Ontario Helping Main Street Businesses Modernize and Grow

Province Expands Program to Help Small Businesses Adopt Digital Technologies

Ontario is supporting main street businesses to modernize the way they do business and attract customers by helping them adopt new digital technologies and build online presence.

Jeff Leal, Minister Responsible for Small Business, and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, made the announcement today at The Village Hive in Markham.

The Main Street Digital Initiative will help small businesses improve their digital capabilities and tap into the latest trends of today’s digital economy, including setting up an online store, making businesses more mobile-friendly and using social media and apps to promote businesses.

The new initiative builds on an existing Toronto-based program and expands the services for small businesses across the province, including:

  • Web platform: provides access to basic digital services, including vetted lists of vendors who can identify technologies and tools businesses need to become digital ready.
  • Digital training (online and in-person): offers specific digital technologies or strategies including e-commerce, social media and website development.
  • Service squad: provides one-on-one assistance and digital assessments by highly trained team who can come into stores to offer services and recommendations, including activating free and easy to use tools.
  • Digital transformation training and grants: provides grants of up to $2,500 to help businesses adopt technology and meet their digital goals.

Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing $12 million in the Main Street Digital Initiative, which will be administered by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA). This initiative is part of a $40 million investment over three years in the Main Street Enhancement Initiative.
  • OBIAA will work with Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas and City of Toronto to expand and complement an existing digital main street program currently available to businesses in Toronto.
  • Main street areas across Ontario are largely comprised of small, independent businesses.
  • About one-third of Ontario workers are employed by small businesses, which are businesses that employ less than 100 paid employees.
  • To strengthen Ontario small businesses, the province is investing more than $500 million over three years in new initiatives that include lowering the small business tax rate by 22 per cent from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, investing in youth employment, providing support for downtown main street businesses, and cutting red tape.
  • Small Business Access resources for small business owners are available online at or over the phone at 1-888-999-5970.

Additional Resources


“We are excited to support small businesses as they seek to enhance their digital capabilities. The Main Street Digital Initiative will provide access to tools and expertise in order to capitalize on the new opportunities that can be realized through technology.”

Jeff Leal

Minister Responsible for Small Business and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“Ontario’s main street businesses know the importance of being online. The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association is pleased to work with the Ontario government to help ensure main street businesses succeed by improving their digital skills and ability to tap into the latest trends of today’s digital economy”

Kay Matthews

Executive Director, Ontario Business Improvement Area Association

“As a main street area business in Markham servicing entrepreneurs and the small business community, I see my digital and physical presence completely integrated. Community engagement happens both online and in person for the Village Hive. To fully reach the community I’m looking to connect with, I have no choice but to have a strong digital presence. I look forward to getting useful digital tools and learning about new ways of growing my business.”

Charlotte Kirby

Owner, The Village Hive

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Province greenlights new Ryerson University campus in downtown Brampton

BRAMPTON, ON – Political and business leaders from Brampton and around the GTHA gathered at a Brampton Board of Trade event today to celebrate the announcement of a significant education infrastructure project that will transform the city. The Honourable Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, along with Harinder Malhi, MPP Brampton-Springdale and Minister of the Status of Women, announced the establishment of a new Ryerson University campus, with Sheridan College as an academic partner, in downtown Brampton.

Slated to open for classes in the Fall of 2022, the new campus will focus on providing students data-driven science and business programming paired with experiential learning. Plans include the new campus, a partnership for a National Centre for Cybersecurity, and a centre for innovation – a joint-use facility which will include public and academic libraries and an innovation zone. The new campus will be built adjacent to the downtown GO Station. The centre of innovation will be located on the land surrounding the existing Nelson Square parking garage.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Brampton, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be partnering with two leading institutions – Ryerson University and Sheridan College – in bringing a new campus and centre for innovation to downtown Brampton,” said Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey. “Today’s exciting announcement marks the start of transformation for Brampton, and new opportunities for our residents. We are looking forward to continuing our excellent partnership with Ryerson and Sheridan to make Brampton a destination for learning and innovation.”

Bringing a new university to Brampton has been a key priority for the City. In September 2017, Brampton City Council made a historic commitment of up to $150 million for a new university and centre for innovation.

The City of Brampton has actively engaged with partners, community groups and businesses over the past year to help lay the foundation for future success. Also instrumental in this success was the work of the Blue Ribbon Panel, established by Council to provide recommendations to bring a university campus to Brampton. In 2017, the City commissioned an economic impact study that highlighted the diversity of economic and social benefits of a new university and centre for innovation. The City is also working with the partners to develop a vision for the centre for innovation, and currently has an active request for procurement for architectural services for this facility.

