Learn about changes to government programs and available supports as your business recovers from covid 19.
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
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.
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.
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.
Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant
The government is announcing an Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of Roadmap to Reopen.
What you'll get
Eligible businesses subject to closures as a result of the province’s move to the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will receive a grant of $10,000.
To receive the grant, a small business identified from the eligible list below must:
- be required to close due to public health orders that took effect 12:01 a.m. on January 5, 2022
- have fewer than 100 employees as of December 31, 2021
- be an active business as of January 14, 2022
Eligible businesses that previously qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and may need to provide some additional information but will not need to apply for the new program.
Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens in the coming weeks. Small businesses that qualify can expect to receive their payment in the coming weeks.
Eligible small businesses include:
- restaurants and bars
- facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms)
- performing arts and cinemas
- museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions
- performing arts venues and cinemas, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions
- meeting or event spaces
- tour and guide services
- conference centres and convention centres
- driving instruction for individuals
- before- and after- school programs
How to apply
Applications for the Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant will be open in the coming weeks.
Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program: applications now open
We are introducing the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program to support businesses that are most impacted by provincial public health measures in response to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
What you’ll get
Eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity will receive rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these measures. Eligible businesses required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs, while businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. Payments to eligible businesses will be retroactive to December 19, 2021 when public health measures were first effective.
Eligible businesses include:
- restaurants and bars
- personal care services (hair or body)
- retailers (non-grocery, less than 50,000 square feet)
- small grocery stores (less than 5,000 square feet)
- gyms and other indoor sports and recreational facilities
- places of worship
- indoor meeting and event spaces
- indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas
- casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
- indoor portion of horse and car racing tracks
- indoor museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions
- indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities
- indoor business associated with tour and guide services
- steam rooms and saunas
- oxygen bars
- bathhouses and sex clubs
- indoor teaching and instruction centres
- indoor driving instruction centres
- day camps and overnight camps for children
- before- and after-school programs
- pet and veterinary services
Further details can be found in the program guide. Learn more here (PDF).
How to apply
Online applications for this program are now open. Apply now here.
Businesses will be required to submit proof of costs associated with property tax and energy bills as part of the application process.
If you have questions about the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, call ServiceOntario at 1-855-216-3090.
Pausing commercial evictions
We are temporarily stopping or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during covid 19. This applies to businesses that were eligible for the previous Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses program or who have been approved for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).
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
- Employer Health Tax
- Beer, Wine & Spirits Taxes
- Tobacco TaxInsurance 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.
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.
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.
Guidance for employers
Your responsibilities and employee protections
Learn about employers' responsibilities, and get information about job protections available to employees including:
- leaves of absence
- taking vacation time
- temporary layoffs
- filing a claim
Show your commitment to safety
Consider making the POST Promise – a self-declaration that your business is working to help prevent the spread of covid 19. Once completed, you’ll get tools to help educate employees on workplace safety. You can also display the POST Promise logo, which is a nationally recognized symbol of a business’s commitment to doing their part.
Find PPE suppliers
Access the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to find personal protective equipment for your business.
Sector-specific guidance and posters
Develop your covid 19 workplace safety plan
Learn how you can create a plan to help protect your workers and others from covid 19.
Other helpful resources
- Learn how to organize a private covid 19 testing campaign at your workplace for asymptomatic individuals who are ineligible for testing under the covid 19 Provincial Testing Guidance.
- From the Government of Canada:
- Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses: covid 19 Small Business Help Centre
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce: Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for covid 19 (PDF)
- Retail Council of Canada: Road to Retail Recovery Playbook
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.