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Province Providing Supports for Small Businesses and Workers

MPP Merrilee Fullerton meeting with local business groups 

Through January Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, MPP for Kanata Carleton, has been reaching out to the local business community to inform both employers and employees of the many programs the Ontario Government is extending to help small businesses meet the challenges of the pandemic.

The Province is providing a range of programs for small businesses, workers, and families:  a Business Costs Rebate Program, Cash Flow Program, Electricity Rate Relief Program, and a Small Business Relief Grant.

MPP Fullerton has been meeting with local BIAs and business groups to ensure the business community is aware of the available assistance. 

Fullerton says, “Through 2020 and 2021 the Province provided unprecedented support for businesses. We know small businesses and entrepreneurs have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and, so, programs are in place to help with the costs of operation and energy, and paying and retaining employees through the times where health restrictions were necessary.”

“The Province continues to provide the needed support through Spring 2022 and I want to ensure small businesses in Kanata and West Carleton have access to the assistance they need to plan ahead for the economic recovery in the months ahead,” adds Fullerton.

The Kanata-Carleton MPP has provided a list of the key support programs available for local businesses.

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program

Provides Energy and Tax Rebates

Eligible businesses required to close or reduce capacity due to the current public health measures put in place to blunt the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 can apply for the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program. Through the new program, the government will provide eligible businesses with a rebate payment of up to 100% for property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these restrictions.

Eligible businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100% of their costs. Those required to reduce capacity to 50%, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50% of their costs. Businesses will be required to submit proof of costs associated with property tax and energy bills as part of the application process. All eligible businesses must submit an application to be considered, including those that received previous COVID-19 support payments. To learn more, including to find a full list of eligible businesses, visit the online application portal.

Cash-Flow Program

Provides 6-month Tax Relief

The government is also improving cash flows for Ontario businesses by making up to $7.5 billion available through a six-month interest- and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. This penalty and interest-free period started on January 1, 2022. This supports businesses now and provides the flexibility they will need for long-term planning.

Electricity Rate Relief Program 

Reduced-Cost Energy Program includes Families

The government is providing 21 days of electricity rate relief to support families and workers spending more time at home, as well as small businesses. To help Ontarians get through this difficult time, electricity rates have been lowered to the lowest price, the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents, 24 hours a day. Ratepayers don’t need to do anything: this change will happen automatically for anyone who is currently paying regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and gets a bill from a utility, whether they are a Time-of-Use customer or a Tiered rate customer.

This change will help reduce costs for all residential, small business and farm customers. It benefits all Ontarians who are spending more time at home.

Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant 

Provides $10,000 to Eligible Closed Businesses

As part of a comprehensive plan to support workers and businesses, the government is announcing an Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. It will provide eligible small businesses with a grant payment of $10,000.

Eligible small businesses include:

  • Restaurants and bars;
  • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms);
  • Performing arts and cinemas;
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • Meeting or event spaces;
  • Tour and guide services;
  • Conference centres and convention centres;
  • Driving instruction for individuals; and
  • Before- and after- school programs.

Eligible businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and that are subject to closure under modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and will not need to apply to the new program.

Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens in the coming weeks. Small businesses that qualify can expect to receive their payment in February.

Reconnect Ontario 2022 Program

The Ontario Government is investing nearly $20 million to support municipalities and festival and event organizers. The government is looking to support those who are creating innovative, exciting ways to help Ontarians reconnect with their communities once it is safe to do so. Funding may be used for expenses such as programming and production, promotion, mobile applications and website development, and implementation of health and safety measures. Applications are now open until February 2. More information regarding the application: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/awards_funding/Reconnect%20Ontario%202022%20Info%20deck.pdf

Previous Supports

These measures will build on Ontario’s support for businesses and workers, including:

  • Extending COVID-19 paid sick days until July 31, 2022 to keep workers safe and ensure they do not lose pay if they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Enabling an estimated $10.1 billion in cost savings and support to Ontario businesses in 2021, with more than 60 per cent, or $6.3 billion, going to small businesses, including:
    • Supporting a reduction in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premiums.
    • Allowing businesses to accelerate write-offs of capital investments for tax purposes.
    • Reducing the small business Corporate Income Tax rate to 3.2 per cent.
    • Providing the Digital Main Street program, which helped more than 20,000 businesses across the province to increase their digital presence in 2020-21.
    • Introducing and temporarily enhancing the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit to encourage investments in certain regions of Ontario that have lagged in employment growth in the past.
    • Providing targeted COVID-19 support through the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant.
    • Lowering high Business Education Tax rates for job creators.
    • Increasing the Employer Health Tax exemption from $490,000 to $1 million.
    • Lowering electricity bills through measures such as the Comprehensive Electricity Plan, with the Province paying for a portion of high-priced, non-hydro renewable energy contracts.
    • Providing targeted COVID-19 support through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which delivered $3 billion in urgent and unprecedented support to over 110,000 small businesses across the province.
  •  Cutting wholesale alcohol prices to provide approximately $60 million in annual support to restaurants, bars and other businesses, as well as making it easier for businesses to create and extend patios and permanently allowing licenced restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order.

The Ontario Government website details all COVID-19 related programs and services for businesses. Link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs

Contact the MPP Community Office if you require further information or assistance with the array of Ontario Government programs and services for businesses.