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Council OK's $60,000 for task force's first phase of economic recovery

Money will be used for 'Orillia Online' and 'Stay Safe, Shop Local' initiatives created by Economic Recovery Task Force
ted emond talks at council
Coun. Ted Emond, chair of the city's Economic Recovery Task Force, received council permission allowing the task force to spend up to $60,000 on its first two initiatives. File Photo

City councillors have approved up to $60,000 for the recently-formed Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) - money that will be used to fund the first phase of its work to help businesses and organizations weather the recession spawned by the global pandemic.

At a budget committee meeting last week, council agreed to set aside $1 million from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve to aid economic recovery initiatives over the next two years. 

This represents the first time council is dipping into that fund to support the task force.

Coun. Ted Emond, who chairs the ERTF, said the $60,000 will be used for two task force initiatives approved by the city’s Emergency Management Committee (EMC), the municipality’s decision-making body during its declared state of emergency.

Emond explained the two projects to councillors at a special virtual meeting of council Monday.

The “Orillia Online initiative (is meant) to assist businesses and the public to better utilize and access our businesses in town using online methods during this period of time,” said Emond, estimating $10,000 is required to help fund that program.

“The second is a ‘Stay Safe, Shop Local’ campaign which is being mounted. That is a more aggressive campaign in terms of dollars,” said Emond, estimating the price tag at around $40,000.

He said the money will be used for “10 different components” that include advertising, billboards and other strategies.

Emond said the two initiatives have already begun, citing the free 30-minute curbside pickup in downtown Orillia that was announced earlier in the day.

“But, we’re now at the point where we need funding” to move forward, said Emond. 

He stressed to councillors that the EMC would continue to have “oversight” over the task force’s spending and is the “final authority on releasing funds.” 

Emond said he could not provide more specifics because elements of the initiatives would be tendered and he didn’t want to taint the integrity of the process.

He also conceded that this is just the first phase of the first two initiatives. Expansions of the programs and further initiatives - and a need for more money - is expected.

“Both initiatives have potential expansions that would require us to come back to council … for potentially a significant amount of money if these are deemed to be necessary and appropriate for expanding these initiatives,” said Emond.

“We are also launching a significant third initiative to help prepare our businesses for returning to a more active participation,” noted Emond.

“That initiative has a number of components (that) will take shape this week and over the next week as plans will be put together and I suspect some economic consequence to those,” said Emond.

Whenever the task force requires more money (over the approved $60,000), it will have to return to council to seek permission for more funds.

Emond said the task force initiatives are “fully supported” by the Downtown Orillia Management Board, Orillia’s Lake Country, the CDC and the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce.

He said those agencies have helped the task force in its consultations and in various other ways.


The Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) was formed on March 30, 2020, as appointed by the EMC with Coun. Ted Emond as Chair. 

The ERTF membership evolved as of April 8, 2020 to include representatives of Orillia and area business organizations. 

The mandate of the ERTF is to support Orillia and area during and post the COVID-19 economic recession by increasing business and non-profit organizations’ capacity to survive the short-term economic impact, recover as restrictions are phased out and return to prosperity after the crisis has ended. 

To date, more than 15 consultations have taken place with various sectors of the Orillia community and more than 115 local business leaders have provided their feedback and insight.

From these discussions the task force obtained a good understanding of the impact the recession has had in our local economy, the efforts organizations have taken on their own to mitigate this impact and what form of assistance they need to survive the crisis.

The Task Force has launched three initiatives for assisting Orillia and Area business and not-for-profit organizations. 

These include: 

  1. Advocacy on behalf of Orillia area businesses - The Task Force continues to work with the EMC to advocate to senior levels of government on behalf of Orillia area businesses. The ERTF is also working to seek clarity by senior levels of government on the interpretation and application of government regulations, legislation and assistance measures. 
  2. Shop Local Campaign – The ERTF is building upon existing local and regional shop local messaging to create an enhanced campaign to outline the importance of supporting local businesses in strengthening Orillia’s economy
  3. Orillia Online – The ERTF has developed a collaborative initiative to help businesses learn to adapt their businesses for online sales, and to guide consumers who are new to online shopping in navigating this new retail environment.


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Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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