MPP Suze Morrison supports MPP Andrea Horwath's Save Main Street Plan. MPP Morrison is deeply concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on local businesses and has circulated this open letter thanking businesses for the courage and perseverance.
MPP Andrea Horwath has 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 commercial evictions freeze
- 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.
I am calling on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to recognize that:
The Church & Wellesley Village is one of the main queer and Trans community hubs in Ontario and has a significant cultural value. 2SLGBTQ+ communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. It is imperative that queer and Trans owned businesses survive and continue to thrive in the Village, despite paying some of the highest commercial rents in Ontario. It is also imperative that all those who call this community home are housed with appropriate supports.
We call on the government to:
- Provide a 75% commercial rent subsidy of up to $10,000 for three months
- Implement a ban on commercial evictions
- Provide a utility payment freeze
- Provide further financial assistance to municipalities to help boost housing programs and address the issue of chronic homelessness.