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York Region Economic Development COVID-19 Updates & Activity

COVID-19 Business Funding Support Programs Overview

Funding Program Overview

Click here or the image to download the Federal and Provincial Funding Programs Overview PDF

York Region Economic Development Business Support

The York Region Business Recovery Support Partnership comprises York Region, economic development teams from our nine cities and towns, local Chambers of Commerce / Boards of Trade, the Workforce Planning Board of York RegionYork Region Business Coalition and ventureLAB.

Below are some of the highlighted activities and achievements undertaken by York Region Economic Development, in addition to other initiatives focused on our goals from the 2020-2023 York Region Economic Development Action Plan.

Click to jump to a specific results section:



The York Region Business Recovery Support Partnership connects economic development stakeholders to address the COVID-19 pandemic and support businesses. The Crisis Response Supply Chain Sub-Group worked to procure Personal Protective Equipment and connect businesses with suppliers.

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Supported York Region’s internal supply chain working group

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Initiated manufacturing supply chain resilience study in collaboration with Supply Chain Canada and local municipalities

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Companies evaluated to help supply PPE to York Region Public Health

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Assisted in awarding a contract to a local distillery to provide York Region with hand sanitizer

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Created a listing of local manufacturers of PPE to support businesses and Regional operations

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Worked with a variety of industry experts and external stakeholders to support study design


The York Region Business Recovery Support Partnership connects economic development stakeholders to address the COVID-19 pandemic and support businesses. The Business Advisory Sub-Groups worked to deliver immediate support to businesses through consultation and other programs.

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Leveraged from the Innovation Investment Fund to provide direct COVID-19 support to small businesses

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Regional business advisory engagements and consultations conducted virtually

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Completed COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis study in collaboration with The Conference Board of Canada

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Visits to Economic Strategy’s COVID-19 business resource web pages

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Shared safety, operational and other best practices between group members

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Impressions of Economic Strategy’s COVID-19 and other business focused social media content

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Supported the four Small Business Enterprise Centres with COVID-19 recovery funding

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Completed a Regional Business Impact and Recovery Survey with 1,000+ respondents


The York Region Business Recovery Support Partnership connects economic development stakeholders to address the COVID-19 pandemic and support businesses. The Agriculture and Agri-Food Sub-Group collaborated to identify and address imminent challenges and provide support to the sector.

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Developed a PPE supplier directory

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Enabled mobile COVID-19 testing at 17 farm locations throughout York Region

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COVID-19 farm spot-check inspections completed by York Region Public Health

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Completed a business recovery accelerator webinar series for food processors

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Provided COVID-19 guidance and information for safe farm and food operations

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Shared health and safety protocols and best industry practices between group members

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Completed a temporary foreign worker campaign to raise awareness and support the sector

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Developed a COVID-19 health and safety webinar for farm operations


The York Region Business Recovery Support Partnership connects economic development stakeholders to address the COVID-19 pandemic and support businesses. The Tourism, Arts and Culture Sub-Group worked to understand challenges and provide support to the sector through a tourism marketing campaign called #ReadyWhenYR. The campaign was designed to instill consumer confidence and encourage residents to safely explore York Region.


Launched a new tourism campaign website: readywhenyr.com

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Shared safety, operational and other best practices between group members

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Developed 5 videos to capture York Region attractions for the campaign

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Impressions (views) across all social media channels using #ReadyWhenYR

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#ReadyWhenYR posts across all social media channels

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Unique individuals were reached across all social media channels

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Engagements with campaign posts, including likes, comments and shares

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Visitors to the readywhenyr.com campaign website


Impact of COVID-19 on York Region's Economy & Business Community

Nearly all industries in York Region feel the negative impact of COVID-19. Shrinking output and employment in industries deemed non-essential during peak waves of the pandemic, or still affected by physical distancing, weigh on the Region’s economy in 2021 as well.

According to estimates from the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) based on Statistics Canada data, York Region’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted considerably in 2020 (5.6 per cent decline) but is projected to recover as mass vaccination rolls out. Industry sectors that have seen the most significant employment decline in 2020 in York Region were accommodation and food services and arts, entertainment and recreation, with a year-over-year drop of 35 per cent and 24 per cent respectively (combined impact of 14,000 jobs). The CBoC expects that these sectors will regain 80% of lost jobs once mandated physical distancing measures end. The economic impact of COVID-19 closures and social distancing measures varies between local municipalities across York Region, depending on the size, sectoral composition and industry diversification of their local business community.

COVID-19 business impact surveys are conducted by multiple organizations at the national, provincial and municipal levels. This includes surveys by Statistics Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, and the Toronto Region Board of Trade, to name a few, as well as surveys undertaken by municipalities and Chambers of Commerce in York Region. The results of these surveys are publicly available and point to the small business community, and in specific sectors, as the hardest hit by far (see our COVID-19 business resources section for information and links).

Small businesses in York Region

According to Statistics Canada data, small business establishments [defined by the Canadian government as having 1-99 jobs] account for 98% of all businesses in York Region; the vast majority (90% of total) have 19 employees or less. The top sectors for small business establishments locally include Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (9,400 business establishments or 18% of total), followed by the construction sector (6,200 businesses or 12% of total) and retail (4,700 businesses or 9% of total). Over half of the small business establishments in the retail sector employ less than 5 people each.

Additional support was provided to the small business community technology community through the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

Staff worked with ventureLAB to reposition a portion of the $100,000 York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund (EIF) managed by ventureLAB to include a COVID-19 support stream. This resulted in a total of $50,000 being awarded during the Made In York Region event on December 3, 2020 to three small tech companies that pivoted to provide COVID-19 related business solutions. The companies were:

  • Eaigle: developing artificial intelligence solutions to protect employees during COVID-19
  • Hotspots Outdoor Heat: developing heated patio furniture to extend the outdoor dining season
  • Infield Solutions: developing connected “cubbies” for a curb-side pickup and delivery management system driven by a mobile app



Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Characteristics, 3-month moving average, unadjusted for seasonality, February 2021
*CMA – Census Metropolitan Area

Latest COVID-19 York Region Business News

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program | COVID-19 Funding Spotlight

Qualified small to medium-sized Canadian businesses can receive from $25,000 to $1 million in HASCAP loans, and larger organizations with multiple locations such as a chain of restaurants or hotels can receive up to $6.25 million in funding support.

York Region Business Update // February 2021

York Region Economic Development’s monthly e-newsletter shares highlights and news from the business community, small business supports, events, economic data, and more.

Ontario Expands Eligibility for Main Street Relief Grant

The Ontario government is expanding the number of small businesses that can apply for the Main Street Relief Grant to help offset the costs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) to cautiously and gradually reopen in parts of the province. Small businesses with 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors