Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The Ontario government is renewing its small-business support grants and providing extra help to sectors hit hardest by the pandemic.

The Ontario budget, tabled Wednesday, included the announcement of a second round of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The first round, which came out in January, provided grants of between $10,000 and $20,000 to businesses with fewer than 100 employees that had seen revenue decline more than 20 per cent. Unlike federal programs, new businesses are eligible for the grant.

Small businesses that already received money through the first round are automatically eligible for the second for the same amount. The government said more details on payment would be available shortly.

Story continues below advertisement

Ontario Budget 2021: Six things you need to know

The Ontario government said it has already sent out $1.7-billion to about 120,000 small businesses through the grant, so the total cost is expected to double to $3.4-billion once the second payments are made.

The budget also outlined $400-million in new spending over three years to help the tourism, hospitality and recreation sectors, which have been acutely affected by public-health measures meant to limit the spread of COVID-19. For example, Canadians have been discouraged from travelling to other cities, and restaurants have had to reduce or eliminate capacity for in-person dining.

‘It’s been a sprint’: A new wave of business creation is taking hold

Tourism and hospitality businesses that were not eligible for the small-business grant can now access a new version of the grant tailored to their sector, which will also provide between $10,000 and $20,000. The government said this would affect businesses such as hotels, amusement parks and children’s summer camps. The total cost of the grant is budgeted at $100-million.

The budget also contained the promise of an Ontario Tourism Recovery Program, which would spend $100-million to help businesses, including tourism operators and attractions, with reopening expenses such as marketing and restructuring. The government said the funds would be available to businesses that were “historically successful,” and that it was still finalizing how it would determine that designation. The government provided few details about the program or when it would launch.

The government also reiterated it intended to create a personal tax credit to encourage Ontarians to visit tourist sites within their own province, with a projected cost of $150-million.

Ryan Mallough, director of Ontario provincial affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said his group welcomed the grant renewal, especially the streamlined process for accessing the second payment. He said he hopes the March 31 deadline is extended so businesses have more time to apply.

However, he said the grant was still inaccessible for many businesses, such as dry cleaners, that were not forced to close but still have had big revenue losses.

Story continues below advertisement

“For businesses that the Ontario Small Business Support Grant works for, this is showing the program will continue to work for them,” Mr. Mallough said. “Unfortunately, there are still a lot of businesses that have been shut out of this program.”

No new help specific to the food industry was announced, with the budget instead pointing to past measures, such as allowing restaurants and bars to include alcoholic products with takeout orders. The budget did not address a long-time ask from the industry to be allowed to purchase alcohol at wholesale prices. Ontario is one of only two provinces that does not allow it.

“We are disappointed,” said James Rilett, vice-president, Central Canada, for Restaurants Canada. “There was really none of the sector-specific support we were hoping there would be.”

Statistics Canada data from the Labour Force Survey estimated Ontario lost 122,000 jobs in the accommodation and food services sector between February, 2020, and February, 2021. A recent survey from the CFIB suggested business owners in the sector have taken on an average debt of more than $200,000.

To help Ontarians who have lost employment, the budget announced a new, temporary Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit, which will provide up to $2,000 for 50 per cent of eligible education expenses. The government also announced it would spend $288-million on its Skilled Trades Strategy in the current fiscal year to modernize the apprenticeship system.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies