Second Round of Burlington Safe Restart Funding Recipients Announced

Second Round of Burlington Safe Restart Funding Recipients Announced

Burlington to Provide $117,392 across 94 Burlington Businesses in Second Round of Burlington Safe Restart COVID-19 Business Relief Grant

(December 16, 2020 – Burlington, ON) Following a very successful first round of the program, Team Burlington (Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Aldershot Village BIA and Tourism Burlington), in partnership with the City of Burlington and POST Promise is pleased to announce that $117,392 will be awarded across 94 Burlington businesses in the second round of the Burlington Safe Restart COVID-19 Business Relief Grant.

The grant provides eligible businesses with a one-time grant of up to $2500 that can be used towards related COVID-19 costs. Costs include PPE and renovations to physical space to allow businesses to properly adhere to public health guidelines. After a successful first round of funding where $124,689 was awarded across 59 businesses, Team Burlington looked to open the second round of funding in order to help even more businesses get the support they need.

Since this program was initially rolled out, the Ontario government has also launched a PPE grant for businesses known as Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant. This program provides eligible small businesses with a one-time grant of up to $1,000 to cover PPE costs. Efforts were made to ensure Round 2 of the Burlington Safe Restart Grant aligned with the provincial program in order to help small businesses get access to the capital they need without duplication. For this second round of funding, Team Burlington adjusted the assessment criteria to ensure alignment was achieved and deliver the funds to the businesses that have been the hardest hit due to COVID-19.

The Burlington Safe Restart COVID-19 Business Relief Grant was a direct outcome of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN), which aimed to create and deliver an innovative new program that would provide financial support to Burlington’s small business community during COVID-19.

The program is also proud to partner with POST Promise, a private sector-led initiative, for support to provide essential information on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. All grant recipients are required to make the promise through the POST Promise initiative.

Recipients in the second round come from a range of industries including salons, fitness facilities, retail stores and many more, all of which have been dramatically impacted due to COVID-19. A full list of companies supported can be found online at


Burlington Mayor, Marianne Meed Ward

“COVID-19 has proven to be incredibly challenging for our business community. Our local small businesses remain resilient and respectful, and for that, I am incredibly proud. Even though up to $2,500 was available, our business community only asked for what they needed and made it possible to support more applicants. I would like to thank our grant recipients for this and their tireless commitment to our community and their resilience and fortitude in getting through this difficult time. We see you, and we support you.”

Carla Y. Nell, President & CEO, Burlington Chamber of Commerce

“We are pleased to partner with the City and POST Promise to deliver the second round of funding to Burlington businesses. To complement the programs that have been implemented through all levels of government, we are thrilled that our municipality has provided this much-needed support to our local business community. Re-establishing consumer confidence is vital to economic recovery and the steps businesses take to protect employees and consumers is important to ensure the viability of business into the future during this period of uncertainty.”

Anita Cassidy, Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development

“Supporting our economy and rebuilding consumer trust is critical right now, so we are happy that in addition to the Burlington Safe Restart grant, the Ontario government is stepping up to support small businesses during these challenging times. We wanted to ensure our program complements the Ontario Main Street Relief Grant program rather than compete with it as well as ensure the hardest-hit businesses are receiving the support they need. We applaud all of the businesses who are doing everything they can to keep customers safe, especially as we move into the holiday season.”

Laura Hearn, President & Executive Director, POST Promise

“The POST Promise is thrilled to be partnering with Team Burlington, the City of Burlington and the Burlington Safe Restart Program once again. Now, more than ever, we all need to come together to support our local businesses. We congratulate all grant recipients and businesses who have made the POST Promise and commend their efforts to keep their customers and employees safe during this pandemic.”


Media Contact

Claire Green
Manager, Marketing and Attraction
Burlington Economic Development

Burlington City Council and Team Burlington Seeks Fairness for Local Businesses During COVID-19

Burlington City Council and Team Burlington Seeks Fairness for Local Businesses During COVID-19

Burlington, Ont. — Dec. 11, 2020 — Burlington City Council has unanimously approved a motion asking the provincial government to make changes to business restrictions to increase fairness for smaller businesses during the pandemic closures and restrictions.

The resolution is asking the province to level the playing field for small retailers forced to close while big box stores selling the same goods can remain open – so long as they sell food or other essential items. The resolution also asks that capacity limits be based on square footage of a venue, not a hard cap. This would also increase fairness among smaller and larger businesses.

