Joining the ranks of a number of government relief programs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is the recently announced Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF).  

Effective October 26th, 2020, eligible small businesses can now apply under this program for a grant of up to $5,000, in order to reimburse the costs of personal protective equipment (PPE), physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements, and enhancements to their digital or e-commerce capabilities.

Applications for small businesses can be done through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce here

Eligible Applicants

In order to apply for the grant, a small business must meet a number of specific criteria:

  • Incorporated, or operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership as of March 1, 2020;
  • Minimum annual sales of $150,000 and not more than $3,000,000;
  • No more than 75 employees;
  • Have $1,000,000 of commercial general liability insurance;
  • Be in full compliance with all applicable government laws, rules, regulations, guidelines and other legally binding measures; and
  • Be in operation after September 1, 2020.

While not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply; charities, municipalities, government organizations and the chamber of commerce networks are not eligible.  

Along with the application, the business will need to submit a GST/HST registration document or recent GST/HST filing, along with one of the following:

  • Proof of business registration;
  • Business license;
  • Articles of incorporation or letters patent; or
  • For partnerships: Articles of incorporation or letters patent for each corporate partner.  

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has indicated that priority consideration will be given to businesses owned by Indigenous People, women, visible minorities, LGBTQ2+, and persons with disabilities.

Eligible Costs

Eligible expenditures must have been made on or after March 15, 2020, and receipts and invoices along with proof of payment will need to be submitted along with the application.  The grant is intended as a reimbursement to expenses that have already been incurred (as opposed to a loan for future costs).  Eligible costs include the following categories:

  1. Purchase of PPE, such as masks, face shields, gloves, sanitizer, etc.
  1. Renovation of space to adhere to re-opening guidelines.  This would include building physical barriers, signage or floor markers, sanitization stations, curbside pick-up improvements or other renovations necessary for COVID-19 protection; and
  1. Enhancing of website / developing e-commerce capability.  Some eligible examples may include creating or designing a website, setting up online e-commerce transactions, monthly fees supporting e-commerce, webinar software and hardware to allow for touchless payments.

Full details on the program and application process are available from the OCC here.  

Applications will be subject to a 40-business day turnaround.  

If you have any questions relating to this matter, contact your professionals at Wilkinson & Co. LLP

This publication is a general discussion of certain tax matters and should not be relied upon as professional advice. If you require tax advice, we would be pleased to discuss the issues in this publication with you, in the context of your particular circumstances.

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