COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Resources for Event Planners in Ottawa

This webpage provides our members and industry with factual information and resources related to the event industry’s monitoring and responding to COVID-19 in Canada. The release of information related to the COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely fluid, and this page will be updated as required.

📌 Event Central Guidance: Visit their website.

📌 Ottawa Public Health: Visit their SocialWise website.

🚨 Follow us for industry news on Twitter @OttFestBiz and LinkedIn Ottawa Festival Network.

📰 Receive updates, news and event information in your inbox — subscribe to our COVID-19 Industry Advisory (fill out the form at the bottom of this page) and receive information about our weekly industry conference call.


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March 9, 2022, Ontario | Statement from Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health
» Statement
» Living with and Managing COVID-19 - Technical Media Briefing

Feb 15, 2022, Government of Canada | Government of Canada lightens border measures as part of transition of the pandemic response
» News release

Feb 14, 2022, Ontario | Ontario Moving to Next Phase of Reopening on February 17
» News release

Jan 20, 2022, Ontario | Ontario Outlines Steps to Cautiously and Gradually Ease Public Health Measures
» News release

Jan 12, 2022, Government of Canada | Government extends loan forgiveness repayment deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account
» News release

Jan 3, 2022, Ontario | Ontario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen
» News release

Dec 30, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Updating Public Health Measures and Guidance in Response to Omicron
» News release

Dec 17, 2021, Government of Canada | Government of Canada announces additional measures to contain the spread of the Omicron variant
» News release

Dec 17, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Further Strengthening Response to Omicron
» News release

Dec 10, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Taking Action to Protect Against Omicron Variant
» News release
» Backgrounder

Dec 7, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Extending Pause on Lifting Capacity Limits in Remaining Settings Where Proof of Vaccination is Required
» News Release

Nov  10, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Pausing the Lifting of Capacity Limits in Remaining Settings Where Proof of Vaccination is Required
» News release

Oct  22, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Releases Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term
» News release
» Regulation (updated Oct 22)

Oct 21, 2021, Government of Canada | Government announces targeted COVID-19 support measures to create jobs and growth
» News release
» Backgrounder

Sept 24, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Cautiously Easing Capacity Limits in Select Settings Where Proof of Vaccination is Required
» News release

Sept 1, 2021, Ontario | Ontario to Require Proof of Vaccination in Select Settings
» News release
» Backgrounder and FAQ
» Regulation (updated Sept 9)

July 12, 2021, Government of Canada | Government of Canada Launches Tourism Relief Fund
» Tourism Relief Fund
» Application guide
» Federal Tourism Growth Strategy

July 9, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Moving to Step Three of Roadmap to Reopen on July 16
» News release
» Regulation

June 28, 2021, Government of Canada | Continued Support for Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sector Organizations

  • The Recovery Fund for Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors will leverage existing programs to provide $300 million over two years to organizations that are still struggling due to the pandemic. It will provide organizations and individuals with the financial means to help build organizational resilience and pursue business innovation and transformation. This will also contribute to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in these sectors, as well as greening activities.
  • The Reopening Fund will provide $200 million over two years through existing programming to help Canada’s festivals, cultural events, outdoor theatre performances, heritage celebrations, local museums, amateur sport events and more. It will support organizations and projects that deliver in-person experiences or events that draw visitors to our communities.

» News release
» Backgrounder

June 2, 2021, Government of Canada | Government announces the Canada Recovery Hiring Program
» Backgrounder

April 19, 2021, Government of Canada | Government tables 2021 budget including measures for restoring tourism, arts, culture, and sport.

  • Major Festivals: Budget 2021 proposes to invest $200 million through the regional development agencies to support major festivals.
  • Community Festivals and Events: Budget 2021 proposes to invest $200 million through Canadian Heritage to support local festivals, community cultural events, outdoor theatre performances, heritage celebrations, and more.
  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $49.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage for the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program ($14 million over two years, starting in 2022-23), the Canada Arts Presentation Fund ($16 million over two years, starting in 2022-23), and the Celebration and Commemoration Program ($19.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22).
  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $300 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage to establish a Recovery Fund for Heritage, Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors.
  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $70 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage for the Canada Music Fund. This includes up to $50 million in 2021-22 to help the live music sector, including music venues, weather the pandemic.

