Supporting Our Business Community Throughout COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted many aspects of our lives, whether it’s the impact of staying at home but for the essentials, children learning from outside of the physical classroom, or the nature of work changing either due to performing essential work in our community or due to a directive to work from home. For our business community, especially small- and medium-sized employers, COVID-19 has created acute pressures on businesses, affecting both employers and employees alike.
It has been heartening to see so many across Dufferin-Caledon support our local business community by shopping local where possible, but I know that far too many businesses continue to feel the immediate financial pressures from declining revenues. That’s why we have partnered with the Government of Canada and the business community to provide the Ontario-Canada Commercial Rent Assistance Program, providing forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, to support commercial tenants, property owners accessing the rent assistance program will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75 per cent and commit to a moratorium on evictions for those three months.
This most recent announcement builds on a series of cash flow supports we have made amounting to $10 billion to help support jobs and the economy across Ontario, including:
- Doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020, cutting taxes by $355 million for roughly 57,000 employers in Ontario.
- Eliminating penalties and interest to businesses who miss filing or remittance deadlines for a number of provincially administered taxes for five months starting April 1, 2020, providing up to $6 billion in cash flow for about 100,000 Ontario businesses.
- Implementing the new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit for businesses that make eligible capital investments in designated regions of the province where employment growth has significantly lagged behind below the provincial average.
All of these measures add to work by our federal counterparts to introduce a wage subsidy up to 75 per cent for the employees of eligible workplaces.
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have closed their doors and employees have stayed home and that has been working, but it has also created significant financial hardship. By subsidizing rent payments, reducing taxes, extending deadlines, and eliminating penalties and interest, we’re helping to ensure businesses can start up quickly when the time is right.
We are planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health. You can find more details about our road map for the responsible restart of our economy is available at Ontario.ca/coronavirus. For more information about our support for local business and the economy, visit sylviajonesmpp.ca or call my office at 1-800-265-1603.