Equine Hardship Program

Equine Hardship Program

Overview

The Government of Ontario is providing conditional financial support to equine experience-based businesses, like riding lessons, summer riding camps, carriage rides, equine-based therapy and trail rides, that are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 related business losses. The Equine Hardship Program will provide funding to eligible businesses that have experienced a significant decrease in business revenue and have continued to incur certain animal maintenance costs that they regularly rely on to operate.

Eligible Businesses

  • To be eligible under this program, businesses must confirm the following on the enrolment form:
    • The business earned at least 50 per cent of its gross business revenue by providing equine-based experiences* (e.g., riding lessons, summer riding camps, carriage rides, equine-based therapy and trail rides) in 2019.
    • The gross business revenue earned from the equine-based experiences in 2020 was less than half of what the business earned in 2019.
    • The business' Canada Revenue Agency Business Number, if applicable.
    • The business is registered in Transfer Payment Ontario (TPON) - see enrolment form; and that the registration is up to date.
    • The business is registered to receive direct deposit payments through Supply Chain Ontario - see enrolment form; and that the registration is up to date.
  • The business must agree to provide further documentation to support expenses, income and financial statements upon OMAFRA's request.
  • The business must be in compliance with all Requirements of Law and agree to remain in compliance with all Requirements of Law if receiving financial support under this program.
    *(Includes horses, ponies, mules, donkeys)

    Note: The Ministry reserves the right to inspect/verify information in the enrolment and claim forms including but not limited to site visits and requests for financial and tax documentation.

Available Funding

  • 100 per cent funding of eligible expenses, up to a maximum amount of $2,500 per eligible equine animal (animals used or being used to earn equine-based experience revenue for the business).
  • Notwithstanding the preceding limit, the per business maximum financial support for eligible expenses is an amount up to $20,000.
  • Financial support is available on a first come first serve basis until March 12, 2021 (4:00p.m. EST) or while program funding remains available, whichever comes first.
    • Each eligible business must submit an enrolment form and receive a file number in order to be able to begin submitting claim forms. Submitting an enrolment form close to or on the March 12, 2021 deadline may restrict the business' ability to submit a claim form by the deadline and receive reimbursement.

Eligible Expenses

  • Eligible equine business expenses are: Expenses for equine animals (used to earn equine-based experience revenue for the business) for:
    • Feed
    • Water
    • Veterinary services (excluding euthanasia)
    • Farrier services
  • Expenses were incurred between March 17, 2020 and February 28, 2021 that are supported by receipts from Arm's Length**, third party providers.
  • Expenses were transparent, fair and promoted the best value for the money;
  • Expenses must be submitted on a completed claim form to OMAFRA with all supporting documentation by 4:00 p.m. (EST) on March 12, 2021.

Ineligible Expenses

The following expenses are not eligible for reimbursement:

  • Expenses for equine animals kept for following reasons, whether or not they were or are also used in the provision of equine-based experiences:
    • Competitions (e.g., racing and show jumping)
    • Breeding
    • Boarding income
    • Personal riding for the business or their family members
    • Rescue/ retiree equids no longer being used to generate equine-based experiences income
  • Veterinary costs associated with euthanizing an animal.
  • Expenses for labour, stabling, in-kind services and overhead.
  • Expenses incurred from suppliers or service providers that are not at Arm's Length** from the applicant.
  • Expenses incurred in preparing enrolment and claim forms
  • Deposits (prepayments) for which goods or services have not yet been fully received before February 28, 2021.
  • The refundable or rebateable portion of any expense for which the business receives or is eligible to receive a refund or rebate
  • Taxes, including Harmonized Sales Tax
  • Expenses for businesses and equids that are located outside of Ontario
  • Expenses for goods and services incurred before March 17, 2020 and after February 28, 2021.
  • All expenses submitted to OMAFRA after the March 12, 2021 (4:00 p.m. EST) deadline.
  • Any other expenditure deemed by the Minister to be ineligible.

