Last week, Premier Doug Ford announced the Ontario government’s plan to provide $300 million in relief funds to restaurants which have been further effected by the recent 28-day emergency order prohibiting restaurants from offering indoor dining. Such relief funds are intended to assist restaurants in offsetting fixed costs such as property taxes and utility bills.
The Ontario government also intends to unroll a $60 million “Main Street Recovery Plan”, under the Main Street Recovery Act, 2020, which, if passed, will assist small businesses in reopening safely, rehiring employees quickly and recovering from losses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Main Street Recovery Plan intends to:
- Permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars to offer alcohol by takeout and delivery;
- Permanently allow 24/7 deliveries to restaurants, retail stores and distribution facilities;
- Increase the range of products sold at the Ontario Food Terminal;
- End outdated and duplicate rules for businesses;
- Modernize regulations to allow businesses to be creative in facing the challenges posed by COVID-19;
- Provide mental health supports to business owners, employees, frontline workers, families, young people, children and indigenous communities; and
- Provide a “Digital Main Street Program” and create Digital Main Street squads to assist small businesses with online growth. This Program includes:
- A one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible small businesses in retail, food, accommodations and other sectors with 2-9 employees to help offset the cost of personal protective equipment;
- Access to tailored advice and information regarding government programs through Ontario’s Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, which connects 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres; and
- Access small business supports through Ontario’s Small Business Recovery Webpage.
The Ontario government has also reduced the corporate income tax rate for small businesses by 8.7% beginning on January 1, 2020.
Stay tuned for more information regarding applications and eligibility for relief as well as the progress of the passing of the Main Street Recovery Act, 2020.
Currently, eligible small businesses can apply through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce here for the next wave of Canada United Small Business Relief Fund grants. Eligible businesses are those located anywhere in Canada with between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales; with up to 75 employees; are registered in Canada; and will use the grant to cover the costs of personal protective equipment, make physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements and enhance their digital or e-commerce capabilities.