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Ontario Financial Relief Programs

The Government of Ontario is implementing economic relief programs dedicated to helping businesses and citizens reduce the burden of expenses during COVID-19. These measures include a five-month relief period for businesses unable to remit or file provincial taxes, deferred WSIB payments for a period of six months, and more. The following provides a brief summary of these government programs, including details relating to eligibility, how to apply and general terms and conditions, as applicable. We will endeavour to update this page on a daily basis. However, for a complete and up to date description, please see the link to the applicable program webpage contained herein. Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to a Goodmans lawyer. Programs include:



Energy Affordable Programs

Program Overview

  • The Energy Affordability Program provides free electricity-saving measures to consumers to help reduce their home energy bills. Participating households may reduce their energy bills by between $100 and $1000 per year, depending on eligibility.
  • Participants receive different energy-saving products and services based on their eligibility. Such products and services include home energy needs assessments, energy saving kits, or advice from trained energy professionals. All expert advice and energy-saving home upgrades under this program are free of charge.

Eligibility

  • The Energy Affordability Program is available to:
    • Homeowners;
    • Tenants (with the consent of building owner or manager);
    • Social housing providers; and
    • Income-eligible Indigenous people connected to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)-controlled electricity grid, including within on-reserve First Nations communities.

How to Apply

  • Applicants must apply through the Energy Affordability Program here.


COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (“CEAP”) and COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Businesses ("CEAP-SB")

Program Overview

  • $23 million is being provided by the OEB for CEAP and CEAP-SB to support residential, small business and charitable organization customers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic. The programs will provide on-bill credits to consumers and small businesses to help pay down any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID 19 period.
  • Residential consumers may be eligible for up to $750 towards their electricity and natural gas bills.
  • Small business and charitable organization customers may be eligible for up to $1,500 towards their electricity and natural gas bills.

Eligibility

  • Eligibility criteria for CEAP can be found here, and, for CEAP-SB, here.

How to Apply

  • Applications must be made through your utility or USMP by contacting them directly.

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Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) Resilient Communities Fund

Program Overview

  • The fund offers grants of up to $150,000 over a 1-year term to aid non-profit organizations recover in the wake of COVID-19.

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be community-based or provincial non-profits that offer community programs and services that benefit the people of Ontario.
  • They must also have had their operations, programs and services disrupted by COVID-19.
  • More information on eligibility requirements can be found here.

How to Apply

  • Applicants must apply through the OTF’s granting portal.
  • The portal is currently closed. The next grant application deadline is August 4, 2021.

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Closed Programs



Interest and Penalty Relief

Program Overview

  • The government is providing an interest and penalty-free period for missed filing or remittance deadlines between April 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020. 
  • The government also temporarily suspended audit interactions however it is gradually resuming these activities.

Eligibility

  • Must be an Ontario business.

How to Apply

  • Penalties and interest will be waived automatically for all late returns or remittances by Ontario businesses during the relief period.

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Workplace Safety and Insurance Board ("WSIB") Payment Deferrals

Program Overview

  • Employers could defer WSIB payments for up to six months (March 31, 2020 to August 31, 2020).
  • Penalties and interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments ceased for schedule 1 businesses during the deferral period. Similarly, account balances for schedule 2 businesses did not accrue debt interest during the period.
  • Repayment of the deferred WSIB premiums will not begin until at least January, 2021.

Eligibility

  • All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance were automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package.

How to Apply

  • No action was required from businesses covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance to receive the financial relief.
  • All schedule 1 businesses must report their deferred amounts by October 31, 2020.

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Affordable Electricity Bills

Program Overview

  • From March 24 to May 31, 2020, residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers got the lowest rate on their electricity — also known as the off-peak price (10.1 ¢/kWh )— 24 hours a day.
  • Starting on June 1, 2020, customers were billed based on a new fixed COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8¢/kWh. The COVID-19 Recovery Rate will be in place until October 31, 2020.

Eligibility

  • Residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers are eligible.

 How to Apply

  • This rate will be automatically applied to customers’ bills.

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Electricity Disconnection Ban

Program Overview

  • The Ontario Energy Board (“OEB”) extended the winter ban on electricity disconnections due to non-payment for residential customers and low-volume, small business consumers until July 31, 2020. Individuals who qualified as low-volume consumers were not disconnected from their electricity supply for non-payment during that time.
  • Although this program had ended, Hydro One, Ontario’s primary electricity provider, has extended its disconnection ban until April 30, 2021.

Eligibility

  • Any “low-volume consumer”, which is a customer who uses less than 150,000 kWh per year, qualifies for this initiative.

How to Apply

  • No application is required.

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Pausing Commercial Evictions

Program Overview

  • The Ontario government temporarily protected commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by blocking or reversing their evictions.

Eligibility

  • This applied to businesses that were eligible for government rent assistance for evictions from May 1 to August 31, 2020. However, it did not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses.

How to Apply

  • No applications were necessary.

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