The Ontario government has to-date provided more than $1 billion through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant to help eligible business owners affected by the COVID-19 restrictions.
The grant provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 and can be used in whatever way makes the most sense for individual businesses; from paying employee wages, to offsetting the cost of rent, to purchasing inventory.
"Small businesses are the backbone of Ontario's economy employing local people in communities across the province," said Premier Ford. "The sad fact is these business owners have suffered significantly through the pandemic, but we have had their backs with programs like the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. So far the uptake of these grants has been tremendous, and I strongly encourage all business owners to apply and access this financial relief."
More than 78,000 Ontario Small Business Support Grant applications from small businesses across the province have been processed representing more than $1 billion in support. Upon approval, successful applicants will receive payment within 10 days. Applications are still open until March 31, 2021 and a detailed step-by-step instructional video on the application portal is available to help guide applicants through the process.
"Our government is providing small businesses with the flexible financial support they need to address their needs and manage through this pandemic," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "The Ontario Small Business Support Grant and other supports are helping thousands of small businesses get through these trying times, to make sure that they are still around to contribute to our strong economic recovery."
Eligible small businesses can also apply for additional financial supports including the newly expanded Main Street Relief Grant, which provides up to $1,000 to help offset the costs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE). The grant is now available to main street businesses with 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors, helping up to 60,000 small businesses in the retail trade, accommodation and food services, repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, gyms and yoga studios, and arts, entertainment and recreation.
"Our top priority was to facilitate a support program for small businesses that, once approved, we could get to businesses quickly. There was a tremendous team effort that moved mountains to reach this $1 billion milestone," said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. "I am heartened by the uptake of this grant by small businesses in every corner of the province."
The government is also providing eligible businesses with rebates for property tax and energy costs. Grant programs are available through a simple online application, and businesses can learn more by visiting Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport.
"The extraordinary response to the Ontario Small Business Supports Grant program demonstrates just how important this assistance is to small businesses," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. "We're working across government to make sure that small business in every corner of the province can access the support programs that work for their business. The grant will help them to sustain their business, keep Ontarians employed, and continue serving our communities long after COVID-19 is behind us."
Ontario is also helping small businesses go digital in order to reach more customers through the $57-million Digital Main Street program, supported by the federal and provincial government. This initiative is expected to help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence by April 2021.
Small businesses can visit ontario.ca/smallbusiness to learn about the many supports available to them. These include resources to find Ontario-made PPE through the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory, tailored local support through the Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, and obtain free financial advice.