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York Region Business Update // March 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.
York Region Business Update

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







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York Region Remains in Red-Control Zone

There are several new changes for retail businesses under the updated Red-Control Zone including new capacity limits for grocery stores and all other retail.

Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant: PPE Support Expanded

The Ontario Government has expanded 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). Small businesses with 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors – expanded from 2-9 employees – including those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector can apply for the grant that provides up to $1,000 in financial support.

Northern York Region Professional Services Access Program

Northern York Region Professional Services Access Program Launches

With the unprecedented economic impacts of COVID-19, having access to professional services is critical for the success of any business. However, not all business owners can easily afford these costs. The Northern York Region Professional Services Access Program provides eligible businesses with access to free professional advice, including legal, financial, marketing and more. 

Canada United Small Business Relief Fund

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) reopened last month with small business relief grants up to $5,000 available for small businesses. The CUSBRF will be managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national chamber network to help small Canadian businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Rent Subsidy Rate Structure Extended

The Government of Canada announced that the government intends to extend the current rate structures for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) from March 14 to June 5, 2021. The maximum wage subsidy rate for active employees remains at 75 per cent and the maximum rent subsidy rate remains at 65 per cent. 

Ontario Launches Education Campaign to Help Workplaces Reopen Safely

The Ontario Government is launching new health and safety education campaigns focusing on helping small businesses across the province reopen safely. The on-the-ground assistance includes a comprehensive suite of resources business owners can access at no cost to ensure they are helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

SBC Ontario Launches COVID-19 Economic Recovery Network Website

Small Business Centres (SBC) Ontario is pleased to announce the launch of their new website sbcontario.ca, which serves as a hub for 54 existing Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centres, including the York Small Business Enterprise Centre and SBECs in Markham, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan. The site has been created to increase access and awareness of Small Business COVID Recovery services available to small businesses.

Want more small business news? Subscribe to York Region’s Small Business E-Newsletter.

COVID-19 Business Resources & Funding Programs Overview 

To help you make sense of all the available funding programs and resources, we continue to update our COVID-19 Business Resource page. This page contains information on supports announced by the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, as well as, events, and other pertinent information to impacted businesses.

Primary Funding Support Programs:

  • Ontario Small Business Support Grant
  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) 
  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) 
  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
  • Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)


Hardware in HCI lab

The Government of Canada Invests $4.7 Million in ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative Lab

The Government of Canada announced an additional investment of $4.7 million to ventureLAB to enhance its Hardware Catalyst Initiative Lab with virtual access and greater testing capabilities. The Hardware Catalyst Initiative is Canada’s first and only hardware-focused incubator. Investments like these help boost innovation, accelerate the commercialization of new technologies, grow and scale operations, and foster technological advancement.

Vaughan-based York Metal Products Receives $1.9 Million in Funding from the Government of Canada

Vaughan-based York Metal Products is receiving $1.9 million from the Government of Canada via FedDev Ontario. This will help the company purchase advanced automation and robotic equipment to scale up production of its proprietary one-piece metal exhaust emission parts for the automotive sector and create 32 skilled manufacturing jobs in Vaughan.

YRtech blog header

York Region Hardware Tech Companies: A Driving Force for ‘Made in Canada’ 

In our latest blog, York Region headquartered hardware tech companies Z3 Controls, Microart, and Laipac Technology shared their insights on ‘Made in Canada’ technology with us. Along with large multinational hardware firms, many homegrown success stories like Z3 Controls, Laipac Technology, and Microart Services choose to make York Region home for their headquarters.

More Than 63,000 Residents Moving into Vaughan’s Emerging Downtown Core Vaughan Metropolitan Centre  by 2031

Up to 63,350 residents in almost 32,000 residential units are expected to move into Vaughan’s emerging downtown core by 2031. Vaughan is updating VMC’s Phase 1 plan, which deals with new roads, transportation routes, parks and more.

The 2021 Census of Agriculture is Now Faster and Easier to Complete

The Census of Agriculture is an important tool for gathering valuable information for farm communities and decision-makers. It gives an up-to-date picture of the Canadian agriculture sector by identifying trends, opportunities and challenges that have an impact on the industry.

This spring, all Canadian farm operators will be asked to complete the Census of Agriculture 2021 questionnaire.

Want more agri-food news? Subscribe to York Region’s Agri-Food E-Newsletter.



YR Innovation Portal Banner

York Region’s Revamped Innovation Portal Goes Live  

The new YR Innovation Portal has officially launched! The portal is the official online hub of York Region’s innovation and startup ecosystem. It’s where you can find jobs, learn about events and read exciting news from across York Region.  Whether you’re in the early stages or want to scale-up your existing venture, York Region is the place to launch your next big idea.

Lullaboo, Engineering a New Business from the Ground Up 

Richmond Hill headquartered Lullaboo has expanded to nine locations across the province, and has several additional locations under construction. Irini Mikhael engineered her own solution. She bought a plot of land in Richmond Hill and built Lullaboo, a brand new childcare centre for her daughter. She never went back to work at that gas company.

We Want To Hear From You

Own a Small Business? We Want to Hear From You 

In an effort to be responsive to the needs of small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the four Small Business Enterprise Centres across York Region are looking to receive your feedback on the effectiveness of existing support programs. Your input on how support can be improved overall will also be valuable and much appreciated.

Please take a moment and fill out this short, confidential survey.

Explore #ShopLocalYR Campaigns Across York Region 

As the economy begins to reopen again, York Region is encouraging residents to shop, eat and support local businesses during these challenging times. Residents can support local-based businesses by choosing to #shoplocalYR. Now more than ever they need community support.



Office Real Estate Market Vacancy & Availability Rate in York Region | 2016 – 2021

Source: CoStar, March 2021
Statistics note: Office building space at a minimum of 20,000 sq. ft.

Industrial Real Estate Market Vacancy & Availability Rate in York Region | 2016 – 2021

Source: CoStar, March 2021
Statistics note: Industrial properties include flex building space

Unemployment Rates (%) | January 2019 – February 2021*

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

A Selection of Upcoming Business Events:

03/23 | Founder Fundamentals – Social Media Strategies | YSpace
03/23 | Government Funding for Exporting During COVID-19 | Mentor Works & EDC
03/25 | Women Entrepreneurship Conference: State of Women Entrepreneurship | WEKH


Subscribe to our other monthly e-newsletters on these topics:


York Link | York Region Economic Development

The York Link team are here to help and are committed to supporting local businesses. We are still providing business advisory and consultation services, information on business resources, support for startups, and more in a virtual capacity at this time.