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COVID-19: Information and Tools for Merchants

The COVID-19 pandemic is probably making it very complicated to run your business. Our business development experts at PME MTL are more mobilized than ever to support you in these exceptional circumstances. To make sure you have everything you need to deal with the situation, PME MTL has gathered and made available a host of useful information, tools and resources to help entrepreneurs, especially merchants.


Montréal's Economic Recovery Plan: Business Takes Centre Stage

In response to the unprecedented health and economic crisis, Montréal is launching an economic recovery plan to support businesses and business owners. The plan, which is entitled “A Boost for the City: Acting Now,” comprises four main areas of focus broken down into 20 support measures to be implemented over the next 6 months. 

The objective of the first focus area is "Putting business at the heart of the recovery". For more information concerning the role that PME MTL will play in implementing the plan, click here

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is intended for Montréal businesses that are not eligible for other federal measures that are already in place in connection with COVID-19 . 

For updates pertaining to the availability of the fund, please complete the form

Improved Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

The Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses program has been increased by $20 million. Montréal SMEs that wish to obtain this assistance can now apply.

For information concerning eligibility criteria and the application process, along with the application form, click here

Please consult the Frequently Asked Questions section before filling out the form. 

Montréal Invests $2 Million in Grants to Support Local Businesses

In light of the impending resumption of commercial activity in Montréal and the health and social-distancing measures that are being imposed on commercial establishments, the City of Montréal is investing $2 million in a temporary grant fund to support retailers.

The PME MTL network is responsible for administering this fund, which is intended to support retail businesses in consolidating their activities. If you would like to be kept informed of the specific details related to this emergency measure, which will be communicated shortly, please complete the contact form.

This new amount is added to the existing balance of $1 million in the PME MTL Fonds Entrepreneuriat Commercial (Business Entrepreneurship Fund). The eligibility criteria for this fund will be relaxed in order to provide commercial entrepreneurs with support in consolidating their activities. Additional details will follow.

Crowdfunding Campaign for Businesses 

A crowdfunding campaign to support local Montréal businesses was launched by La Ruche, the Société de développement commercial (SDC), local trade associations and the Desjardins Group, and supported by the City of Montréal.

The Pay It Forward program allows consumers to support businesses through the purchase of gift cards that are redeemable in stores. The City matches the value of purchases made by the public, up to a maximum of $500,000, with the amounts being distributed to businesses. In addition, Desjardins Group will make a donation to Montréal community organizations with the purchase of each gift card.

Discover active campaigns:

For more information, contact your SDC.

PME MTL Centre-Ouest launches the #readyforreopeningchallenge

PME MTL Centre-Ouest is presenting merchants with a series of challenges aimed at preparing for the impending reopening of businesses in Montréal, including the following:

  • Optimisez votre service de livraison (Optimize your delivery service)
  • Numérisez votre commerce (Digitize your business)
  • Rééquilibrez votre inventaire (Rebalance your inventory)
  • Osez les promotions (Dare to launch promotions)

Watch the video entitled "3 simple and free ways to increase traffic in your business” in connection with the Enhance the visibility of your business challenge. 

Health Products and Services: Have You Considered Buying local? 

In a context where retailers must implement health measures in order to ensure the safety of their employees and customers, there is no doubt that your company will have to stock up on sanitary products and use special cleaning services.

Have you considered buying local? Check out this list of Montréal industrial companies that offer sanitary products and services. Demonstrate your entrepreneurial solidarity, and buy local! 

New ecommerce logistics support service

PME MTL's experts can now provide technical assistance as well as support companies in their decision-making processes when it comes to ecommerce logistics. Some key elements of our support services for companies selling online are pre-diagnosis of e-commerce operations. assistance for selecting a new logistics service provider or referral to specialized or expert resources, as needed. Discover our new ecommerce logistics service!

Free Support to Accelerate Your Shift to Digital Operations

The City has designated the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQDC) to carry out a free support program aiming to facilitate the shift to digital operations for nearly 1,000 merchants over a three-month period. The CQCD will work in concert with the Sociétés de développement commercial (SDC) and PME MTL.

