The Ontario Government has recently unveiled a grant to support businesses that have been forced to close or restrict their operations due to the recent lockdown. The grant ranges from a minimum of $10,000 up to $20,000 in support. It can be accessed at ontario.ca/covidsupport. Tembo encourages its readers who have businesses who have been impacted to check out the site and see if they qualify for the grant. Businesses must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. The program will financially support a variety of businesses, including restaurants, retail and personal care services. It will help them pay their bills and meet their financial obligations so they can continue to employ people and support their local communities once it is safe to do so. This time period was selected because it reflects the impact of the public health measures in spring 2020, and as such provides a representation of the possible impact of these latest measures on small businesses.
Once the application is successfully submitted an eligible business can expect to receive payment within approximately 10 business days. Applications with incomplete or incorrect information, or that require additional review, will experience a delay and will not receive payment within 10 business days. The province also recently announced that it would extend the off-peak rate of hydro electricity charges to people until February 9th. This off-peak rate extends to 24 hours a day, and is one way the province is supporting people through COVID-19, especially given the impact of stay at home orders and the need to work from home. Another reason to check out the ontario.ca/covidsupport site is to see if one qualifies for the $1,000 PPE grant – to help businesses with the costs of buying the PPE and cleaning supplies they needed to comply with provincial orders.
There are other supports too. The Ontario Small Business Support Grant is just one of a number of these supports available to businesses during the pandemic, such as $600 million available in rebates to help offset fixed costs such as property taxes and energy bills, and grants to help cover the cost of personal protective equipment. Eligible business owners can apply for all of these supports through a single, hassle-free application.