Ontario is introducing a $10,000 grant for eligible businesses that are subject to closures under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. It will also provide additional electricity-rate relief for businesses and families spending more time at home.
“Our government understands that public health measures needed to blunt the spread of the Omicron variant are impacting the lives and livelihoods of small businesses, workers and families across Ontario,” said Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy.
Those eligible for Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant 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
- Before and after-school programs
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.
Further, online applications for the previously-announced Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program will open on January 18. This program will provide eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity with rebate payments for up to 100 per cent of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.
Eligible businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. Those required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs. A complete list of eligible businesses will be provided prior to the launch of the application portal.
The province is also improving cash flows for Ontario businesses by providing up to $7.5 billion through a six-month interest-and-penalty-free period starting January 1, 2022 for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes.The Ford government is calling on the federal government to match provincial tax deferral efforts by allowing small businesses impacted by public health restrictions to defer their HST remittances for a period of six months.
The province is also providing electricity-rate relief to support small businesses, as well as workers and families spending more time at home while the province is in Modified Step Two. For 21 days starting at 12:01 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, electricity prices will be set 24 hours a day at the current off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is less than half the cost of the current on-peak rate.