The Innovation Cluster and COVID-19
WHAT WE ARE DOING: The Innovation Cluster has decided that as a coworking space, we are going to close both incubator locations in Peterborough and Lindsay until April 14, 2020. Innovation Cluster startup clients will still have access to the space with their access cards but members of the public must be escorted on the premises. We ask that you keep meetings to a minimum and limit the size of attendance. The Innovation Cluster continues to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 and this timeline could potentially change as we receive updated information from provincial and federal medical officers.
FOR OUR STARTUPS: We are committed to providing startups with support in this difficult time. Innovation Cluster startups have been sent emails with detailed information regarding their access to space and services. We will be available by phone, email and other virtual meeting options to support our clients at this time. We encourage all innovation and technology startups to connect with us for support and resources for their businesses.
Calling all innovators!
We’ve partnered with Ontario Centres of Excellence to launch the #COVID19 Collaboration Platform.
The platform is an online portal that allows experts, agencies and companies to engage with collaborators and accelerate their solution to market.
Are you looking for collaborators to innovate? Do you have a solution? Let us know!
#TeamPTBO and COVID-19
Local economic development organizations Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Peterborough, and the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas, collectively known as “TeamPTBO”, are working together proactively to identify the impact of COVID-19 on the local business sector and possible solutions so that recovery funding from all three levels of government is targeted most effectively.
FOR THE PUBLIC: We kindly ask businesses to help identify how the impact of COVID-19 will be hardest felt by our local business community, by filling out this Peterborough survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID-19BusinessSurvey
Follow up survey as we design a strategy to help you: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FR9K6LV
(This will be continually updated)
- Charlotte Products on Cleaning Surfaces – Sign up to be connected
- BrainStation has over 150,000 hours of live online instruction for digital skills training.
- March 19, 2PM ET – Conference Board of Canada – Employers Dealing with COVID-19
- March 23 3PM-4:30PM – International Economic Development Council – COVID-19: Preparing for What Comes Next Webinar
- March 24 2PM-3PM – Biz Launch – Webinar – Cash Flow Management Strategies for Small Business
- March 24, 12PM – COVID-19 Financing and Funding Dawn Hennessey of BDC, Gail Moorehouse of Community Futures Peterborough and Vince Killen of Kawartha Lakes Community Futures
- March 25, 12PM – How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 with BDC
- March 25, 12PM – 1:30PM- Hands-ON: Navigating Human Resources during COVID-19 with Savino HR
- March 26 – The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) is holding a business continuity webinar
- March 26, 1PM-2PM – Webinar: Managing your Social Media Message in Times of Crisis with Kat Tepylo
- March 30, 11:30PM-12:30PM – Managing Farm Employees in a Pandemic by OFA
- March 31 2PM – Hands-ON: Navigating Taxes and Cashflow during COVID-19 with Gauvreau & Associates
- April 1, 10AM – Stress 2 Success with Legendary Coaching
- April 1, 12PM – Economic Stimulus 2020: What’s Out There for Your Business and How to Get It by FundingPortal
- April 2 12PM – Hands-ON: Navigating Human Resources during COVID-19 with Savino HRP Pt.2
- April 7, 12PM – Intellectual Property and Patents with Prima IP (more to be announced)
- April 8, 12PM – Marketing workshop with The Innovation Cluster (more to be announced)
- April 8, 10AM – Better People Together with Legendary Coaching
- April 15, 10AM – From Goals to WINS with Legendary Coaching
- HKPRD Health Unit hkpr.on.ca/featured_posts/novel-coronavirus
- Government of Canada – COVID-19 Outbreak update(s)
- Government of Canada – Fact Sheets, including printable infographic
- World Health Organization – Getting Your Workplace Ready
- Public Health Ontario – Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings
- World Health Organization – COVID-19 Situation Report
- Government of Ontario – The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) includes taking self-assessment & information in other languages
- Centre for Systems Science & Engineering – Map of COVID-19 Infections
- Peterborough Public Health
- Getting Your Workplace Ready by World Health Organization
- Business Pandemic Preparedness Checklist from Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)
- Business Continuity Guide from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- Pandemic Planning for Business from The Canadian Chamber of Commerce
- Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings from Public Health Ontario
- Award Winning Preparedness Toolkit by Calgary Chamber of Commerce
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
- Government of Ontario
- Government of Canada
- Resources for Canadian Businesses COVID-19
- Measures to support the economy and the financial sector
- Employment Insurance Benefits and Leave
- Canada Business App
- Economic Response Plan
- Government of Ontario declares State of Emergency
- Community Futures Peterborough offers financial support for Business Clients
