Business Reopening Toolkit

City releases toolkit to help businesses reopen safely

Ottawa – The City of Ottawa has developed a business reopening toolkit, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health, to help businesses answer critical questions before they can reopen safely.

The gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the months to come will bring new challenges for local businesses to navigate, as well as opportunities to innovate. As Ontario begins to reopen the economy, we encourage all Ottawa businesses and organizations to ensure they are prepared to go back to work safely.

Members of the Ottawa business community can access the toolkit online. It provides guidance on preparing your workplace, employees and operations to resume while ensuring physical distancing, and also provides links to official resources such as public health signage, sector-specific guidelines and government financial assistance programs. Information and resources will be updated regularly on the website as guidance from the Government of Ontario and Ottawa Public Health continues to evolve.


“Businesses are the backbone of our community and it is critical that we have the supports in place to help them succeed. Together with Councillors Laura Dudas and Eli El-Chantiry and our Economic Partners Task Force, the City is pleased to help recovery efforts by providing this roadmap for you to reopen in a way that is good for business while ensuring the safety of employees, clients and customers.”

Mayor Jim Watson

“Thank you to Ottawa businesses for all your efforts to date. Getting people back to work safely is a priority. You ARE making a difference in our community. We all need to keep introducing physical distancing into our work processes, so that we can do our best to avoid a resurgence of infection as we move forward with relaxing current restrictions. Stay updated on the latest guidance to help keep yourselves, your employees, and our community healthy and safe.”

Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, visit or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#MyOttawa Pass

Ottawa Tourism is launching a savings passport for locals with the goal of promoting spending and patronage at Ottawa businesses in order to help the local economy and tourism sector restart after COVID-19. The #MyOttawa Pass / Passeport #MonOttawa will be available electronically for smartphone users and is tentatively scheduled for launch June 3rd to run for 3 months, reminding locals of all the great experiences Ottawa has to offer right here in their own backyard.

This #MyOttawa Pass / Passeport #MonOttawa offer is available to all businesses who play a role in Ottawa’s visitor economy to encourage economic recovery more broadly within our city. If you are a retailer, restaurant, attraction, entertainment venue, tour provider or other business engaged in creating memorable experiences for residents and visitors, we encourage you to consider participating in this exciting opportunity.

There is no cost to you to participate, however we do ask for some form of value-added incentive (such as through a special offer, coupon or discount) that you can provide passholders to encourage them to visit your business and spend money with you. This is very similar to traditional incentive approaches, with the key difference being that these are hyper-targeted, curated, and relevant to specific target audiences through a mobile-exclusive channel. The redemption process is very straightforward and is not meant to disrupt your current processes. A passholder would simply present the pass on their phone to redeem the given offer at your business.


• Streamlined booking, purchase and redemption system for residents and visitors.
• Digital, contactless process supports current physical distancing measures and expectations for both businesses and clients.
• Combines our destination’s special offers into one central spot.
• Is made available instantly on the passholder’s phone without them having to download anything.
• Passport allows businesses to cross-promote one another and promote the value of the tourism industry to residents.

Ottawa Tourism is working with a company called Bandwango who will provide technical support for the program and oversee the use of the #MyOttawa Pass / Passeport #MonOttawa. Bandwango are industry leaders in digital experience-based passports and have already developed similar savings programs for other destinations with great success.
If you’d like to participate in the #MyOttawa Pass / Passeport #MonOttawa, please complete this quick 5-minute form

For those who complete this form, Bandwango representatives will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks to help answer any questions and provide instructions for next steps to get your offers loaded onto the passport.

The deadline to participate in the launch of the #MyOttawa Pass / Passeport #MonOttawa is Friday, May 22nd to give us time to review your offers and finalize the pass before a tentative launch date of June 3rd (this would be the earliest possible launch date, pending the province’s reopening dates). With your commitment and special offers, we believe that we can make our #MyOttawa Pass / Passeport #MonOttawa experience highly compelling to residents, helping to generate revenues at a time when every dollar counts.

Thank you and have a great day!
Ottawa Tourism

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) application process will begin tomorrow, May 15. We are providing $1,250 per month to eligible students, or $2,000 per month to students with disabilities, or those with children or other dependants.

  • This is in continuation with our support to all Canadians. So far over 7.3 million Canadians have applied for $2,000 per month CERB. 96,000 employers have applied for the 75% wage subsidy to cover 1.7 million workers. 518,000 businesses have applied for interest free $40,000 federal government-backed loans.
  • The CESB is for post-secondary students, new graduates as well as high school graduates who will be starting a post-secondary program in the coming months.
  • It will also be available to Canadian students studying abroad and there are no age restrictions and is for those who are unable to work or seeking work but are unable to find it or working but unable to make more than $1,000.
  • CESB is part of our support to students totaling $9 billion which includes doubling of student grant amounts and a raised cap on student loans for the upcoming school year. A six-month, interest-free moratorium on student loan repayment is already in effect.
  • For more details and how to apply, please visit
  • When Canada emerges from this pandemic, we want to ensure students are in a financial position to continue their studies so they can pursue fruitful careers.

