Electricity rate reductions, tax rebates and a $10,000 grant for small businesses closed by COVID restrictions among new supports announced from Whitby

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Published January 28, 2022 at 2:34 pm

The Province has announced a slew of new supports for business across Ontario from Whitby yesterday, including a business tax rebate, relief grants and reduce hydro costs for those forced to close or limit capacity in the latest lockdown.

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, announced the series of small business supports promoted by Whitby MPP Lorne Coe.

“We are committed to supporting businesses most impacted by the public health measures. With these new programs, the Government is providing relief for many local small businesses that create jobs for hard working families in Whitby,” said Coe.

The first announced program is the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, which offers businesses energy and tax rebates. Any business forced to close of limit capacity in the latest public health measure to combat the Omicron variant’s spread can apply for the program.

The Cost Rebates will return 100 per cent of property taxes and energy costs a business as accrued over the latest lockdown period to businesses forced to close, such as gyms and restaurants.

Business that had to reduce capacity to half, like small stores, will have half their energy and property costs reimbursed. In applying, a business will have to submit proof of the costs.

Secondly, the Province is instituting a new cash-flow program. The government has introduced a 6 month, interest-free period in which businesses can make payments on their provincial taxes without penalty, beginning January 1.

Next, is the Electricity Rate Relief Program which reduces energy costs for 21 days by assigning all-hours the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. This change happened automatically and will appear directly on residents hydro bill. This rate reduction applies to homes and small businesses.

Finally the Ontario will be providing $10,000 to small businesses forced to close by health restriction through the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant. Business eligible for the grant include; restaurants and bars, gyms, and rec centres, performing arts centres, movie theatres, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens, meeting or event spaces, tour and guide services, conference centres and convention centres, driving instructors, and before- and after- school programs.

Eligible business will be pre-screened so they don’t need to apply for the program. New business, however, will need to apply through a portal coming in the next few weeks. Payments will be sent out in February.

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