Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is pleased with the Ontario budget announced today as it provides much needed relief for retailers in their continued efforts to remain viable during the pandemic.
RCC is proud to represent over 45,000 storefronts, many of which are small and mid-sized businesses that populate Ontario’s main streets, malls and local communities. We are relieved to see that today’s budget recognizes the financial burdens that have been placed on retailers and provides them with new hope for their recovery efforts.
Some highlights include:
- An extension of the commercial eviction moratorium: Rent relief remains a priority issue for retailers and we continue to be deeply concerned with the vast number of ongoing store closures.
- Making permanent the $1M exemption level for the Employer Health Tax: Traditionally, small business employers could have paid upwards of 2 cents on every payroll dollar as an additional tax to Ontario. As a result of today’s budget, employers with salaries totally less than $1M will not have to pay any Employer Health Tax, which more than doubles the pre-COVID-19 exemption level.
- A focus on harmonizing and reducing property tax bills paid by small businesses: Ontario has regional disparities within the province – a business in London pays significantly more than a business in Toronto. With all of us paying into the same public education system, RCC has long encouraged Ontario to rationalize property tax. Ontario’s move today will align all bills to the low level of 0.88%, resulting in a province-wide reduction for 217,000 small businesses.
- A 16% reduction in energy bills for retailers: Retailers make up the largest sector in the Class B, Non-RPP ratepayer category. Today’s announcement means that some retailers will see $5M to $7M a year in savings.
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About Retail Council of Canada
Retail is Canada’s largest employer with 2.1 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $76 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were $377 billion in 2018. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.RetailCouncil.org