Ontario's new COVID rebate program now open

Hope for employers? Businesses forced to close or reduce capacity can now apply for financial relief

Ontario's new COVID rebate program now open

After being doubled-teamed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation, companies are finally getting some relief.

Starting Jan. 18, the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program is open to businesses required to close or reduce capacity due to government-imposed restrictions to combat the spread of Omicron. Through the new program, the government will provide eligible employers with a rebate payment of up to 100% for property tax and energy costs they incur while locked down or operating at less than full capacity.

“We recognize that these necessary public health measures are impacting businesses, and as we have been since the beginning of the pandemic, we are there to support them,” said Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy. “With the opening of applications for this new rebate program, our government is putting money directly into the hands of impacted businesses during this critical time.”

Restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses predicated on indoor activities that have been forced to close will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100% of their costs. Those required to reduce capacity to 50%, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50% of their costs. Businesses will be required to submit proof of costs associated with property tax and energy bills as part of the application process.

Read more: How predictive analytics can prevent the Great Resignation

On Jan. 1, the government also established a six-month interest- and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. According to officials, that will improve cash flows by making up to $7.5 billion available.

“We are prepared to deliver these critical supports to Ontario businesses quickly and seamlessly to ensure they can navigate through these extremely challenging times,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “This new program will provide substantial relief for many businesses so that they can continue to support our communities as we work together to overcome COVID-19 and its variants.”

In addition, the government has introduced a COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant of $10,000 to eligible businesses subject to closure during this time. Companies that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and may need to provide some additional information, but won’t need to apply for the new program. Companies can expect to receive that money in February, officials said.

“Small businesses play a vital role in Ontario’s diverse economy,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Through the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program and other vital support programs like the new Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant, our government will continue to provide thousands of small businesses with the financial relief they need.”

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