» Budget overview
» Budget 2021 Supporting Tourism Hospitality, Arts and Culture

April 1, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Implements Provincewide “Emergency Brake” effective Saturday, April 3.

  • Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone;
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;
  • Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions.

» News release
» COVID-19 public health measures and advice
» COVID-19 shutdown: enhanced public health and workplace safety measures (full list of restrictions)

March 22, 2021, Government of Canada | Government announces extension of Canada Emergency Business Account to help small businesses.
» News release

March 10, 2021, Government of Canada | Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music Sectors Fund opens for applications.

The Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music Sectors Fund is designed to:

  • support the arts and cultural sectors in immediately contracting and employing artists and cultural workers, as part of the federal government’s overall efforts to help Canadians and Canadian businesses weather the effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic
  • provide arts and cultural experiences to Canadians, both live and digital, while restrictions on gatherings and travel continue across the country

» Application information

March 10, 2021, Ontario | The Ontario government announced the new Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force. It will be chaired by former MPP and Cabinet minister Tim Hudak, and give expert advice and recommendations on how to help the province's $36-billion tourism industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
» News release
» Announcement (via Facebook)
» Announcement (via YouTube)

March 3, 2021, Government of Canada | The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support have been extended at the current rate structures for these subsidies from March 14 to June 5, 2021.
» News release

March 2, 2021, Government of Canada | Rollout of Funding Announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement Supporting Arts and Live Events Workers in Response to COVID-19.
» News release

March 2, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Provides Significant Financial Support to the Arts Sector. Funding will help arts organizations and artists cover losses due to COVID-19.
» Announcement (YouTube)
» News release
» List of recipients

February 19, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Continues Investing in Innovative Festivals and Events. Funding will support local tourism initiatives as communities continue to struggle with COVID-19.
» News release

February 19, 2021, Ontario | The Live Performance Health and Safety Advisory Committee and Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development releases the Live Performance Health and Safety during COVID-19 guide.
» Download the PDF

February 8, 2021, Ontario | Ontario Extending Stay-at-Home Order across Most of the Province to Save Lives. Public Health Units will gradually return to the COVID-19 Response Framework — Ottawa to return February 16.
» News release
» Framework (updated February 8)

January 25, 2021, Ontario | State of Emergency and stay-at-home order Extended by 14 days
» Read more here

January 15, 2021, Government of Canada | Supplementary Mandate Letters: Following last week’s Cabinet shuffle, Ministers received supplementary mandate letters. The letters of Minister Guilbeault and Champagne contain relevant information to the festival industry.
» Letter to Minister Guilbeault
» Letter to Minister Champagne

November 30,  Government of Canada | Fall Economic Statement released with highlights for the creative sector

  • The government understands that certain major live events and festivals will require unique support and will work with industry to prevent the closure of unique and irreplaceable flagship events and festivals across Canada,.
  • Support for the planning and presentation of COVID-19-safe events and the arts — including both live and digital — the government will provide $181.5 million in 2021-22 to the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts to expand their funding programs. This includes a one-year renewal of funding provided in Budget 2019 for the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program (BCAH), the Canada Arts Presentation Fund and the Canada Music Fund (CAPF).
  • The government will work with financial institutions in the near term to create the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP).
  • With rising COVID-19 cases, quick and accurate testing has become more important than ever. The government has been working to secure rapid testing technology.
  • On the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund in supporting local tourism businesses, the government is proposing a top-up of up to $500 million, on a cash basis, to Regional Development Agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada, bringing total funding to over $2.0 billion in this fund.
  • The government is proposing to increase the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and to extend this rate until March 13, 2021.
  • The government is proposing to extend the current subsidy rates of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for an additional three periods. This means a base subsidy rate of up to 65 per cent will be available on eligible expenses until March 13, 2021. With the 25 per cent Lockdown Support also being extended, businesses may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 90 per cent of their eligible expenses.
  • The CEBA program will soon be expanded, allowing qualifying businesses to access an additional interest-free $20,000 loan, in situations where there is need. Half of this additional amount, up to $10,000, would be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022

» Full report

August 20,  Government of Canada | Feds unveil $37B CERB transition plan, setting up new sickness and care benefits

