Support for Businesses and Individuals

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has created a new Business Continuity & Economic Recovery Plan to help deal with the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Plan, created to address the continuing need for the Town to operate at the high level expected by residents and businesses, outlines how Town services are currently being conducted and what economic measures need to be implemented to avoid serious financial hardships. 

The Business Continuity & Economic Recovery Plan also outlines plans for moving forward with the Town’s new Economic Strategy and to update Council on Downtown Stouffville business grants which will take COVID-19 concerns into account.

The Town is also preparing a multi-year business campaign with local partners to help post-COVID-19.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

Tracking Programs offered by Upper Tier Governments

The Town is actively engaged in tracking COVID-19 Business Assistance Programs as announced by upper tier governments. There is usually a “lag time” between a program being announced and being implemented; sometimes measured in weeks. We are doing our best to summarize these programs for you on a weekly basis. Click the link to see the latest multi-page PDF document.

Linking Businesses to Resources

The Voice of Business

The Town launched a business website named L4A.ca “Everything Stouffville”. The site contains over 300 businesses and climbing. It features a Directory of local businesses by category, a Shop and an Experience section. The Experience section features events, attractions and tourism-related activities. Participation in the site is free for local businesses – all you have to do is complete a simple registration form on www.L4A.ca. In addition, the Town continues to publish its monthly magazine On the Road in Whitchurch-Stouffville (OTR) to better communicate with every resident and business. OTR is the voice of business, feature in depth interviews, gear-up features, and stories about where businesses meet community. No costs are involved for the businesses featured, other than having a good story for us to tell. Advertising within OTR is handled by a local 3rd party (Bruce Stapley), and has no bearing on the editorial content. OTR is mailed via Canada Post to almost 18,000 residents Town-wide. During the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, OTR was introduced in digital form in order to assist the business community more rapidly. Every back issue of OTR can be seen at www.townofws.ca/otr.

Rapid Response

Economic Development has been busy helping the Town implement rapid response measures. Some of these are:

  1. The design and creation of Pedestrian Diversion and Patio Zones in Downtown Stouffville;
  2. The design and permitting of Shopping Centre parking lot patios;
  3. The design and development of a new business incentive program, the Town-wide CIP;
  4. Launching the 2021-2025 Economic Development & Tourism Strategy update;
  5. Investigating a pedestrian gateway through Downtown Stouffville;
  6. Promoting programs opportunities for businesses like ShopHere and the YR Food Incubator; and
  7. Marketing Town events, such as the Farmers Market, by way of the L4A website.

SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS

Ensuring Public Safety

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is collaboratively working with York Region Public Health, provincial, and national health agencies to monitor COVID-19 and to share information and resources. Our By-Law is working collaboratively with York Regional Police to ensure that residents are following social-distancing rules. The Town has also made decisions to cancel events and keep facilities closed until June 30, 2020.

Open Communications

The Town’s Corporate Communications team has been working diligently to ensure messaging regarding COVID-19 and the effects it has on the community. Messaging includes media releases; daily COVID reports; livestream Council meetings; social media; OTR digital & print magazine.; newspaper ads; mobile road signs; weekly podcasts; and more. 

Council and Town Staff are committed to remaining available to residents during this time of uncertainty.

Community Care

To further help with food security issues, the Town announced The Stouffville Community Care Network, a web page tool. “We have received countless emails, messages and phone calls from people in our community who want to help in one way or another,” said Mayor Lovatt, “this webpage connects residents in need of assistance safely and easily with those nearby who are willing to lend a hand.”

From grocery store and pharmacy pick-ups to hot meal delivery or just a friendly phone chat, this webpage can make the connections through a safe and secure platform to other community members wanting to provide assistance. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance or willing to provide help to our vulnerable residents, please register your interest at www.townofws.ca/communitycarenetwork. “This is how our community pulls together, put their heads together and bring ideas to life to assist each other when help is needed most,” said Lovatt. 

The Whitchurch-Stouffville Food Bank provides food to those in need in our community. Contact https://wsfoodbank.ca. The Seed Exchange/Stouffville Area (search Facebook) was launched to give hope and a bit of “control” in this chaos; in the form of free seeds.

 

The Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library launched a community check-in service, which complements the Stouffville Community Care Network launched by the Town on April 9.

The Library’s community check-in service enables residents to contact library staff regarding how the library can serve them during the closure.  These inquiries can range from asking about online resources to chatting with library staff about books and films.

To register for this program, visit the Library’s website at www.wsplibrary.ca, click on the Community Check-in Service button, and complete the form. If you do not have access to a computer, call 905-642-7323 ext. 5222.

 The Government of Canada is currently recruiting volunteers to assist with COVID-19 efforts. They are seeking volunteers to help with case tracking, case data collection health system surge capacity and more.

To learn more visit Canada’s National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign 

Grace Periods for Municipal Tax & Water Bill

Council made the decision to waive tax and water bill penalties and interest until May 29 in hopes to help ease the burden on the many families struggling to make ends meet during this time. Find more information here

Canada's Support for Individuals

The Government of Canada has implemented a number of programs that will benefit individuals and families, these are: Increasing the Canada Child Benefit; A one-time special payment; Extra time to file income tax returns; Mortgage support; Canada Emergency Response Benefit-CERB; Suspend repayment and interest on Canada Student Loans ; and, Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds. (see attached spreadsheet for more details, and more information can be found here.

In addition, the Town is following and maintaining a spreadsheet of assistance programs announced by the Government of Canada. We will attach new updates as they become available.