April 9, 2021 Announcement - The Ontario Small Business Support Grant to be renewed

The government recognizes that small businesses impacted by these necessary public health measures will require additional support so they can continue serving their communities and employing people in Ontario once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. That is why the government is announcing the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small business owners to help navigate this challenging period.

Small businesses required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business. For example, some businesses will need support paying employee wages or rent, while others will need support maintaining their inventory.

Previously for this program, eligible small businesses include those that:

  • Are required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on March 26, 2020;
  • Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

​​Further details for this round will be available soon

To help small businesses that have been most affected by the necessary restrictions to protect people from COVID-19, Ontario is providing a second round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments to eligible recipients. About 120,000 small businesses will automatically benefit from an additional $1.7 billion in relief through this second round of support in the form of grants of a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 — bringing the estimated total support provided through this grant to $3.4 billion.

To support Ontario's tourism, hospitality and culture industries, Ontario is investing an additional $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support these sectors.

To help workers with their training expenses, the government has proposed a new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021. It would provide up to $2,000 per recipient toward 50 per cent of eligible expenses, for a total estimated $260 million in support to about 230,000 people in 2021.

Essential businesses that are allowed to remain open will not be eligible for this grant.

Small Business Support Grant User Guidehttps://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/assets/guide.pdf 

Small Business Support Grant Application: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/

More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and other programs is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs

Businesses that are impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown will also be eligible for the property tax and energy cost rebates. In November, the government launched a program to provide rebates to offset fixed costs such as property tax and energy bills for businesses that are required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures. These Ontario Small Business Support Grant rebates will continue to be available for businesses impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown and earlier restrictions. Business can apply for the rebates here.

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business: Applications Begin August 31

The Government of Ontario is making $8 million available to support small business and registered charities who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.

To apply for CEAP funding, customers should contact their energy provider. Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs) will begin accepting applications for CEAP-SB on August 31, 2020, delivering the program in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB. CEAP-SB funding is limited, with utilities and USMPs expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. Please note, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

For more information, including eligibility requirements and on-bill credit amounts, visit oeb.ca/ceap.

On-line Tool to help you identify other government funding and programs specific to your business and situation, helping you navigate though the COVID-19 Pandemic.     Click Here

Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation (RCCFDC) is currently offering another round of a Special “Relief Loan” at the Prime Rate (2.95%) to qualifying existing and new small business clients. As part of the Relief loan, all payments will be deferred and interest forgiven to July 31, 2020. This loan is to assist with working capital or other expenses you expect to have an economic impact on your business due to COVID -19 To apply for the Relief Loan, go to www.rccfdc.org/financing to request the loan application. 

  • Canadian Wage Subsidy, Applications can now be made for the Canadian Wage Subsidy, see the application guide at this link:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy/cews-apply-guide.html

The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee's wages – up to $847 per week - for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

The program originally in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, then extended to August 29th, 2020 and now extended through to the summer of 2021.

Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.

For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for a period, any benefit from the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period will generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

Businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
  • Digital Main Street Grant (Closed Dec. 31/20) will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content. Invest Ottawa will lead this program for greater Ottawa region, including the County of Renfrew.

In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. As a result of the investment announced today, the program will be offered province-wide and at no cost to businesses.  

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. The funding will help cover the increased costs of feeding market ready cattle and hogs due to COVID-19 related processing delays, while redirecting surplus pork products to help those in need. This program will help ensure the country's food supply chain will remain strong and ready to recover as the economy gradually and safely reopens.

The beef cattle set-aside program will provide beef farmers with up to $5 million in support. Farmers can claim $2 per head of cattle per day to help pay for additional maintenance costs should they have to keep their market-ready animals on their farms for extended periods of time.

The hog sector support program will also provide hog farmers with up to $5 million to help cover additional maintenance costs. Ontario is also providing up to $1.5 million to process and package surplus pork for food banks, to provide those in need with fresh, locally produced pork products. This will assist the pork processing industry with managing capacity while helping those in need.

Both the beef cattle set-aside and hog sector support programs are being offered through AgriRecovery initiatives, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The provincial contributions are part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.

  • ​​​The Agri-Food Open for E-Business Initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.

This targeted application intake features two funding streams:

Stream 1 to Bring Your Business Online. Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions.

The electronic application form for Stream 1 is available here.

Stream 2 to Develop Online Business Opportunities. Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects.

The electronic application form for Stream 2 is available here.

The electronic form for additional applicants under Stream 2 on the project is available here.

