Official Opposition House Leader Gilles Bisson says far too many businesses are still at risk of unfair evictions if the Conservatives’ new legislation is passed as written. On Monday, the NDP sent the government two critical amendments it insists must be included.
The bill, as written, only protects businesses who qualify for the federal CECRA, but whose landlords refuse to apply for it – meaning they must have a whopping 70 per cent reduction in income. The bill is also retroactive to just June 3, leaving out all the commercial tenants whose eviction notices arrived between March and June 3.
“Small businesses owners are the engine of our local economies, and we have to save those businesses and those jobs. Right now, they’re being abandoned by Doug Ford and the Conservative government,” said Bisson. “Instead of banning commercial rent evictions three months ago, and providing direct support to small business, Ford worked to exclude thousands of businesses from relief and protection.
“If the Ford government doesn’t accept our amendments, he will be choosing to let many local businesses fail, through no fault of their own, at a time when the province desperately needs them to succeed to create jobs and rebuild the economy.”
The NDP’s amendments, proposed by letter on Monday, would include all businesses in a legislated moratorium on commercial evictions during the pandemic; and would make that protection retroactive to mid-March.
If the government is willing to make these changes, New Democrats are ready to expedite passage of the legislation as early as Tuesday.
If the government moves ahead with the legislation without changes, New Democrats will insist on an opportunity for the House to consider amending the legislation and address these serious shortcomings, including offering evening and extended debate throughout the week.
“New Democrats won’t stand by and let Doug Ford and the Conservatives get away with hanging thousands of valuable Ontario businesses out to dry. Small businesses are too important to the economic health of our communities, and to the families they employ,” said Bisson. “We’ll do whatever it takes, including sitting around the clock, to convince Doug Ford to do the right thing, and spare businesses hurt by COVID-19 from eviction.”
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