Was your business impacted by the 2022 demonstrations?

The Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund offers targeted financial relief to downtown Ottawa businesses that were directly and negatively impacted by the demonstrations near Parliament Hill from January 22 to February 28, 2022. Thanks to the support from the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the Government of Ontario, funding is available to support eligible and impacted businesses.

Program Funders and Partners

 

 

Eligible businesses can apply for a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $15,000 to manage certain operational costs incurred during the blockade that are not covered by other government programs.

These include utilities, insurance, bank charges, loss of inventory (e.g., spoiled food), wages, rent, and other extraordinary costs related to the repair or protection of a business due to the demonstrations.

Applications open March 15, 2022. Funds will be distributed to eligible businesses on a first-come, first-serve basis until the funds are exhausted. Do not delay in applying as funds are limited. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2022 Based on feedback from our community, the Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund application deadline has been extended to May 15, 2022. Apply today!

Monies received by businesses are non-reimbursable.

 

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The application will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. Be prepared to complete the online application in one sitting. It is not possible to save the application mid-process and return to it later. Make sure you have all necessary info and documents ready before starting.

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Verify that your business is eligible to receive funds

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Complete the seven steps of the online application

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Receive funds directly in your business bank account

Is your business eligible?

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What businesses are eligible?

If your business has fewer than 100 employees working at the affected location, provides in-person services, had planned on operating during the demonstrations but was limited or unable to do so, and is in one of the impacted areas downtown or in Overbrook, it’s likely that your business is eligible.

 

Eligible businesses must:

  • Be a for-profit entity
  • Provide in-person services
  • Have a valid Canada Revenue Agency business number
  • Have an active Canadian business bank account
Family in Byward Market
Eligible postal codes

The impacted business location must:

  • Have fewer than 100 employees
  • Be located in one of the identified areas (see list)
  • Have intended to provide in-person services during the demonstrations
  • Be open and providing in-person services today

The application deadline is April 30, 2022. Based on feedback from our community, the Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund application deadline has been extended to May 15, 2022. Apply today!
Funds are limited. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply soon!

 

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Be prepared to complete the online application in one sitting. It is not possible to save the application mid-process and return to it later. Make sure you have all necessary info and documents ready before starting.

What you need to apply

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You will be required to upload some documents:

  • A void cheque or bank letter that includes your business name and confirms details of your bank account
  • A screenshot from your CRA account to confirm your 9-digit business number
  • A picture of your office or storefront that confirms that your business is currently operational

 

You will be required to provide the following:

  • A description and calculation of the eligible costs your business incurred between January 22 and February 28, 2022
  • Details about your business, including address, business type, contact information, and banking details

Woman using calculator

 

You will be asked to agree to certain legal obligations

  • Consent and privacy notice
  • Legal requirements as defined by the funders
  • An attestation to confirm your business is eligible for the funding
  • An attestation to confirm the amount of eligible costs

We aim to distribute the funds directly into the bank accounts of eligible businesses quickly and securely this spring.

 

Caution icon

Be prepared to complete the online application in one sitting. It is not possible to save the application mid-process and return to it later. Make sure you have all necessary info and documents ready before starting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview of the program

What is the Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund?

The Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund is designed to provide targeted relief to downtown Ottawa businesses that were directly and negatively impacted by the recent demonstrations near Parliament Hill in January and February 2022. The Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) is funding up to $20 million and the Government of Ontario is funding up to $10 million.

How much funding can I apply for?

You can apply for a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $15,000 based on total eligible costs (before HST).

How do I know if my business was “directly and negatively impacted” by the demonstrations?

Directly and negatively impacted by the demonstrations means having suffered the losses covered by this Fund as a result of the demonstrations themselves, such as being unable to open, having reduced hours of operation, having customers unable to reach you, or having safety concerns, or as a result of actions of the participants in the demonstrations.

Did my business need to close during the demonstrations to be eligible to apply?

No, your business did not need to be completely closed during the demonstrations to be eligible to apply. The direct and negative impact that your business sustained could include being unable to open, having reduced hours of operation, having customers unable to reach you, or having safety concerns. We encourage you to apply if you sustained any of these impacts to your business.

How are the funds being distributed?

Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are exhausted. If your application is approved, the funds will be issued via a direct deposit to your business bank account.

Which Ottawa neighbourhoods will be included in this Fund?