1,750 hours of technical support will be offered to Montréal merchants to help them increase their online sales, while most of the businesses are closed. Remote working sessions provided by advisors specializing in online marketing will be available as well as webinars. The program will be deployed on April 21. Interested businesses should complete this form (in French) on the City's website.

Finance and crisis management

Gradual Resumption and Health Measures

The Québec government has announced that businesses, shopping centres and restaurants can resume operations, but they must implement measures to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. Consult the Toolkit for the Retail and Shopping Centre Sector, published by the CNESST.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

The Government of Canada has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

Read this article from La Presse (in French), which answers a number of your questions, including "Who is eligible?" and "How can I apply?"

The CECRA has been increased by $140M to make up for 50% of the losses incurred by commercial building owners, who will receive an amount equivalent to 12.5% of the total cost of rent, thus reducing their loss by half.

Also read this article by Détail Formation (in French), which clearly explains the underlying principles of the 75% wage subsidy.

Support Measures for Montréal Businesses

The City of Montréal has put in place a series of measures to assist businesses and companies, including the following:

  • Postponement of the 2nd instalment of municipal taxes to September 1, 2020
  • Emergency financial assistance for the most vulnerable sectors, including the retail sector. Fill out this form if you would like to receive notification of the terms and conditions of membership when they are announced.
  • Automatic moratorium on capital and interest for companies receiving a loan from PME MTL funds. More details.

Consult all the details on the City's assistance measures and those offered by the provincial and federal governments and our partners.

Postponement of the 2nd Instalment to the Sociétés de développement commercial

The City of Montréal announces that the deadline for the second instalment of contributions to the Sociétés de développement commercial (SDC) is postponed by three months. The new deadline is September 1, 2020. This new measure aims to alleviate the financial pressure on retailers.

Postponement of eligibility to PRAM programs and extension of the duration of work

The eligibility period for the following programs: PRAM Sainte-Catherine, PRAM Artères en chantiers and PRAM Commerce has been postponed to a later date. This postponement applies to the following commercial arteries:

  • PRAM Sainte-Catherine (Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, between Rue de Bleury and Rue Mansfield)
  • PRAM Streets under construction (Av. Laurier Ouest and Rue Saint-Hubert)
  • PRAM Commerce (Vieux-Pointe-aux-Trembles, Promenade Fleury, avenue du Mont-Royal, boulevard Saint-Laurent, Quartier Fleury Ouest and SDC Petite-Italie-Marché-Jean-Talon)

In addition, considering that the construction industry ceased its activities during the crisis, the City also grants a 12-month extension to carry out eligible work to all applicants whose application was deemed eligible over the past two years.

This measure aims to rebuild retailers’ economic situation and give them the opportunity to invest in their fixed assets.

Importance of Contacting Your Creditors and Landlords

We advise you to contact your creditors as soon as possible to see what financial assistance measures are available. The same goes for your landlord, if you are a tenant: the best possible course of action seems to be discussion and an amicable agreement, for the time being.

Webinars and FAQ by the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQDC)

In addition to gathering and updating several essential pieces of information concerning the current situation, the CQCD frequently offers useful webinars on this subject. View upcoming or past videoconferences (in French). Consult the CQCD's FAQ (in French) for answers to the questions most frequently asked by retailers.

Human Resources

Questions and Answers From CNESST

Learn about the rights and obligations of workplaces regarding the impacts associated with the spread of the virus. Occupational health and safety, labour standards, compensation... all these topics are covered on this page.

Guide From the Order of Conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA)

Consult the CHRA's information and recommendations in its regularly updated guide (in French) for both employers and workers.

PME MTL’s Human Resources Assistance Service

Our manpower recruitment and job placement service remains 100% operational. Our human resources consultants are available to support you in the HR management challenges caused by the pandemic. Contact them now: locate your service centre.

Marketing and ecommerce

If, in the current context, you are not able to continue your online activities, we suggest you take this “break” time as an opportunity to work on planning and improving your online presence.

New Digital Support Service

Emploi Québec and PME MTL offer free digital support services to Montréal SMEs. The objective of this initiative is to help companies optimize and implement digital tools.

