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4. Information for small, owner-operated businesses

4.1 Eligibility and documentation requirements

To qualify as eligible under the small owner-operated business category, the following four criteria must be met:

  • the owner-operator is the day-to-day manager of the business and owns at least 50% of the business
  • the business is not a hobby business and the applicant must show that:
    • they depend on the business for their livelihood
    • the business provides at least 15% of their net income (an exception may be made if the business has at least one employee outside the owner-operator’s household)
  • the business must have no more than the equivalent of 20 full-time employees, including the owner-operator
  • the business must have at least $10,000, but not more than $2,000,000, in gross revenues

Owners of businesses may qualify in this category if they meet all the criteria set out above. One application should be submitted per small business.

Landlords who operate as a business and meet all four small business criteria may qualify as a small business. To be eligible, landlords need to demonstrate that:

  • managing rental property is their day-to-day job
  • at least 15% of their personal net income is derived from the business

Documents to be submitted for small owner-operated business applications:

  • Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians application form with all sections relevant to small owner-operated businesses completed.
  • Proof of business ownership, showing that applicant owns at least 50% of the business.
  • A copy of your T1 General Income Tax and Benefits Return/ T2 Corporation Income Tax Return, as applicable, and associated notices of assessment, for the most recent tax year.
  • A copy of the business’s financial statements for the most recent fiscal year.
  • If you are applying for structural expenses, proof of property ownership or proof of legal responsibility for repair of damaged assets (e.g., lease agreement).
  • If you have insurance, a copy of a letter from your insurance company that details the type and cause of damage or loss, the amount that was covered under insurance, and the reason any portion of the damage or loss was not covered. If you have no insurance, you must provide a signed attestation letter stating that you do not have insurance.
  • Documentation to support each of the costs you are applying for. You should submit photos or other evidence that items you are applying for were damaged in the disaster. You must also submit copies of receipts or invoices to support the costs you incurred.

See Section 4.2 for specific documentation requirements for different eligible items.

4.2 Eligible items

As an applicant under the small owner-operated business category, you may be eligible for assistance for the following costs. Please ensure that you list each item being applied for in your application form and that you have included supporting documentation such as photographs of damage and receipts for the items you are applying for. Costs must be reasonable given the type and value of the item being applied for and the nature and scale of the business.

4.2.1 Emergency evacuation/ relocation expenses

  • Evacuation of essential business assets, if necessary to avoid damage. Attach receipts where available. If the evacuation is carried out using an owned vehicle, eligible costs will be based on a standard rate per kilometre (see program website for current rates).
  • Storage of essential business assets, if necessary to avoid damage. Eligibility is limited to the immediate emergency period only. Attach receipts.
  • Rental of alternative office space and associated equipment, if the main businesses premises must be evacuated. Eligibility is limited to the immediate emergency period only. Attach receipts.
  • Purchase of drinking water if regular water source is unavailable or unsafe due to the disaster. Attach receipts.
  • Purchase of consumable heat, light and power supplies, such as fuel, candles and batteries, if power is unavailable due to the disaster. Attach receipts.
  • Rental of generator or heater, if power is unavailable due to the disaster. Attach receipts

4.2.2 Emergency measures, cleanup, disinfection and disposal expenses

  • Immediate emergency measures taken directly to prevent or limit damage to essential business assets. Eligible costs may include purchase of sandbags or rental of water pumps or generators. Costs associated with emergency measures to prevent or limit damage to non-essential business assets (e.g., landscaping) may not be applied for. Attach receipts.
  • Reasonable compensation paid by a business to its employees, over and above normal wages (e.g., overtime wages), for debris cleanup, removal of hazardous material and waste disposal necessary to allow the business to be operational. Attach timesheets, payroll information or other documentation.
  • Amounts paid to a contractor for debris cleanup, removal of hazardous material and waste disposal necessary to allow the business to be operational. Attach receipts.
  • Consumable cleaning and disinfection supplies. Attach receipts.
  • Rental of cleanup equipment such as dehumidifiers and wet/ dry vacuums. Attach receipts.
  • Cleanup and repair of landscaping essential to the function of a business, such as in the case of an outdoor recreational facility. Attach receipts.
  • Fees for reconnection of gas or electricity services disconnected due to the disaster. Attach bill from service provider or invoice/ receipt.
  • Landfill tipping fees for disposal of debris or damaged property arising from the disaster. Attach receipts.