If your business is physically located in one of the following neighbourhoods, you may be eligible to apply. You will need to ensure you are eligible according to all other eligibility criteria:

  • Vanier, Vanier North, Vanier South, Lindenlea, New Edinburgh, Kingsview Park
  • Byward Market, Lower Town, Sandy Hill
  • Downtown/Parliament Hill
  • Chinatown, Little Italy, Centretown West, Lebreton Flats
  • Old Ottawa East, Old Ottawa South
  • Wellington Village, Hintonburg, Mechanicsville, Tunney’s Pasture, Champlain Park, Hampton Park, Civic Hospital/Experimental Farm/Central Park
  • Portions of Westboro, Laurentian View, Carlington 
  • Centretown, Golden Triangle
  • Portions of Overbrook (Intersections Lola Street and Donald Street; Lola Street and Queen Mary Street; Coventry Road)

Business eligibility criteria

Is my business eligible to apply?

You will need to check off all requirements in the lists below and attest that they are true and accurate. Your attestation will become part of a legally binding agreement once your application has been accepted by Invest Ottawa.   

In a nutshell: You need to be a small business that follows all laws and suffered direct and negative impacts due to the demonstrations.  

My business:  

☑ Is a for-profit entity 

☑ Was directly and negatively impacted by the demonstrations in Ottawa that started January 22, 2022 by being unable to operate at normal levels (unable to open; reduced hours of operation; customers unable to reach me; safety concerns) 

☑ Is physically located within the most impacted areas: K1L, K1M, K1N, K1P, K1R, K1S, K1Y, K1Z, K2P, or specific areas in Overbrook (K1K 3P5, K1K 3P4, K1K 1M3, K1K 3P7, K1K 3N8, K1K 1M4, K1K 4G4, K1K 3P9, K1K 4S3, K1K 3X6, K1K 4M7, K1K 4P5, K1K 2C5, K1K 2C6, K1K 2C7, K1K 2C4, K1K 2Y5, K1A 0T1) or specific areas in Westboro K2A 1H4, K2A 4C4, K2A 0G2, K2A 1R7, K2A 3X9, K2A 4H7, K2A 4H6, K2A 0E9, K2A 0E7, K2A 0E1, K2A 0E8, K2A 0E2, K2A 4C9, K2A 2Z4, K2A 1Y8, K2A 1Y5) 

☑ Employs between 1-100 employees at the location in the impacted area (or is an owner-operated business without employees) 

☑ Was intending to provide in-person services during the demonstrations (and could not transition to virtual services in the short-term) 

☑ Is open and providing in-person services at the time of application 

☑ Will not use the funds to duplicate relief support received through other federal, provincial, or municipal relief measures 

☑ Will not claim any ineligible expenses in this application 

☑ Is in compliance with all federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and other applicable laws governing the Business or related to the non-repayable contribution, or both, including without limitation, statutes, regulations, by-laws, rules, ordinances, decrees, and business operating licenses 

☑ Has a valid business number assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency  

☑ Has an active Canadian business chequing/operating account  

My business is NOT:  

☑ A home-based business (except those that provide in-person services) 

☑ A landlord that does not operate a business out of the physical address  

☑ a contractor that does not have a physical storefront (e.g. construction tradesmen, Uber drivers, etc.) 

☑ Being prosecuted for illegal activity 

How are the “impacted areas” defined?

The impacted areas are defined as those that were most directly and negatively impacted by the demonstrations. These includes businesses located in the following postal codes: K1L, K1M, K1N, K1P, K1R, K1S, K1Y, K1Z, K2P, or specific areas in Overbrook (K1K 3P5, K1K 3P4, K1K 1M3, K1K 3P7, K1K 3N8, K1K 1M4, K1K 4G4, K1K 3P9, K1K 4S3, K1K 3X6, K1K 4M7, K1K 4P5, K1K 2C5, K1K 2C6, K1K 2C7, K1K 2C4, K1K 2Y5, K1A 0T1 or specific areas in Westboro K2A 1H4, K2A 4C4, K2A 0G2, K2A 1R7, K2A 3X9, K2A 4H7, K2A 4H6, K2A 0E9, K2A 0E7, K2A 0E1, K2A 0E8, K2A 0E2, K2A 4C9, K2A 2Z4, K2A 1Y8, K2A 1Y5).

I run a business out of my home; am I eligible to apply?

If you run a home-based business that provides in-person services in one of the impacted areas and your business is in compliance with all other eligibility criteria, you are eligible to apply.

