The Ontario government has released its 2021 budget Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. While Ontario’s debt and deficit have hit record highs, the provincial government as prioritized immediate supports to help small business get through the pandemic. We expect more news on the mid- to long-term recovery later this fall. As part of the budget, there is significant spending on measures that could help your business.
We will continue to fight for your business and to ensure that provincial programs are as broad and supportive as possible.
Second Payment for Small Busines Support Grant
Thanks to CFIB advocacy, the Ontario government announced there will be a second round of funding under the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG). The second payment will match the first payment for all successful applicants, and is expected to begin going out in the first week of April.
If you have already successfully applied for the OSBSG, there is no further action required! Just keep an eye on your bank account for a second payment.
If you are eligible and have not applied, the application deadline is March 31st, 2021. You can find the eligibility criteria and application portal here.
Businesses that are still in the application process (“pending”) remain eligible if they are approved, even if that happens after March 31st, so long as the application was submitted prior to March 31st.
Please note that there has been no expansion of eligible businesses for the program. We are continuing to fight to include the thousands of businesses that have been left out from this much-needed support.
Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Grant
In recognition of how hard hit the tourism industry has been during the pandemic, the Ontario government has announced that I will launch an industry-specific support grant. The grant is expected to be made available in the coming weeks.
Eligible businesses will include Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, travel agents, recreational businesses, amusement parks and other tourism and hospitality businesses that were ineligible for the OSBSG.
The eligibility criteria for the grant are expected to be similar to the OSBSG, including a maximum of 99 employees and being able to show a 20 per cent revenue drop.
Please note that if you have successfully applied for the OSBSG, you will not be eligible for the Tourism and Hospitality Grant.
Digital Main Street
The government has committed an additional $10-million to the Digital Main Street program to help small businesses bring their services online. The program had ended on December 31st, 2020, but will be reopened in the coming weeks.
Eligibility criteria, including being located in a Business Improvement Area (BIA), remain the same.
Postponing Property Assessments
The Ontario government delayed imposing new MPAC assessments across the province due to the pandemic in 2020. As part of the budget, they will delay the new assessments by an additional year and use the time to consult on how property value should be assessed in light of COVID moving forward.
To view the entire budget, click here.