  • The federal government is extending the CERB into September, before transitioning the millions of people who are still claiming CERB onto a revamped Employment Insurance program starting Sept. 27
  • New Canada Recovery Benefit will be available for 26 weeks to workers who are self-employed, gig or contract workers, or otherwise not EI eligible but still cannot return to work
  • New Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is being created for those who don’t already have paid sick leave through their employer
  • New Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit provide help in the instances where someone needs to stay home to care for a loved one such as a child under the age of 12 or a dependent because schools, daycares, or other care facilities are closed due to the pandemic

» Media coverage

August 4,  Government of Canada | The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has announced the transition of CERB to an updated employment insurance program. Trudeau claims the government will create a similar payment program for gig or contract workers as well.
» Read more here via iPolitics

July 21,  Ontario | The Ontario provincial government has announced a $2 million investment into outdoor summer events that comply with provincial safety regulations.  Ontario Place will be the outdoor venue for concerts, drive-in style events, and will feature a drive-in version of the Toronto International Film Festival. Lisa Macleod speaks to the announcement and the specifics.
» Read more here

July 20,  CTV News | Early vaccine testing at Oxford University in London has proven promising results with protective immune responses from those tested.
» Read more here

July 17,  Government of Canada | Government announces the extension of wage subsidy programs until December of this year.
» News coverage (Global News)
» News release

July 9,  Provincial Government Tele-Townhall| Join Lisa McLeod online Monday, July 13th at 3 p.m. for the eighth tele-townhall discussing the response and moving forward during COVID-19.
» Register Here

July 8,  Toronto Sun | The tourism industry is re-opening and the need for safety precautions has never been more important. Ontario's Minister for Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries, Lisa Macleod, speaks on the re-opening and what entering Stage 2 means for the industry.
» Read article here

July 7,  Government of Canada | Phase 2 support has been extend from the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to Canadian for-profit live music stakeholders and arts organizations that were not previously eligible for Phase 1.
» News release

June 25,  CIVIC Launches | The Canadian Independent Venue Coalition comprises hundreds of concert venues, performance agencies, independent promoters/presenters, production companies, and independent music festivals across Canada. They have come together to address concerns around venue closures due to COVID-19. In collaboration with the Canadian Live Music Association and other industries, businesses, and non-profit organizations, they are advocating for emergency support funding and an economic stimulus package for the independent Canadian live music and touring sector.
» Coalition Website [EN]
»  Coalition Website [FR]

June 24, Event Central | The City of Ottawa is reconvening the Advisory Team to support those wishing to execute drive-in and drive-thru events. On June 8, 2020, the Province of Ontario announced a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening that includes permitting drive-in or drive-thru formats for a variety of purposes. These formats are permissible if they are conducted in compliance with the provincial regulations.

The City of Ottawa’s Emergency Operations Centre Control Group had previously suspended the processing of City-permitted special events and cultural programs with an estimated attendance of 500 people until August 31. At that time, the City committed to reviewing this decision, should the Province of Ontario update its regulations to permit certain events.

In preparing for permitted activities under the Province of Ontario’s Stage 2 Reopening, Event Central has developed industry-specific guidance alongside Ottawa Public Health, and members of the industry, including the Ottawa Festivals Network. This resource provides important public health information that should be considered when executing a drive-in or drive-thru event.
» OPH: Hosting, postponing or cancelling mass gatherings

June 15, Government of Canada | More small businesses can soon access the Canada Emergency Business Account.
» News release

June 12, Ontario | Ontario releases details of regional framework for Stage 2.
» What can open stage 2
» A Framework for Reopening our Province: Stage 2
» A Framework for Reopening our Province: Stage 2 [PDF]

June 10 | Tele-Town Hall with Minister Lisa MacLeod
Speakers: Minister Lisa MacLeod: Officially launches and speaks about three phases towards opening tourism and funding for a related marketing campaign.
Listen to the recording (YouTube)

June 8, Ontario | Phase Two: Ontario Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days.

