Following more than a month of mandated province-wide shutdowns to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government announced that a phased reopening is set to begin on Wednesday, February 10th. However, much of the province will still remain in lockdown until further notice. Small businesses are particularly affected by the closures during the pandemic. In a study analyzing the differential impacts of the pandemic on small businesses, Statistics Canada found that small businesses were “more likely to experience a decrease in revenue and have less liquidity, and more likely to be unable to take on more debt and to be considering bankruptcy in the current economic environment”. The strain that small businesses experience affects many Canadians because small businesses make up 98% of all businesses with employees in Canada.As such, the Ontario Small Business Support Grant was introduced in December with applications opening on January 15, 2021. Under the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, eligible businesses can receive between $10,000 and $20,000 to help offset decreased revenue expected as a result of the shutdown. These funds may be used in whatever manner the business deems necessary, including but not limited to paying employee wages, maintaining inventory, and paying rent.The Ontario Small Business Support Grant requires businesses to attest to three main criteria. The business must have less than 100 employees, been required to close or significantly restrict services due to the province-wide shutdown, and experienced a reduction in revenue of at least 20% calculated by comparing monthly revenue. Payment for successful applicants may be received in as little as 10 business days.The Ontario Small Business Support Grant follows in the footsteps of other provincially-led relief measures for small businesses such as Nova Scotia’s Small Business Impact Grant (now closed), New Brunswick’s Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program, and Quebec’s Emergency Aid for Small and Medium Sized Businesses (though the latter two are loans, part of which require repayment).Since the start of the pandemic, various organizations and governments have been providing financial support to businesses. However, it can be difficult to find all of the information in one place, to navigate the eligibility criteria for each program, and to keep up with the changes to the program requirements. Some relief programs have closed, some were depleted before many businesses and individuals could apply, and others are still available.Blue J’s COVID-19 Relief Programs and Credits Guided Analysis can help you find financial relief programs and credits for which your business may be eligible, including the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Blue J has gathered information and analyzed the eligibility criteria on over 190 relief programs and credits across Canada. This tool is completely free and easy to use. After you answer an online questionnaire, Blue J will display for you which relief programs and credits the business or individual may be eligible. Blue J is committed to frequently updating the tool to help you make relevant and timely decisions for your business. The deadline to apply for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is March 31, 2021.
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