The resolution was developed in partnership with the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington, which includes representatives from Tourism Burlington, Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Chamber of Commerce and two business improvement areas – Aldershot Village BIA and the Burlington Downtown Business Association. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith sit on the BERN and worked together to bring the resolution forward.

The BERN chair Randall Smallbone and Mayor Meed Ward have co-signed a letter to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, the Honorable Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, the Honorable Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, MPPs Jane McKenna, Effie Triantafilopoulos and Parm Gill, Halton Regional Council, AMO, Ontario Big City Mayors (OBCM), Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington. The letter includes a copy of the resolution and reinforcing the call for fairness for Burlington businesses.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith and Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna will be working together to bring a similar resolution to Regional Council for endorsement. Both councillors own businesses in Burlington, and Councillor Bentivegna has a long history in the hospitality industry.

Burlington is ranked as Canada’s best community and the best place to raise a family. It is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at and download the free City of Burlington app.

For more information about the Burlington Economic Recovery Network, visit


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“We can maintain public health and safety and do better to ensure fairness among our large and smaller businesses, which are the engine of our economy. It makes no sense that a large big box store can sell goods smaller retailers can’t. It makes no sense that the same store can have hundreds of people inside while a large restaurant is capped at 10 regardless of size and ample ability to ensure physical distancing. We hope the government will make the necessary changes that will both protect public health and our local businesses.”

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

“We as decision makers need to balance the recommendations of public health while protecting our local economy.  Small business is the engine of our economy and will be relied upon as recovery efforts from the pandemic continue.  They have greater ability to put in place, public health measures to protect their clients and we feel that they should be given equal opportunities to do so without the threat of closure.  Large retailers that are permitted to remain open during lockdowns, have been given an unfair competitive advantage due to their variety of offerings when considering what businesses are essential.  We need a solution that can work for all businesses by taking into consideration the square footage of their premises.  Hard caps of 10 people permitted indoors does not work for larger restaurants that have the ability to keep people distanced.  Many have not opened due to this restriction and some will never open again.  We need to work together to come up with local solutions that will save many small businesses and hardworking entrepreneurs from insolvency.”

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

“As part of the hospitality industry for many years, I understand how every single customer is important for economic success, especially at this time of year. We must do everything we can to help our local restauranteurs and small business owners. They are the heart and soul of our community and these motions can help keep them open for business.”

Randall Smallbone, Chair of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network

“We certainly understand that Canadian Governments at all levels are doing their best to keep citizens safe and healthy during this difficult period. I am so thankful that I live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada!

Unfortunately, safety measures do not always work as a one-size-fits-all solution. Specifically, we need to adjust measures to accommodate a more balanced square footage per person guideline. People need to get out of their homes from time to time to fight pandemic fatigue and mental stress. If all stores and restaurants abide strictly by the rules of mask wearing, sanitization stations and social distancing, it can offer a better alternative to people hosting social gatherings at home.

It is critically important that we support all of our local businesses that support our local economy and employ Burlington citizens.”


BERN letter to province
BERN Resolution to Council

Communications contact:

Suzanne Vukosavljevic
Manager of Communications
Office: 905-335-7600, ext. 7841

Realizing the Full Potential of Virtual Care in Ontario

Realizing the Full Potential of Virtual Care in Ontario


(BURLINGTON, December 10) – This week’s report from Ontario’s Auditor General has put the spotlight on virtual care. And while telemedicine sites have been in place for decades in Canada, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of virtual care in Ontario. Virtual visits have enabled more and more Ontarians to continue accessing quality health care while not exposing themselves to the virus. The latest report by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), Realizing the Full Potential of Virtual Care in Ontario, underscores the need to permanently integrate virtual care into Ontario’s health care system.

“We are now more virtually connected than ever before, and how Ontarians are interacting with the health care system reflects this fact,” said Rocco Rossi President and CEO of the OCC. “We can’t make the same mistakes we did with SARS, by only implementing temporary measures related to virtual care. The permanent integration of virtual care into our system could ensure all Ontarians can access timely and appropriate care, no matter their circumstances, as well as alleviate some of the pressures facing our health care system, such as reducing unnecessary visits to the ER.”

According to Canada Health Infoway’s September 2020 survey, 60% of health care visits with primary care physicians and specialists were conducted virtually at the onset of the pandemic.1 The report notes that given the uptick in virtual care usage, the resurgence of the pandemic in a second wave, and an uncertain timeline for a vaccine, a more permanent and comprehensive solution is needed.