4.2.3 Repair and replacement expenses

Assistance for repair and replacement expenses is based on the cost of returning essential business assets to a basic level as required for the function of the business. Assistance is not based on full replacement cost.

4.2.3.1 Structural expenses

  • Necessary repairs to an essential business premises, including repairs to the foundation, structure, roof, chimney and plumbing, heating and electrical systems. Eligible costs will be based on standard construction costs. Costs for upgraded finishes are ineligible. Repairs to damage that predates the disaster are not eligible. Attach receipts for work already completed. For work not yet completed, provide estimates from qualified contractors. You will be asked to submit receipt when the work is completed.
  • Cleaning, flushing, repair or replacement of septic tanks, and repair or replacement of leaching beds, due to damage caused by the disaster. Attach receipts and evidence of when the septic system was installed or rebuilt.
  • Note: eligible costs for replacement are calculated on a depreciated basis.
  • Repairs to driveways or parking areas to the extent necessary for the business to operate and required for safety or access. Attach receipts.
  • Repair or replacement of a dock if necessary to the operation of the business, e.g., a marina. Attach receipts and evidence of when the dock was installed or rebuilt.
  • Note: eligible costs are calculated on a depreciated basis.

4.2.3.2 Contents expenses

  • Replacement of inventory or stock actively used by the business. Maximum eligible amount is equal to actual replacement cost less salvage value of lost inventory. Depreciation may be applied depending on the age and nature of items. Attach receipts (proof of purchase of lost and replacement inventory or stock).
  • Replacement or repair of damaged furnishings, equipment and tools essential to the function of the business. The nature of eligible items will vary according to the nature of the business. Eligible costs are calculated on a depreciated basis. Attach receipts (proof of purchase of lost and replacement items).

4.3 Ineligible items

The following items are not eligible to be applied for under Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians as a small owner-operated business:

  • evacuation of property not essential to the function of the business (e.g., art or personal property).
  • landscaping costs not essential to the function of the business.
  • costs associated with the disinfection or cleanup of items that are not essential to the function of the business (e.g., non-essential furnishings, recreational property, or art).
  • loss of revenue, wages, or business opportunity.
  • Business loan costs.
  • costs associated with personal injuries.
  • normal operating costs.
  • insurance deductibles; however, in an exceptional circumstance where a small business purchased insurance coverage with an unusually high deductible, the ineligible amount of the deductible may be adjusted.

4.4 Personal checklist

This checklist may assist you with tracking tasks related to your Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians application. You may need to complete additional tasks not listed below, and not all tasks may be necessary to complete your application, depending on your circumstances. The tasks below are not necessarily listed in the order in which they should be completed. You do not need to submit this checklist to apply for assistance.

Personal Checklist
CompletedTask
 Check if your small owner-operated business is located in an area for which the program is activated, and the deadline for application submissions on the program website.
 Check the eligibility of your small, owner-operated business to access Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians in section 4.1 of these guidelines.
 Inventory your losses. Take photographs of the damaged property to provide evidence it was damaged in the disaster.
 Contact your insurance company to get documentation detailing which damage will be covered by the insurance policy.
 Keep records describing emergency costs and cleanup activities, with associated receipts.
 Keep estimates, invoices and receipts for repairs or replacement of damaged contents as outlined in these guidelines.
 Fill out relevant sections of the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians application form, which is available on the program website.
 Attach to the application all required supporting documents as outlined in section 4.1 and section 4.2 of these guidelines.
 Submit the completed Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians application form and all applicable supporting documentation by the deadline.
Updated: May 03, 2022
Published: October 26, 2018