**Arm's Length: means an entity that is independent of the applicant and not in any way related, affiliated, influenced or otherwise controlled by the applicant or a member or members of the applicant's business as determined by section 251 of the Income Tax Act (Canada). If you have any questions about whether a supplier meets this requirement, please contact OMAFRA Rural Programs Branch at 1-877-424-1300.

Submission and Assessment Process:

  1. To be eligible, a business must complete an enrolment form and submit it to RPBprograms@ontario.ca. The enrolment form can be found at Equine Hardship Program Enrolment Form.
    • Eligible enrolment and claim forms will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis until March 12, 2021 (4:00 p.m. EST) or while program funding remains available, whichever comes first.
    • Only eligible business will be considered for financial support under this program.
    • Businesses must complete and submit the enrolment form according to the instructions given on the form.
    • An enrolment form will not be considered if the business does not meet eligibility criteria or if the enrolment form is incomplete.
    • A business must be registered in Transfer Payment Ontario - visit Transfer Payment Ontario to register or to update business's information.
    • A business must be registered to receive direct deposit payments through Supply Chain Ontario - visit Supply Chain Ontario to register or to update the business's information
  2. Following submission of the enrolment form, eligible businesses will be provided a file number via email by OMAFRA staff and the claim form with instructions on how to submit claims.
  3. Eligible business will be able to submit a claim form with all supporting documentation (e.g., invoices, proof of payments) to RPBprograms@ontario.ca and request reimbursement for eligible expenses, provided the business has not reached the approved funding limit.
  • All claim forms must be submitted to OMAFRA at RPBprograms@ontario.ca no later than the claim deadline of 4:00p.m. (EST) March 12, 2021. Financial support is available on a first come, first serve basis until the above deadline or while program funding remains available, whichever comes first.
  • Enrolled eligible businesses may submit more than one claim form, for different eligible expenses.
  • OMAFRA may request any additional information from the business that it considers necessary.
  • The claim form package must contain:
    • Completed Claim Form
    • Copies of all paid invoices and proof of payments
  • Proof of payment must verify:
    • Who paid
    • Who received payment
    • The amount of payment
    • The date of payment
  • Acceptable proof of payment is:
    • An electronic image of processed cheque;
    • A statement from a banking institution indicating to whom the processed cheque was written, or electronic payment made, and for what amount; or
    • A credit card or debit card receipt or statement clearly identifying amount and to whom the payment was made. (Credit card or debit card numbers and other information, including costs that are unrelated to the project, should be blacked out.)

Definitions

In addition to definitions set out in Minister's Order 0005/2018 or elsewhere in these Guidelines,

Claim: A report submitted by a business to OMAFRA's Rural Program Branch in a timely manner to provide the Province of Ontario with information on which to base a reimbursement payment decision. Claims must meet all of the Program's requirements set out by the Province of Ontario.

Incurred (Cost): An expense for which a business has become liable to pay.

Requirements of Law: As set out in Minister's Order 0004/2020, are all requirements set out in statutes, regulations, by-laws, ordinances, codes, official plans, rules, approvals, permits, licenses, authorizations, orders, decrees, injunctions, directions, agreements and these Program Guidelines applicable to the business.

Terms and Conditions

In order to be considered to be eligible for financial support under the Equine Hardship Program ('the Program'), a business must agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions herein.

The business must be a legal entity that meets all eligibility requirements as set out above and below.

The individual who submits the enrolment and claim forms must be authorized by the eligible business to submit the form on its behalf and to bind it to the forms' contents. The eligible business is referred to as "the business" below.

