WE EDC Response Plan

Economic Strategies for the Windsor-Essex Region: Response to the Economic Impact of COVID-19

As the lead economic development agency for the Windsor-Essex region, the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (WE EDC) is responsible for advancing economic development in the City of Windsor, the towns of Amherstburg, Essex, Kingsville, Lakeshore, LaSalle, Tecumseh, the Municipality of Leamington and the Township of Pelee. This document is intended to provide a summary of actions to help support the region’s economy.

Lead Coordination Efforts

Working with other local economic development organizations, WE EDC will dedicate a space on its web site to provide coordinated and updated information on economic information as it relates to the impact of COVID-19 to the Windsor-Essex region.

In the past, WE EDC has used its position within economic development to bring together key stakeholders in effort to support the Windsor-Essex region and its businesses.  WE EDC is prepared to serve in this role again. The WE EDC web site will host a designated space to help provide a coordinated source of information for economic measures to mitigate disruption.

Supporting Windsor-Essex Businesses

To support businesses that may be experiencing credit or cashflow issues, the Federal Government has provided up to $10 billion of financial support to federal lending agencies such as the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

Other programs to support small businesses like the Canada Small Business Financing Program to secure small business loans against inadvertent non-compliance with payment terms a range of reasons, including disasters. Assets guaranteed include real property improvements, leasehold improvements or the purchase of equipment. The Canada Small Business Financing Program makes it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lenders. Small businesses or start-ups operating for profit in Canada, with gross annual revenues of $10 million or less are eligible to access this assistance.  Not eligible under this program are farming businesses (AgriRecovery is a disaster relief framework which provides a coordinated process for federal, provincial and territorial governments to respond rapidly when disasters strike, filling gaps not covered by existing programs), not-for-profit organizations, or charitable and religious organizations.

Working with local representatives from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), WE EDC can help provide pathfinding services or information sessions (via webinars) so that local businesses can access financial products and services provided by BDC and EDC.

A detailed step-by-step guide is available on WE EDC’s website to support businesses looking for resources on how to prepare for these unique circumstances. WE EDC staff are available by phone or email to assist with information on contingency planning and resources available for local companies.

Revenue Canada also guides and forms for employers on measures that can be taken and business tax implications in responding to major events affecting their employees including illness, injury and "special payments", such as wage-loss replacement and discussions are underway to consider extending the deadline for filing taxes.

Support Employees

Collaborate with Workforce Windsor Essex to determine local employers that qualify and may be interested in providing work-sharing agreements to their employees.

The Government of Canada has introduced enhancements to the Work-Sharing Program at an estimated cost of $12 million to help employers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, and their workers. Work-Sharing (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers.  The Government of Canada introduced temporary special measures that extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks across Canada for those businesses affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19.

Canada is also exploring additional measures to support other affected Canadians, including income support for those that are not eligible for EI sickness benefits.

Support Communities

WE EDC will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy   and determine whether there is a need to petition for support from others for additional community/business support, including exploring options to access funding from disaster assistance programming.

As the local organization mandated to advance economic development to grow and sustain prosperity in the Windsor-Essex region, WE EDC will continue to monitor closely the situation and will work with other organizations to develop and execute strategies to retain, expand, attract and help new businesses start up in the Windsor-Essex region.