OTTAWA -- The City of Ottawa is looking to provide tax relief for property owners due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mayor Jim Watson says staff will introduce a motion at the March 25 Council meeting to extend the tax payment grace period for interim property taxes.

If approved, the city would extend the tax payment grace period from March 19 to April 15. A Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program would be put in place to allow small businesses and home owners the opportunity to apply to defer their tax payment until October 31.

A Memo from Deputy City Treasurer Joseph Muhuni says the Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program would cover property owners and small business property owners of assessed property value of up to $2.5 million that have been financially affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To qualify, an account would need to have been paid up to date before the interim tax installment. Full details will be provided to Council at the next meeting.

In a message on Twitter, Watson said “I’m asking property owners that house restaurants and businesses to share these tax deferral benefits with their tenants.  Tens of thousands of workers in our city depend on them to feed their families.”

The interim tax bill, which represents 50 per cent of the previous year’s tax bill is due by the third Thursday in March. This year, the due date is Thursday, March 19.

The final tax bill is the balance of the year’s taxes and is payable on the third Thursday in June.

The City of Ottawa is also suspending all water service disconnections due to non-payment until further notice.