​Funding for projects to implement occupational health and safety measures related to COVID-19 on farms with intensive use of labour. Available Cost-share of 70 %, up to a maximum of $7,500 per project.

Funding for Provincially Licensed Meat Processors to implement COVID-19 measures to maintain a safe workplace. Support is also available for employees who require mandatory isolation, work-site mobility and transportation that is in line with public health guidelines. Available Cost-share of 75 %, up to a maximum of $20,000 per business.

To stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe, the Ontario government is launched a $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment and ventilators. This new Fund will support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal.

Business Loan Programs:

  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

    The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) provides additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

    BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism. 

    This program includes:

    • Loan Guarantee for Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises
    • Co-Lending Program for Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises

    Applications can be made through your bank or credit union.

  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019 are now eligible for CEBA. Applications can be made through your bank or credit union.

This program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

With the Throne Speach on September 23rd, 2020, the government has pledged to expand the CEBA.

The application process is through the Canada Housing and Morgage Corporation (CMHC): Apply now: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business

The deadline to apply is August 31, 2020.

CMHC will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners. Funds will be transferred to the property owner’s financial institution.

  • The loans will cover 50% of the monthly gross rent owed by impacted small business tenants during the 3-month period of April, May and June 2020 and now extended through July 2020.
  • The property owner will be responsible for no less than half of the remaining 50% of the monthly gross rent payments (paying no less than 25% of the total).
  • The small business tenant will be responsible for no more than half of the remaining 50% of the monthly gross rent payments (paying no more than 25% of the total).

Total Rent to be covered by: Tenant - 25%, Landlord - 25%, CMHC - 50% (forgivable loan)

  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered through the federal governments Regional Development Agencies, supports businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism, seasonal industries and others.

The RRRF is specifically targeted toward those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 but have been unable to access existing support measures such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

The RRRF is now accepting applications from businesses and communities. Details on eligibility and how to apply can be found through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

Applications are now being accepted under two streams: 

  1. Regional Economy: This stream supports provides $213 million in support to southern Ontario SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures. Please visit the FedDev Ontario website for more information or to apply under this stream.
  2. Community Futures: This stream supports businesses in rural and smaller communities through additional funding for the existing Community Futures Program (CFP).

In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities they serve, CFDCs, who will deliver this stream of funding, will focus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants and corner stores, etc., and businesses of strategic importance to their communities, with loans up to $40,000. 

Apply directly to the Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation: www.rccfdc.org

For Employees:

New legislation tabled September 24, 2020, and subject to this legislation receiving Royal Assent, new Benefits would provide income support to Canadians while promoting economic recovery by introducing measures that encourage people to safely return to work. Specifically, the legislation includes:

  • A Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support. This Benefit would support Canadians who have not returned to work due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by at least 50%. These workers must be available and looking for work, and must accept work where it is reasonable to do so;
  • A Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. This Benefit supports our commitment to ensure all Canadian workers have access to paid sick leave; and,
  • A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19 or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine.  

More detailed eligibility criteria can be found online.

Canadians will be able to apply for the CRB, CRSB, and CRCB through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for one year up until September 25, 2021.

If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

May 4, 2020 - CERB reminder: Canadians who were among the first to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit must now reapply. CERB offers $500 per week for Canadians who lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but recipients must confirm their eligibility for the program every four weeks. (Courtesy CTV News)

COVID-19 Business Development Fund - NOW CLOSED & FULLY EXPENDED.

Delivered through Enterprise Renfrew County, applications for the COVID-19 Business Assistance Fund are available starting June 15, 2020 and will be received until July 3, 2020. 

In partnership with the County of Renfrew, the City of Pembroke, and the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association, this fund will support businesses as they look to pivot, recover and succeed in a business environment affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The efforts of the Renfrew County Economic Task Force recognized early on that business owners were seeking funds that would assist them to find new technologies, methodologies, or procedures that would assist them with adjusting to a new model of serving their customers. In response, funds have been dedicated towards a fund that will provide some assistance towards these goals and will be available within a short turnaround period so that interested companies may quickly make changes and allow them to generate revenue and, in some cases, retain or hire employees.

The fund will provide up to $5,000 (non-repayable) per business and will focus on the following areas of transformation:

  • E-business solutions
  • Marketing and customer engagement
  • Service delivery improvements
  • Other creative solutions/ideas for expansion and sustainability

For Additional Programs and Information: (click on the images below)