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 Region, York 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.
CRISIS RESPONSE SUPPLY CHAIN
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.
Supported York Region’s internal supply chain working group
Initiated manufacturing supply chain resilience study in collaboration with Supply Chain Canada and local municipalities
Companies evaluated to help supply PPE to York Region Public Health
Assisted in awarding a contract to a local distillery to provide York Region with hand sanitizer
Created a listing of local manufacturers of PPE to support businesses and Regional operations
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.
Leveraged from the Innovation Investment Fund to provide direct COVID-19 support to small businesses
Regional business advisory engagements and consultations conducted virtually
Completed COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis study in collaboration with The Conference Board of Canada
Visits to Economic Strategy’s COVID-19 business resource web pages
Shared safety, operational and other best practices between group members
Impressions of Economic Strategy’s COVID-19 and other business focused social media content
Supported the four Small Business Enterprise Centres with COVID-19 recovery funding
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.
Developed a PPE supplier directory
Enabled mobile COVID-19 testing at 17 farm locations throughout York Region
COVID-19 farm spot-check inspections completed by York Region Public Health
Completed a business recovery accelerator webinar series for food processors
Provided COVID-19 guidance and information for safe farm and food operations
Shared health and safety protocols and best industry practices between group members
Completed a temporary foreign worker campaign to raise awareness and support the sector
Developed a COVID-19 health and safety webinar for farm operations
TOURISM, ARTS, AND CULTURE
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.
Shared safety, operational and other best practices between group members
Developed 5 videos to capture York Region attractions for the campaign
Impressions (views) across all social media channels using #ReadyWhenYR
#ReadyWhenYR posts across all social media channels
Unique individuals were reached across all social media channels
Engagements with campaign posts, including likes, comments and shares
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
UNEMPLOYMENT RATES // JANUARY 2019 – JANUARY 2021
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Characteristics, 3-month moving average, unadjusted for seasonality, February 2021
*CMA – Census Metropolitan Area