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Ontario’s new COVID waiver program now open

early January. The 18, Ontario Business Cost Rebate Program is open to businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity due to government-imposed restrictions to counter the spread of Omicron. Through the new programme, the government will provide eligible employers with up to 100% rebate payments for property tax and energy costs when they are locked down or operating at less than full capacity.

“We recognize that these essential public health measures are affecting businesses, and as we have been doing it since the start of the pandemic, we are here to support them,” said Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvi. “With the opening of applications for this new exemption program, our government is putting money directly into the hands of businesses affected during this critical time.”

Restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses based on indoor activities forced to close will receive a rebate payment equal to 100% of their cost. Those who need to reduce capacity by 50%, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equal to 50% of their cost. Businesses must submit proof of costs associated with property taxes and energy bills as part of the application process.

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On January 1, the government also established an interest- and penalty-free period of six months for Ontario businesses to pay most provincially administered taxes. According to officials, it will improve cash flow by making available up to $7.5 billion.

“We are prepared to quickly and seamlessly deliver these critical supports to Ontario businesses to ensure they can navigate these extremely challenging times,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “This new program will provide enough relief for many businesses so that they can continue to support our communities as we work together to address COVID-19 and its types.”

In addition, the government has introduced a $10,000 COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for eligible businesses that may close during this time. Companies that qualify for the Ontario Small Business Assistance Grant will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and may be required to provide some additional information, but they will not be required to apply for the new program. Officials said companies can expect to receive that money in February.

“Small businesses play an important role in Ontario’s diverse economy,” said Vic Fedelli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Through other important support programs such as the Ontario Business Cost Rebate Program and the new Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant, our government will continue to provide thousands of small businesses with the financial relief they need.”

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