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New Poll Finds Ontario Businesses Need Crucial Digital Resources and Guidance to Move Through COVID-19
[October 15, 2020]

New Poll Finds Ontario Businesses Need Crucial Digital Resources and Guidance to Move Through COVID-19

Toronto Region Board of Trade poll highlights that almost half of Ontario business owners do not have the money or expertise to implement the digital solutions they need to survive the pandemic

TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2020 /CNW/ - In lead up to Small Business Week (October 18 - 24) and National Entrepreneurship Month (November), the Toronto Region Board of Trade has released the results of a new poll that found that while the majority of business owners believe expanding their digital tools is essential to keeping their business open during the pandemic (75 per cent), more than half still don't understand how to properly implement them (63 per cent).

COVID-19 has impacted the economy in immeasurable ways, with implications expected well into 2021 and beyond. To support Ontario business owners –  the Toronto Region Board of Trade launched the Recovery Activation Program (RAP). The immersive program, available at no cost, caters to businesses across Ontario to help them innovate and plan their digital transformation.

"As the pandemic continues to affect our cmmunities, Ontario businesses need our support more than ever. RAP is a critical tool for business owners who are not only looking to weather the storm, but who are looking to come out of COVID-19 stronger than they were prior," said Leigh Smout, President, World Trade Centre. "Many Ontario businesses are struggling to stay afloat due to the lack of resources and education centered around the digital pivot in and beyond COVID-19 – this program serves those needs."

RAP is rooted in expert insights and is designed in partnership with the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and a number of industry leaders. Both the federal and provincial governments have invested significant funds into this program to make it accessible at no-cost for businesses across Ontario.

RAP, which is accessible now, boasts a series of interactive virtual workshops and training tools that can provide businesses with up to $40,000 worth of mentoring and advice from industry experts. To start their digital transformation journey, Ontario businesses can visit RAP's online portal where their DNA (Digital Needs Assessment) will be deciphered through an assessment tool that takes only 30 minutes. This tool provides businesses with a detailed report that analyzes their business and identifies opportunities for digital modernization. From there, RAP experts place each business into the program stream to best suit their needs. To learn more, please visit

Key survey findings:

  • 7 in 10 businesses (71 per cent) who went digital after the start of the pandemic felt rushed to implement their digital solutions and because of this almost half did not fully understand them and are regretting some of them (45 per cent)
  • Almost half of business owners (46 per cent) did not have either the money or expertise to implement digital solutions
  • Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than one-third of businesses (35 per cent) went digital in four weeks or less and nearly half (47 per cent) in four months or less
  • Three-quarters (75 per cent) of Ontario business owners believe that expanding their digital tools is essential to keeping business open during all stages of the pandemic
  • More than half (63 per cent) of Ontario business still feel lost when it comes to understanding digital business tools


An online survey of 300 owners, operators, and decision-makers for Ontario SMBs, was completed between August 17 and 25, 2020, using Leger's online panel. The margin of error of ±7.4%, 19 times out of 20.


The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America and is a catalyst for the region's economic growth agenda. Backed by more than 13,500 members, we pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region, and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally. We want Toronto to be recognized as one of the most competitive and sought-after business regions in the world, and believe this reputation starts with our businesses. Learn more at and follow us at @TorontoRBOT.

SOURCE Toronto Region Board of Trade

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