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VE-Smart Training now available in Canada

Would you like to know how to increase staff performance in the new virtual workplace?

Have you noticed that your staff is facing difficulties with adjusting to working from home?

We have a solution for you!

BTT College now offers a unique VE-Smart Training program available for Canadian companies, so your staff will discover the basics and logistics required to succeed in the VE world.

  • Learn about solid communication practices to be set up for success working in the virtual environment.
  • Your employees will recognize their strengths and weaknesses in the VE world.
  • And so much more!!

This program is developed in partnership with global leaders in virtual employment.

Your company may qualify for funding under VE-Smart training.

Please contact BTT College for more information.

Join their exclusive program this February 1st, 2021.

Contact BTT College: 416-483-3567

Email: iwantinfo@bttcollege.com

Cash Flow Challenges Faced by Businesses and How the BIA Can Assist

October 6, 2020

Written by: Atul Oka, Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development, DUKE Heights BIA

The impact of COVID19 has been particularly hard on many businesses across Canada. A poll earlier in the year by Stats Canada revealed that over 50% of businesses reported a decline in revenue and two-thirds experienced significant declines in consumer demand. Most business expenses however have remained static resulting in many businesses facing increased financial stress. With many areas expecting a second wave, consumers will once again become more hesitant in frequenting places of business and reduce nonessential spending.

Studies have shown that even in a healthy economy, 82% of small businesses that fold do so due to cash flow issues. How then can businesses better manage their cash flow? On the broadest level, managing cashflow revolves around two main themes, namely income, and expenditure. Traditional thinking around cash flow management while effective during normal economic conditions, cannot all be applied during the challenging environment many businesses currently face.

The initial and correct response for most businesses involves the reduction of overhead expenses where possible. These include cutting down all nonessential recurring expenses, as well as evaluating and rationalising essential expenses. Security services as an example may be seen as a nonessential cost that can be cut or reduced. If your business intends to cut or reduce security services, let the BIA help you supplement this by registering for the FREE security service offered by the BIA.

Both employment and rental costs also form a large part of any business which are often seen as areas where costs can be reduced. Cutting or reducing these costs in the short term however comes at the trade-off of less flexibility and agility when the economy improves, thus creating a disadvantage over the longer term. Businesses are encouraged to solicit professional advice so that they can best understand the financial state of the business, and the options available to the business, thereby making the best-informed decision possible during these trying times.
If you do not have access to a finance professional or require a second opinion, the DUKE Heights BIA is offering a FREE consultation with a professional accounting firm for both general financial planning, and assistance in accessing and applying for federal support grants or loans. This service will soon be supplemented by a funding tool that will be launched on the DUKE Heights BIA website, allowing businesses to better identify relevant funding for their particular needs.

While cost-cutting can relieve pressure on working capital, a concurrent and potentially greater drop in revenue may lead to an increase in total debt as businesses try and finance the shortfall utilising loans and other forms of debt in the hope that revenue will increase before the cost of servicing that debt becomes unsustainable.

In this instance, businesses have little choice but to explore adding new products and services to their offering, while expanding current sales channels to sell more, to a greater audience. Many businesses in the BIA are looking at creating an online presence and trying to sell directly to the end consumer. This change in business model can seem daunting, and lack of knowledge and skills on e-commerce can create a barrier inhibiting many businesses from implementing this change to their business model.

If you are exploring e-commerce but need any assistance, the BIA has, with various partners, created a suite of FREE digital services to help you with this transition. These services include a FREE initial evaluation and assessment of your digital needs by DMS (Digital Main Street), a grant to create or update your website including e-commerce functionality, FREE access to a large digital marketing platform called GetintheLoop which can expose your products and services to thousands of new consumers, and FREE marketing on social media channels.

As a key partner to all the businesses in the area, it is hoped that these FREE services and initiatives offered by the BIA, aimed at helping your business better manage short-term cash flow and long-term growth, are fully accessed and utilised by our members.

Should you require additional information on the BIA or the services available to you, please access our website (dukeheights.ca), or email us (info@dukeheights.ca).

What to do if someone in your workplace has COVID-19

September 30, 2020

Toronto Public Health issued new guidelines for workplaces in view of the return of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Role of the employer during a COVID-19 outbreak in their workplace: 

  • Develop a preparedness and response plan in the event, someone becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Communicate with employees and business partners early and often to ensure accurate information is being shared.
  • Keep a list of the names and contact information of all participants at in-person meetings or events. Toronto Public Health will use this list to notify and provide instructions for close contacts to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Any personal information that is collected for COVID-19 contract tracing can only be used for this purpose unless an individual provides their consent. Records should only be kept for 30 days, and then shredded.
  • Contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 for guidance if you have been notified that an employee has tested positive and/or you have concerns that employees may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Provide Toronto Public Health with contact information of exposed employees and customers to assist with contact tracing.
  • If a staff member, client, or customer has tested positive for COVID-19, Toronto Public Health will interview the person to determine if he/she was contagious while on your premises. Consent is obtained from the employee before disclosing personal health information to the employer.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may have been touched by the sick employee as soon as possible.
  • Additional public health advice in the event of an outbreak may include additional cleaning and disinfecting measures to reduce the risk of spread in the setting.
  • Follow public health guidance on additional preventive measures.
  • Support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or being a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of employees’ personal health information.
  • Report to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) if you have been advised that one of your employees has tested positive due to exposure at the workplace.
  • Encourage staff to download the COVID Alert app so they can be notified directly if they have been in close contact with someone who was contagious with COVID-19.

