More Welcome Relief & Chamber Eager for Details
April 16, 2020
(Toronto – April 16, 2020) – Today, Rocco Rossi, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in response to the federal government’s announcement on commercial rent assistance and Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) payroll criteria expansion:
“We applaud the federal government for continuing to respond and adapt to the needs of Canadians and Canadian business. Expanding CEBA payroll criteria will ensure more small businesses are not left behind. Getting the funds to business owners quickly will be key to ensuring continued operations.
“Commercial rent relief is also very welcome news and we are eager for the details. There have been many calls for deferral of commercial rents. While rent deferral policies may be useful in the short term – as the goal is to keep businesses in place so they can re-open – after months of no revenue a large rent deferral bill will force a business to close their doors for good.
“The Ontario NDP offered a terrific suggestion in their ‘Save Main Street’ plan: 75 percent commercial rent subsidy up to $10,000 a month for three months. The largest overhead cost for many SMEs, charities, and non-profit organizations is rent. Unlike other operating expenses, this is a cost that companies are unable to reduce. A rent subsidy would give organizations critical operational flexibility, offering valued leeway in adapting to the extreme economic environment we find ourselves in, and could save the economy greater hardship by ensuring the workforce is maintained.
There are other options for supporting commercials tenants, including:
- Encourage corporate landlords to set up relief funds for their commercial renters.
- Expand the Toronto Rent Bank to the entire province and to commercial tenants. The Bank provides interest-free repayable loans for low-income households. This service could not only be extended outside of Toronto, but also to commercial renters who have experienced a precipitous drop in revenue. Corporate landlords could manage and/or contribute to this fund.
- Provide landlords appropriate access to small business aid packages, so that they are better able to cancel or defer rents for those tenants who cannot pay.
“We are committed to working with all levels of government to respond and adapt to challenges facing Ontario business.”
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.
For more information, please contact:
Vice President, Public Affairs
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
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