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
  • Camping at private campgrounds;
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

» News release

June 8, Ontario | Ontario Proposing Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions.
» News release

June 1, Ontario |Ontario Extending Infectious Disease Emergency Leave for Workers during COVID-19. New Regulation will protect employees from permanent layoffs and businesses from potential closure.
» News release

May 31, Government of Canada | FedDev Ontario supports tourism and recovery efforts across Southern Ontario.
» News release

May 21, City of Ottawa | With a growing number of local businesses looking to reopen as provincial restrictions are eased, the City of Ottawa has compiled a collection of resources including signage, fact sheets, regulatory guidelines and links to government assistance programs to help companies reopen safely.

» Media coverage (OBJ)
» City of Ottawa Business Reopening Tool kit

May 20 | Tele-Town Hall with Minister Lisa MacLeod
Speakers: Minister Lisa MacLeod: Mentions first release of $9.8M Celebrate Ontario funding for festivals and events.
Listen to the recording (YouTube)

May 20, City of Ottawa | Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and based on Public Health’s recommendation, the City of Ottawa is extending the suspension of large City-permitted special events, festivals and other cultural programs, with an estimated attendance of 500 or more people, that were scheduled to take place on or before August 31, 2020. Please note that any city permits previously issued for these events will be reimbursed to the event organizer. Organizers must still adhere to provincial requirements. The current provincial order limits gatherings to a maximum of five people.

May 20, Government of Canada | Government announces that:

  • Applications for the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) are now open. LEEFF is a program for Canada’s larger employers that need access to bridge financing beyond what is available via the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP).
  • The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will be open for applications starting May 25 via the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s website. CECRA will provide forgivable loans to landlords that covers 50% of their tenants rent, with tenants covering 25% and landlords absorbing 25%.

May 19, Government of Canada | Government announces that:

  • Closure of the Canada/USA border will be extended by another 30 days to June 21, 2020
  • the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) which gives small businesses interest-free loans of up to $40,000, of which 25% (up to $10,000) will be forgiven if the full sum is repaid by December 31, 2022. This announcement confirms that sole owner-operators, businesses relying on contracts, and those that are family owned and pay employees by dividends now qualify for the loan program.

May 14, Abacus Data and Music Canada | Abacus Data has released results from a new poll conducted for Music Canada on how Canadians are feeling about the pandemic as it relates to music and live music.
» News release

May 13, Government of Canada | GoC announces the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) which is being delivered by Regional Development Agencies (RDA) across the country to help organizations continue their operations and position themselves for a successful recovery.
» Regional Relief and Recovery Fund: COVID-19

May 8, Government of Canada | Details of $500 Million New Federal Funding for Arts, Culture & Sport announced.
» News release
» Backgrounder

May 8, Government of Canada | Emergency Wage Subsidy Program being extended beyond June.
» Media coverage (CTV News)
» Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) information

April 30, Ontario | Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines. Province Takes Critical Steps to Help Businesses Adapt to New Environment.
» News release
» Guidance on Health and Safety for Television, Film and Live Performance Sector during COVID-19

April 27, Ontario | Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province. Premier and Ministers Commit to New Phased Approach for a Safe Restart and Recovery.
» News release
» A Framework for Reopening our Province [PDF]

April 24, Ontario | Ontario Provides Urgent Relief for Small Businesses and Landlords Rent Assistance in Addition to Billions in Measures to Support Business During the COVID-19 Outbreak. As part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the government has implemented a series of cash flow supports amounting to $10 billion to help support jobs and the economy, including:

  • Doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020, cutting taxes by $355 million, benefiting roughly 57,000 employers;
  • Eliminating penalties and interest to businesses who miss filing or remittance deadlines for various provincially administered taxes for five months starting April 1, 2020, providing up to $6 billion in cashflow for about 100,000 Ontario businesses;
  • Postponing the planned property tax reassessment for 2021, providing stability for Ontario's property taxpayers;
  • Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, providing municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses;
  • Implementing the new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit for businesses that make eligible capital investments in designated regions of the province where employment growth has significantly lagged behind below the provincial average.

