Ontario Government Introduces Much-Needed Measures to Provide Pandemic Relief

(Burlington, March 26) – Today, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following joint statement in reaction to the Government of Ontario’s Economic and Fiscal Update:

“Unprecedented times like these call for extraordinary measures. The Economic and Fiscal Update shows the government is listening and responding to Ontario businesses and families – and for this we are extremely grateful.

“These measures will help provide additional relief to employers and employees and build upon previous actions introduced, such as lowering electricity rates, extending the ban on electricity disconnection for households and small businesses, and important changes to the Employment Standards Act to protect workers.

“We call on the Province to work with the federal government and push for a larger federal wage subsidy and to expand federal loan extensions to small business.

“More measures to provide relief will be needed in the weeks and months ahead, so we will continue to work closely with our members and governments of all levels to support Ontario businesses and employees.”

Health Care

“Fundamentally, prioritizing public health is our best long-term economic strategy. The faster we stop the spread of COVID-19, the faster our economy can recover. Providing additional funding for our public health care and long-term care systems is not just the right thing to do – it’s critical for our recovery.”

Municipal Property Tax

“We are pleased the Ontario government has committed to work with municipalities to defer property taxes. Eliminating taxes and fees is something we have called for, as this will provide relief to local businesses as they experience unprecedented revenue losses. With revenue down considerably for nearly the entire business community, any way the government can reinforce their cash flow means the longer they can continue to pay their employees and keep the lights on.”

Tax Measures

“The Government’s reduction of the Employer Health Tax (EHT) is welcome news for Ontario business. Retroactively reducing the EHT and increasing the exemption will provide relief to many struggling businesses and their employees. Equally, deferring property tax assessments to next year will help lift a burden from those overwhelmed during this crisis. For parts of Ontario where businesses are especially struggling, the new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit is a much-needed support to help them through this crisis and beyond.”

Improved Cash Flows for Business

“We have asked the Government to consider a series of actions to support businesses both large and small as they experience unprecedented revenue losses. A six-month deferral on WSIB premiums for employers will provide relief to many businesses struggling to keep their lights on. Similarly, the deferral of the ten provincially administrated taxes from April 1 – August 31 will help support businesses at they try to stay afloat.”

Supports for Ontario’s Vulnerable

“Many business owners and employees are worried about how best to care for their families during this crisis, particularly when under quarantine or in isolation. Providing additional relief to parents with children under the age of 12 and to seniors are welcome actions on the part of the Province.”

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