Small businesses are bearing the brunt of stay-at-home orders and lockdowns. Many of the big box stores that are allowed to remain open, are allowed to sell all their items, yet small shops have been shuttered. Businesses have scrambled to shift from a bricks & mortar business to online. With a new set of regulations under the most recent Stay-at-Home Order, it’s even more important to Support Local. Curbside pickup or online ordering is possible for many small businesses. Restaurants can do take-out, and some, like Cup of Jo’s, have gone online to provide meal kits. When you do buy something from a local business, take a selfie with your purchase. Share it on social media. Tell your friends what you’re enjoying from our area! Like and share a business’ Facebook page. Comment. Follow their Instagram.
There is no one-size-fits-all to helping a small business whether an unprecedented global pandemic, but the federal and provincial governments have both crafted various support programs designed to help businesses. I am going to put some of them here.
The Ontario Small Business Support Grant. It’s a grant, not a loan, which is good when you don’t know when the next time you will have any revenue coming in. The grant starts at $10K to a maximum of $20K for any eligible business. It is intended to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the province wide shutdown. Businesses have to show that they suffered a loss of revenue of at least 20%, comparing April 2019 and April 2020. The business has to have fewer than 100 employees.
Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant for PPE support: It’s a one time grant of $1000 to help cover the cost of PPE. It’s for businesses that are retail, food services or accommodation, repair & maintenance, laundry or personal services, gyms & yoga studios. Gyms & yoga studios are closed right now, but when they open up, they get help with PPE.
Property tax & Energy Cost Rebates: Eligible businesses can receive rebates for municipal and education property taxes, and energy costs such as electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil. It is not clear if this is only for a shopfront business, or if it is for a home-based business, or if a business proprietor pays a mortgage as opposed to commercial rent, but check it out. There are also rebates through some energy companies, usually in conjunction with this program.
A provincial government Pause on Commercial Evictions can keep a commercial tenant from being locked out, evicted, or having their assets seized. This program is in addition to the previous Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
There is a phone number for the Transfer Payment Ontario Client Care: Toll free. 1-855-216-3090
You can apply online. Check out: ontario.ca/page/business-get-help-covid-19-costs
Our MPP is Jim McDonell. You can apply for any of the provincial programs through his website, including some of the federal programs: covidsupports.ca/JM-support-for-businesses/
Some of the federal programs that are available to businesses:
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy: A federal program that offers businesses, non-profits, or charities subsidies to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses until June 2021. This can provide payment directly to qualifying renters and property owners.
Canada Emergency Business Account: This is an interest free loan up to $60K to small business and not-for-profits. If the loan is repaid by the end of December 2022, 33% of the loan will be forgiven. There are obvious issues with borrowing $60K during an unprecedented global pandemic, not knowing when you will have revenue again, but it will help some businesses out.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: The CRSB is $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for those who have had to stop working or had their income cut by half because they contracted Covid-19, or have to isolate, or have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to Covid-19. This is through the Canada Revenue Agency.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit: CRCB is $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers who cannot work at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under 12 or a family member because schools or daycares are closed because of Covid-19, or because a sick or quarantined family member requires care.
There are also various programs that will guarantee loans to small businesses, through Export Development Canada (EDC) and Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
Again, not sure how many small businesses want to borrow money when there’s no guarantee for revenue, but there are some businesses doing well.
Property Tax Relief: This is a new one as of 2021. Municipalities will be able to adopt a new optional subclass for small business properties. This will allow municipalities to target tax relief by reducing property taxes to eligible small business properties. The Province will also consider matching these municipal property tax reductions. I’m not sure if North Dundas is considering this, but it’s worth looking into.
Digital Main Street: I think this program is great, and wish more people in this area had known about it in March and April. Digitalmainstreet.ca
It provides hands-on real-time help getting businesses online. The Program can create and configure your online store, train you on how to manage it, provide support to get your online store live, and helps with marketing your online store. It provides one on one support building and launching your store, ad credits, free .CA domain registration, and others. It is about $2500 worth of help. It is for a small business under 10 full-time employees (or 25 if it’s a restaurant), registered business in Ontario, and it is also available to both businesses and artists, home based or commercial.
If you live in North Dundas, you have to go through Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre, but you can apply online, and Carla Pollard and Adam Gibeau at Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre are a great help via email or phone. 613-930-2787 x2277