Ontario Supporting Business Investment and Prosperity during COVID-19
April 15, 2021
TORONTO — The Ontario government is proposing new red tape and burden reduction measures intended to minimize existing barriers on businesses and support a long-term recovery plan. Today, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced Ontario's Spring Red Tape Reduction Package and introduced the Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act. "Our government is committed to keeping Ontario workers and families safe and healthy, while protecting the environment while laying the foundation for a strong recovery and an even stronger future in the years ahead," said Minister Sarkaria. "That's why we've been focused on ending complex and duplicative rules that stifle the entrepreneurial spirit and make it harder for our businesses to compete, grow and prosper - our proposed legislation would help businesses rebound from this very difficult period." The proposed legislation is the latest in a series of actions that will help businesses and government deliver clear, modern and effective rules that promote public health, safeguard the environment and create jobs. If passed, the act will help more individuals, families and small businesses recover from the economic effects of COVID-19 and prepare them for future opportunities. The proposed legislative changes in the act, along with other measures in the package, include:
Helping consumers save money on electricity by making it easier for them to track their energy usage
Helping to ensure Ontario remains a global leader in the connected and automated vehicle industry by supporting innovative pilot programs - like consulting on adding new vehicle types such as automated farm vehicles, and removing certain restrictions around modified automated vehicles
Modernizing Ontario by bringing more processes and services online, including developing new applications that will allow online sticker renewal for heavy commercial vehicle licence plates in mid-2022
Enhancing protections for workers by strengthening policies that keep them safe - like reviewing the working at heights training program to improve standards for training content and delivery
Supporting the not-for-profit sector and other corporations by allowing them to continue to hold virtual meetings during the pandemic.
"The pandemic has reinforced the need for government to modernize regulations and reduce regulatory roadblocks," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "This package will benefit individuals, families and businesses by introducing measures that will create the conditions for investment and prosperity over the long term." Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario took immediate action to help people and businesses by passing three high-impact burden reduction bills in the past year: the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, Main Street Recovery Act, 2020 and Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020.
Ontario’s actions to cut red tape since June 2018 have led to annual savings in the cost of complying with regulations of $331 million as of June 2020.
The changes in the package to digitize processes, reduce red tape and simplify rules align with Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that will change the way people and businesses interact with government.
Ontario launched the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers portal in April 2020 for businesses to suggest ideas to overcome the unique regulatory challenges created by the global pandemic. This resulted in over 50 changes, including allowing restaurants and bars to extend outdoor patios, making the sale of beer and wine with food takeout and delivery orders permanent, and capping delivery fees charged to restaurants. The government also permanently allowed 24/7 deliveries to retail stores, restaurants, hotels and distribution facilities.
Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, brings total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan support now totals $51 billion.
Ontario is providing $1.7 billion for a second round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments to help eligible small businesses that have been the most affected by the necessary restrictions to protect people from COVID-19. Confirmed eligible recipients will automatically receive a second payment equal to the amount of their first payment, for minimum total support of $20,000 up to a maximum of $40,000. Through these two rounds of support, the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is projected to deliver an estimated $3.4 billion in direct support to approximately 120,000 small businesses across Ontario.