New Ontario Small Business Support Grant and measures to help Ontario businesses affected by COVID-19
By Bonny Koabel, CPA, CGACOVID-19 Updates News Business and Operations Finance
In December the Ontario government announced the New Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which provides a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help small business owners affected by COVID- 19.
The one-time grant is open to any small business that was required to close or restrict its services due to the province-wide shutdown that took effect on Dec. 26, 2020. The small business has the option to use this grant in whatever way makes the most sense for them, for example, paying employee wages, paying rent or maintaining their inventory.
Eligible small businesses include those that:
- are required to close or significantly restrict services due to the shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26
- have fewer than 100 employees
- have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 as compared to April 2019
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 province-wide 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.
According to the Ontario government, in order to be eligible for this support grant, a small business must have a Business Number. If a business does not have a Business Number, owners will be directed to apply for one before they can proceed with their application.
Businesses that are not eligible
Businesses that are not eligible include those that were already required to close prior to the introduction of modified Stage 2 measures on October 10, 2020, 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).
Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant: PPE support of $1, 000
In addition, the Ontario government is providing $1,000 for the unexpected costs of PPE.
To be eligible, your business must have two to nine employees and be in one of the following sectors:
- accommodation and food services
- repair and maintenance
- personal and laundry services
- gyms and yoga studios
Documentation required for grant
In order to apply for the PPE grant, businesses will need to submit copies of purchase invoices made after March 17, 2020.
This includes invoices for:
- gloves, gowns, face shields, eye protection, masks, sanitizer, sanitizing wipes
- thermometers, temperature monitors or cameras
- physical changes, including the installation of hand sanitizer stations and plexiglass dividers
- signs to guide or inform customers and employees
Ontario property tax and energy cost 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.
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.
All small businesses that are eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant are also eligible for these property tax and energy bill rebates.
In addition, businesses are eligible if they:
- are, or were, required to close or significantly restrict services as a result of being under “Control,” “Lockdown” or province-wide shutdown in the COVID-19 response framework, “Keeping Ontario Safe and Open”
- were required to close or significantly restrict services as a result of being under “modified Stage 2” restrictions in the previous framework
Eligible businesses in regions that are or were subject to “Control” restrictions or previously modified
Stage 2 restrictions include:
- restaurants and bars
- bingo halls, gaming establishments, casinos, conference centres and convention centres
- community centres, multi-purpose facilities and museums
- personal care services (with the exception of oxygen bars)
- racing venues
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.
Documentation required for rebate
To apply, you will have to submit proof of costs. For property tax rebates, this includes your property tax bills (or proof of costs associated with property taxes).
For energy cost rebates, this includes a digital copy of the first energy bill (including electricity, natural gas, propane or other) you received on or after the day modified Stage 2, “Control,” “Lockdown” or province-wide shutdown restrictions were put in place in your region. You can also submit other energy bills if your business is heated by propane or heating oil.
Application information required
In order to apply, businesses will need to provide:
- general business information (for example, CRA business number)
- banking information (for example, banking institution, account number, branch code)
How to apply
To apply for PPE support, Property Tax Rebates, Energy Cost Rebates or the Ontario Small Business Support Grant go to: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/
Once the application is successfully submitted expect to receive your grant within 10 business days. If applications are incomplete or incorrect information is provided, expect a delay in the grant processing time.
Bonny Koabel CPA, CGA is president of AKR Consulting Canada a Mississauga, Ont., firm specializing in government grants, subsidies, tax credits, refunds and rebates since 2003.
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