Stratford Economic Response &
Recovery Task Force

Purpose of the Economic Response and Recovery Task Force

Incorporating immediate and long-term actions to support local industry, small business and the workforce across all sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic response and eventual recovery.

  • Coordinated by investStratford, the Stratford Economic Response & Recovery Task Force will partner with the Stratford & District Chamber of Commerce, Stratford Tourism Alliance, the Business Improvement Area (City Centre Committee), local employers and businesses, Employment Ontario and other Associations to fulfil its mandate.
  • Membership Composition: Members of the Task Force are comprised of organizations with a primary mandate on economic development and are business-facing.
  • SEEDCo. is a non-profit of the City of Stratford.  The task force, considered a priority project, will report to the SEEDCo. Board of Directors.  The City of Stratford will be represented on the task force by the Chief Administrative Officer.

Task Force Structure

The task force will divide into three sub-committees based on sector.  Within each sector priorities will be set for short-term, responsive activities and long-term recovery projects around the following pillars:

  • To support business
  • To support employees
  • To support community


The task force and its membership are both leading and participating in a wide-variety of initiatives and programmes in order to support economic response and recovery during this difficult time. Community input is invaluable as we move towards finding ways in which businesses and business owners can navigate a pathway for themselves. Here is a select list of activities currently underway or in the planning process:

  • Weekly Ask The Expert Series: Free Zoom sessions featuring experts from various fields addressing COVID-19 business-related challenges in Q&A style format. Past sessions have included: Bookkeeping, Mental Health, CERB, CEBA, Commercial Rent Relief etc. Led by investStratord's Stratford Perth Centre for Business (program funded by the Ontario government and supported by the City of Stratford) in partnership with Stratford BIA.
  • Mental Health for Business Owners Program: Mental Wellness Program for business owners in Perth County, Stratford & St. Marys anonymously accessible through the Stratford Perth Centre for Business site. Offers 100+ free hours of one-on-one professional counselling with Family Services Perth Huron Mental and possible through partnership with United Way Perth Huron, Perth Community Futures, Stratford Perth Community Foundation and donations from Hyde Construction Ltd. &
    Orr Insurance. Ongoing: please reach out anonymously here.
  • PPE Masks for Small Business Project - Led by the BIA who secured and purchased 20,000 masks for the business community, the Task Force distributed free masks to all interested small businesses in the Community to assist them in preparation for re-opening and safety of their employees and customers.
  • COVID-19 Business Resources information site: Led by investStratford, the site attempts to function as a community business source collecting and updating COVID-19 related information focused on Municipal, Provincial and Federal announcements about Business funding, support, PPE Resources and guidelines. More info here.
  • PPE Resource List: Led by BIA, the list collects local PPE suppliers and allows community to add new names and suppliers. List here.
  • Digital Accelerator Program: 30 Stratford and area businesses have enrolled in this new, investStratford/Stratford Perth Centre for Business led $45K project. The Program provides financial and mentorship support for business owners to create/enhance their websites and pivot in the COVID-19 economy. Two business advisors support the class over 4 weeks with one-on-one training, classes and ongoing support.
  • Entrepreneur Academy: Free during COVID-19: Courses are online and available to business-minded learners with topics that include: Instagram, Facebook, Squarespace, Shopify, Layoff information etc. Led by investStratord's Stratford Perth Centre for Business (program funded by the Ontario government and supported by the City of Stratford).
  • Stratford Perth Business Impact Survey: investStratford, in partnership with Perth County launched online survey to determine business impact on area business economy to obtain feedback and numbers to lobby for community.
  • COVID-19 Urgent Needs Funding (ECSF): Led by United Way Perth-Huron, the Urgent Needs Fund addresses the most vulnerable areas within community and applications are found on their website. Emergency Community Support Fund for Organizations (ECSF) is intended to strengthen the capacity of community service organizations to meet the urgent needs of vulnerable individuals and families disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.2. More information here.
  • COVID-19 Urgent Needs Funding for Individuals: UWPH’s COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund for Individuals (including Student Nutrition) is administered by the City of Stratford Social Services Department on behalf of Perth County and the Huron County Social & Property Services Department on behalf of Huron County. People looking for help, whether paying a bill or buying groceries to get them through the week, are encouraged to apply.
  • COVID-19 Urgent Needs Funding for Non-Profits: This application is on hold while UWPH works to allocate the ECSF.  If your organization/program is not eligible for ECSF and you have a need relating to COVID-19 relief efforts, please contact Megan Partridge at
  • HELPING Seniors Fund Application: On March 29, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced funding to United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC) supporting vulnerable seniors at risk due to the COVID-19 crisis. This funding assists services and supports for isolated seniors in all parts of Canada, including rural and remote communities. $9M in total is being distributed through the UW network in Canada and is coming through the New Horizons for Seniors Program at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Funding now closed.
  • #LoveStratford Initiative: Led by Tourism Stratford, the inspiring series reassures visitors and community that "although the streets are quiet", we'll get through this together. Campaign encourages sharing #LoveStratford on instagram, facebook and twitter with a video is available for viewing and sharing here.
  • List of Open Downtown Stratford Businesses: BIA managed online listing of businesses offering take-away, curbside pick-up or delivery of food here.
  • City of Stratford COVID-19 City Facilities and Services Updates: Managed by City of Stratford, the page offers information and updates re: closures and guidelines for the City of Stratford here.
  • DIGITAL MAIN STREET’S "ShopHere" POWERED BY GOOGLE: The City of Stratford & Economic Response and Recovery Task Force have partnered with Toronto-based Digital Main Street Initiative ShopHERE, powered by Google, which started in the City of Toronto, helps independent businesses and artists build a digital presence and minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, Google Canada announced a one million dollar investment to expand the program to municipalities across the country. The City of Stratford is one of the first, outside of the GTA to participate. This program allows more small businesses and artists to receive the digital skills training needed to participate in the digital economy. The program is now available to small businesses in Stratford and local businesses and artists can apply for the program at to get their online store built at no-cost. More info


Special Announcement re: Stratford Small Business PPE Mask Distribution

Thank you to the hundreds of interested and concerned Business owners who took advantage of our program this week.

If you are a small Stratford-based business and have missed the opportunity to take advantage of this offer, we encourage you to reach out to us directly with your requests and we will do everything we can to help you stay safe and informed during this time. Do your part. Remember that mask-wearing helps keep your fellow-citizens safe and hand-washing and social distancing completes the circle!

#WeAreInThisTogether #PlanktheCurve #investStratford Thank you!


The Government of Ontario: Workplace PPE Supplier Directory with List of PPE Companies


Please Note: We are working towards compiling, and updating a comprehensive list of local PPE suppliers and our partner, the BIA is assembling a list of local businesses with PPE available for purchase. We encourage you to shop local with more information found on the BIA website

If you are a business who is supplying Personal Protective Supplies and Equipment, and would like to be added to the list, please email the BIA us directly at call 519-305-5055.

Blowes Stationary: Call or email for questions or to place an order: Tel: 519-271-5712   Email:

CR Plastics: Supplying Face shields Tel: 800-490-1283 Email:

Microage Basics: The MicroAge Basics team is working very hard to source and provide products such as face masks, face shields, counter and desk guards and sanitizer that may be necessary going forward to keep office environments safe and healthy. They offer free next day delivery with no minimum order to offices and to home offices with our drivers taking extra measures to ensure the safety of our customers and themselves.
Tel:  (800) 265-1722 Email:

Rotary Club of Stratford COVID-19 Project: Reusable masks made by local volunteers. Email:

Tallman Promo:They have launched an online marketplace dedicated to protective supplies for your business. They floor graphics, signage, decals, and protective barriers available for purchase. Special volume pricing on quantities of 10. Tel: 1-877-322-4423 Email:

Additional Local PPE Providers

Committees, Chair Organizations & Working Groups

investStratford Organizing Committee: 

Joani Gerber, CEO; Jeff Orr, Board chair; Mike Pullen, Managing Director; Elke Bidner, Marketing and Communications Lead; Janis Auster, Operations and Administration Lead

Hospitality, Retail, Tourism

Stratford Tourism Alliance Lori DeGraw, Executive Director

Stratford City Centre BIA Rebecca Scott, General Manager

(Rob Russell, Stratford City Centre BIA Board Chair; Theresa Albert, Rosehurst Bed and Breakfast; Jennifer Birmingham, The Bruce Hotel; Pamela Coneybeare, La Osa Jewelry & Vintage; Leigh Cove, RTO4; Craig Foster, Foster's Inn; Pierre Gadbois, Stratford and Area Bed and Breakfast Association/SABBA; Andrea Gardi, RTO4; Randy Garfield, Randy A. Garfield & Advisors,LLC; Zac Gribble, RT04; Kim Griffiths, Stratford BIA;  Amanda Hatton, Avery House B&B; Vicki Lass, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs/OMAFRA; Judy Matheson, Stratford Summer Music; Larry McCabe, Pazzo; Julia Merritt, Stratford Public Library; Julia Opie, Formerly with County of Perth & City of Stratford ; Lesley Spencer-Cooper, Malt Management/Stratford Festival; Shelley Stevenson, Stratford Festival; MJ Thomson, Festival Marketplace Shopping Centre; Craig Thompson, Ballinran Entertainment/Queen of the Square Cinema; Mark Wilson, FedDev Ontario; Shelley Windsor, Windsor Hospitality Inc.)

Manufacturing, Agri-Food & Professional Services

Stratford & District Chamber of Commerce Eddie Matthews, General Manager

(Laura Gibson, MEDJCT; Doug MacDougald, South West Ontario Veterinary Services; Michael Pullen, investStratford; Marty Rops, Libro Credit Union; Matt Staffen, St. Marys Golf & Country Club; Montana Wilson, Stratford and Area Builders Association/SABA)

Workforce, Non-Profit & Charitable

United Way Perth Huron Ryan Erb, Executive Director, Joelle Lewis, Director of Research, Social Research & Planning Council

Stratford Perth Museum John Kastner, General Manager

(Christy Bertrand, Conestoga Career Centre; Heidi Culliton, Stratford Perth Community Foundation; Sarah Hamza, Stratford Festival; Kimberly Richardson, Woodcock Brothers Transportation Group; Jeff Wilson, City of Stratford)

Special Advisors

From time-time and in an Advisory role, community leaders will be engaged to lead and advise on specific projects.

Meeting Minutes

Discussion minutes from our meeting are available here.

Meeting Minutes

May 29, 2020

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Meeting Minutes

May 22, 2020

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Meeting Minutes

May 14, 2020

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Meeting Minutes

April 29, 2020

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Meeting Minutes

May 7, 2020

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