Guelph, Ont., May 8, 2020–The Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Recovery has outlined a roadmap to economic recovery for Guelph’s business community that addresses not only the immediate need for crisis management resources for owners and operators, but also short-term measures to assist businesses as they reopen and longer-term capacity-building opportunities to ensure a more adaptive and resilient economy for the future.
At its second meeting, held earlier this week via teleconference, the Task Force recommended a mix of local, provincial and federal support programs to help businesses of all sizes address the operational and financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Members identified a range of potential solutions to these challenges, including:
- Financial relief packages to help businesses manage commercial rent and utility costs in the face of reduced liquidity
- Capacity-building assistance for small businesses looking to adopt e-commerce technology so they can continue to provide products and services to local customers
- Clearly-defined public health protocols related to physical distancing and infection control to help keep employees, suppliers and customers safe as businesses begin to reopen
- Locally- and regionally-focused promotion and support programs for Guelph’s arts, culture and hospitality sectors
The Task Force continues to advocate to the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada for continued support for businesses and employees. The group is also exploring partnership opportunities between business owners, community groups and local support agencies to identify and promote “Made-in-Guelph-for—Guelph” solutions for businesses. At the municipal level, the Task Force has also shared recommendations for consideration by City staff.
“I am grateful that Guelph’s local businesses continue to share their concerns and challenges in an open and collaborative way, and I appreciate their willingness to work with all levels of government and local support agencies to create a coordinated, community-minded plan for economic recovery in Guelph,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie. “The Task Force is exploring all possible solutions to support local businesses through this extraordinarily difficult time, and I’m encouraged to see the progress that has already been made.”
“Sometimes we lose sight of how diverse Guelph is, but when the Mayor’s Task Force for Economic Recovery was assembled, it became evident how unique the cross-sections of business are that lend themselves to the success of our thriving community,” said Court Desautels, Chief Executive Officer of The Neighbourhood Group of Companies. “This group exemplifies how collaborative efforts will continue to shape Guelph as one of Canada’s innovation leaders, and will undoubtedly uncover many key learnings and strategies to aid in the recovery and continued growth of our lovely City. We are in good hands.”
“I’m excited to be exploring ways the University of Guelph, in collaboration with local organizations, can help small businesses build an enhanced web presence and e-commerce capability, through webinars and with the help of co-op students,” said Julia Christensen Hughes, Former (Founding) Dean of The Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph. “If Guelph wants to have a vibrant ‘main street’ – and we do – we also need an effective ‘e-street’. The time to build it is now.”
City of Guelph responding to COVID-19
The Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Recovery works alongside Council, the City’s emergency management team and the economic recovery working group to identify and evaluate potential solutions to address both the current needs and long-term sustainability of Guelph’s economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City’s economic recovery working table is exploring and implementing municipal programs, initiatives and tactics that will contribute to the recovery of Guelph’s economy from COVID-19 based in part on the supports and stimulus measures identified by the Mayor’s Task Force. This includes financial mechanisms and economic development activities to support the business community and agencies in re-establishing Guelph’s strong economic well-being. Some of these activities will be brought forward in a staff report to City Council at the May 11 meeting of Council.
About the Task Force
The Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Recovery is made up of 28 business owners and operators, government representatives and support agencies who represent organizations of all sizes and across various sectors, including manufacturing, social enterprise, education, energy, hospitality and tourism, and arts and culture.
Communications Advisor, Mayor’s Office