Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Support Services and Programs


The City of Cambridge, Economic Development Department are  providing Cambridge business owners with information on Business Support Services and Programs to help you navigate the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit  INVEST Cambridge website for updates as new programs and initiatives are announced.



March 27, 2020

Business and economic support team forms to help businesses navigate COVID-19


Waterloo Region –  The Region of Waterloo, all seven area municipalities, Waterloo EDC (Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation) and local partners have created the Business and Economic Support Team of Waterloo Region (BESTWR) to help all types of local businesses cope with challenges caused by COVID-19.


“Collectively, this group will be a point of contact for governments as they make rapid decisions to support the evolving economic and business environment, and will help to promptly disseminate these decisions to our business community. We will also be advocating on behalf of Waterloo Region firms to ensure their urgent needs and concerns are heard, clearly articulated and addressed,” said Tony LaMantia, President & CEO, Waterloo EDC, who will serve as Chair of the BESTWR.


The leadership team also includes Iain Klugman (Communitech), Ian McLean (Greater KW Chamber of Commerce) and Greg Durocher (Cambridge Chamber of Commerce).


In addition to those noted above, members of BESTWR will include representatives from the Region and all area municipalities, and representatives from many other organizations engaged in supporting our local businesses and the local economy.


This group will encourage businesses to continue to reach out to their existing economic development contacts with any inquiries or needs, and common requirements will filter up through the Business and Economic Support Team. The group will also work closely with the Regional Pandemic Control Group to ensure a coordinated community response to the COVID -19 pandemic.


For some helpful resources and program support information for local businesses visit:


Region of Waterloo

Waterloo EDC

Communitech

Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

City of Kitchener

City of Waterloo

City of Cambridge

Township of Woolwich

Township of Wilmot

Township of Wellesley 

Township of North Dumfries


March 25, 2020

Cambridge City Council approves Economic Response Plan

During a special virtual council meeting today, Cambridge City Council passed an Economic Response Plan which includes a series of measures to support local residents, businesses, and workers during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Under Cambridge’s Economic Response Plan, the City will launch immediate relief actions, including grace periods for penalties and interest on property taxes and water utility bills, and relaxed parking enforcement.  City staff remains committed to continuing to review additional opportunities in the coming weeks.


"The safety and health of the public has been our first priority as this crisis unfolds but we also need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to help both our residents and our businesses who are being financially impacted,” said Mayor Kathryn McGarry.


"As we are requiring non-essential businesses to shut, the federal and provincial governments are putting support programs in place, and the City has to do its part. We won’t know the full impacts of COVID-19 for some time but we know people are already hurting, and our Economic Response Plan will help them.”


The City continues to offer its services in support of the business community as well as the development industry. The INVESTCambridge team is available by phone or email to help business owners navigate through this difficult period. A dedicated webpage has been developed in an effort to share timely information and business resources. As well, the City will be promoting local #cbridge restaurants and businesses who are offering online services through an interactive map.


Service Cambridge also remains open to assist residents by phone at (519) 623-1340. Following the recommendation of health officials, City staff across the organization are currently working from home where possible and can be contacted by email or phone on city-related business.


The plan augments recently announced federal and provincial financial aid programs, as well as a wider coordinated economic response with the local Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, area-municipalities, Waterloo Economic Development Corporation, the Region of Waterloo and other partners.


The initial actions are listed below and more actions will be added as the situation evolves and as we receive feedback directly from the business community and residents.


Economic Response Plan

Immediate relief and flexibility for residents and businesses

  • Waive penalties, interest, late payment charges and other fees related to property taxes and water billing until June 1.

  • Suspend any water meter disconnections.

  • Suspend the transfer of overdue water accounts to the property tax account to assist landlords

  • Eased enforcement of parking, including, on and off street parking time limits, paid parking and core area parking lots.

  • Waive interest on any general invoices from the City until June 1.

  • Deferring payments for annual business license renewals until June 1.

  • Suspend the non-sufficient fund administration fee for returned payments until June 1.

  • Suspend collection of rent from vendors of the Cambridge Farmers’ Market and examine other leased properties owned by the City.


Keeping our community informed
  • Launched business support resource page www.investcambridge.ca/covid19.

  • Ongoing direct business outreach and dialogue with the three Business Area Associations through the INVEST Cambridge team.

  • Ongoing communication via social media and newsletters about Provincial and Federal programs including calls for supplies and retooling.

  • Providing the Provincial Government with an updated list of Cambridge businesses that manufacture or supply products that may be required to assist with COVID-19 and their #OntarioTogether initiative.


Business services – invest@cambridge.ca
  • Develop new interactive map highlighting local restaurants and businesses offering take out and online services.

  • All business services under INVESTCambridge are available remotely - invest@cambridge.ca; or 519-740-4685

  • Small business consultations and guidance available by phone or email - invest@cambridge.ca; or 519-740-4685

  • Working with Small Business Centre partners to look at the creation of webinars on accessing government supports, training and relevant topics to the business community.

  • Work with vendors of the Cambridge Farmers’ Market on alternate ways to offer services.       