How is home-based business defined?

Home-based business means a business that operates out of the business owner’s residence.

How are in-person services defined?

In-person services means services that are wholly or mainly provided by your business to your customers face-to-face and that cannot be wholly provided by other means including virtually. This Fund is designed for businesses that perform the majority of their services in-person on a regular basis. Businesses that could have pivoted to virtual service delivery during the demonstrations are not eligible to receive funding.

I have more than 100 people employed at the business location in the impacted area; is my business eligible?

This relief fund was designed to support small businesses with less than 100 employees, as established by the Government of Canada through FedDev Ontario and the Government of Ontario. Businesses with more than 100 people employed at the location in the impacted area are not eligible to apply.

I own a franchise in one of the impacted areas and have fewer than 100 people employed at this location; am I eligible to apply?

If you are a franchise owner with fewer than 100 people employed at the business location in one of the impacted areas, and your business complies with all other eligibility criteria, then you are eligible to apply.

Are Quebec businesses eligible to apply?

Businesses that are physically located in the impacted areas are eligible to apply: K1L, K1M, K1N, K1P, K1R, K1S, K1Y, K1Z, K2P, or specific areas in Overbrook (K1K 3P5, K1K 3P4, K1K 1M3, K1K 3P7, K1K 3N8, K1K 1M4, K1K 4G4, K1K 3P9, K1K 4S3, K1K 3X6, K1K 4M7, K1K 4P5, K1K 2C5, K1K 2C6, K1K 2C7, K1K 2C4, K1K 2Y5, K1A 0T1) or specific areas in Westboro K2A 1H4, K2A 4C4, K2A 0G2, K2A 1R7, K2A 3X9, K2A 4H7, K2A 4H6, K2A 0E9, K2A 0E7, K2A 0E1, K2A 0E8, K2A 0E2, K2A 4C9, K2A 2Z4, K2A 1Y8, K2A 1Y5). The geographic region of incorporation is not a determining factor in eligibility.

Businesses located in Gatineau that may have been impacted by the demonstrations are asked to reach out to the Outaouais office for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) to learn about potential relief opportunities through CED:

259, boulevard Saint-Joseph, bureau 202,

Gatineau (Québec) J8Y 6T1

Phone number (toll free): 1-800-561-0633

https://ced.canada.ca/en/regional-information/outaouais/

Can I submit more than one application if I own more than one small business?

If you own more than one business (as defined by a unique 9-digit business number assigned by CRA) that comply with all other eligibility criteria, you may apply for each business.

Can I submit more than one application if I own a business with more than one location?

If you own a business that has more than one location within the impacted area, you are eligible to apply for each location that was impacted. You are required to submit a separate application for each location, and you must ensure you claim only unique expenses for each location (no duplicate expenses).

Funding details

What are the eligible expenses I can claim?

The expenses you claim must have been incurred between January 22, 2022 and February 28, 2022. You will need to keep all supporting receipts/invoices that you used to calculate the eligible costs on file for seven (7) years should you be selected for audit.  

  • Security. Costs directly related to securing your business during the demonstrations. This can include any extraordinary costs related to the repair or protection of your business during the demonstrations (e.g. hiring additional security personnel, security improvements to the physical location (e.g. boarding up windows, etc.), signage or barricades, costs for staff counselling/wellness, etc.).   
  • Inventory. This would reimburse losses and/or replacement costs due to inventory damaged or spoiled (food supplies, etc.) due to the economic disruption caused by the demonstrations. 
  • Operating. Non-deferrable fixed operating costs. This can include but would not be limited to: bank interest charges, utilities, insurance, professional fees, and wages and rent. (Note: wages and rent costs must be within the government stacking limit of no more than 100 percent, if you are in receipt of other federal government supports). 

All eligible costs should be aligned to their eligibility category, with a total per category entered. 

It is important to note that lost revenues are not an eligible expense to claim. Your costs need to align with the categories above and be calculated based on invoices/receipts your business paid.   

Do I need to provide receipts/invoices?

You will not be required to provide receipts or invoices at the time of your application. Instead, you will need to attest to your business’s eligible and incurred costs grouped by three categories. You will need to keep all supporting receipts/invoices that you used to calculate the eligible costs on file for seven (7) years should you be selected for an audit.

Can I get reimbursed for lost revenues sustained by my business?