» News release

April 24, Government of Canada | Government announces partnerships with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

» Government of Canada news release
» Province of Ontario news release

April 23 | TeleTownhall With Minister Lisa MacLeod
Join Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries for a conference call to discuss the government’s response to COVID-19. Moderated by Tim Hudak, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Real Estate Association.
Listen to the recording (YouTube)

April 21, Government of Canada | Government announces the launch of a calculator on the CRA website to help businesses determine the amount they can expect to claim through the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
» CEWS website

April 20, Ontario | Health Experts Say the COVID-19 Outbreak Has Likely Peaked in Ontario. Modelling shows physical distancing still needed to prevent further spread.
» News release

April 17, Government of Canada | Government announces $500 million for Heritage Canada to support people working in the arts, culture and sports sectors. The funding is intended to offer wage support and give struggling organizations access to financing.
» Globe and Mail | Ottawa to give $500-million to cultural and sporting sectors

April 16, Government of Canada |Government announces additional support for small businesses

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019
  • Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.

» Read the news release

April 11, Ontario | Province Extends Emergency Orders until April 23
» Read the news release

April 8, Government of Canada |Government provides further flexibility for employers to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

In order to address the realities faced by the not-for-profit sector, high growth companies and new businesses, the Government proposes the following additional flexibility:

  • To measure their revenue loss, it is proposed that all employers have the flexibility to compare their revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
  • For March, the Government proposes to make the CEWS more accessible than originally announced by reducing the 30-per-cent benchmark to 15 per cent.
  • In recognition that the time between when revenue is earned and when it is paid could be highly variable in certain sectors of the economy, it is proposed that employers be allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received).
  • Registered charities and non-profit organizations would also be able to benefit from the additional flexibilities being provided to employers with respect to the revenue loss calculation. In addition, to recognize that different types of organizations are experiencing different types of funding pressures, it is proposed that charities and non-profit organizations be allowed to choose to include or exclude government funding in their revenues for the purpose of applying the revenue reduction test.

» Read the news release

April 6, City of Ottawa | Update from the Events and Gatherings Task Force about the extension of the existing closures of City facilities, services and large public gatherings until June 30, 2020. 
» Read the full City of Ottawa Update: COVID-19 Pandemic and Special Events

April 1 | Destination Canada webinar with the Honourable Mélanie Joly
Speakers: The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages; Destination Canada and Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
Listen to the recording (courtesy of Destination Canada on YouTube)

March 30, Government of Canada | Businesses, non-profits, charities all eligible for 75% wage subsidy if revenues have decreased by at least 30 per cent to avoid layoffs during COVID-19 crisis
» News coverage via Globe and Mail
» Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Details were announced:

  • This measure targets businesses whose revenues decreased by at least 30% because of COVID-19
  • Number of employees is not part of eligibility criteria
  • This will apply to Non-profits and charities – as well as companies both big and small
  • The government will cover 75% of your salary on the first $58,700 that you earn. That means up to $847 a week. This will be retroactive to March 15th.
  • For every employee you have, whether you are open or not

March 28, Ontario | Ontario prohibits gatherings of more than five people with strict exceptions
» News release

March 27, Government of Canada | Government boosts wage subsidy to 75% for small, medium businesses to avoid layoffs during COVID-19 crisis
» News coverage via CBC

March 26 | Tele-Town Hall with Minister Lisa MacLeod
Speakers: Minister Lisa MacLeod; Beth Potter, President and CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario; Jim Mirkopoulos, Vice President, Cinespace Film Studios; Josh Basseches, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Ontario Museum; David Shoemaker, CEO and Secretary General, Canadian Olympic Committee; and Moderated by Tim Hudak, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Real Estate Association.
 Listen to the recording (courtesy of FEO on YouTube)

March 25, Ontario | Premier Ford and Minister Phillips Announce Additional Health Care Resources and Support for People, Jobs and Employers
» Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19

March 25, Ottawa| Government of Canada announce boost to emergency COVID-19 aid benefit. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and will provide $2,000 a month for four months, for people who are off work and without an income as a result of the novel coronavirus.
» Government website: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
» Media coverage: Feds announce boost to emergency COVID-19 aid benefit

March 25, Ottawa| Mayor Watson declares a State of Emergency for the City of Ottawa
» Information on City of Ottawa website
» Media coverage: Watson declares state of emergency in Ottawa over COVID-19 (CTV, Ottawa)

March 23, Ontario | Ontario Orders the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces to fight spread of COVID-19
» News release

March 19, Hydro Ottawa | Recognizing the economic uncertainty associated with the current COVID-19 outbreak, Hydro Ottawa has made the decision to include all small business and commercial customers in the disconnection ban which has been extended by three months to July 30, 2020.

