TORONTO — The Ontario government released its 2021 Budget yesterday for the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, including an additional $2.1 billion in funding for the health care system, $2.3 billion for contact tracing, and $1 billion for the vaccine rollout.
The budget also includes a grant for small businesses across the province that are struggling to operate under pandemic restrictions. Eligible recipients may receive a minimum grant of $20,000 up to a maximum of $40,000. Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, reinforced the importance of this increased support at a virtual fireside chat hosted by the Canadian Club.
“One of the most significant inequities of the pandemic has been the impact on small business owners and their employees who have faced significant restrictions,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “That’s why in the Budget yesterday we announced a second payment of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant — so that eligible small businesses will automatically receive a second payment in an amount equal to their first. Businesses in communities from Sarnia to Sault Ste. Marie have said this support is the difference between keeping the lights on and turning them off for good.”
The Ontario Small Business Support Grant is projected to deliver an estimated $3.4 billion to approximately 120,000 small businesses across Ontario, protecting jobs through this difficult time. Businesses can use their grant in whatever way makes the most sense for them. For example, some businesses could use the support to pay employee wages, while others may need help maintaining their inventory.
“Small businesses have faced some of the most difficult impacts of COVID-19, all while continually stepping up to help their communities and bringing forward their innovative ideas and solutions throughout the pandemic,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We introduced the Small Business Support Grant to give businesses a helping hand, and today nearly 100,000 businesses have received over $1.414 million in support. In the 2021 Budget, we announced the second round of payments will be made to eligible recipients to make sure our small businesses continue to be supported as we get closer to our economy reopening.”
Eligible business owners who have not yet applied for the grant have until March 31, 2021, to submit an application. A detailed list of businesses eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is available on the application page. Business owners can also visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport for more information about this grant as well as Ontario’s other supports for businesses.