Apply now for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant
ELIGIBLE BUSINESSES CAN RECEIVE BETWEEN $10,000 AND $20,000
The Ontario Small Business Support Grant is intended to help small businesses (including sole proprietorships) in Ontario that are required to close or significantly restrict services under Ontario’s provincewide shutdown effective December 26, 2020.
Eligible businesses can receive between $10,000 and $20,000. Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with funding up to a maximum of $20,000 to help with revenue losses expected as a result of the provincewide shutdown.
Businesses will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for them. For example, some businesses will use the support to pay employee wages, while others will need support maintaining their inventory.
For more information, consult the User Application Guide.
Rent freeze for 2021The Government of Ontario has passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. This means that rents will not increase in 2021 for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.
The rent freeze applies to most tenants living in:
The proper forms for this notice are available from the Landlord and Tenant Board. If your landlord has not provided the proper notice, or you believe that your rent has been raised by an improper amount, you can dispute it at the Landlord and Tenant Board within 12 months after the amount was first charged.
Rent increase guidelineThe guideline is the maximum a landlord can increase most tenants’ rent during a year without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.
For most tenants, your rent can’t go up by more than the rent increase guideline for every year.
The guideline applies to most private residential rental units covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. This applies to most tenants, such as those living in:
A sample calculation of a rent increaseYour monthly rent was increased to $1,000 on June 1, 2019. The guideline for 2020 is 2.2%. Therefore:
Your landlord would need to provide you written notice at least 90 days before June 1, 2020.
Previous rent increase guidelinesThe chart below illustrates yearly rent increases, in Ontario, from 1991 to 2020.
Year guideline (%)
Additional InformationFor more information on the rent increase guideline, contact the Landlord and Tenant Board:contact the Landlord and Tenant Board to determine whether a unit is exempt from the rent increase guideline.
To show that a unit is exempt from rent control, landlords can:
Landlords might want to keep records, such as:
The landlord must also prove either:
RentSafeTO for Building Owners
COVID-19 health and safety measures need to be taken by apartment building owners and operators. These measures include providing hand sanitizer in common areas, keeping non-essential common areas closed as specified by provincial orders, cleaning frequently-touched surfaces, and posting Toronto Public Health signage.RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards is a bylaw enforcement program that ensures that building owners and operators comply with building maintenance standards. The program includes auditing and enforcement, so that the hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents living in rental buildings have clean, safe and secure homes.
If you own one or more rental apartment buildings with three or more storeys and 10 or more units, you are required to register and renew annually to comply with the program. See Interpretation Bulletin: Apartment Building Definition.
Download the Building Owner Handbook for an overview of the bylaw and summary of key regulations. The handbook was last updated on November 2020.
Owners and operators of apartment buildings need to adopt COVID-19 health and safety measures. If you have health and safety concerns, talk to your landlord or building manager first and submit a service request. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards is a bylaw enforcement program that ensures apartment building owners comply with building maintenance standards. The program applies to apartment buildings with three or more storeys and 10 or more units.
Residents need to contact their landlord first and submit service requests for issues such as pests, low or no heat, plumbing problems, leaky ceilings or problems in the common areas of the building.
Landlords need to respond to urgent service requests, such as no heat or water, within 24 hours. Non-urgent service requests need to be responded to within seven (7) days. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.
Owners of rental apartment buildings are required to register and comply with the RentSafeTO program. Learn more about what building owners must do to comply.
If landlords do not comply with the maintenance standards, the RentSafeTO team can issue orders and charge landlords, which can result in substantial fines. The City can also have a contractor complete any necessary work and place the costs on the building’s property taxes.
Condo buildings, townhomes, or units in a private home (basement or main floor apartment) are not part of the RentSafeTO program. If you are renting an apartment in a building that is not part of the RentSafeTO program and experience a problem, please talk to your landlord first and submit a service request. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 to have the City investigate.
Until February 28, 2021, either the old or the updated version of the OSL may be used.
Residential tenancy agreements signed on or after March 1, 2021 must use the updated standard lease.
