Main St.

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 has partnered with Newmarket, Aurora, Georgina, East Gwillimbury, King Township and the York Region Economic Strategy Office to assist local businesses through the crisis.  By signing up at bit.ly/2Rmq61w, businesses can stay up-to-date with changing business funding opportunities and resources.

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

Important Websites
Important Websites

york.ca/covid19
townofws.ca/covid19

IMPORTANT NUMBERS:

Customer Service: (905) 640-1900
Leisure Centre: (905) 642-7529
Green For Life: 1-866-421-5625
By-Law: (905) 640-1900 ex. 2229
WS Public Library: (905) 642-7323

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
Grace Periods for Municipal Tax & Water Bill
Tax and water bill interest and penalties have been deferred until May 29, 2020.  Please visit our news section for more information.

For more information about property taxes, please visit townofws.ca/taxes. For more information about water and sewer bills, please visit townofws.ca/waterbills.  Further inquiries should be directed to Customer Service at (905) 640-1900.
Local Business Awareness Building

The Town is launching a stand alone website that features all operating businesses within Whitchurch-Stouffville.

The L4A.ca “Everything Stouffville” website will be launched this week starting with over 100 operating businesses. In order to attract more viewership and avoid becoming a stagnate business directory - this L4A.ca site will allow for every business to submit a weekly message regarding a special sale, service or virtual offering; each business will be assigned an advisor for the exchange of information. Our local consumers are demanding real time information; the time is right for this.

In Phase 2, the Town will add a Tourism component to the site, which will include arts, culture, events, outdoor activities, etc. This will be a vehicle that 19 on the Park, the W-S Museum, WSP Library, Latcham Art Centre, 55+ Club, Downtown Stouffville, the Legion, and many other community organizations will utilize for community-wide communications.   

Businesses that were not included in the initial launch will be able join on a weekly basis. There is no cost for participation.

In addition, the Town is investigating the potential for a for the development of a collaborative online storefront, whereby multiple merchants can sell goods and services communally. Many small retail and craft operations were shut-down as non-essential businesses. Many do not have the expertise to sell merchandise online. We intend to help them embrace a new economic reality that may be predominant post-pandemic.

The Voice of Business

The Town launched a monthly newspaper named On the Road in Whitchurch-Stouffville (OTR) in 2016 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. We are past issue 40 now and still growing better each month. 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; these issues are linked below. Otherwise, every back issue of OTR can be seen at www.townofws.ca/otr.

 

Tracking Global Affairs, Participating in Regional Actions

Economic Development continues to track the media, government announcements, and the latest statictics and trends. Forecasting the length and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for implementing effective business recovery plans and programs.

In addition, Economic Development participates to weekly recovery planning meetings with all York Region
Economic Developers, and with the N6 Communities.

Redeploy Resources to Business Recovery

The Town has redeployed underutilized staff to support the local business community with COVID-19 supports. We recognize that these times are tough, and more help is needed.

Community Improvement Planning

Town staff is considering amendments to the Community Improvement Plan (aka. 'Downtown façade loan program') with reference to the "post-pandemic economy". We are quickly considering what Downtown businesses will need most post COVID-19 recovery. 

Downtown Stouffville Working Group

Staff is assisting the Downtown Stouffville Working Group Develop (DSWG) with developing in a new Visioning Exercise. They will be reconsidering downtown events, activities, promotions and marketing strategies. 

Beyond COVID-19

For 2020, Council put aside funds for an update to the Economic Development & Tourism Strategy. This project will continue as planned. Stay tuned for progress reports.

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 launced 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.