- Business Resources from Government of Canada
- BDC & Federal Government Relief Measures
- BDC – Support for Entrepreneurs Impacted by covid-19
- Employment and Social Development Canada-Employment Insurance and Labour and Occupational Health and Safety
- Government of Canada, Department of Finance-Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses
- Province of Ontario-Employment Standards Amendment Act, Job protection for workers during COVID-19 situation
- Hydro One – Pandemic Relief Fund For Customers
- Export Development Canada – Support Canadian Exports Impacted by COVID-19
- Export Development Canada – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Managing the impact on global supply chains webinar
- BDC – Business Continuity Plan and Templates for Entrepreneurs
- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – COVID-19 Business Resilience
- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness for Business
- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Fiscal Countermeasures for COVID-19
- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce –Crisis Communications Planning Guide (Template)
- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Business Continuity & Recovery Plan (Template)
- Net Mechanics – Working remotely and cyber security tips for working from home
- Insurance Bureau of Canada – Business Insurance and Emergency Preparedness
- Employment and Social Development Canada – Work-Sharing Program – Temporary special measures for the downturn in business due to COVID-19 and for the forestry and steel and aluminum sector
- Global HR Lawyers – Frequently Asked Questions
- Canadian Labour and Employment Law – COVID-19 Checklist for Canadian Employers
- Ontario Human Rights Commission – Ontario Human Rights policy statement on COVID – 19
- Small Business Response Plan & Communications (Template)
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) – Keeping You and Your Employees Safe
Business Support Contacts
- CFIB Business Helpline: 1-888-234-2232
- BDC Financing and Advice: 1-877-232-2269
Additional Resources from the City of Kawartha Lakes
The City of Kawartha Lakes is committed to supporting businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kawartha Lakes Economic Development including the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre (KLSBEC) is available to support our business community. Even though City of Kawartha Lakes facilities are closed, Economic Development and KLSBEC services are still available by phone and electronically.
We are working closely with our community business support organization and agencies to understand how local businesses are being impacted and how we can all support them.
Contact CKL Economic Development
Phone: 705-324-9411 extension 1232
The Innovation Cluster is part of Team Kawartha Lakes which includes Kawartha Lakes Economic Development, Kawartha Lakes SBEC, Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce, Lindsay Downtown BIA, Coboconk, Norland & Area Chamber of Commerce, Fenelon Falls & District Chamber of Commerce, Bobcaygeon and Area Chamber of Commerce, Impact 32, the Innovation Cluster, Kawartha Lakes CFDC, VCCS Employment Services and OMAFRA Regional Staff.
A full contact list is available on the City’s COVID-19 Business Resource page
Additional Resources from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Federal Government – March 19 2020 UPDATE
The federal government announced several measures today to provide financial support to those impacted by COVID-19. These measures will still need to be passed in Parliament and it is anticipated it could be weeks before payments are available.
Included in the government’s emergency aid plan:
- A temporary boost to Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments to assist parents with childcare obligations as a result of school/daycare closures.
- Measures to support workers who are not eligible for paid sick leave or EI. This includes the Emergency Care Benefit which provides up to $900 biweekly to workers unable to work and the Emergency Support Benefit for workers facing unemployment. Again, these two benefits apply only to workers who are not eligible for EI.
- Six month interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.
- Extension of the tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020.
- Allowance for taxpayers to defer tax payments until August 31st, 2020.
In addition, Peterborough Regional Health Centre has opened a COVID-19 assessment centre which is currently located in the Emergency Department. There are plans to move it to a mobile unit outside of the main hospital building on March 23, 2020. The hospital continues to advise those who are concerned about possible symptoms to contact:
- Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or
- Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000 x 401
March 26 Update
We will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
- workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
We are not sure how long this situation will last – What do employers need to know?
Remain positive and calm. This situation is unprecedented for all businesses as we adapt to these continuous changes.
It is recommended that employers facilitate virtual work arrangements to enable employees to work from home wherever possible.
If a virtual workplace is not possible, employers should use their judgment to sustain operations in a manner that maintains social distancing.
