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CFIB Statement on Ontario 2021 Budget

Toronto, March 24, 2021

Second Round of Funding for Ontario Small Business Support Grant
We applaud the government’s move to automatically double grant funding to small businesses that have already received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The additional funds mean that struggling business owners still navigating extended restrictions and lockdowns will be better able to address their mounting debt and other COVID-related financial challenges. We are also pleased to learn that the government does not intend to require any additional forms or details from already-successful applicants.

While this program will now provide some additional much-needed support to many businesses, today’s budget does not address the thousands of hard-hit small businesses across the province that remain ineligible, including construction businesses, dry cleaners, caterers, the entire restaurant supply chain, breweries, regulated and unregulated health professionals, and print shops, just to name a few.

CFIB urges the Ontario government to expand eligibility for this important program. We also ask the government to extend the March 31 application deadline to ensure eligible businesses that are in application limbo or looking to correct errors are able to do so and still access the program. 

-Ryan Mallough, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario

New Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant
This much-needed grant acknowledges the devastating impact of the pandemic on smaller businesses in the tourism and hospitality industries. This grant will help eliminate some of the eligibility gaps in the other Ontario support grant for businesses like hotels and inns, as well as recreation and amusement park businesses. We look forward to seeing the full details of this grant in the coming weeks.

We urge government to move quickly, as many of these businesses are on their last legs. We also recommend that the government double this grant program, to ensure that funding is in line with the Small Business Support Grant. 

-Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario

Expanded Broadband and Additional Funding for Digital Main Street Program 
We commend the Ontario government for continuing to make broadband expansion a priority with today’s additional funding of $2.8B. With remote work becoming more common and small business e-commerce continuing to rise, expanding broadband is critical to connecting small businesses in rural communities to the rest of the province and the world.

Expanded broadband will also allow more small businesses to benefit from today’s announcement of an additional $10M for the Digital Main Street program. 

We hope the criteria for the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant that is part of this program will be expanded to include businesses located outside of Business Improvement Areas. 

-Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario

Further Postponing Property Reassessments
Small businesses can breathe a sigh of relief that the Ontario government has decided to pause property assessments for another year. We are encouraged that the government will consult on the timing and valuation date of the next assessment before a decision is made this fall, and look forward to participating.

-Ryan Mallough, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
647-464-2814
[email protected]

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region, including 38,000 in Ontario. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.