Lost revenues are not an eligible expense. The expenses you claim need to be supported by receipts/invoices should you be selected for audit.

We appreciate that if you were directly and negatively impacted by the demonstrations, that your business likely sustained lost revenues. The Fund is designed to cover some of the security, inventory, and non-deferrable operating costs you incurred during the time when your revenues were down, thus helping your business to off-set the losses.

Can I get reimbursed for the property tax that my landlord charges me as part of my rent?

Some landlords will call a portion of your rent “property tax”. If you do not own the space in which your business operates and if you do not pay property tax directly to the government, but instead pay “property tax” to your landlord as part of your rent, you may claim the property tax portion of your rent under the non-deferrable fixed operating costs.

What costs are ineligible to claim?

The following are ineligible costs for the Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund: 

  • Claims that are not supportable by receipts, invoices, or payroll documents, such as unpaid time or use of a vehicle 
  • Revenues lost/estimated revenues lost 
  • Paying or refinancing existing debts, including contributing to monthly mortgage or loan payments; 
  • Tax payments; 
  • Repayments to other programs; 
  • Sales and marketing expenses; 
  • Purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE); 
  • General cleaning supplies; 
  • Transaction/merchant fees; 
  • Dividends to shareholders; 
  • Executive compensation/benefit (including bonuses); 
  • Capital expenditures and leasehold improvements unrelated to the impact of the demonstrations; and, 
  • Any expenses that violate Public Health guidance and regulations related to COVID-19. 
I have been notified that my application was approved. When will I receive the funding?

You may expect payment within three (3) weeks from submission. However due to high demand, it could take longer to see the funds in your account.

Will there be tax implications for the funding I could receive?

There may be tax implications for your business or for you as an individual; you should obtain advice from a qualified tax professional to determine the exact tax implications relevant to you and/or your business.

Will my business be audited if I receive this funding?

Invest Ottawa, the Minister representing FedDev Ontario, or the Government of Ontario may audit, or cause to have audited (select an independent auditor) your business accounts and records, and may access your premises, books, and accounts to confirm that the funding provided to you met applicable eligibility criteria.

In addition, the Auditor General of Canada or the Auditor General of Ontario may audit, or cause to have audited (select an independent auditor) your business accounts and records.

Details about the online application

What documents and information will I be required to provide at the time of the application?

Please consult the What do I need to know before I apply? checklist on our website to ensure you have everything ready.  

In the application, you will be required to upload the following documents: 

  • A void cheque or bank letter that includes your business name and confirms details of your bank account  
  • A screenshot from your CRA account to confirm your 9-digit business number  
  • A picture of your office or storefront that confirms that your business is currently operational (A picture taken with your smartphone will provide the metadata needed to confirm when and where the photo was taken)  

You will also be asked to provide: 

  • A description and calculation of the eligible costs your business incurred during the demonstrations between January 22 and February 28, 2022, from a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $15,000 (before taxes). These will be broken down into the three (3) categories: security, lost inventory, and operating costs 
  • You will need to keep all supporting receipts/invoices that you used to calculate the eligible costs on file for seven (7) years in case you are selected for audit 
  • Details about your business, including address, business type, contact information, and banking details; this enables us to make the deposit if your application is approved 
When is my application due?

Applications open March 15, 2022 and close when all funds are allocated but no later than May 15, 2022. The funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, therefore we recommend you do not delay in applying.

I do not have an online CRA account. What do I do?

If you do not have an online CRA account, you may upload a scanned copy of a document on CRA letterhead to confirm your 9-digit business number in place of the screenshot from your CRA account.

What if I received an image error after submitting my application?

If you received an image error message on the confirmation page after submitting your application, and you received a reference number and confirmation email, rest assured your application has been received. One of the verifiers at Crawford will reach out to you via email to rectify the error shortly.

What is metadata?

Photo metadata is specific information and details concerning a particular image file. A photo taken from a mobile phone will typically contain information such as the date created, author, file name, and location the photo was taken. This information will be used to help validate that your business is currently operational. As such, you will need to take a new picture on the date of application of your office or storefront to support your application.

What does the self-attestation in the application mean?

Attesting to the information about your business means that you confirm that the information you provide in the application is true and accurate. The attestation in the application form will become a legally binding agreement between your business and Invest Ottawa and can be subject to an audit for up to seven (7) years after the funding is received.

What is meant by a business “being prosecuted for illegal activity” in the self-attestation?