For more information on operating a workplace during this pandemic, please visit Peterborough Public Health
What are all levels of government doing to support business during this pandemic?
All levels of government are working hard to ensure that business continuity is protected as much as possible, while protecting residents. Many announcements have been made this week at all levels of government.
Information updates from all levels of government are being shared continuously through their respective COVID-19 web-pages. This is a rapidly evolving situation and updates are shared on dedicated web-pages for each of the sites.
Will there be relief for payments, loans and taxes?
Each level of government is looking for ways to support residents and businesses during this time. The federal government has announced an $82 -billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses cope with the global COVID-19 pandemic, including income supports, wage subsidies and tax deferrals. The package includes direct supports as well as business liquidity through tax deferrals.
Further, agencies such as Community Futures Peterborough and Business Development Bank of Canada are all introducing relief supports to assist companies during this transitional phase.
How can I access these relief packages?
Procedural approvals across all levels of government are required before details on how the relief packages will be distributed. Stay tuned to the following websites for the latest up to date information.
How can I protect my businesses and property while it is closed? What municipal measures are being undertaken? I am worried about my property being vandalized.
|We understand that this is an ongoing concern for many local businesses, especially those in the downtown area. The Peterborough Police have responded and deployed additional foot patrols in the downtown area. In addition, Kewley Security Inc. is currently offering a free security check to businesses in downtown. Contact Kewly directly for additional details: https://kewleysi.ca/ 705-874-3131.
Best practice and guidelines for securing your business:
- Keep the lights on
- Remove all cash and receipts
- Do NOT leave any valuables visible or accessible
- All safe and registers/tills should be emptied and moved offsite for safe storage
- Keep all cash tills and drawers empty and open to show that there is nothing in them.
- All ATMs should be emptied and moved off-site.
- All alcohol products should be removed from the restaurant/bar and moved to a secure storage area (no alcohol should be left visible from the outside)
- Consider posting “no cash or valuables on-premises” signage
- Deactivate all scheduled FOB door openings for cleaners and delivery services
- Disconnect all kitchen gas lines from their gas source
- Make regular site visits to monitor your shop/business and to manage inventory and storage conditions (consider scattering the time that this is done to discourage establishing a pattern)
- Be a good business neighbour and check on your neighbour’s business and alert them if necessary.
Will my insurance cover business interruption?
It is highly recommended that every business take the time to review your insurance policies and contact your insurance broker to obtain up to date information. In many cases, business interruption insurance is exempt from a pandemic.
How can I be using this time wisely for maximum effect?
Although this is a difficult time to be operating a business, it is important to stay engaged in your business. Peterborough & the Kawarthas is a resilient community and when we move from crisis to recovery, we want businesses to be as prepared as possible. Some suggestions to keep working on your business that you haven’t had time for:
- Small, minor repairs that you have been meaning to get to.
- Continue telling your story on your social media channels to keep your customers engaged and to create value for them. Suggestions include: if you have inventory, film and share an unboxing, or a tutorial on how to use one of your popular products/services- share the story of how your company started and why you wanted to become an entrepreneur- consider offering a digital or online service, or the development of an online platform or course- consider staging content photos if you can safely access your office, or create your own branded stock photos from home to use later.
- Cleaning and organizing the space and files
- Re-design your window display
- Get that PAPERWORK done!!!!
- Take some free online courses on marketing and business planning
- Tidy up your website
- Strategize and plan your next marketing and advertising campaign to welcome back customers and visitors.
- Plan your re-opening party or customer celebration events.
- Help others in the community to stay connected. Check on your neighbour
- Stay #PTBOStrong
When the all-clear is announced – What are the resources and plans for recovery to get our customers and visitors back?
We are still in the early stages of learning about all the programs and resources. More details will be developed over the coming days and weeks.
How do we manage the negativity in social media?
Support each other’s business. Every business has different needs and customers to serve. Each business owner is doing the best they can to charter this unprecedented territory. Let’s keep it positive and support where we can safely.
- Share/like/comment and engage with others on their social media in a positive manner. This costs nothing to do.
- Leave a review or testimonial on the social channel or Google page of a small business or supplier that you use in which you had an excellent experience or enjoy. This can help with their SEO and reviews
What can I do as a business owner to help?
We recognize that this is a very challenging time for business owners. Information is changing at a rapid pace. It is very important that agencies advocate on your behalf and inform the government and associations of your changing concerns.
