October 28, 2020
Hon. Justin Trudeau
Hon. Doug Ford
RE: Supports for small business
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Ford;
We write to you on behalf of the Mississauga business community, in particular those that have been impacted by the recent return to a modified Stage 2. This change is having a tremendously negative impact on our local businesses, including bars, restaurants, banquet halls and fitness-related facilities. If this continues for much longer, we fear Mississauga will see the permanent closure of thousands of businesses and the loss of thousands of jobs and investment in our community. Companies are experiencing extreme financial duress and many have been forced to take on more than they can bear.
Our Medical Officers of Health have made the case to keep these establishments closed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. We must continue to respect the direction of our public health officials. At the same time, we ask that if the province is to consider any additional closures, that these decisions be driven by localized data. We must look to the future, remain positive, and find ways to support our local businesses to not only survive but thrive during this difficult time.
Our businesses are seeking support, certainty and ease of access to programs. As you know, municipal budgets are not designed to provide this level of sustained fiscal support, only higher orders of government can. Many of our businesses have been unable to access programs such as the CEWS and now terminated CECRA, due to program and application complexity.
In particular, we ask that you consider the following:
- A review of provincial regulations regarding patios to ensure expanded, yet safe outdoor dining this winter is possible – be creative;
- Immediate release of the announced provincial $300M in funding for businesses impacted by Stage 2 restrictions without constraints, so that all affected small business can access financial relief. To avoid permanent closures, commit to maintaining this support in the event Modified Stage 2 restrictions are extended beyond 28 days;
- Consider putting a cap on the delivery commission fees for food delivery apps during the duration of the shutdown to provide relief to restaurants offering take-out only;
- Find ways to provide immediate financial support to affected restaurants, bars and banquet halls. Without more immediate financial support to these small businesses, many will close permanently;
- To assist businesses closed or severely restricted by public health restrictions, expand the new rent subsidy program to include more fixed costs such as property taxes and utilities;
- Encourage local manufacturers to help step up the production of items that are currently in short supply and needed to extend the patio season and keep businesses open like electric heaters and tents;
- Changes to Regulation 263/20 regarding the use of protective glass (i.e. Plexi-Glass) to ensure that it can act as a substitute for a mask. If this is not changed, a return to indoor dining will not be possible for many restaurants that rely upon this protective glass to allow patrons to take off their masks to eat;
- Work to prevent insurers from raising premiums, failing to renew or cancelling policies for businesses until the pandemic is over;
- Create more consistency when businesses are allowed to reopened (i.e. dance studios allowed to operate in hotspots but not gyms);
- Avoid the ‘one-size’ fits all approach and instead apply an approach to health and safety guidelines for businesses that takes into account the size of their establishment and thus capacity to accommodate different number of patrons while still adhering to social distancing requirements; and
- Provide increased, long-term supports for businesses in your November 5th Budget.
- Simplify financial relief programs for businesses, especially bars and restaurants, so they can weather this pandemic. For example, ensure that food establishments open for take-out are also eligible for assistance;
- Reduce the complexity of the application process for the CEWS and provide assistance for small businesses to better access this program;
- Support for entrepreneurs with personal household expenses and mortgages by ensuring they are eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and EI. In the absence of any income, entrepreneurs are also struggling to pay personal expenses; and
- Provide long-term, enhanced support for small businesses in your upcoming Economic Statement and future Budget.
Your governments have worked cooperatively and effectively together since the beginning of this pandemic. COVID-19 is part of our new reality and will be with us for the foreseeable future. Our local businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they need our support. If they are forced to go into lockdown on a repeated basis, we need to ensure these businesses are fully supported to weather this crisis and emerge intact. We are asking that you continue to work together to not only provide supports for our businesses but that they are delivered in an effective and timely manner.
We would request that before any further decisions are made with respect to business limitations or closures, that you consult with local businesses, Mayors and Councils, and local public health officials. Decisions to further restrict or reopen businesses must be tailored to our local realities. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and we must be careful to balance public health considerations with economic realities.
Thank you for your consideration. As always, we would be happy to speak further about these suggestions.
Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga and Chair of the Economic Resiliency Taskforce
Toni Frankfurter, Chair, Tourism Mississauga
CC., Deepak Anand, MPP
Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP
Natalia Kusendova, MPP
Kaleed Rasheed, MPP
Sheref Sabawy, MPP
Nina Tangri, MPP
Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Hon. Omar Alghabra, Parliamentary Assistant to the Prime Minister
Iqra Khalid, MP
Peter Fonseca, MP
Sven Spengemann, MP
Gagan Sikand, MP
David Wojcik, President & CEO of the Mississauga Board of Trade
Port Credit BIA