Ontario’s Main Street Recovery Plan
Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction unveiled Ontario’s Main Street Recovery Plan, and plans to introduce proposed legislation (Main Street Recovery Act, 2020).
The Act (if passed) will enable Community Net Metering demonstration projects to help support local communities to develop innovative community projects like net-zero or community micro-grids.
“There are many Ontarians who are keen to have their homes and businesses powered by solar energy but do not have the roof space on-site to install this technology. A community net metering framework would enable more people to benefit from solar energy deployment within the community while also creating local jobs and investment”, said Nicholas Gall, Director of Distributed Energy Resources, Canadian Renewable Energy Association.
The plan includes:
- A one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset costs of PPE;
- Ontario’s small business COVID-19 recovery network, which links 47 small business enterprise centres across the province;
- Digital main street squads;
- Mental health supports for families, frontline workers, young people, children, and Indigenous communities; and,
- Ontario’s small business recovery web page.
The plan’s regulatory and legislative changes (if passed):
- Commit to exploring options to permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order before the existing regulation expires;
- Permanently allow 24/7 deliveries to businesses that include retail stores, restaurants, and distribution facilities;
- Support the distribution of local food and food products by increasing the range of products sold at the Ontario Food Terminal;
- Modernize the assistive devices program;
- Support Ontario’s taxi and limousine Industry by increasing fines for illegal operators.
“Ontario’s small businesses were hit hard by COVID-19, but they were the among the first to step up and demonstrate the best of the Ontario Spirit by bringing forward their innovative ideas and solutions in our time of need,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Building on the steps we took at the outset of the pandemic to provide urgent economic relief to struggling small businesses, Ontario’s Main Street Recovery Plan will help get more and more small businesses back on their feet as we continue down the path to economic recovery together.”