COVID-19: Support Grants for Ontario Small Businesses

*This blog was updated on April 23, 2021. 

Please note that the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and the Main Street Relief Grant for PPE closed for applications on April 7, 2021, and March 31, 2021, respectively. 

The Ontario government is offering additional financial support to businesses affected by provincial public health measures. If you are an Ontario small business, you can apply online to any of these relief programs:

Ontario Small Business Support Grant

This new grant helps small businesses that are required to close or significantly limit services due to the Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020. Applications to the program closed on April 7, 2021.

On March 24, 2021, the Ontario government had announced a second round of support through this program. Eligible recipients who have already received funds in the first round, will be entitled to receive a second payment of the same amount. They don't have to re-apply to get this additional funding.

What funds can businesses receive under this grant?

The funding starts at $10,000 for all eligible Ontario businesses and can go up to a maximum of $20,000. This grant is meant to help businesses cover revenue decline expected due to the Provincewide Shutdown.  

Are there any restrictions on how I may use these funds?

Businesses are free to use the funds in the manner that makes most sense for them. For instance, you could use the money to pay staff wages, or use it to maintain your inventory.

How do I know if I am eligible?

To be eligible for the grant, a small business must:

  • Be required to close or restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown, which came into force at 12:01 am on December 26, 2020
  • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
  • Must have experienced at least 20 per cent revenue decline comparing April 2020 to April 2019 revenues.

New businesses set up since April 2019 are also eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria. Small businesses not in operation in April 2019 or April 2020 will be able to select alternative months for comparing revenue loss through the application portal.

What businesses are not eligible?

Businesses already required to close prior to the introduction of modified Stage 2 measures on October 10, 2020 are not eligible.

This also includes essential business allowed 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).

What documents do I need to apply?

To be eligible, your business must have a business number as provided by Canada Revenue Agency. In case you don’t have one, you’ll need to apply for a business number to be able to continue with your application.

Indigenous-owned small businesses without a business number can still apply using a dedicated application form on the application portal.

You’ll also need to have information about the revenue decline and number of employees available. You would be required to attest to the information provided in your application.

How soon should I receive the grant?

If you’re eligible, you can expect to receive the funds within approximately 10 business days of submitting your completed application.

However, applications with incomplete or incorrect information, or those needing additional review, will experience a delay.

Main Street Relief Grant for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Under this program, eligible small businesses in Ontario can receive one-time grants of up to $1,000 for PPE costs. Applications to this program closed on March 31, 2021.

How do I know if I am eligible?

To be eligible, your business must have 2 to 19 employees. It must be in one of the following sectors:

  • Personal and laundry services
  • Gyms and yoga studios
  • Retail
  • Accommodation and food services
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation

What documents do I need to apply?

To apply, you'll need:

  • General business information, such as your business number, and banking information
  • Receipts or proof of costs for PPE purchased since March 17, 2020.

What kind of PPE is covered under this grant?

PPE could include:

  • 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.

Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants

All small businesses 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:

Read our blog on the Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants for more details.

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business

This program helps Ontario businesses struggling to pay their energy bills due to COVID-19. You can apply through your utility provider.

Read our blog on COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business for more details.

How do I apply for funding?

You can fill out an online application to apply for PPE support, property tax rebates, energy cost rebates or the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.

You’ll be able to complete a single form to apply for any – or all – of these programs.

Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant

In its 2021 Budget, the Ontario government announced a new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant. This grant will distribute an estimated $100 million in one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.

However, small businesses that have received funds under the Ontario Small Business Support Grant won't be eligible for this new grant. 

Travel agencies, hotels, motels, recreational and vacation camps are some examples of businesses eligible for this grant. A full list of eligible businesses and applications details will be announced shortly.

Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you may need. See how we have helped other small and medium businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.

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