                                                

Supporting investment in Cambridge

To keep businesses and builders investing in Cambridge the city will continue to provide the below services:

  • Development facilitation services

  • Processing of development applications

  • Processing of building permit applications, along with inspections. 


Partnerships
  • Working with regional partners to ensure a coordinated approach to supports and access to provincial and federal funding programs over the longer term.


March 25, 2020

Region of Waterloo and local municipalities declare States of Emergency


Waterloo Region – Today, the Region of Waterloo, and all seven area municipalities, declared States of Emergency in accordance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.


The declaration of a municipal emergency is part of the Region and area municipalities’ ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, and will ensure our municipal governments can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.


Declaring a State of Emergency provides the Heads of Council the authority to take actions or make orders to protect the inhabitants of the municipality and increases the ability of municipalities to share resources, personnel and equipment to respond and support the broader public sector and key services. It also allows the Region to use and support volunteers to assist with providing critical services if needed.


The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in our region and the next few days are critical in our ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. The province has announced additional measures restricting non-essential services. If required, the Region and area municipalities may consider taking additional measures beyond what the province has already put in place.


This declaration sends the strongest possible message to our residents to stay home and to change their behaviour. The Regional Chair and all Mayors strongly encourage residents to continue taking every precaution to protect themselves – stay home, stay safe, and only venture out to buy essential supplies. Or order online if at all possible.


The Region continues to ask all non-essential businesses to close – as the Medical Officer of Health has urged publicly – and as the Government of Ontario has ordered. To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario Government has ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. Local officials support this action by the province and have been clear that they will support further recommendations and orders from the Medical Officer of Health and the provincial and federal governments if people do not comply with the need to stay home.


For some helpful resources including how to help stop the spread of germs, how to self-isolate, self-monitor and social distancing best practices, visit www.regionofwaterloo.ca/COVID19


March 21, 2020

Pandemic planning group deploys supports and safety measures for the most vulnerable


Waterloo Region – The Region, the area municipalities and many community partners have taken action to support the health and safety of vulnerable people affected by COVID-19.


As part of the Region pandemic response plan, more than 17 municipal and community partners have formed a Community Support Control Group.

Together with the private sector, this group is responding to the needs of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with the following supports:


An isolation space will imminently start receiving people who are homeless and showing symptoms of COVID-19. This space will be fully staffed. 

Drop-in spaces in Waterloo Region may open as early as this weekend to people who are homeless, giving them a place to go during the day. 

Starting next week, food hampers and meals will be delivered to people with low income who can’t leave their home. This program can also serve people who are homeless if emergency shelters and other agencies become unable to. 


Public washrooms and spaces are being opened in and around city cores in Waterloo Region. 


The Community Support Control Group will continue to plan for and respond to needs as they arise. It will also provide additional support in other areas, including children’s services, animal care services, and services that help the vulnerable care for their emotional wellbeing.


March 17, 2020

COVID-19 Update: All Remaining Municipal Facilities to close to the public up to and including April 5


Waterloo Region – Waterloo Region area municipalities continue to monitor and respond to COVID-19 and follow the recommendations of the federal, provincial and regional public health authorities in making changes to protect the wellbeing of residents and workers.  As a precaution during the evolving global pandemic, over the next 24 hours, the Region and area municipalities will be closing all remaining municipal facilities to the public up to and including April 5. This includes all city/township halls, regional headquarters and municipal administrative offices – unless access is required to deliver a critical service.


Residents, businesses and other municipal customers are encouraged to delay any non-essential business with their respective municipality or to consider conducting business online or by phone, where possible.

These municipal facility closures are in addition to the closures of recreation and cultural facilities announced earlier.


All emergency services and all services deemed critical by each local municipality will continue. As municipalities continue to monitor the evolving situation, services deemed critical will be subject to change. Residents are encouraged to visit their respective municipal website for the most up-to-date details about critical services and pandemic responses.


For some helpful resources including how to help stop the spread of germs, how to self-isolate, self-monitor and social distancing best practices, visit www.regionofwaterloo.ca/COVID19


March 15, 2020

Statement from Mayor McGarry on COVID-19


I want to thank our community for coming together during this difficult and rapidly evolving situation and for following the recommendations from our Acting Medical Officer of Health.


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve around the world and in our local community, the wellbeing of our residents remains our top priority. Together, we will help prevent the spread of infection and potential impact in Cambridge and the Region as a whole.


With that in mind, we have made the decision to close all municipally-run cultural and recreational facilities from Mar. 16 - Apr. 5. This includes all arenas, pools, community centres, 50+ centres, and public libraries. All emergency services and critical municipal and regional services will continue. In terms of City services, please contact us online or by phone, where possible. Stay up to date on City closures at www.cambridge.ca/covid19


The City and Region have a dedicated pandemic response team, and this team is actively reviewing the latest information from health agencies and advising on appropriate City actions.


All area municipalities continue to work closely with the Region of Waterloo’s Public Health experts to monitor and respond to new developments. I encourage you to stay up to date on the most recent information by monitoring the Region’s Public Health website.