COVID-19: Help for businesses in Ontario

Learn about changes to government programs and available supports as your business recovers from covid 19.

Featured updates

Learn about opening an onsite vaccination clinic if your business is in a hot spot community.

Read our most recent news releases on business and the economy.

Setting up an employer-led vaccine clinic

To increase the province’s booster vaccination capacity, business groups and large corporate employers may open workplace and community clinics to vaccinate:

  • employees aged 18 and older, their families and retirees
  • members of local and neighbouring communities

Criteria

If you are an employer interested in hosting a clinic, you must meet the following criteria:

  • provide your own Human and Health Resources (onsite or contracted nurses, doctors or other regulated health professionals who can administer vaccines)
  • have a facility, or can arrange for an alternative facility in the community, such as a community hall or warehouse, to run a vaccine clinic safely
  • offer vaccination to eligible workers and community members

As the employer, you must be willing to take on the responsibility of setting up, operating and funding the vaccination clinic.

Learn more

If you meet the criteria, please call the Ontario Together Contact Centre at 1-888-777-0554 to learn more about hosting a clinic at your business or community facility.

Reopening and operating safely

We’ve provided resources to help you understand the requirements and best practices for workplace safety. These actions can help you comply with the rules and keep operating safely.

Workplace safety plan

All businesses that are operating must have a written COVID‑19 safety plan by law. Find other resources such as posters, tools and sector-specific guidance for Ontario workplaces.

Employer’s responsibilities

Understand employers’ responsibilities regarding safe workplaces, temporary layoffs and leaves of absence due to COVID‑19. Attend a webinar to learn more.

Region-specific rules

Check the recovery framework and your public health unit website to learn about the restrictions and rules that apply to your region.

PPE suppliers

Access the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to find supplies for your business.

Skip to more guidance for employers

Rapid antigen testing

Your organization can now conduct rapid antigen testing as an additional screening method that can help stop the spread of COVID‑19. Free test kits are available through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, which has expanded to include more essential sectors.

Learn about testing and program eligibility

In addition, the Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has launched the covid 19 Rapid Screening Initiative for small and medium-sized businesses across the province.

To contact participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade about the covid 19 Rapid Screening Initiative, visit the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

People working at a warehouse assembly line wearing masks, face shields and gloves

For businesses with fewer than 100 employees

Visit small business recovery resources for more tailored information, including:
  • Small Business Enterprise Centres near you
  • Taking your business digital
  • Learning opportunities and free advice
  • Support and resources from Canada and national organizations
Visit small business recovery resources

Financial relief

  • Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant: Applications now closed

    Applications for the Ontario Small Business Relief Grant closed on Friday, March 11, 2022.

    The Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant provided eligible small businesses that were required to close under the modified Step Two of Roadmap to Reopen with a grant of $10,000.

    If you have any questions about your submitted application, please contact OntarioSmallBusinessReliefGrant1@ontario.ca for further assistance.

  • Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program: Applications now closed

    Applications for the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program in respect of December 2021 to February 2022 closed on March 14, 2022, and new applications are no longer being accepted.

    The Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program supported eligible businesses most impacted by provincial public health measures in response to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Eligible businesses were provided rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incurred while subject to these measures. Any applications submitted before the March 14th deadline are currently under review. Should the program need further information to complete your application processing, you will be contacted directly.

  • Pausing commercial evictions

    The ban on commercial evictions ended April 22, 2022.

    We temporarily paused evictions of commercial tenants and protected them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID‑19. This applied to businesses that were eligible for the previous Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses program or who had been approved for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).

    Learn more about temporary eviction rules.

Tax relief

  • Improving cash flows for Ontario businesses

    We are providing additional support to help improve cash flows for Ontario businesses by providing a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. This will:

    • support businesses in the immediate term while capacity restrictions are in place
    • provide the flexibility Ontario businesses will need for long-term planning
    The six-month period started on January 1, 2022 and will end on July 1, 2022. This measure will make available up to $7.5 billion in relief to 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 and Benefit Plans
    • Mining Tax
    • Race Tracks Tax
  • Employer Health Tax relief

    We increased the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption from $490,000 to $1 million starting in 2020.

    Along with doubling the exemption, we doubled the instalment threshold from $600,000 to $1.2 million starting with the 2021 tax year.

    What this means for you

    As an employer, this means additional EHT relief of up to $9,945 per year, for a total of up to $19,500 in annual EHT savings per eligible employer.

    The annual tax return form is not changing. Only the amount that you enter for the exemption claimed will change. Tax rates and eligibility criteria for the tax exemption remain the same.

    In 2021, all employers will begin remitting monthly instalments when their annual payroll exceeds $1.2 million.

    If your business no longer needs to make instalment payments or file an EHT return as a result of the increased exemption amount or instalment threshold, you do not need to notify the Ministry of Finance.

    Learn more about the EHT changes for 2021.

  • Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit

    If your corporation is building, renovating or acquiring an eligible commercial or industrial building in a designated region in Ontario, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit of up to $90,000 in a year.

    In the 2021 Budget, Ontario announced that it will temporarily enhance this tax credit by investing an additional $61 million, resulting in total tax credit support of about $155 million by 2022–23.

    The tax credit will be available to claim on your corporate income tax return.

    Learn more about the tax credit and if your project qualifies.

  • Jobs Training Tax Credit

    The temporary Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit will help workers get the training they need.

    It will provide up to $2,000 to individuals with eligible training expenses in 2021. This measure would provide about $260 million in support to 230,000 Ontario individuals.

    Learn more about the tax credit.

Guidance for employers

Help from the federal government

The Canadian government has made available supports for business during covid 19.

Mental health and addictions supports

If you or your employees are feeling anxious, experiencing other mental health or addiction challenges or you can’t access your regular in-person counselling support, there are services you can access online or by phone, including self-led support, peer support and internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy.

Find mental health support

If you are currently receiving mental health and addictions services and supports, please contact your current service provider, including community-based mental health and addictions agencies. Many of these providers are modifying their services to move towards virtual care, meeting clients by phone or secure video-conferencing.

How you can help

Cut red tape for your business

We want to hear from you on the issues you’re dealing with as a business owner or representative. Tell us how we can reduce the regulatory burden to help make your business more competitive and support your investment in Ontario.