New campaign to help small businesses during their pandemic recovery launched today

The Mayor announced a new business supports campaign to help make small business owners and operators more aware of grants, incentives, training and other available resources as they recover from the pandemic. Small businesses, including restaurants, are encouraged to take advantage of these resources, which include access to one-on-one virtual assistance, COVID-19 guidelines, and links to other financial resources and relief measures.

Small businesses are a vital part of what makes Toronto a great place to live, work, invest in and visit. Small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) make up close to 98 per cent of all businesses in the city and employ approximately 60 per cent of Toronto’s workforce. Together, COVID-19-related restrictions and closures, along with changes in consumer demand, technology and labour supply, have made it challenging for certain small businesses to operate profitably, let alone plan or invest for future growth with confidence.

The City is committed to having local businesses thrive once more and is working closely with many partners, including other orders of government and business associations, to provide training, grants, incentives, advisory services, enhanced access to space (through programs like CaféTO), a new small business property tax sub-class and other supports.

To ensure equitable opportunities to access the financial supports available, the City’s campaign will include multilingual, community and neighbourhood targeted advertising and outreach. The City’s webpages are translatable into 51 languages and free access to a translation service is available for calls to 311 upon request, to help remove any potential language barriers.

Key small business supports provided by the City currently include:

Toronto Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative

To assist small businesses in Toronto to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Opens in new window  is providing up to $18 million for six inclusive and sustainable economic recovery projects, including CaféTO.

Free business webinars 

The City, with support from the Government of Ontario through the Small Business Enterprise Centre program, offers year-round, free online learning opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners, from regularly scheduled seminars such as marketing, tax literacy and e-commerce to large networking events.

Digital transformation resources for businesses 

Provides businesses with help accessing and adopting digital tools, technologies and services, including the Digital Main Street Program and ShopHERE powered by Google.


Back for 2022, CaféTO provides restaurants and bars in Toronto with the opportunity to expand and offer outdoor dining space through sidewalk cafés, curb lane cafés or patios on private property. Restaurant operators can apply for sidewalk café permits or register for curb lane cafés. The deadline to register for curb lane cafés is Saturday, April 2.

Small business tax subclass 

In 2022, many small businesses in Toronto will benefit from the new Small Business Tax Subclass and a 15 per cent reduction in the commercial property municipal tax rate.

The City also encourages businesses to actively participate in and benefit from the services provided by local Business Improvement Areas.

More information is available here.

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