New resources and information continue to become available for the business community. Some of the latest announcements are below.

As always, a full list of resources from a variety of sources and organizations is available by visiting the Town’s Business Support webpage.

If you have questions about any of the information below, please reach out to the Economic Development Officer at heather.hyde@saugeenshores.ca.

Ontario announces $10,000 grant for eligible small businesses and additional electricity-rate relief

The government is planning an Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. It will provide eligible small businesses with a grant payment of $10,000.

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.

Eligible businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and that are subject to closure under modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and will not need to apply to the new program.

Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens in the coming weeks. Small businesses that qualify can expect to receive their payment in February.

The Ontario government providing electricity-rate relief to support small businesses

The province is providing electricity-rate relief to support small businesses, as well as workers and families spending more time at home while the province is in Modified Step Two.

For 21 days starting at 12:01 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, electricity prices will be set 24 hours a day at the current off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is less than half the cost of the current on-peak rate. The off-peak rate will apply automatically to residential, small businesses, and farms who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and get a bill from a utility and will benefit customers on both Time-of-Use and Tiered rate plans.

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program

Online applications for the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program will open on January 18. This program will provide eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity with rebate payments for up to 100 per cent of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.

Eligible businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. Those required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs. A full list of eligible business types will be available through a program guide in mid-January 2022.

Online applications for this program will open January 18, 2022. Payments to eligible businesses will be retroactive to December 19, 2021.

Businesses will be required to submit property tax and energy bills as part of the application process.

If you have questions about the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, call 1-866-668-8297 (1-866-ONT-TAXS).

Free rapid tests for organizations

The Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP) provides antigen test kits to all organizations allowed to open under current public health measures. Rapid antigen testing is an additional screening method to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in high-risk settings.

Learn More

Improving cash flows for Ontario businesses

The government is improving cash flows for Ontario businesses by providing up to $7.5 billion through a six-month interest- and penalty-free period starting January 1, 2022, for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes.

This measure will help approximately 80,000 Ontario businesses. Businesses will have the option to delay their payments for the following provincially administered taxes:

  • 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

Government Temporarily Expands Access to Lockdown Program & Worker Lockdown Benefit

The federal government announced its intention to temporarily expand eligibility for key support programs. The new regulations would:

Expand the Local Lockdown Program to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more, and reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25 per cent. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies from 25 per cent up to a maximum of 75 per cent, depending on their degree of revenue loss.

Expand the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. As announced previously, this benefit will provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers who are directly affected by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown, and who have lost 50 per cent or more of their income as a result.

These updated regulations will apply from December 19, 2021, to February 12, 2022.

Learn more