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Ontario - Additional Financial Assistance

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  • Today (April 21), following Saskatchewan’s announcement of a multi-phase plan to reopen, the Prime Minister is discussing the process of restarting parts of the economy with the premiers.

  • Although some provinces, like Quebec and Ontario, continue to see hundreds of new cases daily, others have gone several days with no new cases.

  • Additionally, more financial relief is now available for both individuals and small businesses.

Ongoing Individual Relief

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available for individuals affected by COVID-19 but otherwise ineligible for Employment Insurance.

  • Individuals must have made at least $5,000 in 2019 and must not make more than $1,000 for the 4-week period for which they are applying.

  • Applications for April 12–May 9, 2020, opened last week. Individuals may still apply. We will update you when the new applications open for May 10–June 6.

Business Wage Subsidies

  • Canadian employers affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for a subsidy of their employees' wages for up to 12 weeks (retroactive from March 15–June 6, 2020).

  • The subsidy covers 75% of an employee's wages (up to $847 per week).

  • Employers of all sizes and across all sectors are eligible if they suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

  • Applications open April 27.

Commercial Rent Assistance

  • Today, Ontario announced a partnership with the federal government to deliver urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords through the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA).

  • OCECRA provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls from their small business tenants who were impacted by COVID-19.

  • Small business tenants and landlords will each be asked to pay 25% of the before-profit costs and the provincial/federal governments would cost-share the remaining 50% of the rent.

  • To be eligible, property owners must reduce rental costs for April to June 2020 by at least 75% and sign a rent forgiveness agreement with tenants (including a moratorium on evictions for three months).

  • Eligible small business tenants: (i) Pays monthly rent not exceeding $50,000 in gross rent payments; and (ii) Non-essential business that has temporarily closed or Essential business experiencing a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues (not-for-profits charities will also be considered for the program).

Relief for Seniors and the Disabled

  • On April 21, Ontario announced much-needed support for seniors and persons with disabilities, including investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines, and other essentials.

  • The province will also be issuing the first doubled-payments of Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS). Individuals will receive up to $166 per month and couples will receive up to $332 per month.

  • These doubled payments will continue for 6 months and provide an additional $75 million to 194,000 vulnerable seniors who may need more help to cover essential expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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