By submitting the enrolment and claim forms, the business' authorized representative declares:

  • Having read and understood all Program requirements, including:
  • A willingness to continue to abide by all Program requirements;
  • That it was necessary for the business to incur each expense submitted in order to maintain the equine animals they own and use to generate business income through equine-based experiences;
  • That no ineligible expenses (as listed in the Program Guideline) are being submitted.
  • That each expense submitted was incurred by the business on or after March 17, 2020 and on or before February 28, 2021;
  • That each expense submitted has already been invoiced to the business and paid for by the business.
  • That each expense submitted was incurred by the business through a transaction with a third party that was:
  • At Arm's Length, meaning an entity that is independent of the applicant and not in any way related, affiliated, influenced or otherwise controlled by the applicant or a member or members of the applicant's business as determined by section 251 of the Income Tax Act (Canada).; and
  • Transparent, fair and promoted the best value for the money expended at competitive prices no greater than fair market value after deducting available discounts.
  • That all information submitted on the enrolment and claim form is true, accurate and complete, to the best of their knowledge, information and belief;
  • The business is and will remain in compliance with all Requirements of the Law.
  • Amounts of funding sourced from federal, provincial and municipal governments for a submitted expense do not, and will not, exceed 100 per cent of the amount of the expense.
  • The business does not currently owe any funds to Ontario, or a description of the extent of the business' debt to Ontario is attached to the submission form.
  • No officer, director or employee of the business, or other beneficiary of the expenses, is a current or former federal public office holder or federal public servant, or, if any officer, director or employee of the business is a current or former federal public officer holder or federal public servant, they are in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, as applicable.
  • The business will retain all records relating to any payments made to the business, including all invoices and proof of payment in an organized and business-like manner for at least seven (7) years from the date the submission form was submitted.
  • The business will consent to Ontario publishing program funding information, including the amount of funding the business has been approved to receive and/or has received.

By submitting the enrolment and claim forms, the business' authorized representative acknowledges and accepts that:

  • Ontario reserved the right to refuse to accept the enrolment and claim forms where it is not completed to Ontario's satisfaction;
  • Funding is provided through a discretionary, non-entitlement program and that the business is not entitled to funding merely as a consequence of submitting an enrolment or claim form. Payment is subject to Ontario having sufficient money within its existing budget, including receiving all the necessary appropriations from the Ontario Legislature; the business and the business' satisfying eligibility criteria and eligible expense criteria; and the business' compliance with all the Program's terms and conditions;
  • If it is determined the business has received a payment the business was not eligible to receive, through administrative error or otherwise, the business will immediately repay any and all payments that the business was not eligible to receive as well as any surplus funding, including interest upon such sums at the then current rate charged by Ontario on accounts receivable;
  • Any payments made to the business may be subject to recovery or offset against the business' pre-existing debts to the Crown in Right of Ontario. Ontario may charge interest on any money owing by the business at the then current rate charged by Ontario on accounts receivable;
  • The rights and obligations under the Program are governed by Ontario law and applicable federal laws of Canada. The Courts of Ontario will have exclusive jurisdiction over any proceedings related to the Program;
  • The information provided may be used and disclosed to conduct audits, enforce the terms and conditions of the Program, confirm that the person in receipt of payments under the Program paid taxes on the payments, and collect any debt owing;
  • The information, with the exception of the Social Insurance Number (SIN) provided by sole proprietors, members of unincorporated entities and partners in a partnership where they do not have Canada Revenue Agency business numbers, may be used and disclosed to, amongst other things, verify compliance with other provincial and federal funding initiatives, confirm the information provided, verify eligibility and ensure there is no duplication of funding;
  • The information provided may, with the exception of the SIN, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario); and
  • In the event of a conflict between anything set out in these Program Guidelines and the Minister's Order 0004/2020 under which this Program was created, the Minister's Order will prevail.

By submitting the enrolment and claim forms, the business' authorized representative agrees:

  • To provide accurate, timely and full information, including supporting documentation, to Ontario
  • To comply with onsite field inspections and/or audits by Ontario and Ontario's authorized representatives upon notice, and during normal business hours, to verify eligibility, and to evaluate compliance with the requirements of the Program.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca