The Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures, doubling its initial commitment of $300 million made in the 2020 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support Recover.
Businesses can apply online for temporary property tax and energy cost rebate grants from the province, via an easy-to-use one-window portal. The rebates will cover the length of time that a business is required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in an area categorized as Red-Control or Grey-Lockdown, or previously categorized as modified Stage 2 public health restrictions. Most businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application.
A detailed list of eligible businesses, as well as instructions for applying, can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsupport. In addition to the restaurant industry, hotels are also eligible for support, but only for their business lines that are in line with the eligibility criteria (restaurants, bars, event space, spa or conference centre). The calculation for financial support is by the square footage the eligible business line operates within compared to the total property square footage.
The federal and provincial governments have been working collaboratively together to deliver benefits and supports to individuals, families and businesses since the onset of COVID-19. Consistent with this, Ontario will work with the federal government to ensure these supports for businesses in COVID-19 hotspots are available in the most straightforward and seamless way possible by integrating these rebates with the federal Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) program.
"We will double the funding we have made available to support employers and jobs affected by the necessary public health measures we are taking to protect people during the second wave," said Minister Phillips. "All of us know a small business owner struggling due to COVID-19. These necessary public health measures we have outlined today will create new challenges ― but as we committed in Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, we will continue to be there to protect jobs and support employers."