$213 million Federal Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF): We have just announced the RRRF which provides interest-free loans to small businesses that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current federal government COVID-19 relief measures.

  • This is to help small businesses whose revenues have been affected by providing support for fixed operating costs, including but not limited to capital lease payments, rent, property taxes, utilities and insurance.
  • It can be $40,000 interest free loan with 25% or $10,000 forgiven if paid back by Dec 31, 2022. Or it can be up to $500,000 interest free loan which is 100% repayable (but no repayment required until Dec 2022).
  • If there is significant demand for the funding available, priority may be given to manufacturing, technology, tourism or businesses that support the federal government’s commitment to inclusive growth (i.e., women, Indigenous peoples, youth, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, newcomers, LGBTQ2) and Official Language Minority Communities.
  • All details can be seen here

Holly Days Bazaar Helps to Sustain Vital Community Projects

On Saturday, November 16, Bells Corners will come alive with the Christmas spirit as Christ Church Bells Corners (CCBC) opens its doors once again for its popular Holly Days Bazaar.  Located at 3861 Old Richmond Road, this annual, volunteer-driven fundraiser will take place from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm and promises a wide selection of treats and treasures at affordable prices for people of all ages.

“Christ Church Bells Corners has, for generations, supported vulnerable populations who cannot achieve their full potential because of poverty, lack of housing, inadequate education, fear, and isolation,” explains The Venerable Kathryn Otley, rector of the parish.  “But our work cannot be sustained without the generosity of our parishioners, friends, and visitors.”  The Holly Days Bazaar is one important piece of the puzzle as the funds it raises allow CCBC to continue contributing tens ofthousands of dollars annually to local hospices, women’s shelters, drop-in centres, and FAMSAC (the emergency food assistance program serving Ottawa’s west end), as well as to international humanitarian relief efforts. “We know the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Bells Corners, and we look forward to welcoming everyone on November 16,” adds Otley.

This year’s bazaar features home baking, Christmas wreaths and crafts, sewing and knitting, artisanal soaps, candy and deli items, jewelry, children’s toys and games, a huge book selection, and a silent auction.  Everything has been made or generously donated by talented church members, their friends and family. Start your holiday shopping at the Holly Days Bazaar on November 16 and then stay for a delicious home-cooked lunch in the always popular Holly Days Café.  Admission to the bazaar is free, there is ample parking on site, and the building is wheelchair accessible.  Cash and credit cards are accepted.

Christ Church Bells Corners, an active intergenerational Anglican parish and a dynamic presence in the Bells Corners community, has been nurturing faith, serving the world, and welcoming all since 1853.  It has recently launched an ambitious affordable housing project that will see the construction of a three-storey apartment building on church grounds to provide homes for Ottawa families and individuals who have waited years for a place to call their own.  For more information on the 2019 Holly Days Bazaar, contact Megan Sproule-Jones at 613-322-7214, visit our website at or find us on Facebook at

Provincial Dialogue Luncheon with Minister Lisa MacLeod

The Ottawa Board of Trade presents Minister Lisa MacLeod at a Provincial Dialogue Luncheon on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at the Shaw Centre.

Minister MacLeod will share the government’s plan to build for Ontario’s future with the hard-working people of this province by creating more jobs, putting more money in people’s pockets, making communities healthy, streets safe, commutes shorter and government smarter. 

In addition to providing an update on the government’s balanced and prudent plan to clean up the province’s inherited fiscal mess, Minister MacLeod will also discuss its plans to make life more affordable for families, create a competitive business environment, and invest in critical infrastructure for the future.

Huge THANK YOU to our sponsors Ottawa Tourism, Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group (OSEG) and RA Centre!

Growth Survey

A short 10-minute survey presented by Welch LLP and the Ottawa Board of Trade.

Respondents who complete the survey can enter themselves into a draw to win an exclusive tasting experience for two at Beckta, valued at $500.

Survey conducted by Abacus Data — No confidential or financial information will be asked in this survey. 

Meet Our Board

Betty Montsko, Vice Chaiir — Sew For It

Ivan Milev, CFO — Scotia Bank

Scott Statham, Director — Scotty’s Corner Diner

Many thanks for their dedicated service to our out-going Directors:

Manny Mellios

Kelly Williams

Gina Vacchio

Grant Woolsey

Armand Montpellier