Having spoke to hundreds of small business owners in my riding over the last few months, I understand that the last few months have been extremely difficult for owners, as well as the families these businesses may support.
As a former small business owner myself, I am proud to say that our Government is working hard to ensure the appropriate supports are put into place, and are constantly modified to reflect our changing times.
1. Ontario Small Business Support Grants (Now Open):
Who? Small businesses required to close or restricted significantly by the Provincewide Shutdown of 26th December 2020.
What? Eligible businesses will be granted $10 000 at a minimum, up to a maximum of $20 000 based on the expected revenue decrease in the last few months.
When? Once the application has been submitted, an eligible small business may receive payment within 10 business days.
For more information, please refer to www.ontario.ca/COVIDSupport to learn more.
2. (Updated) Main Street Relief Grant for Personal Protective Equipment:
Who (revised 16 Feb)? Small businesses with up to 19 employees in the following sectors:
- Gyms and yoga studios
- Accommodation and food services
- Repair and maintenance
- Personal and laundry services
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation
What? Up to $1000 in grants in recognition of the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment since March 2020. PPE includes gloves, face shields, sanitizer wipes, plexiglass dividers, signs to guide/inform customers, etc.
3. Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebates
Who? Small businesses that are, or were, required to shut down or significantly restrict their services due to provincial health measures. Not only does this include the businesses affected by the Provincewide shutdown of 26 December, but as well as those affected during the "modified Stage 2" restrictions of the previous framework.
What? Rebates for municipal and education property taxes, and/or for energy costs (such as heating, natural gas, propane or heating oil).
What is needed? Among others, proof of costs - ex. property tax bills, digital copy of the first energy bill after the relevant restrictions came into effect.
When? Funding will cover the length of time that the respective regional restrictions are/were in place.
4. Digital Main Street (DMS):
Digital Main Street is an Ontario non-profit that helps “Main Street” businesses achieve digital transformation and access the world of e-commerce. With provincial health restrictions resulting in curbside pickup for non-essential businesses for the time being, having access to e-commerce resources is of critical importance to allowing businesses survive during COVID-19. DMS partners include Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, Shopify, and Square.
A partnership between our government and the Government of Canada has allowed small businesses to access three unique programs at no cost:
- DMS shopHERE: Provides support to create and manage your online store & assists with online store marketing
- DMS Ontario Grants: Provides free, effective, digital assessments and online training modules.
- DMS Future Proof: Transforms one’s business model altogether to “future proof” their operations (i.e. ensure businesses can more adequately withstand disruptive market trends), and connects businesses with regional innovation centres for Community Collaboration Projects.
5. Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS):
Who? Businesses, NPOs, charities that have seen any decline in revenue that possess "real and immovable" property (buildings or land) that are not used as residences or spaces primarily for the purposes of generating rental income.
What? CERS covers a portion of eligible expenses for each qualifying property, up to $75 000 per business location and $300 000 in total for all locations.
When? An application must be filed within 180 days after the end of a claim period (the 1st "Period" is Sept 27 to Oct 24 2020); Period 5 applications will begin soon (Sunday Feb 14 2021). If you have set up direct deposit, you can expect to receive your payment within 3 to 8 days after filing your claim.
Please visit the following link for further information.
6. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS):
Who? Businesses, charities, and NPOs who meet the minimum revenue drop amount between March 15 and July 4 (Claim Periods 1-4), or have had any revenue drop after July 4 (Claim Period 5 onwards) due to COVID-19.
What? Receive a % of your employee's salary, per eligible employee, per week, retroactively, based on your revenue drop %, in order to re-hire workers, prevent further job losses, and ease your business back into normal operations
When? If you have set up direct deposit, you can expect to receive your payment within 3 to 8 days after filing your claim. Period 12 (Jan 17 to Feb 13 2021) has not opened up yet.
Please visit the following link for further information.
7. Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA):
Who? Active operating small businesses and NPOs that were in operation in Canada on 1 March 2020
What? Interest-free loans up to $60 000 (or an additional $20 000 expansion if you have already applied prior to December 4 for the original $40 000 CEBA loans). Repayment of the balance before 31 December 2022 will result in partial loan forgiveness.
When? Until March 31st 2021 to apply for either the loan itself or the extension, to apply through your own financial institution. Applicants should check back in 5 to 7 business days on their loan status on this website, or with the CEBA call centre at 1-888-324-4201. You should expect to receive funding within 10-15 business days after uploading all necessary documents.
Regional and Relief Recovery Fund (RRRF):
Businesses, organizations, or sector associations with less than 500 full-time employees may receive additional support unable to access other support measures in order to mitigate the financial pressure of COVID-19. The fund is intended to provide liquidity support for fixed operating costs to maintain regular operations. To review eligibility and to apply, please contact your local regional development agency:
Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program:
Our government is investing up to $15M to expand the Agri-Food Workplace Protection program, which provides funds to better protect the health and safety of workers during COVID-19 while ensuring a continued supply of locally grown food all year round.
Category 1 (“Preventative Occupation Health and Safety Measures”) allows eligible businesses to claim 70% of eligible expenses for PPE, medical testing equipment, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection, for up to $7500 for most businesses.
Category 2 (“On-Farm Worker Safety Improvement Program”) allows eligible farmers to claim 60% of eligible expenses to support small capital projects up to $100 000 for housing modifications, workplace adjustments, and equipment to allow physical distancing for workers.
Among other items, the expansion of the Agri-Food Workplace Protection program will provide support for farm businesses who have incurred costs related to worker wages and isolation expenses due to a positive COVID-19 test result.
Funding is available until 26 February 2021.
For more information, click here.