announced that the Loan Fund is accepting loan applications from Black business owners and entrepreneurs through the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE).

Black Entrepreneurship Startup Program

Futurpreneur Canada’s new Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, funded by RBC, with additional loan financing provided by BDC, will provide financing, mentorship, networking opportunities and resources to aspiring, young Black entrepreneurs.

The program offers up to $60,000 in startup funding and expert mentorship, in addition to connecting entrepreneurs to cash flow planning services, business training and much more. This new program is devoted to empowering young Black entrepreneurs to launch successful businesses across Canada.

Transition from CERB to Employment Insurance (EI)

If you were receiving CERB, you may be eligible for one of the new recovery benefits listed below retroactive to September 27, 2020, and available until October 23, 2021.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) 

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

BCAP is available until December 31, 2021.

Up to $6.25 million to help cover operating costs during a period where revenues have been temporarily reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some eligibility criteria listed below:

  • Your business is Canadian-based and in operation as of March 1, 2020
  • Your business was directly or indirectly impacted by COVID‐19
  • Your business must have been financially stable and viable prior to the current economic turmoil
  • Subject to each financial institution’s underwriting criteria

Visit EDC’s website to find out if you are eligible.

Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations

Through Heritage Canada, the Government of Canada has made $500 million available in funding to support artists, creators and athletes. This funding will help artists, athletes and cultural organizations with wage supports and liquidity.

Provincial Measures

Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP)

The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP) supports eligible, Ontario-based, tourism businesses in the for-profit attractions, accommodations and transportation sectors that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. OTRP is a competitive, application-based grant program supporting private sector tourism businesses that are significant drivers to their regional tourism economies.

Applications will be assessed using the funding and assessment criteria noted below. Funding will be awarded based on score. Meeting eligibility requirements does not guarantee funding.

Program funding will help successful applicants prepare to re-open safely, develop adaptative and innovative tourism products, retain and create tourism jobs, and support tourism recovery in their region and throughout Ontario. Successful applicants will be able to use funding for expenditures such as:

  • reopening and operating expenses, such as staff salaries and maintenance
  • health and safety measures to support the safety of visitors and workers
  • attracting visitors through tourism product and experience improvements and marketing

Regional Development Program: Eastern Ontario Development Fund and Southwestern Ontario Development Fund

The Regional Development Program provides support for projects and investments to businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for economic development in Ontario, by region.

The types of support available include:

  • Funding
  • Complementary services and support

The program supports projects that:

  • Create jobs and build talent
  • Attract and encourage private sector investment
  • Lead to business growth and broad positive economic impacts
  • Encourage innovation, collaboration and cluster development

Funding opportunities are currently available for:

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB)

The Government of Ontario introduced the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) as temporary measures to support energy customers through pandemic lockdowns. As the province moves forward with its reopening plan, the Government is concluding the programs.

The Government has asked the Ontario Energy Board to take the necessary steps to ensure any remaining CEAP and CEAP-SB funds are distributed to customers in need while working with utilities to wind down the program.

Utilities will continue to provide CEAP and CEAP-SB credits to eligible customers if they have funds remaining. Customers can contact their electricity and/or natural gas utility to determine if they are still accepting applications.

There are a number of programs available in Ontario to help low-income energy consumers. You can learn more at oeb.ca/billhelp.

Property Tax and Energy Rebates

Businesses that are, or were, required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures can apply for rebates, provided in the form of grants, to help with their fixed costs.

Community Building Fund

The Ontario government is investing $105 million through the new Community Building Fund to support non-profit tourism, culture, sport and recreation organizations. The funding will be used to help these non-profits recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the needs of their communities.

The fund is being delivered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation across two distinct funding streams – Operating and Capital. Only the Capital stream is still open.

Community Building Fund – Capital stream

Support for the repair, renovation or retrofitting of existing sport and recreation infrastructure to address public health requirements related to COVID-19 and community need.


  • Applications are available starting September 1, 2021
  • Application deadline is September 29, 2021 at 5 PM ET

Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies)

Job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation/quarantine or taking care of family or children due to school/daycare closures.

Ontario Together Fund

The Ontario Together Fund (OTF) supports manufacturing and innovation for goods and services critical to the health, safety, and security of Ontarians.

Funding is available for projects that support:

  • Ongoing response to the 
  • Preparedness for future public health emergencies

View all Provincial Government announcements

Municipal and Local Measures

Burlington Safe Restart Program

Team Burlington (Burlington Economic DevelopmentBurlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Downtown Business Association,  Aldershot Village BIA and Tourism Burlington), in partnership with the City of Burlington, launched the Burlington Safe Restart Program in September 2020 with the intent to provide grants to assist Burlington’s small business community.  

In the two rounds of the Safe Restart Business Relief Grant, a total of $240,481 was given to 153 Burlington businesses. Applications for the Burlington Safe Restart Program are currently closed.

Temporary Outdoor Patios Program

In support of COVID-19 recovery, the City of Burlington is permitting Temporary Outdoor Patios through a streamed lined process until October 31, 2021. The City of Burlington is reimbursing the building permit fee for restauranteurs wanting to install a temporary tent/structure on their patio.

Burlington 2021 COVID-19 Property Tax Deferral Payment Plan

Property owners that are experiencing financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 and unable to pay property taxes by the regularly scheduled tax due dates can apply for a deferred pre-authorized monthly payment plan if they meet eligibility criteria.  Equal monthly withdrawals will allow for the property taxes to be paid in full by December 1, 2021.  Property owners may choose which month they would like to start the pre-authorized monthly payments. The options for start dates are April 1, May 1, June 1 or July 1.

Property owners with an unpaid balance on their account from March 1, 2020 onward can include this balance in the pre-authorized monthly payment plan.  Immediately following enrollment, penalty/interest is suspended for the duration of the deferral as long as payments are made.

The monthly withdrawal amount is calculated by taking an estimate of the total 2021 tax year levy plus any eligible 2020 tax year balance.  This total amount will be divided over the number of monthly withdrawals based on the start date, to the last withdrawal on Dec. 1, 2021. Read more.

Digital Service Squad (DSS) Program

The Digital Service Squad is part of the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association’s (OBIAA) newly introduced Digital Main Street program.  The Squad is composed of trained specialists who will introduce you to the digital tools and technologies businesses need today to stay competitive and grow.  These resources are particularly important with the advent of physical distancing and mask laws.

The Squad will first conduct a complimentary audit of your digital presence, then help you develop a Digital Transformation Plan.  A $2,500 grant is available to help you purchase equipment and services necessary to implement your plan. Click here to learn more about the program.

View all the City of Burlington’s announcements