Small businesses getting a helping hand from the City


By Jim Watson

I’ve heard people say that I would go to the opening of an envelope, alluding to the fact that I love to congratulate small business owners on an important milestone and thank them for investing in our city.

Running a small business is one of the biggest risks someone can take in life and it can be challenging at the best of times. Add a pandemic to the equation and it makes things nearly impossible. Lockdowns, talent shortages, constant rule changes – you name it, Ottawa’s small business owners have been through it all.

While Ontario municipalities don’t have much in their toolkits to help out, I am proud that we were one of the first cities to consider and implement a Small Business Property Tax subclass.

Eligible properties will automatically receive the new discount based on eligibility criteria related to property use, property size and extensive consultation with key business organizations.

On October 13, City Council approved the new tax subclass, providing small businesses at eligible properties with a permanent 15-per-cent reduction in property taxes phased in over two years at 7.5 per cent a year.

The new tax will benefit 5,800 properties or more than 10,000 small businesses, in recognition of the contribution of small businesses to employment, neighbourhood vibrancy and quality of life. It’s important to note that this discount to small businesses will have no impact on residential property taxes, as the larger commercial and industrial properties will absorb the difference.

Below are a few examples of the benefits over two years of this new subclass for our small businesses:

  • a food store in Manotick will see a reduction of $265 in municipal taxes
  • a restaurant on Richmond Road will see a decrease of $3,300 in municipal taxes
  • a small bicycle shop on St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans will see a reduction of $1,620 in municipal taxes
  • a small automotive trailer shop on Stittsville Main Street will see a decrease of $3,500 in municipal taxes.

A special thanks goes out to our BIAs for their strong advocacy and collaboration, to the business owners for their patience and to the employees of these establishments who have been in constant limbo over the past 20 months.

With the holidays just around the corner, please consider supporting your local shops and restaurants instead of buying from big box stores. Now more than ever, your support is needed.

For more information, please visit

Jim Watson is mayor of Ottawa.

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