Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover Promotes Job Creation by Reducing Taxes on Employers in Waterloo Region

Published on November 10, 2020

Ontario’s 2020 Budget levels the playing field by reducing unfair property tax rates and proposes to give municipalities tools to target property tax relief to local small businesses

NEWS November 10,2020

KITCHENER — The Ontario government is giving municipalities the flexibility to provide property tax relief to small businesses. The province is also considering matching these reductions which would provide small businesses with municipal and provincial property tax relief totaling $385 million. This initiative is part of the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Ontario’s economy, but many have been suffering through the pandemic and struggling to stay on their feet,” said Premier Ford. “Our municipal partners came to us with an idea to provide more support for small businesses through property tax relief, and in our fall budget, we delivered. Our government is also helping small business owners by eliminating unfair taxes on jobs and lowering the Business Education Tax.”

Today, Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga and Amy Fee, MPP for Kitchener South-Hespeler were joined by Regional Chair Karen Redman to announce relief measures for local businesses in Waterloo Region.

Property taxes are one of the most unavoidable costs businesses face. They must be paid, even when business is slow, as it has been for so many this year. In Ontario, there is a wide range of Business Education Tax rates across the province - despite promises made by governments over the last 25 years to fix this inequity. This creates an unfair challenge for businesses operating in communities where rates are higher.

The 2020 Budget proposes to reduce property taxes on job creators and level the playing field by lowering high Business Education Tax (BET) rates for over 200,000 employers, or 94 per cent of all business properties in Ontario, starting January 1. This will create $450 million in immediate annual savings and represents a reduction of 30 per cent for many businesses currently subject to the highest BET rate in the province such as those in Waterloo Region.

Statement from MPP Harris and MPP Fee

“We heard clearly from our municipal partners, including Chair Redman, that reducing Waterloo Region’s Business Education Tax rate would provide significant relief. This will save our commercial and industrial properties more than $37 million. Coupled with reductions in hydro rates for industrial and commercial employers, these measures will help our job creators recover and reinvest to grow their businesses and create new jobs, now and into the future”.

“The Toronto Waterloo Region Innovation Corridor will play a key role in Ontario’s economic recovery,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “These new initiatives by the Province will allow us to move a number of shovel-ready projects forward across Waterloo Region that will help stimulate our local economy.”

“Time and time again, we have heard that unfair property tax rates in some parts of the province are creating barriers to job creation and growth,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. “We heard loud and clear that levelling the playing field and addressing unfair property tax rates is one of the most important things we can do to immediately support employers now and in the future.

Rates will be reduced to 0.88 per cent. For employers in Waterloo Region, this represents a reduction of 30 per cent. It means industrial properties will save $7,225,000 and commercial properties will save $30,581,000.

“One the Region’s key budget submission asks that came as a recommendation from our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Committee was to accelerate the reduction of education tax rates in Waterloo Region to provide tax relief to all commercial and industrial businesses and reduce the inter-regional tax disparities.” said Councillor Sean Strickland, Chair of Administration and Finance Committee and Co-Chair of the Region’s Ad Hoc COVID-19 Economic Recovery. “The budget announced that the government is lowering the Business Education Tax rates in recognition of this long-standing municipal concern.”

The government is also proposing to end a tax for an additional 30,000 employers. Back in March, the government more than doubled the Employer Health Tax exemption to $1 million. Employers across Ontario have indicated that this measure helped them keep workers on the job during COVID-19.

The Ontario government is also helping main street businesses stay open and stay safe by offering a grant of up to $1,000 for the costs of personal protective equipment (PPE), with applications for the $60-million Main Street Relief Grant becoming available online on November 16, 2020. Small businesses with two to nine employees in the retail, accommodations and food services, repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services sectors can apply for this one-time grant. Eligible businesses, whether applying for the Main Street Relief Grant for PPE – or for property tax or energy rebates in affected regions – will be able to do it all through one application on a new online portal. For more information, please visit ontario.ca/smallbusiness.

“Ontario’s landmark Budget – the first delivered during a global pandemic – in part focuses on what matters most to small businesses and will help establish a solid foundation on which they can reliably recover and rebuild,” said Minister Sarkaria. “Partnering with municipalities to bring tax relief to our small businesses will strengthen our recovery and help our job creators weather this storm.”


  • Ontario's Action Plan sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available
    the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax
    measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the
    groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.


  • Ontario has also committed $300 million to provide eligible small businesses in modified Stage 2
    public health restrictions, or, going forward, in areas categorized as Control or Lockdown to
    cover costs associated with property taxes and energy bills.


  • The province is also moving forward with introducing legislation to extend the temporary ban on
    commercial evictions for businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance, as
    part of Bill 229, the Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020.
    If passed, the legislation would extend the ban on evictions for commercial tenants that would
    have been eligible for the CECRA for small businesses program.