Ontario encourages businesses hit by COVID-19 lockdown to apply for support grant

Law360 Canada (January 22, 2021, 4:13 PM EST) -- Ontario is urging small businesses affected by the provincewide COVID-19 shutdown to join the roughly 42,000 enterprises that have already applied for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.

Under the program, which was launched earlier this month, eligible small businesses facing challenges may receive one-time grants of between $10,000 and $20,000.

“There’s no question that eligible small businesses need urgent relief to help them navigate this challenging period,” Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy said in a Jan. 22 government news release updating the program. “If you own an eligible small business in Ontario, I urge you to visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport to join tens of thousands of others to access the support that is available to help navigate COVID-19.”

The program defines eligible small businesses as those that were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the provincewide shutdown that was imposed Dec. 26. In addition, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level and must have experienced a minimum decline in revenue in April 2020 of 20 per cent compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 are also eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Some Ontario nonprofits with paid staff may also be eligible to receive the grant, according the Toronto-based Ontario Nonprofit Network.

In addition to the grant program, the government said it is making $600 million available to businesses in the form of rebates to help offset fixed costs such as property taxes and energy bills, along with grants to cover the cost of personal protective equipment. Details on the programs are available at Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport. Eligible business owners may apply through a single, no-charge application.

On Jan. 19, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) announced the launch of the Ontario Vaccination Support Council to help Ontario businesses navigate the rollout of the province’s COVID-19 vaccination program

“The faster the Ontario population is inoculated,” OCC president and CEO Rocco Rossi said in a news release, “the faster we can safely reopen and work together on the province’s economic recovery.”

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