March 19 at 10:30am | Tele-Townhall with Minister MacLeod
A multi-sectoral call for the following: Heritage, Sport, Tourism, & Culture.
 Listen to the recording (courtesy of FEO on YouTube)

March 18, Government of Canada | This morning, the Canada COVID-19 Economic Response Plan was announced. It provides emergency measure funding for self-employed, small business, non-profits and charities.
» Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses

March 17, Ontario | Ontario declares state of emergency.  Effective immediately, recreation centres, public libraries, bars, restaurants, theatres, concert venues and cinemas will close until March 30, at least. Includes bans on public events of over 50 people, including parades, events and services within places of worship.
» News release from the province
» News conference of announcement (YouTube)

March 16, Government of Canada | Canada closes borders to foreigners, U.S. exempted. New measures come into effect on March 18.
» News coverage, Bloomberg

March 16, Province of Ontario | Ontario Announces Job Protection for Workers during the COVID-19 Situation
» Ontario to Protect Workers who Take Leaves from Work

March 15, Ottawa Public Health | Dr. Etches has urged people to cancel gatherings of all sizes and strengthen their social distancing practices immediately.
» News coverage: Do not go out for 'non-essential reasons': Ottawa's top doctor

March 13, Event Central, City of Ottawa | Event Central shared a statement outlining measures taken by the City of Ottawa to follow recommendations from the Province to limit gatherings of more than 250 people to support social distancing and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. All City recreation facilities and community centres, including skating rinks, swimming pools, theatres, will be closed effective Monday, March 16 until Monday, April 5. This decision will be reassessed closer to that date. To support organizers throughout this challenging time, the City is establishing a centralized Task Force and Ottawa Public Health is developing new web content to provide guidance on considering risks and mitigations for events and mass gatherings.
» Read the full statement

March 13, City of Ottawa | Mayor Watson announces that the City will be closing all pools, arenas and cultural centres until April 5, and all events in those buildings, including third-party events, will be cancelled during this time Dr. Etches indicated that they are following the province's guidance and suspending all events over 250 people. She indicated that there will be tools and guidance for event organizers that employ a risk-based approach. High risk events would include events that attract vulnerable populations and events that attract people from around the world.
 View the update (Youtube)

March 13, Province of Ontario | Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, recommended the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings of over 250 people due to COVID-19. We are awaiting more detail of this measure and will forward as soon as we receive the official memo from the province.
» News coverage: Ontario health official recommends cancellation of events with over 250 attendees

March 13, Government of Canada | Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, indicated that social distancing is an important contribution and that events or gatherings with a lot of people should be cancelled, postponed or modified.
» News Coverage: Ottawa urges Canadians not to leave the country and suspend large gatherings of people

Accessible Festival Spaces in Ottawa

NAC | Support for a Safe Re-Opening of Canadian Performing Arts Sector (COVID-19)

In response to these extraordinary circumstances, and to help lead the Canadian performing arts sector toward recovery, the National Arts Centre developed a series of tools for the re-opening of performing arts centres and venues. These tools were developed in collaboration with leaders from more than 40 performing arts organizations from across the country. We thank them for their expertise and perspectives, which have helped shape this project.

» Support for a Safe Re-Opening of Canadian Performing Arts Sector

Government of Canada: Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak

The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a tool to provide guidance in terms of conducting risk assessment when determining the public health actions related to a mass gathering during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The tool suggests that decisions regarding mass gatherings can be considered on a continuum from no changes needed, to enhanced communication to attendees, to risk mitigation strategies being employed without cancelling the event, through to postponement or cancellation of the event.

For event producers, risk mitigation strategies could include:

  • reducing the number of participants or changing the venue to prevent crowding;
  • staggering arrivals and departures;
  • providing packaged refreshments and food instead of a buffet;
  • increasing access to handwashing stations;
  • promoting personal protective practices (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, staying home if ill);
  • offering virtual or live-streamed activities; and
  • changing the event program to reduce high risk activities such as those that require physical contact between participants.

» Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak

Other Government of Canada resources:

Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

This document provides guidance to employers/producers, supervisors and working professionals on identifying and mitigating potential workplace risks related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. It was originally published in February 2021 and was updated in August 2021.