Being prosecuted for an illegal activity means: being charged with a crime under any law. Illegal activity refers to any activity not in compliance with an applicable law, including all federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and other applicable laws governing your business or related to the funding, or both. Applicable law includes statutes, regulations, by-laws, rules, ordinances, decrees, and business operating licenses.

What does it mean to “duplicate relief support” in the self-attestation?

This means that your business will not receive relief funds that exceed 100% of the costs you have incurred.

For example, if you receive relief support from another federal, provincial, or municipal relief program that covers 100% of your staff wages, you would not be able to claim those same staff wages under this Fund. But, if you receive relief that covers only 50% of those staff wages, you could claim the other 50% under this Fund so long as your business and the costs meet all other eligibility criteria.

Who will review my application?

Invest Ottawa is working with the Canadian team at Crawford & Company, the largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management in the world, to review your application. You may receive correspondence directly from Crawford to further assess the eligibility of your business. Invest Ottawa will also work with the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) and the relevant Business Improvement Area (BIA) in which your business is located to further assess your business’s eligibility.

Is there anything else you may ask me to provide in support of my application?

Invest Ottawa or our collaborators in the claims review team at Crawford, may request additional information from you to help assess your business’s eligibility to receive funding from the Government of Canada through FedDev Ontario or the Government of Ontario.

Can I start my application, save it, and come back to it?

You will NOT be able to save and continue your application. Please be prepared to complete the application in one sitting. Before you apply, we recommend you consult the What do I need to know before I apply? checklist to ensure you have all documents and information ready to fill out the application.

When will I find out if my application has been approved?

You will receive notification on your application status (approved or declined) approximately 3 weeks after your application has been submitted. Depending on volume, it may take less or more time. We will do our best to provide you a response as soon as possible.

How can I get updates about my application?

Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications anticipated to be received and rapid deployment, we cannot provide updates on the status of your application beyond whether it is approved or declined. You will receive notification on your application status (approved or declined) approximately 3 weeks after your application has been submitted.

I did not receive a confirmation email after I submitted my application. What do I do?

If you submitted your application and reached the confirmation page, but did not receive a confirmation email, the issue could be one of two things:

  • It landed in your spam/junk email folders; or,
  • You entered your email address incorrectly in the form. In this situation, please reach out to [email protected] and provide either your reference number (as indicated on the confirmation page) or your 9-digit business number assigned by CRA. This will help the team track down your application and update the email on file.
How do I cancel my application?

To cancel your application, please contact Invest Ottawa at [email protected]

How do I change details on my application?

Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications anticipated to be received and rapid deployment, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to change details on your application once it has been submitted. Please reach out to Invest Ottawa at [email protected] to discuss further.

Who will have access to the information I provide in my application?

On an as-needed basis, your information will be accessed by Invest Ottawa, the Government of Canada through FedDev Ontario, and the Government of Ontario. In addition, FedDev Ontario may share only necessary business information about your application with other Government of Canada departments to verify that your business has not duplicated support received through this funding and other government recovery programs.

In addition, the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) and the relevant Business Improvement Area (BIA) in which your business is located may receive access to your eligibility attestation, business name, business owner name, and business address on an as-needed basis to support validation of business eligibility. No other data will be shared with OCOBIA or the BIAs.

The claims review team at Crawford will have access to your full application to confirm eligibility.

Who will review my application?

Invest Ottawa is working with the Canadian team at Crawford & Company Canada Inc., the largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management in the world, to review your application. You may receive correspondence directly from Crawford to further assess the eligibility of your business. Invest Ottawa will also work with the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) and the relevant Business Improvement Area (BIA) in which your business is located to further assess your business’s eligibility.

Where will the data I submit reside?

The data you submit through your application will reside securely on Crawford & Company’s servers, which are located in Canada.

Contact

I have read these FAQs and I still have questions.

If you still have questions after reading this FAQ, please reach out to our client support team at [email protected] We will do our best to respond to you within 48 hours.

Invest Ottawa is collaborating with key regional partners including the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) and the Ottawa Board of Trade (OBOT) to deliver this new Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. This program is also supported by the Government of Ontario.

If you have questions after reading the FAQs, please reach out to our client support team at:
[email protected]

 

Caution icon

Be prepared to complete the online application in one sitting. It is not possible to save the application mid-process and return to it later. Make sure you have all necessary info and documents ready before starting.