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Small businesses can claim $5,000 CUSBRF COVID-19 relief grant

Updated February 17, 2021:

The CUSBRF application for the $5,000 PPE grant is reopening to all provinces on February 16, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. EST. Businesses that have already applied for the CUSBRF are asked not to submit a second application.

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund is providing Canadian businesses across different sectors and industries with grants of up to $5,000 to offset the cost of expenses businesses have incurred due to COVID-19. These costs include the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), adjustments to office space, and development of web/e-commerce capability.

Who is eligible for the CUSBRF

Although CUSBRF is managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) on behalf of the national Chamber network, applicants do not need to be members of the OCC to qualify. Applications are open to small to medium-sized companies in every part of the country that:

  • Have between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales
  • Have up to 75 employees
  • Are for-profit or not-for-profit organizations (although charities, government organizations, municipalities and the Chamber of Commerce network are not eligible)
  • Are incorporated, or operating as a sole proprietor/partnership, in Canada as of March 1, 2020
  • Have $1 million of commercial general liability insurance
  • Have been in operation after September 1, 2020

Priority applicants for consideration will include businesses owned by Indigenous people, women, visible minorities, LGBTQ2+ and persons with disabilities.

What expenses are eligible for the CUSBRF

All eligible expenses must be incremental and a direct result of adjusting operations for COVID-19 safety guidelines. Expenses directly related to the categories below are eligible for reimbursement under the program if purchases were made no earlier than March 15, 2020.

  • Purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Renovation of space to adhere to re-opening guidelines
  • Enhancement of website / developing e-commerce capability

The following costs are ineligible:

  • Taxes
  • Consulting fees
  • Business plans
  • Inventory costs
  • Employee wages
  • Existing operating costs
  • Office furniture
  • Laptops, headphones, printers, etc.
  • Third party delivery transaction fees
  • Renovations not required for social distancing
  • Social media advertising, etc.
  • Items purchased for resale
  • Recurring subscriptions fees/services implemented pre-COVID-19
  • General cleaning services

How to apply for the CUSBRF

Starting on October 26, 2020, qualifying small businesses can submit new applications online through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Only one application is allowed per ownership group. Organizations are being asked to explain the impact COVID-19 has had on operations.

Applicants must attach all necessary receipts and invoices, accompanied with proof of payment, with the application. Applicants must also submit the company’s sales tax registration document or a recent sales tax filing and one of the following documents:

  • Proof of business registration
  • Business license
  • Articles of incorporation or letters patent
  • For partnerships: Articles of incorporation or letters patent for each corporate partner

Applicants must also agree that their names and level of funding may be published and that they will participate in marketing efforts through the Royal Bank of Canada, the Government of Canada and the OCC.

As this is the second round of funding being made available, applicants who have already submitted an application for the CUSBRF are being asked not to submit a second application.

Additional information

Additional details can be found on the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s CUSBRF page.

For further information on programs and recent updates, visit our page.

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