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February 2021
Happy Family Day from Durham Tourism!
Black History Month – Together We Rise Durham

February is Black History Month. To kick it all off, a virtual launch video entitled "Together We Rise Durham" was streamed February 1, 2021. You can watch the event on the Black History Month in Durham Region’s YouTube channel. Throughout the month, the 2021 Black History Month Committee will be sharing unique online content that highlights the proud history of the Black community in Durham Region.
Shop Durham Region
online marketplace is now live

The Region of Durham is excited to announce that the new Shop Durham Region online marketplace is live. The multi-vendor e-store allows shoppers to safely purchase products from multiple Durham-based businesses in a single transaction.

More than ever, shopping local makes a big impact on small businesses. Through this new online marketplace, residents can safely explore more than 600 local products in a single shopping experience and collect purchases through contactless pick-up—making it easy to support local and stay safe. More than 200 local businesses have joined Shop Durham Region thus far and continue to add products for sale on the site.

To start shopping or to join the marketplace, visit ShopDurhamRegion.ca. Enhanced marketplace features will be rolled out in the days ahead, including the ability to shop by vendor. 
Applications Open for Ontario's New
Skills Development Fund

Applications are now open for the Ontario government's new two-year $115 million Skills Development Fund. The fund, which will support workers and apprentices, is specifically designed to address the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and help reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining while preparing workers for the province's economic recovery.

The Skills Development Fund will accept applications from a wide range of employment and training organizations in Ontario, and the focus will be on:

  • Giving laid-off workers immediate access to training supports or new jobs;
  • Improving the quality of training;
  • Reaching out to traditionally underrepresented groups;
  • Increasing apprentice registrations and completion;
  • Better serving local communities; and,
  • Supporting the talent needs of small businesses.

Applicants, including employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, community organizations and others can submit proposals until February 28.

On February 8, the Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, hosted a webinar with Premier Ford on the latest updates to COVID-19 restrictions and also provided an overview of the framework for reopening.

Here are some resources that were referenced in the webinar:

Central Counties 2021 Business Support Program

2021 is off to a rocky start and tourism businesses are struggling more than ever. Central Counties Tourism has set aside $400,000 to help offset the costs incurred by businesses to keep customers safe, stay top of mind with consumers, and/or modify their business model to stay relevant and accessible.
Central Counties will reimburse up to 50 per cent of eligible paid expenses (to a maximum of $15,000) incurred beginning April 1, 2020.  
Eligible costs include any reasonable and necessary expenses that have allowed you to remain engaged with your customers and potential customers throughout the pandemic. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementation of health and safety protocols;
  • Alterations to accommodate social distancing including the expansion of patio space for restaurants (including tables, chairs, umbrellas) and/or acquisition of equipment like outdoor heaters/tents to extend seasons;
  • Purchases of PPE and cleaning supplies for workers;
  • Marketing and communications costs; and,
  • Acquisition and implementation of digital tools and operating transformations like a virtual queue, timed entry ticketing, contactless check-ins, and/or e-commerce.
York, Durham & Headwaters Regional Business Support Webinar

On February 2, the Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, hosted a webinar on supports for small businesses, not-for-profits and sports and cultural institutions dedicated to the York, Durham and Headwaters Regions.

Topics discussed included:

Support for not-for-profits, tourism and culture operators, and sports organizations will be able to access government support of an additional $100 million over the next two years imminently through the Community Building Fund. 
Regional Council continues to push forward with broadband strategy

Durham Regional Council has approved the Regional Broadband Network report, outlining two applications for funding from the Province of Ontario and Federal Government of Canada for the phased implementation of a broadband network in Durham Region.

The Region’s goal is to implement a high-speed fibre network that will span 700 kilometres and connect all of Durham’s hamlets. This phase of the project will jumpstart that vision.

Broadband access is vital infrastructure that is essential for communication, education, and the economic competitiveness of our residents, businesses and institutions.

Improving access to broadband is a strategic priority for Regional Council, and increasing its availability in underserved and unserved areas is critical to the economic recovery of Durham’s residents and businesses. COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the challenges faced by residents who don’t have access to adequate broadband. The Region—in partnership with Oshawa Power Utilities Corporation (OPUC)—has developed a transformative project that will serve our rural and underserved communities; leveraging the existing fibre infrastructure of the Region and OPUC to extend broadband access across Durham.

The phased implementation of the network will be dependent on funding—expected to be announced in April 2021. If funding is allocated, residents can expect this phase of the project to begin this summer and be completed by 2024.

The Region continues to advocate for the provincial and federal governments to invest in broadband; taking an active role to ensure our underserved residents and businesses have access to broadband in the future.
Roadmap to Recovery
Join us for a rapid-fire event as we talk about a roadmap to recovery for Durham Region businesses.

From financial support to employment law, mental health in the workplace, and a COVID-19 health and vaccinations update from Dr. Kyle, this event brings together a rapid-fire line-up of speakers to provide you high-level need-to-know updates as you continue towards building back stronger.

Get ready to ask your pressing business questions at an expert Q&A panel. 

February 26 - 9 to 11 a.m.
For unique trip ideas or to plan your perfect day, visit DurhamTourism.ca, or call 1-800-413-0017. If this information is required in an accessible format, contact Durham Tourism.