BROCKVILLE — The Ontario government is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, says Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark.
The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). The total amount of provincial-
federal relief that would be provided is more than $900 million, helping to ensure small businesses are ready to reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted.
Details of the new program were announced on April 24, 2020, by Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of
Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
“Small businesses in Ontario are experiencing real financial pressures during the COVID-19 outbreak and are struggling to pay rent as a result,” said Clark. “That’s why
we are partnering with the federal government to ease these financial pressures and support our small businesses through this challenging economic time. We moved
quickly to provide immediate support so our small businesses are able to succeed once it’s safe to reopen Ontario.”
The OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been
heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75 per cent and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
Partnering with the federal government on the OCECRA builds on the provincial government’s approach to supporting business during COVID-19. As part of Ontario’s
Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the government has implemented a series of cash flow supports amounting to $10 billion to help support jobs and the economy,
- Doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020, cutting taxes by $355 million, benefiting roughly 57,000 employers.
- Eliminating penalties and interest to businesses who miss filing or remittance deadlines for various provincially administered taxes for five months starting April 1, 2020, providing up to $6 billion in cash flow for about 100,000 Ontario businesses.
- Postponing the planned property tax reassessment for 2021, providing stability for Ontario’s property taxpayers.
- Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, providing municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn,
provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses.
- Implementing the new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit for businesses that make eligible capital investments in designated regions of the province where employment growth has significantly lagged behind below the provincial average.
Ontario has also suspended time-of-use electricity rates for eligible small businesses, as well as residential and farm time-of-use customers, holding electricity prices to the
off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour for 45 days. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on- peak rates.
The Ontario government has also worked with the federal government to develop the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank. This program will help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans.
“In the months ahead, small businesses will be critical to Ontario’s economic recovery. Together with our federal partners, we are ensuring we support our small businesses today, so that they can continue to create opportunities for hardworking Ontario families tomorrow,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “With rents coming due, it’s extremely important that the federal government move quickly to implement this program and get small businesses and property owners the support they urgently need.”
- The Province’s $241 million investment in OCECRA is part of the $17 billion Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
- The government has retroactively, to January 1, 2020, raised the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption to $1 million from $490,000 for 2020, providing additional EHT relief of up to $9,945 per eligible employer.
- Starting January 1, 2020, Ontario reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate from 3.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent.