Small retail businesses are essential to the vitality and success of Toronto’s main streets and neighbourhoods. The Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program was developed in support of the recovery and long-term success of local small businesses. The program offers matching funding of 50 per cent to commercial business operators and owners of vacant storefronts (or, in certain limited circumstances, at risk of becoming vacant) to undertake interior improvements. Applications are now open and will be accepted until February 28, 2022, or when funds are expended, whichever comes first, and are considered on a first received, first reviewed basis.
The program offers matching funding equal to 50 per cent of the cost of interior improvements to vacant commercial properties at street level.
- The maximum base grant under the program is $20,000 (based on a minimum of $40,000 of improvements).
- Further funding of up to $4,000, for a total maximum grant of $24,000, is available for upgrades to meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) design standards.
- Additional funding of up to $20,000 ($4,000 per additional unit, for up to five units) is available for multi-unit properties.
The Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program is available to owners and tenants of vacant properties or the risk of being vacant properties at street level, or properties at risk of becoming vacant (that have received funding from the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program) within the city of Toronto, that are used for commercial purposes at street level, and that are locally owned and operated. A minimum of three eligible improvements must be made.
Tenants who apply for the program must have written permission from the property owner to make any improvements to the property and receive grants.
The following projects would be considered eligible for a Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant:
- Structural upgrades, interior light fixtures, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), plumbing, electrical, interior painting, flooring/ceiling/walls, permanently affixed counters, merchandise displays and accessibility improvements, among others.
- Architectural, engineering, certified Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) specialist and Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) registered designer fees may be covered to a maximum of $2,000 per application as part of the base grant.
- Multi-unit properties are eligible for additional grant funding of up to $4,000 per unit for each additional unit for which improvements are proposed, to a maximum of $20,000.
- Additional grant funding of up to $4,000 is available for interior accessibility improvements which meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) design standards.
- A minimum of three eligible improvements must be made to each unit.
The following projects would not be eligible for a Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant:
- Maintenance to fix broken windows, interior lighting or security systems, clean clogged plumbing, or replace ceiling panels.
- Only one application for a business chain or for any franchise organization is permitted.
- Applications for work totaling less than $5,000 are ineligible.
- The program is not to cover maintenance costs of existing interior property elements.
- Places of worship, institutional buildings, not-for-profit commercial buildings and residential buildings are ineligible for the program.
- Moveable furniture, window coverings, equipment, appliances, computers, IT expenses or elements such as tiling outside of the front door, are ineligible.