Ontario unveils rebate program for businesses, industry group says it’s not enough

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The Ontario government has unveiled a new rebate program for businesses affected by capacity restrictions, but the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the support program does not meet business needs.

The province said on Wednesday it would introduce an Ontario business cost rebate program for businesses that have had to reduce capacity to 50 percent. Eligible businesses will receive reimbursements equivalent to 50% of property tax and energy costs incurred when subject to the capacity limit rules. Applications for the program will open in mid-January.

The government has also said it will allow businesses to delay payment of most provincially administered taxes in an effort to help businesses “free up cash in these tough times.”

“We recognize that these capacity limits necessary to reduce the transmission of the virus will have an impact on businesses, and that is why we are introducing these new media, which will put money directly into the hands of businesses and free up their workflows. cash flow during this critical time, ”Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said in a statement.

But CFIB President Dan Kelly says the new supports are not enough. The group had pushed provincial governments across the country to announce a new round of provincial business grants.

“It’s as if the Ontario government doesn’t recognize the emergency it has created for small business,” Kelly said in a Twitter statement shortly after Ontario released details of its new support program.

“No new grants, just a skinny rebate program starting in January that promises to defer some bills while creating more debt for small business owners.”

Ontario Chamber of Commerce chief executive Rocco Rossi said in a statement Wednesday that the organization was wondering whether the support would be enough to prevent a wave of business closures.

“Applications for the Ontario Business Expense Reimbursement Program will not be open until mid-January. This time frame – along with the limited eligibility for energy and property tax rebates – may not be enough for many small businesses to keep their doors open, ”he said. noted.

“Newly imposed restrictions intended to control the spread of the Omicron variant should always be met with immediate, proportionate and targeted relief, especially for small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat at this time.”

Ontario’s new program comes the same day the federal government expanded financial assistance programs for workers and businesses in response to new restrictions brought on by the Omicron variant. Ottawa will expand the Local Containment Program to include companies with capacity restrictions of 50 percent or more, and the Canada Worker Containment Benefit (CWLB) to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity restrictions of 50 percent or more.

With files from Jessy Bains

Alicja Siekierska is a Senior Journalist at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on twitter @alicjawithaj.

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