April 14, 2020 Update
NDP’s Horwath proposes a Save Main Street plan
QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said small and medium-sized businesses, charities and community-based non-profits need more help to make it through the COVID-19 storm, and the provincial government should offer that lifeline.
“Many small and medium-sized businesses, non-profits and charities are counting down the number of days they can keep their heads above water since COVID-19 has taken away their revenue,” said Horwath. “We not only want them to survive, we want them to be able to keep staff on the payroll as much as possible.
“The federal wage subsidy program and loan options are a welcome relief, but still leave small operations unable to pay the rent and bills without sinking into debt. The provincial government can solve that problem.”
Horwath’s said small and medium-sized businesses, charities and community-based non-profits should get help from the province, including:
- A 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy up to $10,000 a month for three months
- A utility payment freeze
- A remote-work set up fund, which could help them with things like setting up an online retail operation, or buying laptops and software for staff
- 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.
The cost of the Save Main Street plan is estimated to range from $850 million to $1.15 billion.
Mandy Brouse, Co-Owner, Wordsworth Bookstore
“After 35 years in the publishing business, we want to protect our employees’ jobs and help protect against any employment uncertainty for those who have worked so hard for our company. Knowing there might be a commercial rent subsidy would absolutely enable us to retain our dedicated staff and ensure their employment stability”
Melissa Durrell, Durrell Communications
“Small business requires an immediate program of rent assistance, or this province will see both landlords and small businesses going bankrupt together. A rent subsidy of up to 75% would allow me to maintain our place of work and execute a recovery plan that keeps all my employees on payroll.”
March 31, 2020
With April 1st tomorrow, I know many of you are becoming extremely anxious about your rent and wondering what supports may be available to you as small business owners during this time from the provincial government.
I have heard that help is needed in the next few days, not the next few weeks and that there is little or no wiggle room in your budgets. Sadly, some have already had to make the difficult decision to shut down.
The provincial government’s financial statement offered little for small businesses. Deferring bills and taking out loans doesn’t help – it racks up debt and pushes the problem down the road. Folks are literally out of options.
Many of you have written to me to advocate for protections for small businesses in our community.
Yesterday, together with my colleagues in the NDP, I called on Premier Ford to immediately implement three key measures to further protect small businesses in this time of crisis.
1. Ban on evictions or disconnections
-A legislated provincial moratorium on evictions, lockouts or disconnections of tenants for the next four months, backed by law for commercial leases for small and medium-sized businesses.
-Legislation to make it illegal for any landlord to attempt or to threaten tenants with eviction or utility shut-off.
-Call for a federal moratorium on mortgage foreclosures.
2. 80 per cent rent subsidy
-A provincially-funded rent subsidy of 80 per cent of rent, up to $2,500 a month, for each of the next four months payable to small and medium-sized businesses to defray lease costs.
3. Six-month freeze on rent increases
-A six-month freeze on rental rates until, at least, September 2020.
I will keep pushing hard for this and work together with BIAs and TABIA for greater relief measures for you during this pandemic.
MPP for Parkdale–High Park