The Ontario Government is celebrating International Small Business Week with the launch of the “Shop Local! Shop Safe! Shop with Confidence!” campaign, encouraging Ontarians to support their local small businesses and to shop safely while doing so.
“The countless stories of success from our diverse small business community is living proof that Ontario is a place to grow and achieve big dreams,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business. “All of our small businesses supported the fight against COVID-19, many by closing their doors for several months—now it’s our turn to help support their recovery. When Ontarians Shop Local, Shop Safe and Shop with Confidence, we’re doing our part to ensure the future vitality of our main streets, our communities and our province.”
The province’s campaign asks for mayors, local leaders and groups to support our small businesses by committing on social media to “Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence,” while highlighting the best practices put in place by businesses to help keep shoppers safe while ensuring that the reopening of Ontario continues to be a success. For example, the principles of the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise encourage small businesses to strictly follow health guidelines and reopen with appropriate measures in place, so consumers can shop safely and with confidence, including:
- Washing and sanitizing hands
- Maintaining physical distancing
- Staying home if unwell
- Practicing respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and disinfecting regularly
“The Retail Council of Canada is strengthened by the contributions of our diverse membership, and we’re delighted join the Government of Ontario in supporting our main street retail businesses and indeed all retailers across the province,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President of the Retail Council of Canada. “‘Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence‘ helps retailers, the province’s largest private-sector employers, promote safety for consumers and workplaces, while continuing to help to build strong and vibrant communities all across Ontario.”
The province, in partnership with various health and safety organizations, has also released sector-specific guidelines in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These documents help workplaces better understand their responsibilities and includes best practices they can use to help them comply with their legal obligation to protect the health and safety of workers.
- Ontario is also providing significant support to small businesses, including an investment of $150 million in rural broadband which will help businesses access a greater pool of customers as well as significantly expanding the Digital Main Street platform to help small businesses create and enhance their online presence, helping them to adapt and meet the challenges of today. The province has also implemented a ban on commercial evictions to help small businesses that have been significantly impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.
- The Board of Directors of the POST Promise Corporation is comprised of senior level business leaders and public health experts from organizations such as: The Business Council of Canada, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Global Cities Council, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, Restaurants Canada, McCarthy Tetrault LLP, The University of Toronto, Salt XC, and Medcan.
- The Ontario Government reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate by 8.7 percent starting January 1, 2020. This will deliver up to $1,500 in annual savings to more than 275,000 businesses.
- Ontario’s Small Business Success Strategy, launched prior to COVID-19, identified the need for small businesses across the province to build or enhance their online presence to remain competitive and expand their markets. COVID-19 has further reinforced the need for Ontario small businesses to embrace digital tools, including having online storefronts and expanding them. The Strategy also seeks to promote entrepreneurship in all of Ontario’s diverse communities.
- To further support small businesses with physical storefronts impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, Ontario has implemented a Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions
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