I understand how much businesses have struggled and sacrificed throughout the pandemic. Ensuring businesses have access to support during COVID-19 and beyond is a priority of mine as your Member of Provincial Parliament, my office is here to help.  

APPLY FOR SUPPORT NOW

General Supports for Businesses

ONTARIO SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT GRANT

The Ontario Government has also announced the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide up to $20,000 to eligible small business owners.  

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

PAUSE on Commercial Evictions

The Government of Ontario is temporarily stopping or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. This applies to businesses that were eligible for the previous Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses program or who have been approved for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).

PROPERTY TAX & ENERGY BILL REBATES

Businesses struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19 may also be eligible for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB), which you can apply to through your utility provider.

Starting in January 2021, available credit amounts will increase and more businesses will be eligible to access funding. Customers may be eligible for up to $1500 in support towards their electricity and natural gas bills.

CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT

This $55 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 33 percent (up to $20,000).

As of October 26, 2020, eligibility for CEBA expanded by removing the previous March 1, 2020 condition for having an active business chequing/operating account. With this removal, eligible businesses can now apply after opening a business chequing/operating account with their primary financial institution. For more information about this new criteria or other criteria established since the launch of CEBA we recommend you visit the FAQs below.

As of December 4, 2020 approved CEBA applicants can now receive a $60,000 loan. CEBA applicants who have received the $40,000 CEBA loan may apply the CEBA expansion, which provides eligible businesses with an additional $20,000 of financing.

CEBA is available from more than 220 financial institutions across the country.

DIGITAL
MAINSTREET:

Help grow your business online.

Digital Main Street is a non-profit organization which helps small businesses connect with digital technologies, tools and service providers. These digital resources may be essential to the success of your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital Main Street can assist you with a wide range of tools and services, including e-commerce platforms, websites, social media, and much more.

They offer an online learning platform, digital resources and workshops, and a Digital Service Squad who will work with your business one-on-one to help meet your digital needs. 

There is no cost to join Digital Main Street, and all businesses can receive a free Digital Assessment.

Digital Main Street is supported by companies well versed in digital technologies, including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft and Shopify.

HELP WITH PPE

The Mainstreet Relief Grant is a $60 million program to provide a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE);

OTHER CHANGES

The legislative and regulatory changes in the Mainstreet Recovery Act would also help businesses by:

  • Exploring options to permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars sell alcohol with takeout or delivery;
  • Permanently allowing 24/7 deliveries to businesses that include retail stores, restaurants, and distribution facilities;
  • Enabling Community Net Metering demonstration projects to help support local communities to develop innovative community projects like net-zero or community micro-grids;
  • Modernizing the Assistive Devices Program; and

Supporting Ontario’s taxi and limousine industry by increasing fines for illegal operators.

SUPPORTING BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYEES

JOB PROTECTED LEAVE & CANADA RECOVERY SICKNESS BENEFIT

Nobody should have to choose between their job and their health.

Ontario has introduced job protected leave in the Employment Standards Act

The CRSB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
  • Are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The CRCB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers:

  • unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19

  • because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19.

WORK-SHARING
PROGRAM

Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the Government of Canada is introducing temporary special measures to the Work-Sharing Program:

  • Extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
  • Mandatory cooling off period has been waived for employers who have already used the Work-Sharing program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement.
  • Reduce the previous requirements for a Recovery Plan to a single line of text in the application form.
  • Reduce the requirement and expand eligibility to employers affected by accepting business who have been in business for only 1 year rather than 2, and eliminate the burden of having to provide sales/production figures at the same time.
  • Expand eligibility for staff who are essential to recovery, Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and non-for-profit organization employers.

TAX CUTS AND CREDITS

EMPLOYER
HEALTH TAX

The Government of Ontario is doubling the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption in 2020 and 2021.

  • Through this change, about 57,000 private-sector employers would pay less EHT in 2020, including about 30,000 more who would not pay EHT this year.
  • This amounts to a tax cut of $355 million.

Business Education Tax

As part of Budget 2020, the Government of Ontario has lowered and standardized the highest level of the Business Education Tax to 0.88%, a decision that will save 94% of Ontario businesses a collective $450 million dollars

Property Tax Relief

Beginning in 2021, municipalities will be able to adopt a new optional property subclass for small business properties. The small business property subclass will allow municipalities to target tax relief by reducing property taxes to eligible small business properties The Province will also consider matching these municipal property tax reductions in order to provide further support to small businesses.

Cancelling the Wine and Beer Tax

The Government of Ontario is freezing beer tax rates until March 1, 2022, and is proposing to retroactively cancel the increase in wine basic tax rates legislated to occur on June 1, 2020. The government is also committed to explore options to permanently allow alcohol to be included in food take-out and delivery orders before the existing regulation expires on December 31, 2020.

REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT

Taking aim at regional economic disparities through the launch of a proposed new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit.

  • Available to eligible businesses that build, renovate or acquire qualifying commercial and industrial buildings in designated regions of the province, saving them up to $45,000.

REDUCING COSTS FOR BUSINESSES

WORKPLACE SAFETY EXPENSES

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is allowing employers to defer premium payments for up to six months, providing immediate relief of up to $1.9 billion.

  • All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package.

  • No interest will be accrued on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.

REDUCED ELECTRICITY COSTS & GREATER CHOICE

Recovery Rate Effective January 1 through to January 28, 2021, the Government of Ontario is providing a temporary COVID-19 Recovery Rate for families, farms and small businesses who pay Time-Of-Use (TOU) or Tiered pricing. Customers will be billed a flat price of 8.5 cents per kWh, 24 hours a day, seven days a week starting on January 1, 2021.

The Government of Ontario is providing approximately $5.6 billion in 2020-21 to make electricity prices more affordable for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers. 

  • We are keeping the cost of energy low for small businesses and farmers by stabilizing electricity rates and providing customers with more choice and energy assistance programs.
  • Customers eligible for the Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER) will automatically receive a 33.2% reduction off their energy bill when new electricity rates for Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers come into effect November 1, 2020.
  • As of November 1st, customers who pay time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates will have the flexibility to choose an electricity bill structure that best suits their lifestyle, choosing between TOU and tiered rates (flat rate).
  • Contact your energy provider if you would like to opt in for tiered rates.
  • To offer greater support for electricity customers struggling to pay their bills during COVID-19, we have expanded eligibility for residential and businesses customers. Consumers can apply through their electricity and/or natural gas utility’s website.  

Starting on January 1, 2021, a portion estimated at approximately 85% of wind, solar and bioenergy contracts, entered into under the previous government, will be funded by the Province. This will result in medium size and larger industrial and commercial employers saving about 14 and 16 per cent respectively, on average, on their electricity bills.

LOANS AND CREDIT SUPPORT

BUSINESS CREDIT AVAILABILITY PROGRAM

The Government of Canada has established the BCAP to provide $65 billion of additional support to businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

The BCAP will be expanded to include mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company.

The Business Credit Availability Programs includes the below:

CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT

This $55 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 33 percent (up to $20,000).

As of October 26, 2020, eligibility for CEBA expanded by removing the previous March 1, 2020 condition for having an active business chequing/operating account. With this removal, eligible businesses can now apply after opening a business chequing/operating account with their primary financial institution. For more information about this new criteria or other criteria established since the launch of CEBA we recommend you visit the FAQs below.

As of December 4, 2020 approved CEBA applicants can now receive a $60,000 loan. CEBA applicants who have received the $40,000 CEBA loan may apply the CEBA expansion, which provides eligible businesses with an additional $20,000 of financing.

CEBA is available from more than 220 financial institutions across the country.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility

The Government of Canada will establish the LEEFF to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers who are not able to meet their needs through conventional financing. This will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery. Companies applying for financing through LEEFF must satisfy a number of rules and requirements.  

UPDATE (May 20, 2020): Applications for LEEFF are now open.

LOAN GUARANTEE FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES

EDC is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

    • This support is available until June 2021.
       
    • This program is available at various banks and credit unions.

CO-LENDING PROGRAM FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES

BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. This support is available until June 2021.

    • The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues.

    • This program is available at various banks and credit unions.

