Queen's Park, Ontario legislature, exterior

The Ontario government will provide a second round of small business grants and offer a new program for struggling businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

The government made the proposals Wednesday in the 2021 budget.

Small businesses that are eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will be automatically entitled to a second one-time payment in an amount equal to the first payment received. The payments are between $10,000 and $20,000.

The government also announced a new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant, which will provide one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to businesses such as hotels and motels, travel agencies, amusement parks, and hunting, fishing and recreational camps that may not have been eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Small businesses that received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will not be eligible for the new grant.

The Ontario government launched the Ontario Small Business Support Grant in January to help businesses that were required to close or significantly restrict services under the Covid-19 province-wide shutdown that came into effect in December. The grant was intended to help businesses such as restaurants, retail and personal care services meet their financial obligations, such as paying rent or employees’ wages.

Eligible small businesses must have had fewer than 100 employees and experienced at least a 20% decline in revenue in April 2020 compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 could also be eligible using different months to compare revenue.

The government estimates that approximately 120,000 small businesses will benefit from its doubling of the grant, providing an additional $1.7 billion in support. Total support through the grant is $3.4 billion.

To qualify for the Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant, businesses must have experienced a minimum 20% decline in revenue and have fewer than 100 employees.

The Ontario government said it will invest an additional $400 million, on top of $225 million previously announced, over the next three years to support initiatives in the tourism, hospitality and cultural industries, where more than 140,000 jobs were lost between February 2020 and February 2021.