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We know that this is a difficult time, full of uncertainty. The information you need to run your business changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep track and make sense of it all.
In order to relieve some of the pressure on small businesses such as yours, we are gathering all the information you need about government services and supports in Ontario and putting it in this one location. We will continue working with governments to ensure additional relief measures become available for your business as the situation evolves.
Please check back regularly. We will update this page as more information becomes available.
Ontario Provincewide Shutdown
All regions in Ontario are under a stay-at-home order and province wide shutdown until at least the third week of May, 2021.
If you are unsure if your business should be open, please call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
Some sectors are required to actively screen customers. To determine which sectors are required and what screening questions must be asked, consult this link.
PAID SICK DAYS
The Ontario government has announced a new paid sick days program called the Worker Income Protection Benefit.
Employers are required to pay for three sick days of up to $200/day for employees with no equivalent paid sick days program. Employers will be reimbursed for those days through the WSIB, even if they do not have an existing relationship with the WSIB. The legislation has passed, and the program is currently active for employees. There is no portal available yet through the WSIB.
Face-coverings are currently mandatory for employees and customers in the publicly-accessible areas of all businesses in Ontario.
Some municipalities and health units have their own by-laws and orders that have additional restrictions, including signage , workplace policy, and hand-sanitizer requirements. Businesses are required to comply with requirements from all levels of government.
Additional support for businesses
Ontario Small Business Support Grant is now closed.
The Ontario government closed applications for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant effective 11:59pm on April 7, 2021. The grant provided two equal payments between $10,000 - $20,000.
Any businesses that applied but are still awaiting a decision or were approved but are awaiting funding will still see their applications processed and funding come through. It is only new applications that are closed.
Inquiries about your application should be directed to [email protected]
Energy Bills and Property Taxes
Businesses that have been locked down or are in regions that spent time in the Red or Control zones may be eligible for rebates for their energy and property tax bills.
Covid-19 Energy Assistance Programs
Eligible businesses must:
- have an active account with an electricity distributor, a USMP, or a natural gas distributor
- be a general service less than 50kw customer
- have overdue amounts owing for one or more electricity bills since March 17, 2020
Eligible businesses must apply through their distributor.
As of November 1, 2020 businesses have been allowed to choose between regular time-of-use pricing or a tiered rate system.
Ontario has included commercial eviction protection in its 2020 budget bill. The protection extends to any business that was eligible for the CECRA program as well as those who receive the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
The protection is retroactive to October 31, and lasts until January 31st, 2021 for CECRA-eligible businesses. This means that these businesses will have been protected since May under the various provincial measures.
Any business that successfully receives CERS is protected from eviction for 12 weeks from the date of their approval. Businesses must share proof of the approval with their landlords. The 12 week period renews upon every new CERS payment.
Support for employees
If you need to lay off employees temporarily, there is no requirement to give or pay notice since the employee is not being terminated.
In Ontario, employers have the option to temporarily lay off employees for up to 13 weeks. After 13 weeks, the lay off becomes permanent and severance pay rules will apply.
Ontario has extended job-protection for employees unable to work because:
- The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19.
- The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
- The employee is in isolation or quarantine.
- The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.
- The employer directs the employee not to work.
- The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.
The protections are retroactive to January 25, 2020.
Ontario employers are also restricted from asking for doctor’s notes for COVID-19 related leaves, including quarantine, self-isolation or childcare responsibilities due to COVID-19 related school and daycare closures.
The WSIB has frozen 2021 rates at 2020 levels.
Stay tuned to the WSIB website for the latest updates.
How you can help the province
The Government of Ontario announced a new website to help businesses work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Any business that could produce - or reconfigure to produce - essential equipment, from ventilators and masks to swabs and eye-protection, is encouraged to visit the Ontario Together webpage.
FAQ on COVID-19
We’re dedicated to supporting your business through this difficult time by compiling answers to the most common COVID-19 questions and keeping you up to date on the latest relief measures from the Federal government. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.