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By:  Simon Martin

Town of East Gwillimbury

The exterior of the East Gwillimbury Civic Centre. -  Photo Credit-Susie Kockerscheidt/Torstar

Businesses are hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and East Gwillimbury is no different. In an effort to help local businesses, East Gwillimbury council established a $250,000 emergency response benefit.

The fund will grant eligible businesses experiencing significant negative financial impacts up to $10,000 each.

“East Gwillimbury is home to more than 350 businesses. More than a third of them have been designated non-essential and mandated to close by the Ontario government,” Mayor Virginia Hackson said. “Our business community is extremely important to the town, and we want to ensure that businesses who are experiencing substantial financial strain and hardship have our support.”

The federal and provincial governments have both rolled out a number of support programs for business. The East Gwillimbury Emergency Response Benefit is intended to address programming gaps in the federal and provincial programs by providing short-term financial assistance to the local business community.

    The town hopes that additional federal and provincial programs will continue to be launched to support longer-term recovery efforts.

    The money for the emergency response benefit will be funded through the economic development and servicing initiatives portion of the community capital contribution fund.

    The funds will be provided as grants, up to a maximum of $5,000 for local businesses employing one to four people and up to $10,000 for businesses employing five people or more. The intent of the program is to assist in ensuring the ongoing viability of the business after COVID-19. Businesses will be screened first for program eligibility and then prioritized based on the assessed financial impact of the mandated closure.

    The benefit will be administered through the South Lake Community Futures Development Corporation (SLCFDC). Eligible businesses must meet all the following requirements:

    • Be located in East Gwillimbury;

    • Be a registered business (sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation where the applicant is the major shareholder);

    • Demonstrate a minimum of 30 per cent loss of revenue;

    • Have 2018 tax filing information complete; and

    • Demonstrate the ability to maintain operations for six months, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Businesses that are not eligible include:

    • Corporately owned franchises

    • Distributorships

    • Not-for-profit or charitable organizations

    • Multi-level marketing ventures

    • Businesses that are conducted strictly online

    The application process will be launched the week of May 11, 2020. Information and application forms will be available at www.eastgwillimbury.ca/COVIDbusiness and www.southlakefutures.ca.

    Martin, S (2020), 'East Gwillimbury launches emergency benefit for businesses hit by coronavirus' YorkRegion.com, May 8, 2020

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