Below is a list of the material changes from the 2018 OSL that we have noted – images of the changes will be put into the first few comments on this post.
1. Page 1 - new logo and effective date
2. Page 7 - the pdf allows for digital signatures
3. Page 8 - new logo and TTY number (Bell Relay Service)
4. Page 9 Appendix Section D - new content regarding “When the landlord can end the tenancy”
5. Page 10 Appendix Section I - new Guideline Rent Increases content
6. Page 13 Appendix Section Q - new content about ‘guests’
7. Page 14 is new and provides information about the availability of the guide to the OSL in various languages, and this link to the Guide to Ontario’s standard lease
11 December 2020
York and Windsor-Essex Regions are being moved into the Grey-Lockdown level in the province’s tiered framework for COVID-19 restrictions as of Monday, December 14, joining Toronto and Peel. This means that non-essential retail stores will have to switch to curbside pickup only, and a swath of other businesses, such as gyms and personal care services, will close entirely.
In addition to moving York and Windsor into a lockdown, the province is also placing three more regions into the Red-Control zone: Middlesex-London, Simcoe
Showings by Appointment Are Permitted
Members can conduct in-person showings by appointment, following health and safety best practices, so you will still be able to provide your services to pre-qualified clients and complete transactions. This will allow us as an industry to keep the real estate market moving, while Members earn an income helping consumers achieve their home ownership dreams.
Measures applying to York, Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex Regions under the Lockdown level include, but are not limited to:
The Ontario government is investing over $2.2 million through the Ontario Together Fund to provide small businesses with free, tailored financial advice and online training to help them make informed financial decisions and navigate the unprecedented economic circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government is offering $2,040,000 to support Ontario's 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBEC) led by the Business Advisory Centre Durham to create a new Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network. This network will enhance the capacity of all SBECs across the province, build one central portal where businesses can access digital tools and training, and get information on government programs to help them navigate COVID-19 and beyond.
The province is also providing $131,000 for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada to develop and deliver a four-part COVID-19-specific financial literacy tool kit for small businesses, and $51,000 for Financial Advisors Association of Canada to provide pro-bono professional financial advice for small companies through its online platform, Advocis Connect.
The association will connect small businesses with financial advisors for free advice on the current financial state of their business, how to pivot the business to manage the current economic emergency, and guidance for applying to federal and provincial government support programs.
The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) provides direct commercial rent or property expense support to tenants and property owners of qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19 by providing support up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses.
Qualifying organizations that are under a lockdown or have significantly limited activities under a public health order will have access to Lockdown Support, a top-up subsidy of 25%, meaning they could receive rent or property expenses support of up to 90%. Applicants can claim the subsidy retroactively for the period that began on September 27 and ended on October 24, 2020.
The CRA has launched CERS webpages, an online CERS calculator, and CERS infographics (Take a look at the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy has got you covered, and We’re here to help) to assist organizations in preparing their applications.
On November 5, 2020, the provincial government announced details of its 2020 Budget and economic recovery action plan. Details on real estate related initiatives announced with the budget, including a new renovation credit for seniors and property tax reductions, are provided below. Full details on the budget announcement are available at the government’s site here.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) is encouraged to see the provincial government taking action through the provincial budget announced on November 5, 2020, to help ensure continued economic recovery. The global pandemic has taken a serious toll on economies around the world, and it is important for all governments to do what they can to ensure that the economy recovers as quickly as possible. TRREB believe that the measures announced by the provincial government will make an important difference in achieving that goal. TRREB is particularly encouraged to see that the government included some property tax relief measures for businesses.
Since the start of the pandemic and economic downturn, TRREB has been working hard to assist governments at all levels to achieve public health and economic recovery objectives. TRREB has provided detailed input on the state of the Toronto region’s real estate market and advice on policy and fiscal actions that could assist with economic recovery. TRREB looks forward to continuing to work with all levels of government to help move the Greater Toronto Area, the province, and the country through the current public health and economic challenges.
Real Estate Related Budget Initiatives
Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit