*This blog was updated on May 14, 2021.
In November 2020, public health units in Ontario were divided into five levels based on their COVID-19 case numbers. These are: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Grey-Lockdown.
This categorization is part of the provincial government’s Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. It helps the province scale up (and roll back) public health restrictions in a region based on its COVID-19 case surges.
Each level sets specific public health measures to be followed across different sectors.
Since November 16, 2020, Ontario businesses required to close or restrict services due to provincial public health measures (modified Stage 2 restrictions or in areas classified as Red-Control or Lockdown) are eligible to apply for temporary property tax and energy cost rebates, provided as grants.
What costs does the program cover?
Businesses that are eligible could get funds for:
- Municipal and education property taxes
- Energy costs (including electricity and natural gas or propane and heating oil)
The grants will cover the period during which the targeted public health restrictions are in effect.
What businesses are eligible to apply for rebates?
Businesses are eligible if they:
- Are, or were, required to close or significantly limit services because of being under Control, Lockdown or Provincewide Shutdown in the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open
- Were required to close or significantly restrict services because of being under “modified Stage 2” restrictions in the previous framework
Eligible businesses in regions that are or were subject to Control restrictions, or previously modified Stage 2 restrictions, include:
- Restaurants and bars
- Gyms, facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities
- Performing arts and cinemas
- Bingo halls, gaming establishments, casinos, conference centres and convention centres
- Community centres, multi-purpose facilities, and museums
- Personal care services (with the exception of oxygen bars)
- Racing venues
- Meeting or event space
- In-person teaching and instruction
Eligible businesses in regions subject to Lockdown measures in the previous COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open include:
- Retail required to close for in-person shopping
- Shopping malls
- Personal services
- Driving instruction
- Tour and guide services
- Photography services
- Cannabis retail stores
In addition, eligible businesses in regions subject to the Province-wide Shutdown measures include:
- Hardware stores (including big box stores) required to close for in-person shopping
- Drive-in cinemas
- Garden centres
- Outdoor sports and recreation facilities
- Day camps for children
- Pet/animal food and services
- Ski hills
- Outdoor markets (excluding grocery)
- Safety, medical and assistive devices retail (excluding pharmacies)
- Rental and leasing services
- Domestic services
- Vehicle and equipment repair services
- Veterinary services
- Cell phone and computer providers & repairs
- Media industries including film and television production (excluding radio/television broadcasting)
- Before- and after- school programs
What documents would I need to apply?
To apply, you'll need:
- Your business and banking information.
- You'll have to submit proof of costs.
For property tax rebates, this would include your property tax bills (or proof of costs associated with property taxes).
For energy cost rebates, this would include a digital copy of the first energy bill (including electricity, natural gas, propane or other) you received on or after the day modified Stage 2, Control, Lockdown or Province-wide Shutdown restrictions were put in place in your region.
You can also submit other energy bills if your business is heated by propane or heating oil.
Businesses struggling to pay their energy bills because of COVID-19 may also be eligible for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB).
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.