Burlington, Ont. — Feb. 22, 2021 — On February 3, 2021 Burlington City Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for the Federal government to renew funding for the Digital Main Street (DMS) Future Proof program. Current funding for the DMS Future Proof program ends in February 2021. Burlington’s small business community continues to face barriers to technology adoption and a lack of resources to implement necessary technologies to remain competitive given the impacts of COVID-19.
Burlington welcomed the development of the DMS Future Proof Program in 2020 to support local businesses as they transformed their business model in light of the impacts of the pandemic and the acceleration of digital sales and servicing. The need for digital transformation of business models is not just in local retail and main street business sectors but also in manufacturing and more traditional industries. The expansion of the Digital Main Street (DMS) program in 2020 to include the DMS Future Proof components DMS Labs, Transformation Teams and Community Collaboration projects administered through the Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) has been a critical support in helping businesses adopt new technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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. Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith and Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna have both being longtime business owners in Burlington and Councillor Bentivegna also has a long history in the hospitality industry.
Haltech Regional Innovation Centre provides entrepreneurial education, advisory services and strategic connections to technology start-up and scale-up companies in Halton Region. Since its inception, Haltech has worked with over 800 technology and innovation companies. In its last fiscal year, clients of Haltech generated over $63 million dollars of revenue, created 428 jobs, and raised $21.5M in capital.
The Chair of BERN Randall Smallbone, Chair of Haltech Regional Innovation Centre Jamie Barron and Mayor Meed Ward co-signed a letter to Federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly including a copy of the resolution calling for this critical DMS Future Proof program funding during COVID-19.
The Burlington and Halton Region business community have been leaders in the DMS Future Proof program including:
The City of Burlington’s fundamental priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to protect the health and safety of Burlington residents, employers and employees, and support our business community to survive the economic impacts of COVID-19 public health measures.
Burlington is ranked as Canada’s best community and 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 Burlington.ca/Enews and download the free City of Burlington app. For more information about the Burlington Economic Recovery Network, visit https://burlingtonchamber.com/bern/.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
“We’ve seen firsthand how critical the Digital Main Street program has been in helping our businesses go digital and adopt new technologies to stay afloat through the COVID-19 storm. Our small business community still faces ongoing barriers to adapting new technology coupled with a lack of resources. Federal and provincial government funding is crucial to keep and expand this important support program. I also want to thank BERN for their exceptional advocacy work on behalf of our local small businesses throughout this pandemic and this latest push for the expansion of the Digital Main Street program.”
Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith
“Extending the Digital Main Street Future Proof funding can enable organizations that assist local businesses in their recovery efforts as the economy begins to open again. These supports are extremely important at this time and into the coming year as many businesses are discovering new ways of doing business through digital technologies. Assisting businesses through digital transformation of revenue streams can certainly help future proof them from further lockdowns and restrictions from the ongoing pandemic.”
Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna
“I thank my Council colleagues, Burlington Economic Recovery network (BERN), Team Burlington and Haltech for their continued support of small business. The continuation of this Digital Main Street Future Proof program is vital for small local businesses to survive during these difficult and uncertain times. This program will add a higher level of digital expertise that could be available to businesses in achieving next generation technology. These new digital techniques will support local businesses during lockdowns and restrictions as well as improve the transformation of their e-commerce, and websites for post Covid.”
Randall Smallbone, Chair of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network
“Now more than ever we need the Federal government to continue to fund the DMS Future Proof program, so that local businesses can have some hope of continuing into the future. The pandemic is not ending anytime soon and will in all likelihood impact businesses into 2022.”
Jamie Barron, Chair of Haltech Regional Innovation Centre
“Small business is the backbone of the economy and with reopening just starting, our main street businesses need the advantages of technology and the support to reap it’s benefits now more than ever. With extended funding, our local businesses will be in a position to fully embrace the DMS Future Proof opportunities to overcome the barriers to technology adoption and accelerate recovery.”
COVID-19 Links and Resources
- For information about COVID-19 in Halton Region, including the latest public health guidance and the status of COVID-19 cases, please visit halton.ca/coronavirus
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online
- Residents can stay informed at www.burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: www.josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington (Burlington’s business organizations)
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Office: 905-335-7600, ext. 7841