The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days, aligning with the shutdown period in Southern Ontario.
The impacts of these time-limited measures throughout the province will be evaluated after 14 days to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.
Financial Supports are available for small businesses.
Property tax and energy bill rebates
Businesses that are, or were, required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures can apply for rebates, provided in the form of grants, to help with their fixed costs. Eligible businesses could get rebates for:
- municipal and education property taxes
- energy costs, including electricity and natural gas (or where natural gas is not available, propane and heating oil)
Funding will cover the entire length of time that regionally targeted public health restrictions are in place.
Most businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application. Apply online here
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.
To support people as they stay home during the Provincewide Shutdown, the government will hold electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 centsperkilowatt-hour for all time-of-use and tiered customers on a temporary basis starting January 1, 2021. This low rate will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for a 28-day period. The off-peak price will automatically be applied to bills of all residential, small business, and farm customers who pay regulated rates.
Ontario Small Business Support Grant
In January 2021, applications will open for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will help small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the new Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020. Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with dollar for dollar funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown. The business must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. This time period was selected because it reflects the impact of the public health measures in spring 2020, and as such provides a representation of the possible impact of these latest measures on small businesses. Businesses will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for them. For example, some businesses will use the support to pay employee wages, while others will need support maintaining their inventory.
To receive the grant, a small business must:
- Be required to close or restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26
- Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
- Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline comparing April 2020 to April 2019 revenues
Businesses that are not eligible include those that were already required to close prior to the introduction of modified Stage 2 measures, and essential business permitted to operate with capacity restrictions (e.g., discount and big box stores selling groceries, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, and beer, wine and liquor stores). For small businesses not in operation in April 2019 or April 2020, eligibility criteria will be announced in January 2021.
Further details about the grant, including how to apply, will be available in January 2021.
Federal Wage & Rent Subsidies