» Live Performance Health and Safety during COVID-19

Ontario Ministry of Health: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Ministry of Health offers no clear guidance to events at this time, but does provide an information page that includes the current status in Ontario and general information related to individual prevention measures.

» Ontario workplace PPE supplier directory
» COVID-19 in Ontario

Ottawa Public Health: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Ottawa Public Health is managing a page with daily updated information about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

» Business Reopening Toolkit (May 2020)
» Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
» Hosting, postponing or cancelling mass gatherings

WHO: Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak

WHO is providing guidance through their Key planning recommendations for Mass Gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak (2020 - updated advisory appears below) which they suggest should be read in conjunction with the Public health for mass gatherings: key considerations (2015), which provides general advice on the public health aspects of mass events.

Also helpful:

Event Safety Alliance

Event Safety Alliance (ESA) is dedicated to promoting “life safety first” throughout all phases of event production and execution.

» The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide (Six Month Update Edition — Nov 2020
» Event Safety Alliance Canada
» Event Safety Alliance
» Event Safety Guide (temporarily available for free)
» Event Safety Alliance Safe Reopening Guide (May 2020)

Festivals and Events Ontario

» Can You Rely on the Force Majeure Clause in Your Insurance Based on COVID-19? [PDF]
» F&E Ontario COVID-19 news and resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC — USA): Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready for COVID-19

The CDC provides some guidance for organizers and staff responsible for planning mass gatherings or large community events in the United States, but most of the tips are transferable.

» Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses
» CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) information

City of Ottawa

» Business Reopening Toolkit
» Economic support and recovery information and resources
» Buy local campaign: Support Ottawa’s economy, buy local now!

Government of Canada resources for business

During this extraordinary time, the Government of Canada is taking strong action to help Canadian businesses as COVID-19 is affecting them, their employees and their families.

» Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
» Financial and economic support for business:

» Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness | A Guide to Business Continuity Planning

Ontario | Digital Main Streets

As part of a partnership between the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, Digital Main Street is proud to announce three new programs to support businesses across Ontario.

  • ShopHERE: a program that provides independent small businesses and artists with a quick, easy and no-cost way to get selling online right away
  • The Future Proof Main Street program delivered in partnership with Communitech and Invest Ottawa helps businesses identify new markets, pivot their business model, and develop and implement a deep digital transformation plan

Canada Council for the Arts

In response to COVID-19’s impact on the arts milieu, the Canada Council for the Arts has created two new funding initiatives to support digital capacity building and transformation.

  • Digital Generator: helps arts groups, collectives and organizations to build digital capacity, and transform their business models and operations.
  • Digital Greenhouse: helps artists, arts groups, collectives and organizations develop projects that leverage digital technology to address sectoral and digital challenges.

Ottawa Tourism

Ottawa Tourism is sharing information on the member news page as it becomes available.

» COVID-19 update
» OT member news
» What’s happening in the Ottawa area

Business / Arts

» Arts Response Tracking Survey (ARTS)
» What Will it Take for People to Return to the Arts?
» Preparing for a Return to the Arts

Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa aims to equip companies and community with key information, tools and support.

» Business support
» Invested in Our New Reality

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

TIAO is curating this dedicated section of the website of to link to rapid updates on COVID-19.

» COVID-19 Resources, Updates and News

Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC)

TIAC is curating tourism-related information.

» 2021/06/02 | Virtual Tourism Town Hall
» Coronavirus | Impact on Tourism – Current situation
» Resources for Canadians and businesses in the tourism sector

Google Small Business Hub

Aimed to help small businesses navigate through uncertainty. It includes resources for: communicating with customers, communicating with employees, working remotely, and modifying advertising (if necessary).

» Google Small Business Hub

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Hicks & Morley have created a #COVID19 Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit to support Ontario businesses.

» COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit [PDF]

The Conference Board of Canada

» COVID-19 Implications for Canada and the economic impact

Ontario Not for Profit Network

» Resources to help nonprofits adapt and respond to COVID-19

Tourism HR Canada

» Resource hub

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

» A Call for Action to Mitigate the Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19 and Accelerate Recovery

National Arts and Culture Impact Survey

The results from the National Arts and Culture Impact Survey (NACIS) are now available. In total, 1273 individuals and 728 organizations from across Canada completed the survey, for a total of 2001 responses.

