GUELPH – Today Ontario Green Leader, Mike Schreiner, held a press conference to call on the Ford government to provide a real plan for helping small businesses that continue to suffer under current public health measures.
Joining Schreiner was local small business owner and restaurateur, Court Desautels, CEO of The Neighbourhood Group, to highlight the hardships facing small businesses.
“Doug Ford continues to be days late and dollars short in helping small businesses. This can’t continue,” said Mike Schreiner. “If we don’t act now then more businesses will shut their doors forever.”
Schreiner is calling for:
- An immediate infusion of grants without delay that are timely and accessible with a customer support system that helps businesses navigate the application process
- Fixing the eligibility issues with the small business grant program
- Expanding the staycation tax credit to include dining at restaurants when it is safe to do so
- Sector specific support for businesses falling through the cracks and who have been hardest hit
- Reimposition of the commercial eviction ban
“As well as giving businesses immediate support, once we’re able to reopen, we need to encourage people to come out and support local businesses,” Schreiner explained. “We’re calling for an increase of the staycation tax credit and adding dining at local restaurants to the list of eligible expenses.”
Schreiner is proposing an increase of the staycation tax credit for eligible expenses of up to $500 for individuals and $1000 for households specifically for restaurants, once public health guidance allows a return to dining in. This would provide a maximum tax credit of $100 per individual or $200 per household.
Small businesses will need long term support to weather the current crisis.
“The biggest struggle that restaurants face is not just dealing with short-term lockdown measures, but rather the long-term impacts they have once the subsidies are gone,” said Court Desautels. “We need creative solutions that rebuild consumer confidence, which will undoubtedly help to recuperate the significant losses restaurants have experienced prior and post lockdown measures when consumer confidence was at an all time low.
The key is to have incentives that inject spending into the economy which will not only help alleviate debt, but will also get more employees back to work.”
“Let’s be very clear: there is no economic recovery in Ontario without small businesses. If the Premier is saying he will do everything possible to help, then he needs to follow through on those promises,” concluded Schreiner.