The digital support service for businesses features two components:

  • Customized remote support from experts in digital technologies, available as of June 22, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, for a period of 8 weeks, via a chat system that can be accessed through the PME MTL website.
  • A remote-learning program intended to equip business managers with best practices for implementing online collaborative digital tools.

Free Support to Accelerate Your Shift to Digital Operations

The City has designated the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQDC) to carry out a free support program aiming to facilitate the shift to digital operations for nearly 1,000 merchants over a three-month period. The CQCD will work in concert with the Sociétés de développement commercial (SDC) and PME MTL.

1,750 hours of technical support will be offered to Montréal merchants to help them increase their online sales, while most of the businesses are closed. Remote working sessions provided by advisors specializing in online marketing will be available as well as webinars. Interested businesses should complete this form (in French) on the City's website.

Training Sessions for Business and E-commerce

A number of stakeholders in Montréal's entrepreneurial ecosystem offer extremely useful training courses for merchants, subsidized by the Programme actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi (PACME – Concerted Action Program for Maintaining Employment). Among others, we recommend the training offered by Infopresse and  Cégep André-Laurendeau:

Improving Your Web presence in the digital age

Ensuring a continuous presence on the Internet is not a luxury when doing business, but rather a necessity. Here's some advice to improve your retail's online presence. 

You can also use Outrank to enhance your online presence. This Montréal-based company creates neighbourhood Facebook pages and audiences of local residents who are interested in supporting the local economy, and shares posts from merchants on these pages for free. The company is currently conducting a survey in order to better understand the specific needs of merchants in connection with online promotion.

Short Guide to Photos and Your Image

Check out this short guide to photos and your image for merchants, put together by Isabelle Paille, Director of Business Development at PME MTL Centre-Est. This article demystifies the concept of brand image, lays out the basics of social media and provides a number of sources of inspiration.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits to eligible small businesses, up to 30,000 companies, in more than 30 countries where the platform operates. Learn more about the program!

8 Tips to Start Selling Online Quickly

Already selling in a physical store and want to start selling online? Panierdachat offers 8 tips (and some bonus info) to start selling quickly! (in French)

Transport and logistics

Launching Your Ecommerce Operations

PME MTL now offers access to experts who are dedicated to supporting Montréal businesses in their e-commerce activities and joining their efforts with those of logistics service providers. This support includes a pre-diagnosis of operations, assistance in starting up logistics services or finding a logistics service provider and other necessary resources, among other elements. Discover the new ecommerce logistics service!

For more information, consult our blog articles on the subject: "Maximize online sales with efficient logistics operations" and "How a third party logistics provider can power your online business".

Urban Delivery Service Offered to Merchants

This initiative, coordinated by the Montréal SDC (Société de développement commercial) in collaboration with Jalon MTL and COOP Carbone, allows local businesses located here or near a partner SDC to have their products delivered even if they do not have a transactional website or delivery system.

Find out about how it works, what the eligibility requirements are and the list of SDCs participating in this program.

Watch the promotional video

Launching Your E-commerce Operations

CEFRIO offers a reference guide (in French) related to the business processes and teams to be put into place when launching e-commerce operations. It is an excellent starting point!

Mobilization and initiative (#cavabienaller)

Le Panier Bleu

Le Panier Bleu is a directory of local merchants. This initiative supported by the Government of Québec is aimed at boosting local trade. Currently in its launch phase, Le Panier Bleu (in French) is intended to be a comprehensive directory of local merchants throughout the province. A powerful search engine will soon be added to help locate products sold by our merchants, thereby making it easier than ever to “buy local”. It is also a universal tool to easily find local merchants open during the pandemic. Consult the technical data sheet to understand how this tool works.

Consult the technical data sheet to understand how this tool works.

If you wish to register your business on the platform, fill out the form and take advantage of the future benefits of Le Panier Bleu.

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Our business development consultants are available to support you with advice on the best strategy to adopt according to your situation and to accompany you in the challenges you are experiencing to help your business get through this pandemic. Please do not hesitate to contact a consultant at your service centre by e-mail or by phone. We are here for you!

Grand Sud-Ouest

3617, rue Wellington

Montréal, Québec, H4G 1T9

514 765-7060
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