“We have built a strong partnership with Ryerson and Sheridan,” said Paul Aldunate, project manager of the university initiative for the City of Brampton. “We are eager to move forward together on this exciting project that will bring significant economic and cultural benefits to Brampton and its residents. This project will develop the skilled workforce of tomorrow right here in downtown Brampton.”

This is Ryerson’s first expansion of academic programming outside of its iconic downtown Toronto campus. Ryerson has a reputation as a city-building institution, and is globally recognized for its business-focused innovation zones. With a focus on career-oriented education, Ryerson receives the most applications, relative to spaces available, of any university in Ontario.

“In expanding to Brampton, Ryerson will provide much-needed university programs to students in one of the fastest-growing and most diverse communities in Canada,” said Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President and Vice-Chancellor of Ryerson University. “We are looking forward to working with Sheridan to provide students in the region with innovative academic programs that offer the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to succeed and thrive in the modern economy.”

Sheridan has a long history in Brampton, and a strong track record of developing and delivering leading programming. Brampton is already home to the Davis campus and the Centre of Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technology. Sheridan has a well-earned reputation in applied research and experiential learning, and a strong history of building partnerships in and with the City of Brampton.

“Sheridan is exceptionally proud to partner with Ryerson University on this exciting venture,” said Dr. Mary Preece, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan. “For 50 years, we’ve been proud to call Brampton home. Today marks the beginning of a new era. We’re building on Sheridan’s strength in teaching creative problem solving, the established track record of both of our institutions for incubating innovation, and our shared belief in the value of experiential learning. Together, we’ll provide even more opportunities for students to gain an education that’s highly relevant for the times.”

Quick Facts

  • The project has an anticipated academic start date of September 2022.
  • Ryerson is planning for enrolment at the new Brampton campus of 2,000 students
  • The City of Brampton has committed up to $50 million, over 10 years, to a university facility and up to $100 million for a centre for innovation.
  • Between the City of Brampton and the Province of Ontario, almost a quarter of a billion dollars has been committed to a new university and centre for innovation.
  • The City commissioned an economic impact study in 2017 which demonstrated that the construction, and ongoing annual operation, of a new university and centre for innovation would bring thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.
  • The downtown Brampton location is easily accessible through transit, connects to the GTA and Innovation Super-Corridor through GO transit, and will help spark business and cultural activity, creating a signature Brampton destination.
  • A downtown Brampton university location amplifies Brampton’s position at the centre of the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor, an ecosystem to link talent, educators, investors, entrepreneurs and high-growth firms.


​Brampton is thinking bigger. We are a future ready organization with a sharp focus. We know our community’s growth, youth and diversity set us apart. We sit at the centre of Canada’s innovation super corridor, encouraging investment and growing our global success. We are building vibrant urban centres that ignite opportunity and instill pride in the people who live and work here. We are moving Brampton forward to be a connected city that is innovative, inclusive and bold. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Learn more at



Natalie Stogdill

Media Coordinator

City of Brampton

905.874.3654 |

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The Downtown Brampton Easter Egg Hunt Extravaganza is back!


Brampton, Mar. 27, 2018 – The Downtown Brampton Business Improvement Area (BIA) is pleased to present the second annual Downtown Brampton Easter Egg Hunt. This highly anticipated free event is back for a day filled with family fun supported by the local business community.
The Downtown Brampton Easter Egg Hunt is a free event that begins in Vivian lane (70 Main Street North) with a treat bag decorating station run by the Brampton Rangers and the Downtown Brampton BIA. Families are invited to decorate a treat bag, and collect a map with all the participating business locations listed.Downtown Brampton Easter Egg Hunt

For each location visited, the Easter egg sticker must be spotted out to receive your treat. PhotoboothTO will also be on site to provide families with a fun memory to take home from the event! The Downtown Brampton Easter Egg Hunt runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A special thank you to our sponsor Gage Park Towns, Kaleido Developments for supporting our treat bag station.
For more information on BIA events, visit:

Downtown Brampton BIA:
Downtown Brampton is a respected and welcoming destination dedicated to bringing people together for quality shopping, services and entertainment. The mission of the Downtown Brampton BIA is to promote and enhance downtown Brampton through marketing events and beautification to build confidence and engagement with members and the community.
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Media Contact:
Andrea Magana, Events and Marketing Specialist, Downtown Brampton BIA
(T): 905-874-8182

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