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

Applications are now open for the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant.

Find out if your business is eligible for grants to help with the cost of your property taxes and energy bills.

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

Learn more about providing employees with up to three days of paid leave because of certain reasons related to COVID-19.

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

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

Testing on-site

Your organization can now conduct rapid testing on-site 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

  • Property tax and energy cost rebates

    Businesses that are, or were, required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures can apply for rebates, provided in the form of grants, to help with their fixed costs. Find out if your business is eligible.

  • covid 19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and covid 19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB)

    We are providing an additional $23 million to help residential, small business and charitable organization customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of covid 19.

    Starting in January 2021, available credit amounts increased, and more families, small businesses and charitable organizations became eligible to access funding.

    Residential consumers may be eligible for up to $750 towards their electricity and natural gas bills.

    Small business and charitable organization customers may be eligible for up to $1500 towards their electricity and natural gas bills.

    You can apply for CEAP and CEAP-SB through your electricity and/or natural gas utility. Contact your utility to find out how to apply.

    More information is available from the Ontario Energy Board.

  • 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).

    Learn more about temporary eviction rules.

Tax relief

  • 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

  • Setting up an onsite workplace clinic

    To supplement publicly run vaccination clinics, employers may open onsite clinics in hot spot communities to vaccinate:

    • employees aged 18 and older who cannot work from home
    • members of the local and neighbouring communities

    To make sure employer-run onsite clinics are consistent with local vaccination plans:

    • they can only be set up with the support of local public health units
    • local public health units will determine who can be vaccinated at onsite clinics
    Criteria

    If you are an employer interested in hosting an onsite clinic, you must meet the following criteria.

    Your workplace
    • is in designated hot-spot community
    • has had a previous covid 19 outbreak or is at risk of one
    The clinic
    • will vaccinate employees who cannot work at home
    • will vaccinate people in the local community, either at the onsite clinic or an alternative location set up in consultation with the local public health unit
    • must have the local public health unit’s support
    You
    • will take on the responsibility of setting up, operating and funding the onsite vaccination clinic and any community clinics
    Learn more

    If you meet the criteria, email covid19vaccinetaskforce@ontario.ca to learn more about hosting an onsite clinic at your workplace.

  • Ontario Together: Help fight COVID-19

    Get free rapid tests, access funding, sell supplies to government, or search for PPE suppliers and testing services through our Ontario Together initiative.

  • Help stop the spread by promoting the COVID Alert app

    Download the COVID Alert app and get free marketing materials for your website, print promotions, social media and more.

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.