- Please be supportive of each other
- Answer surveys – they provide real-time data for us to provide to our elected officials
- Work with and support your employees during this time
Know that we are resilient, and your agencies are doing their best to support you during this time.
How is the Government helping Canadian Suppliers?
ACTION: The Government of Canada is seeking information from suppliers on their ability to provide products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19.
Products: Disposable N95 masks, Disposable Surgical masks, Nitrile gloves, Vinyl gloves, Gowns, Bottles of hand sanitizer, Other prevention products
Services: Guard/security services, Nursing services, Food services, Laundry services, Accommodation maintenance services, Personal services, IT support services, Other services
NEXT STEPS: Fill out this form if you can provide items from the list above, or any other product or services not listed.
TIMELINE: As soon as possible
PLEASE DIRECT INQUIRIES TO: Your local Provincial Senior Business Advisor or Strategic Account Manager. For inquiries regarding the Government of Canada Call for Suppliers Martin Montreuil: email@example.com / Tel: 613-793-3594 Alain Dorion: firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: 613-790-0974
I may have to consider laying off my employees – What do I need to know?
Employment Standards Act (ESA)
The existing leave provisions under the ESA remain in effect. Namely, any employee who has worked for at least two consecutive weeks is eligible for three days of leave (unpaid) due to personal illness. In addition, employees may also be allowed an additional three days of leave (unpaid) to care for children, a spouse or another close relative who is experiencing illness or a medical emergency. The Ontario government has announced they will pass legislation next week to provide job protection for employees unable to work because due to:
- being under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19, or providing care to a person related to COVID-19, including a school or day-care closure.
- being in isolation or quarantine.
The proposed amendments will apply retroactively to January 25, 2020.
Temporary COVID-19 Income Support for Workers
Special allowances are being made for employees on payroll who do not have paid sick leave and who are sick due to COVID-19, quarantined or who must remain at home to care for children. In these cases the government’s Employment Insurance (EI) will:
- Waive the one-week waiting period for those individuals in quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure became effective on March 15, 2020.
- Waive the requirement to provide a doctor’s note or medical certificate.
Based on the Prime Minister’s public statements, many have (understandably) been led to believe that staff lay-offs brought about by economic causes due to COVID-19 related pressures will also be able to take advantage of these accelerated EI allowances. This is not the case. At this time, the one-week waiver does not apply to employees who are out of work due to temporary lay-offs or business closures.
We recommend that businesses include “COVID-19 Related” in the “Comments or Other” box when completing Records of Employment (ROE’s) in these circumstances but again, there is no guarantee at this point that Service Canada will waive usual waiting period. Staff who have already completed their application for EI sickness benefits can call to request their one-week waiting period waived, 1-833-381-2725 (only for sick or quarantined employees affected by COVID-19).
Stay tuned, this is a changing issue. The latest EI program information is available online at, https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html
Temporary COVID-19 Income Support for the Self-Employed
The Emergency Care Benefit has been created by the Federal government and will provide up to $900 bi-weekly, for as many as 15 weeks. This income supplement will be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:
- Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for the EI sickness benefits discussed above.
- Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, but who would not otherwise qualify for EI sick benefits.
- Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, regardless of whether they qualify for EI or not.
The government is only setting this system up now, and the benefit will have to be claimed retroactively in April 2020. Workers will need to certify that they meet eligibility requirements, and will need to re-certify eligibility every two weeks while claiming the benefit. The easiest way to apply for this benefit will be through your “CRA MyAccount secure portal” at, https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html. Provided you do online banking, you will be able to access the portal through that log-in process which will appear at the link above. A toll-free number will also be provided shortly for those without internet access.
Longer-Term Supports for Workers & Businesses
The EI Work Sharing Program (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing.html) has been in place for sometime and provides EI benefits in workplaces experiencing a general slow-down but do not wish to close or lay-off staff completely. Workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours can take advantage of this program during which the company would pay wages for the reduced hours worked each week while the EI program ‘tops-up’ the balance.
The government has indicated it will ease the otherwise fairly stringent eligibility requirements and will simplify the application process. This was announced on March 11, 2020 and we recommend you consult the weblink provided above if this is a program that may assist your workplace.
Brought to you by #TeamPTBO: Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area, Community Futures Peterborough and Innovation Cluster – Peterborough & the Kawarthas