NDP’s Fife calls for remaining commercial rent relief funds to be flowed directly to small businesses

Catherine Fife (Waterloo)

MPP Catherine Fife, Official Opposition NDP Critic for Economic Growth, is calling on the federal and provincial governments to step up and provide struggling small businesses with desperately needed pandemic relief, by administering remaining Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) funds directly to small businesses.

“For months, small businesses across the province have been struggling to keep their doors open in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CECRA program was a welcome relief for a small minority of small businesses, but for many more it simply failed to get the job done,” Fife said. “CECRA is overly complicated and relies entirely on the buy-in of landlords, which has left many small businesses in crisis because they were unable to access these vital funds.

“Small businesses deserve equal access to CECRA funds – they shouldn’t lose access to the help they need, because their landlords chose not to apply. That’s why I’m calling on the Ford government to join other provinces, like Saskatchewan, and work with the federal government to redirect unused CECRA funds back to provinces, so they can provide direct rent relief to small businesses.”

This call is in line with the Ontario NDP’s Save Main Street Plan, which – with the support of small businesses and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce – has been calling for direct rent relief and a ban on commercial evictions since March.

“Ontario’s economic recovery hinges on small businesses surviving and thriving – commercial rent support is a critical investment in that recovery, but CECRA has left out too many,” said Fife. “It’s long past time for Doug Ford to listen to the voices of thousands of struggling Ontario small businesses calling for real relief and actually do the work to make sure they get it.”

Ontario NDP