The Ontario government initiated a provincial lockdown on January 5, 2022 to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, many businesses had to close their doors for the entirety of the lockdown, a difficult requirement especially after two full years of similar lockdown measures.
“We are prepared to deliver these critical supports to Ontario businesses quickly and seamlessly to ensure they can navigate through these extremely challenging times. 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.”– Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services
To mitigate the negative impacts of the lockdown measures on Ontario businesses, the provincial government has launched a series of government funding programs for COVID-19, including funding support through two programs called the Ontario Business Cost Rebate Program and Ontario Small Business Relief Grant. Both programs focus on small business support for organizations impacted by the latest burdens in sales and operating costs due to lockdowns.
Business Cost Rebate Program
The Business Cost Rebate Program is designed to alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with the lockdown measures that began on January 5, 2022 in Ontario. This program strives to help with energy and property costs small businesses have incurred while operating at 50% capacity or while they were entirely shutdown.
Businesses may receive a rebate up to 50% of eligible costs if they have been required to reduce their capacity by 50% due to lockdown measures. Businesses that have been asked to close completely for indoor activities will receive a payment that is equal to 100% of eligible costs.
Applicants for the Business Cost Rebate Program may be eligible if they meet they meet one of the following characteristics:
- Gyms (under 5,000 square feet);
- Museums, galleries, and performing art centres;
- Indoor training facilities and clubhouses; and
- Pet and veterinarian services.
These businesses are only a portion of the eligible businesses for this rebate program. To see an exhaustive list, please visit the Business Cost Rebate Program program page.
Applicants for the Business Cost Rebate Program may use funding to offset operational costs such as property tax and energy costs that have been incurred while lockdown measures were in place. Applications will require a record of applicants’ indoor square footage for the facility that has been required to close, as well as photographs of the facility and a digital record of property taxes and energy bills as proof of costs.
This program is currently accepting applications with no mention of a formal application deadline. Applicants may claim eligible expenses incurred beginning in December of 2021 when the initial lockdown measures were implemented.
Small Business Relief Grant
The Small Business Relief Grant is a program designed by the Ontario government to support small businesses that are struggling and losing business due to the lockdown measures put in place for the COVID-19 Omicron variant. This is the third intake for this program since the initial COVID-19 lockdown measures took place in 2020.
If an applicant is approved for funding, they may receive up to $10,000 in grant support if they were subject to closures via the lockdown.
Applicants may be eligible for the Small Business Relief Grant if they meet the following criteria:
- Applicants were required to close their doors as a result of the public health orders made by the Ontario government at 12:01 a.m. on January 5, 2022;
- Applicants have less than 100 employees as of December 31, 2021; and
- Applicants have been an active business since January 14, 2022.
Types of businesses that may be approved for this grant are the following:
- Restaurants and bars;
- Indoor sports and recreational facilities;
- Cinemas; and
- Museums, galleries, and aquariums.
To learn more about eligibility requirements, please refer to the Small Business Relief Grant program page.
Businesses that receive funding support via the Small Business Relief Grant may use their funding for whatever business purposes they deem necessary. The government has stated that the program is very flexible.
There is currently no application deadline for this program, though applicants may benefit from a prompt submission.
“Small businesses play a vital role in Ontario’s diverse economy. 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.”– Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
Exploring Government Funding Opportunities
These Ontario relief programs are offering promising support for Ontario small businesses, but there are many more funding programs to choose from. Visit our government funding directory for a more general list of programs available, such as the Canada Small Business Financing Program. Also, to read more about opportunities in funding relief, check out our government funding news page for more daily updates.