TORONTO — “Small businesses are the backbone of Ontario’s economy, and our government will always be in their corner. Through more than 100 virtual roundtables and discussions with small business owners, their employees, local leaders, and economists from all over Ontario, I’ve heard directly about the extraordinary sacrifices small businesses have made to keep their employees safe, their customers confident, and their communities strong,” said Minister Sarkaria. “Our government is standing with main street businesses, and we remain committed to their recovery and renewed success. We are determined to support them through this pandemic and beyond.”
The Ontario government is continuing to help businesses rebuild, reinvest, and create good jobs across the province. Today, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced Ontario’s Main Street Recovery Plan and intends to introduce the Main Street Recovery Act, 2020, proposed legislation that would support small businesses and modernize rules to allow them to innovate and meet the challenges of today. If passed, the act will remove hurdles faced by small businesses and allow them to pursue new opportunities — while maintaining or enhancing protections for public health, safety, and the environment.
The plan includes:
- A one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food, and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Ontario’s Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, which links 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres across the province as places where small businesses can access tailored advice and information on local, provincial and federal programs;
- Digital Main Street Squads to help small businesses grow online;
- Mental health supports for families, frontline workers, young people, children, and Indigenous communities;
- Ontario’s Small Business Recovery Webpage to provide single window access to small business supports.
The plan’s regulatory and legislative changes, if passed, will:
- Commit to exploring options to permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order before the existing regulation expires;
- Permanently allow 24/7 deliveries to businesses that include retail stores, restaurants, and distribution facilities;
- Support the distribution of local food and food products by increasing the range of products sold at the Ontario Food Terminal;
- Enable Community Net Metering demonstration projects to help support local communities to develop innovative community projects like net-zero or community micro-grids;
- Modernize the Assistive Devices Program;
- Support Ontario’s Taxi and Limousine Industry by increasing fines for illegal operators.
“Small business owners and entrepreneurs have overcome significant challenges and made extraordinary sacrifices to continue contributing to our communities through these unprecedented times,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for Digital and Data Transformation. “Providing new, easy-to-use and innovative tools, like our Small Business Recovery Webpage, will give them the information they need to reopen safely and rebuild better in one central location. It’s another way we’re building a smarter government.”
“Ontario’s small businesses were hit hard by COVID-19, but they were the among the first to step up and demonstrate the best of the Ontario Spirit by bringing forward their innovative ideas and solutions in our time of need,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Building on the steps we took at the outset of the pandemic to provide urgent economic relief to struggling small businesses, Ontario’s Main Street Recovery Plan will help get more and more small businesses back on their feet as we continue down the path to economic recovery together.”