Source: City of Toronto website

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Businesses (CEAP-SB)

September 9, 2020

The Government of Ontario has created a program to help support small businesses during these challenging times. The province has pulled together $8 million to support small businesses that are struggling to pay their energy bills. The Ontario Energy Board has created the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Businesses (CEAP-SB). The program provides a one-time, on-bill credit for electricity and natural gas accounts that have outstanding payments as of March 17, 2020.

Applications for this program are now open through Toronto Hydro and Enbridge Gas. Enbridge has provided a number to call to both check eligibility and to apply. That number is 1-877-362-7434.

Toronto Hydro is also accepting applications but online at https://www.torontohydro.com/covid-19.

WSIB Health and Safety Excellence program for Micro Business (1-5 employees)

 

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is offering a unique opportunity to a limited number of micro businesses to join the WSIB performance-based incentive program for companies with 1-5 employees.

The cost to join this pilot program is $49 + HST only for a limited time and it is first come first serve.

This pilot program is built for small businesses (1-5 employees):

  • Flexible timelines allow employers to work at their own pace
  • Registration is open all year round with a 12 month cycle at $49 + HST for a limited time only.
  • Recognition is based on individual participant performance and a rebate up to $1000 upon validation.
  • A WSPS Volunteer/or an Excellence Guide will assist along the way as he/she will provide coaching/feedback as the business owner work to implement the Excellence program topic.

For more information, click on this link  https://www.wsps.ca/Small-Business-Centre/Good-to-Know/Rebate-Program

 

Download WSIB Health and Safety Excellence program for Micro Businesses – flyer (538 KB PDF)

If you are a local business in the BIA with 1-5 employees and want to take advantage of this program, please submit your filled application to business@dukeheights.ca.

WSPS H&S Excellence program Application Form

For other business sizes over 5 employees, you can promote the WSIB H&S Excellence program through your regular communication channel.

This link provides further details https://www.wsps.ca/Health-and-Safety-Excellence-Program/WSPS-Health-and-Safety-Excellence-Program.aspx where the registration fees are based on the amount of premiums a company has paid the previous year.

Here is the breakdown:

  • Small Firm with less than $100.000 in WSIB premiums is $800 + HST
  • Medium Firm between $100,000 and $1M in WSIB premiums is $1700 + HST
  • Large Firm greater than $1M in WSIB premiums is $2,500 + HST

To learn more, contact DUKE Heights BIA at business@dukeheights.ca.

Brief & Associates Inc. : Helping Businesses with Debt Problems

Brief & Associates Inc. is a firm of government Licensed Insolvency Trustees that has been advising individuals and small businesses with debt problems for over 40 years. Angie Klein, the Managing Director at Brief & Associates Inc. says, “We treat every person as a unique individual with a unique set of issues and work towards finding a solution that fits. We understand that being in a difficult financial situation can be extremely stressful and upsetting. We therefore treat everyone with care and compassion and our knowledgeable insolvency team will take the time to explain all of your options so that you feel comfortable and confident that you are choosing the solution that best fits your needs.”

A recent example of someone they helped was Dinesh P. Dinesh, who had $30,000 in credit card and income tax debt, a leased vehicle, an RRSP and steady employment income.  A friend of Dinesh told him to find a Trustee and just file for bankruptcy.  After a consultation with Dinesh, where they discussed the pros and cons of his options, Brief & Associates recommended that he should not file for bankruptcy but rather a Consumer Proposal.  A consumer proposal is a compromise with creditors that consolidates all debts into a single, affordable monthly payment that results in a reduction of up to 70% of the total debts owing.  Not only was Dinesh able to keep his car and RRSP, but within 2 years of completing the proposal, he was thrilled to report that he had qualified for a mortgage to purchase his first condo.

COVID-19: Stories of Ingenuity and Resilience

They had to board up their windows. They had to lay off their employees. They had to pivot their business models so they can strive to make ends meet in a troubled world. They’ve learned the hard way that the necessity is the mother of all inventions.

These are the stories of some of the businesses from DUKE Heights BIA who chose to share their tribulations and triumphs with us. They are stories of ingenuity, adaptability, perseverance, and resilience during the time of crisis.

If you are part of our BIA community and have or know any inspiring, innovative, or touching stories, reach out to us and let us share it with all of our BIA members and beyond. We’re all in this together!


The Bespoke Shop and Tailor Raj Singh

This hidden gem in our BIA, located at 3872 Chesswood Dr, is responsible for some of the City’s finest tailoring jobs. Having been in this craft for over 37 years, and being considered by many, a one-of-a-kind master in the lost art of “old-schooled” bespoke tailoring in Canada, the owner – tailor Raj Singh – believes that “clothes don’t make the man; they just define him”, while providing meticulous one-on-one consultations to his clients. The same attention to detail you will find in the design of the custom-made, reusable masks, he has started producing from the very beginning of this pandemic. Without any shortage in his imagination and creativity, Raj also design headbands with attached buttons to hold the mask in place without any irritation to the ears. Raj has graciously donated numerous sets to local families in the neighboring community. Reach out to Raj at http://rajsinghbespoketailor.com/, email info@customtailors.ca or call (416) 661-6777.


Progress Luv2Pak

Founded in 1917, Progress Luv2Pak is a family owned and run business in our BIA, that imports and distributes premium retail & gift packaging – high end shopping bags, gift boxes and many other products used by businesses of every size across North America.

With over 35 years importing experience, “it was clear that our team was well equipped to help to fill the urgent need for PPE” says David Hertzman, owner of the business. Their team did extensive due diligence, qualified multiple factories and to date has imported millions of certified, high quality disposable masks. They also keep a robust inventory at their Downsview Warehouse to fill any immediate needs. Their masks are currently being used by hospitals, long-term care homes, and businesses across many industries throughout North America.

For more information on all their products or to order medical or commercial grade face masks, visit https://www.luv2pak.com/mask or call: (416) 638-1221.


Eagle Sportswear and Shoppe List

Established in Toronto in 1988, Eagle Sportswear, manufactures and distributes performance and protective sportswear, customized uniforms and promotional products. Their services include in-house manufacturing and embroidery for custom uniforms as well as free consultation for uniform requirements. Shortly after the pandemic lockdown, Eagle Sportswear introduced a new line of reusable and washable face masks, including but not limited to silver yarn masks, quilted cotton masks and copper infused mask. For more information on their products and services call (416) 650-5144 or email info@eaglecanada.com or sales@eaglecanada.com or visit their new e-commerce site at https://shoppelist.com/collections/healthcare or go to their online store at https://eaglecanada.com/.


Feature My Story

If you have an inspirational story to tell, submit it here. We will feature your story on the DUKE Heights BIA website.

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Complimentary Workplace Health and Safety Advisory Services for Small Business

Are you a small business owner looking to implement additional safety measures for your employees in your workplace when you reopen?

Duke Heights BIA with Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) is offering Free Small Business Advisory Services that matches small businesses (with less than 20 employees) with a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP)® to help you as an employer improve health and safety in your business using simple, easy to implement solutions.

WSPS is a not-for-profit organization and a proud partner of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system having a rich history of making Ontario workplaces safer by helping businesses understand their risks and legal obligations to stay in compliance and build safer workplaces.

Benefits of the Program

  • Cost: The program is FREE for all the eligible businesses!
  • Support: An expert health and safety advisor will help and guide the employer through the short program
  • On-Site Advice: On-site professional assistance from advisors will be provided at times that work for you. (Due to current social distancing guidelines, a video/virtual meeting is preferred for the first initial meeting with your assigned advisor)

What’s Involved?

  • Time: Over a series of communications, you will spend approximately 10 hours working with your advisor at times convenient for you.
  • Review: The advisor will work with you to review the current status of health and safety in your business, including a workplace walk-through to prevent potential accidents.
  • Implementation: Listen to suggestions and new ideas from the advisor and implement changes that you feel are needed to improve your business.
  • Follow-up: Keep the momentum going by sharing learnings with workers and continue to improve the health and safety of your business.

If you are a local business in the BIA with less than 20 employees and want to take advantage of this service, please send your query or submit your filled application to business@dukeheights.ca.

 

#BacktoBusiness : Relaunch your Business with our FREE Marketing Pack

Have you recently reopened your business or are you considering to reopen in the near future? Use our Back to Business promotional service kit while you’re getting ready to reopen.

Core Services:

  • Social media Boost: free promotion of your business and products/services on our social media platforms
  • Sales Boost: free admission to GetintheLoop – an online promotional platform to reach tens of thousands of new potential customers
  • Free Perk on DUKE Heights BIA website and our newsletter

Optional Extras:

  • Free assistance in setting up social media accounts
  • Free digital presence consultation with Digital Main Street
  • Free website / e-commerce site (if you do not already have a website)
  • Inclusion to our FREE seminars on business-related topics

To learn more about DUKE Heights BIA Member Assistance Services and Programs, please email us: info@dukeheights.ca, or call (416) 739 -1621.