“Long before COVID-19, Ontario’s health care system faced numerous pressures and growing costs. By empowering patients to manage their health while at home, virtual care has the potential to reduce the strain on primary care providers and hospitals, lessen the backlog in care, and protect frontline workers from exposure to the virus,” added Carla Y. Nell, President & CEO of the BCC. “We are calling on the Government of Ontario to consider urgent policy reforms such as modifying the existing fee code system to allow for the permanent and effective delivery of virtual care in Ontario.”

The report explains that, while the implementation of temporary billing codes in March 2020 allowed physicians to conduct virtual visits, these temporary codes were a stop-gap measure and have limitations.

The report provides the Government of Ontario with four recommendations to ensure virtual care is not only permanently integrated in our health care system, but is more equitable, accessible, and widely adopted:

  1. Develop a comprehensive framework for virtual care in Ontario.
  2. Modify the existing fee code system to allow for the permanent delivery of virtual care, and provide physicians with training and knowledge supports to allow care to be delivered virtually.
  3. Focus on equity to improve access to virtual care, including ensuring all Ontarians have internet access so that the expansion of virtual care options does not exacerbate inequities for patients in rural, remote, northern, and Indigenous communities.
  4. Support employers’ continued investment in virtual care for their employees that expand beyond care delivered virtually through the health system.

These recommendations were developed with the OCC’s Health Policy Council, a group of expert practitioners and industry representatives.

The report explains how virtual care is not solely about convenience for patients, but it also benefits the health care system as a whole. Further, virtual care should be viewed as one modality in which health care can be delivered, and should continue to complement, not replace in-person care.

“Looking beyond the pandemic, virtual care holds much promise and we believe our recommendations can help the Province realize the full potential of technology for patients and our health care system alike,” added Rossi.

The OCC would like to thank members of the Health Policy Council whose input helped shape this report.


[1] A survey conducted by Leger on behalf of Canada Health Infoway between April 3 to August 25, 2020, with 31,889 Canadians.


Media Contact

Lindsay Stevenson
Strategic Communications Coordinator

Call for Board Nominations

Call for Board Nominations

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is responsible for governance and strategic oversight of the organization. Each year at least one vacancy is created when the Past Chair retires. It is the role of the Chamber’s Nominating Committee to fill any vacancies with qualified candidates. The Nominating Committee will soon be developing a list of potential candidates for next year’s Chamber Board of Directors.

To be considered for this governance Board, your company must be a member in good standing of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and you must be a voting representative for your company.  Preference is given to those persons who have an active knowledge of the Chamber through a Committee, or who have a skill set required by the Board.

The term of office is one year with an expectation that each Director will serve a minimum of two years. There is an important commitment to attend all Board meetings.  The Board meets monthly (except July and August) on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 8:00 am until 10:00 am.  In addition, Board members may be involved with a Chamber Committee and attend those monthly Committee meetings.  Board members also represent the Chamber at various events. Click here for a position description.

To express interest please complete the application form and email it to by no later than January 11, 2021.

Carla Y. Nell
President & CEO
Burlington Chamber of Commerce

December 2nd 2020 Declared as Burlington Chamber of Commerce Day

December 2nd 2020 Declared as Burlington Chamber of Commerce Day

NOVEMBER 26, 2020

Mayor Meed Ward Announces December 2nd as Chamber of Commerce Day in Burlington

Burlington, Ontario (November 26, 2020) – To honour and recognize the work that the Burlington Chamber of Commerce has done to support the business community in Burlington and beyond, December 2, 2020 has been declared  Chamber of Commerce Day across the City.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce has played a critical role in supporting the business community, factoring in all sectors and sizes of business, as a vital partner during the COVID-19 crisis. Early on in the pandemic, the Burlington Chamber committed to keeping the broader business community strongly connected, focussing on bringing leaders together and creating opportunities for collaboration and partnership to position Burlington’s economy for recovery.

“I am thrilled that the Chamber is receiving this honour and recognition from the City of Burlington. At the beginning of the pandemic, we adapted quickly to ensure that Burlington businesses were kept informed and supported to access the tools, programs and resources necessary to get through these difficult times and to ensure their viability beyond this crisis” said President & CEO, Carla Y. Nell. “We have been working tirelessly with our Team Burlington partners and all levels of government to advocate for relief to offset the financial hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in for both employers and employees.”

In honour of this recognition, the Burlington Chamber is launching the #BCofCStrongerTogether campaign to rally further support from the community for local businesses and to recognize the Burlington Chamber of Commerce as an indispensable partner to business. Learn more about how you can show your support at


Media Contact

Lindsay Stevenson
Strategic Communications Coordinator
Burlington Chamber of Commerce