The NDP and its critic for Economic Growth and Job Creation, Catherine Fife MPP (Waterloo), are calling for Doug Ford to remove the looming threat of commercial evictions facing small businesses across Ontario.
“Main Street has been devastated by the pandemic, and the Ford government has done little to help when they needed it most. We’ve already seen too many businesses forced to lay off workers and shut their doors forever,” said Fife.
“Those small business owners that have managed to keep their heads above water have shown extraordinary resiliency to survive, but many are still struggling to make ends meet with mounting debts, reduced revenue and more costs to keep their workers and customers safe. Talk to any business owner and they’ll tell you the last thing they need is the threat of eviction looming over them again.”
After pressure from the NDP Official Opposition, Doug Ford reluctantly agreed to a temporarily ‘pause’ commercial evictions but the moratorium is set to expire on Aug. 31. While Ontario continues to battle the pandemic, and while the economy remains in turmoil, Fife said now is not the time to allow landlords to evict their commercial tenants. Only this week, a new report revealed that Ontario’s real GDP is set to plummet by 7.6 per cent this year and unemployment is still at 11.3 per cent, compared to 5.5 per cent in February.
“The driving force of Ontario’s economic recovery will be small businesses. We need to protect them from shutting down and give them the breathing room they need to start re-hiring workers and start growing again,” said Fife.
“The pandemic is not over and businesses are not even close to being out of the woods. It makes no economic sense to make small businesses vulnerable to eviction right now. Instead the Ford government should be offering more direct support, including rent relief, to save Main Street and protect jobs.”
The Official Opposition NDP’s Save Main Street plan proposes a series to measures to support small businesses, charities and community-based non-profits, including:
- A 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy up to $10,000 a month for three months
- A utility payment freeze
- A safe restart and remote-work set up fund, which could help businesses install plexiglass barriers or buy PPE
- An auto insurance grace period for taxis and car-sharing drivers, established in partnership with the insurance industry and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority
- A designated emergency fund for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced historic barriers to accessing traditional capital, as proposed by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce.