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Business recovery support programs in Georgina

When the pandemic hit, the Town of Georgina acted quickly to find ways to support businesses and organizations. To do this, the Economic Development and Tourism office connected with more than 216 of them, providing guidance to support programs announced by the federal and provincial governments. From these conversations, our office was able to strategize and develop municipal-level support that would have the most impact on the community.

As a result, 89 businesses have received $308,816 in financial relief to cover rent and costs associated with COVID-19 through the Georgina Emergency Response Benefit, the COVID-19 Community Improvement Plan and the COVID-19 Not-for-Profits Charitable Organizations Program.
Additionally, three businesses collectively received $1,238 in development fee rebates, nine restaurants were able to expand their outdoor dining through the Temporary Patio Program, and 21 businesses received one-on-one business and marketing expertise through the Pivot Planning Squad launched in October.
As we move into a new year with recovery in mind, our office will continue to listen and execute impactful support programs, such as the extension of COVID-19 Recovery Programs and collaborations to help businesses pivot with current trends.

Do you have business support questions? Email our team at or call 905-476-4301.

Economic Development Quick Links

Pivot Planning Squad
The Town’s Economic Recovery Team (ERT) assembled the Pivot Planning Squad to provide marketing expertise and community connections to small businesses in Georgina as they continue to pivot operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Squad members, with backgrounds in business and marketing, will connect through one-on-one consultations in person or virtually. Learn more.



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Development Rebate Building Permit Fee Program

COVID-19 Development Rebate Building Permit Fee Application

The COVID-19 Development Application Rebate Program has been created to provide additional assistance to the business community and to assist with business recovery efforts during the Pandemic by providing a rebate for building permit fees.  Evaluation and approval of the applications will be determined by Georgina's Economic Recovery Team until such time as the Economic Development Committee begins to meet.

This funding opportunity recognizes that businesses during this time are required to retrofit their establishments to address COVID-19 related protocols and upgrade commercial spaces which may necessitate the submission of a building permit together with associated fees.

If an application is approved, rebates for building permit fees would be provided to owners/business operators following completion of the work and issuance of an occupancy permit by the Chief Building Official.

Grant Program Amount & Eligibility

- A maximum rebate of $3,000 will be provided for building permit fees (depending on the number of applications received, applicants may not receive the full amount requested)

- All sectors are eligible (Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional)

- All locations within the municipality are eligible

- Any individual or their immediate family who receives a bi-weekly remuneration from the Town of Georgina is ineligible

Temporary Patio Program

Temporary Patio Program Application

The Georgina Temporary Patio Program has been created to assist restaurants across the municipality with the recent move into Stage 2 of Ontario's reopening framework.

Strict guidelines related to COVID-19 regulations currently restrict seating to patio areas only, while still requiring social distancing that significantly restricts capacity. The reduced capacity within existing patio areas or the absence of a patio will result has made it necessary to create a temporary patio program.

Restaurant establishments that wish to build a new or expand an existing patio outdoor dining require to complete this application which will be reviewed in consultation with Town staff from the Development Services and Operations and Infrastructure Department.

Temporary Patio Process

1) Application to determine the layout and use of space for patio and provide sketch in this free online application.

2) Staff will review the application submission within 3 business days and advise the applicant of approval and/or required revisions necessary to establish patio.

3) Georgina Economic Recovery Task Force will issue notice of approval

Outdoor Heater Requirements:

  • Installing a fueled fire appliance (i.e. propane heaters, BBQ) on an outdoor patio must be certified and comply with all Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA) regulations
  • All fuel fired appliances must have a clearance of 3’ from all flammable materials and devices with an open flame must be secured
  • TSSA may also require specific clearances for placement of heater devices

Please ensure all of these guidelines are met to create a safe environment for your business and the public.

Tents and Other Similar Structure Guidelines:

  • Tents/structures are not permitted in right of way (sidewalks and curb lanes) to ensure full visibility for people driving, on bikes and pedestrians
  • At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area tent must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way
  • Tent walls must not exceed > 50% of the perimeter
  • For public safety and accessibility reasons, nothing may be drilled or affixed to the sidewalk or roadway
  • No fueled heating appliance is permitted in any enclosed or partially enclosed area
  • Tents will require building permits if > 60 m2. All tents must be no closer than 3 metres from a building whether or not a building permit is required.
  • All tents with area greater than 60 m2 on it’s own, or aggregate area of a group of tents less than 3 metres to each other require a building permit
  • Any tent > 225 m2 require professional engineer (p.eng) design and review
  • All tents requiring a permit must be certified to CAN/ULC-S109
  • Toilets must be provided to comply with the occupant load of the tent. If the main building’s toilets are being used to support the tent, the occupant load will be limited based on the total occupant load of building plus tent. Please note this may be offset with COVID-related restriction on indoor eating and may be reviewed at the time of a building permit application.
  • A building permit application must include a design of all fabric materials and structural supports and be prepared by a qualified designer.
Community Improvement Plan Grant

COVID-19 Community Improvement Grant Application 

The COVID-19 Community Improvement Grant Program has been created to provide to assist with recovery and efforts that must be undertaken by business owners to address operations during this Pandemic. Program eligibility will be determined by Georgina's Economic Recovery Team until such time as the Economic Development Committee begins to meet.

The Community Improvement Plan is a program that was approved in accordance with Section 28 of the Ontario Planning Act and applies to only those commercially assessed properties that are identified as being within the Keswick, Sutton or Jackson‘s Point Business Improvement Areas.

Grants approved under this program would be provided to owners/business operators following the submission of the final invoice for the renovation work completed indicating that the suppliers/contractors have been paid in full. For products or software purchased, paid in full invoices/receipts must be provided. 

Grant Program Amounts

1) Renovations to address the COVID-19 Pandemic

- Maximum 50% cost share to a maximum of $3,000 per business

Eligible Improvements

  • Retrofitted interior floor layouts
  • Construction required to permit social distancing protocols
  • Installation of Items/Products to address COVID 19 safety protocols during business operations

2) Purchase/implementation of new technology or software programs to enable e-commerce options or functionality of online business operations

- Maximum 50% cost share to a maximum of $1,500 per business

Eligible Improvements

  • Purchase of E-Commerce Shopping Platforms
  • CRM programs
  • Technology to enhance bandwidth or internet capacity
  • Mobile applications or functionality to allow customers to book appointments, pick-up times or order online
  • Digital Applications to interact with customers to promote social distancing
  • Security software programs that protect customer's data, and payment protection methods.
Not-for-profit/Charitable Organizations Program

COVID-19 Not-for-Profit/Charitable Organization Application 

The Not-for-Profits and Charitable Organizations COVID-19 Grant Program has been created to provide additional assistance to not-for-profits and charitable organizations located in Georgina. The Town of Georgina recognizes that these organizations are vital to the social and economic well-being of our community.

Grant Program Amount

Maximum of $1000 per month for a 3 month period to assist organizations who are facing a loss of revenue and the cost of maintaining their location by defraying the monthly lease costs for bricks and mortar not-for-profit and charitable organizations. 

Program Requirements

  • Must be a not-for-profit or charitable organization with a bricks and mortar location in the Town of Georgina.
  • For organizations that have experienced a 30% loss of revenue due to COVID-19.
Municipal Measures

Town of Georgina Economic Recovery measures:

  • The Georgina Emergency Response Benefit (GERB) grants eligible businesses who have seen a 30 per cent reduction in revenue up to $7,500 and will be administered through South Lake Community Futures. Funding has been dispersed to successful applications of the program. 
  • Property tax and water bill deferral for 90 days.
  • A grant of $10,000 for each of the three Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), Keswick, Sutton and Jackson’s Point, was approved to support their annual budgets for 2020. This will eliminate the annual fees that property owners contribute towards the activities undertaken by the BIAs.  
  • Temporary Patio Program assisted restaurants across the municipality with the move into Stage 2 of Ontario's reopening framework and will continue to support them until the end of 2020.
  • COVID-19 Community Improvement Grant supports BIA businesses and their need to address implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and assist with Business Recovery efforts. Projects or upgrades implemented post March 19, 2020 during the Declarations of Emergency order will be reviewed. 
  • The COVID-19 Development Application Rebate Program provides additional assistance to the business community and assists with business recovery efforts during the pandemic by providing a rebate for building permit fees.
  • Not-for-Profits and Charitable Organizations COVID-19 Grant Program provides additional assistance to not-for-profits and charitable organizations.
  • Collaboration with the Georgina Chamber of Commerce on a Shop Local initiative which was launched in early June.
  • The Town is working with Digital Main Street to bring ShopHERE powered by Google Canada to our local independent businesses and artists. Together we aim to help local businesses and artists launch their own online stores.
  • The Pivot Planning Squad was established to meet with businesses one-on-one to provide business/marketing expertise and community connections to small businesses in Georgina as they continue to pivot operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

York Region’s Economic Strategy team has compiled a comprehensive list of programs organized by program owner (government-level, industry organization etc.) as well as an events calendar with links to select program ‘how to’ expert webinars. 

Visit for the latest government funding programs, business resources, webinars and more.




If you're overwhelmed with the sea of information emerging daily, joining a webinar may help you get the specific information and advice you need as you navigate these challenging times. York Link - York Region Economic Development has created a list of webinars from reputable sources that relate to all sectors and business needs.



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