» Full report and key findings

OFN is providing information about these webinars and resources for your convenience and does not necessarily reflect an endorsement of the opinions or advise within. We advise you to contact your own legal, insurance and business teams.

OCAF Digital Marketing Webinars

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund is offering a series of webinars on digital marketing to help you build your online communication and engagement.

Is Your Organization a 21st-Century Communicator? | Presented: Erik Gensler, President, Capacity Interactive. The time is NOW. The Coronavirus crisis requires arts organizations to leave behind many of the old-fashioned ways we communicate, both internally and externally. This session will ask four critical questions: Has my organization reduced reliance on 20th-century interruption media and adopted a new model centered around evangelism and a minimum viable audience? Is my organization’s communication human-centered? Does my organization embody the organizational health needed to support modern external communication? Is my organization’s digital house in order?

Creating Thoughtful and Engaging Social Content during COVID-19 | Presented by Becky Ludkiewicz, Consultant, Capacity Interactive. During this time of social distancing, people and communities are maintaining closeness by flocking to social media platforms. With venues closed or exploring limited reopening, arts organizations are becoming media companies as they communicate with audiences exclusively online. In this informative session, you’ll learn best practices for online engagement through the lens of the pandemic and beyond, while maintaining a compassionate, empathetic, and authentic brand voice. You’ll see dozens of arts industry examples and gain tips and tools to help you develop a thoughtful content strategy to apply now and into the future.

Intro to Google Analytics | Presented by Yosaif Cohain, Vice President, Analytics, Capacity Interactive. Overwhelmed by Google Analytics and unsure how to measure your website? In this session, we’ll cover the GA basics so you can start activating one of the most critical platforms in digital marketing. You’ll learn key concepts, important metric definitions, and some tips for navigating the platform, all so you can find the data that’s most important to you and your organization and be more data-driven around your website.

» Additional Webinar Information

Event Safety Alliance |  Guide and Webinar

» The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide (updated November 2020) | The Reopening Guide addresses health and sanitary issues that event and venue professionals need to consider in order to protect both patrons and workers. The first edition is tailored to be especially useful for event professionals reopening the smallest events with the fewest resources available to mitigate their risks, since in every municipal reopening plan these will be allowed to reopen first.

» The Event Safety Alliance & Safe in Sound: Reopening Checklist for the Live Entertainment Industry | This checklist checklist is designed to help you understand your risk mitigation decisions as you reopen and increase occupancy limits and is intended to help you make reasonable health and safety choices under your own circumstances.

  Prepare your organization for the COVID-19 outbreak | Presented by Dr. Stuart Weiss, an internationally known expert in the field of business continuity planning for large gatherings and special events. He is the founder of Intelligent Crowd Solutions, a consulting company specializing in business continuity planning, exercise development, and crisis management for special event and event production clients.  This webinar looks at this public health crisis from two distinct perspectives: Infectious Disease Business Continuity Planning and Crisis Management. Does your organization have the right plans in place to continue operations during an infectious disease outbreak?

Invest Ottawa | Workshops & Events

Invest Ottawa continues to host a number of workshops, and keeps track of webinars hosted by other organizations that help support our local entrepreneurs and businesses.
» View calendar

BDC | Business Continuity Plan and Templates for Entrepreneurs

» Business continuity plan and templates for entrepreneurs
 How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business (on-demand webinar via YouTube)

IAAPA Global Association for the Attractions Industry

» IAAPA | Reopening Guidance: Considerations for the Global Attractions Industry

Ottawa Board of Trade | COVID-19 webinars

Business Insights- Public Opinion and COVID-19: A Briefing with Abacus Data's David Coletto

Volunteer Canada

» Health and Safety Considerations for Volunteering during a Public Health Emergency
» Volunteer Management Tools and Training
» Volunteer Management during COVID-19
» Sector Advocacy

OFN is providing these articles and tip sheets for your convenience and does not necessarily reflect an endorsement of the opinions or advise within. We advise you to contact your own legal, insurance and business teams. 

Event Cancellations

Hosting Virtual Events



Recovery and Reopening


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