Business Development Bank of Canada

    • Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible repayment terms such as principal postponements for qualifying businesses.

    • Postponement of payments for up to 6 months, free of charge, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less.

    • Reduced rates on new eligible loans. 

BANK OF CANADA INTEREST RATE REDUCTION

On March 27th, the Bank of Canada lowered interest rates to 0.25%, down from 0.75% announced on March 13.

 

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

  • The Government of Canada is providing over $1.5 billion through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies.
  • This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access other support measures.
  • The RRRF seeks to support southern Ontario Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to address gaps in or supplement other federal relief measures, as well as complement those provided by other levels of government.
  • In particular, the RRRF aims to provide support to southern Ontario SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been rejected from, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures.
  • $213 million has been allocated to support SMEs in Southern Ontario, and almost $40 million will be made available specifically for businesses in rural communities, with a particular focus on “main street” businesses.

Canada's Regional Development Agencies:

If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, the RDAs could assist you with:

  • Access to federal funding to help you stay in business.

  • Advice and pathfinding to other available federal programs and services.

LENDING LOOP SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING:

Lending Loop has implemented a temporary hardship program for borrowers that are currently distressed as a result of impacts of COVID-19. This program will allow Lending Loop clients that meet certain criteria to make interest-only payments on their loans for a period of 3 months to accommodate this unexpected event

FACEBOOK SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS PROGRAM:

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and credits to help small businesses during this challenging time.

SUPPORT FOR FARMERS

STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 ON FARMS

Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program

The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program will help more operations, including farms, take additional measures to improve the health and safety of agri-food workers in the province during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the continued supply of locally grown food all year round.

Expanded RISK MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

The Government of Ontario is expanding the Risk Management Program by $50 million for a total of $150 million annually beginning in 2020. This funding will support farmers with unforeseen challenges such as fluctuating market prices, extreme weather events like flooding or drought, and disease.

Approximately 80 per cent of eligible commercial production in the cattle, hog, sheep, veal, grains and oilseeds and edible horticulture sectors in Ontario is covered by the provincial Risk Management Program.

AGRI-RECOVERY INITIATIVE

The Government of Canada has partnered with the Government of Ontario to launch a Agri-Recovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19.

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) COVID-19 Support Program

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has put in place:

  • a deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans; or
  • a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
  • access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Québec only)

WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

ONTARIO
TOGETHER

The Government of Ontario has launched a new website intended to harness the resources and innovation of Ontario’s business community to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new $50 million Ontario Together Fund will support the development of essential equipment and supplies.

  • Please click the button above if your business or organization can provide medical products such as ventilators, swabs, masks, and eye protection, or to submit any other ideas, products, or services that could help Ontarians.

  • If you need any help making an online submission, please call 1-888-777-0554.

  • Once you submit you will get a reference number – please contact my office with this reference number and we will assist you. 

HAVE AN IDEA?

temporary rule or regulation change:

The Government of Ontario has launched a website inviting businesses to submit suggestions which could help them overcome the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks they are facing to the website.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Workplace Safety Toolkit:

The Government of Ontario has released a first-of-its-kind general workplace guidance document to help all employers protect workers from the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

This new guidance includes help on how to create a safety plan, including specific advice on personal protective equipment and the use of face masks. It also includes a list of controls, from most important to least important, that employers can take to minimize the spread of the virus.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION

MENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS SUPPORT

ESSENTIAL BUSINESS LIST DURING LOCKDOWN

COVID-19 Response Framework:

RESOURCES TO PREVENT COVID-19 IN THE WORKPLACE:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Resources to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace:

The Government of Ontario has released safety guidelines to provide direction to those working in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector, among others. These new sector-specific guidelines feature recommended actions employers can begin to plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality during COVID-19.

Workplace PPE Supplier Directory:

The Government of Ontario has launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory at ontario.ca/PPE, containing an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Businesses are encouraged to access only the PPE they need to keep their employees and customers safe.

DISTANTLY:

Distantly is an online donation platform that allows people to make direct donations to small businesses in their community, helping cover overhead costs until businesses can re-open.

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