Originally published on January 17, 2022 by Bateman MacKay.

Eligible businesses can receive a $10,000 grant, a rebate on property taxes and energy costs, and an interest and penalty-free period for provincially administered taxes for all Ontario businesses.

The Ontario Government has announced new COVID-19 support programs for those businesses most impacted by recently imposed public health measures. In addition to receiving support due to changes to Federal programs, Ontario businesses may be eligible for a $10,000 grant, the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program and a six month interest and penalty-free period for most provincially administered taxes. Electricity rates will also be set at the off-peak rate for a limited time period.

Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant

A $10,000 grant from the Ontario government is available to eligible small businesses that are subject to closures under Ontario’s modified Step Two restrictions and have fewer than 100 employees. Eligible businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (a grant between $10,000 and $20,000 from the Ontario government, which opened in early 2021.) will not need to apply to the new program and will be pre-screened to verify eligibility. Newly created or newly eligible businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens “in the coming weeks.” Businesses can expect to receive payment in February.

The list of eligible small businesses include:

  • Restaurants and bars;
  • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms);
  • Performing arts and cinemas;
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • Meeting or event spaces;
  • Tour and guide services;
  • Conference centres and convention centres;
  • Driving instruction for individuals; and
  • Before- and after-school programs.
  • Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program

This program allows businesses that are subject to current closures or capacity limits to receive rebate payments on property taxes and energy costs incurred while subject to closures or capacity limits. Businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment of 100% of costs, while businesses required to reduce capacity to 50%, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment of 50% of costs. A full list of eligible businesses will be announced in mid-January. Online applications, where businesses will be required to submit property tax and energy bills, will open on January 18, 2022. This program is retroactive to December 19, 2021, when restrictions were first implemented.

Interest and Penalty Free Period for Provincial Taxes

Between January 1, 2022, and July 1, 2022, all Ontario businesses will be allowed to defer payment of most provincially administered taxes, including the Employer Health Tax (EHT) without incurring interest or penalties. This is not a forgiveness of any taxes owed, since all payments due between January 1, 2022, and July 1, 2022, still need to be made on July 1, 2022.

The taxes that can be deferred are:

  • Employer Health Tax
  • Beer, Wine & Spirits Taxes
  • Tobacco Tax
  • Insurance Premium Tax
  • Fuel Tax
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement
  • Gas Tax
  • Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts & Benefit Plans
  • Mining Tax
  • Race Tracks Tax
  • Electricity Rate Relief

Commencing at 12:01 am, January 18, 2022, for 21 days, electricity prices will automatically be charged at the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the entire day.Eligible accounts include residential, small business and farms that pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and obtain a bill from a utility.

Bateman MacKay can Help

While these Ontario COVID-19 support programs for businesses are relatively straightforward, the long list of ever-changing Federal programs and their respective application processes can be complex. A Bateman MacKay business advisor can assist with these COVID-19 Supports or any other tax or accounting matter. Reach out at info@batemanmackay.com .