November 4th, 2020

Ford’s COVID-19 support fund to shut out most small businesses

NDP’s Horwath vows to keep fighting for direct support

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath vowed to keep fighting for direct support for struggling small businesses after the Ford government announced yesterday that small businesses have almost no hope of accessing the meagre support promised by Doug Ford.

Ford won’t make help available to small businesses unless they are located in areas that are in the new red or black zones, or returned to modified Stage 2. For small businesses in regions like Niagara, Northern Ontario and Prince Edward County, businesses have lost income, but the threshold for getting help has been set so high, businesses wouldn’t qualify for help unless their region was plunged into a devastating third wave.

“Too many small business owners have already closed up shop, while others are lying awake at night, worrying as the bills and debt pile up,” said Horwath. “They have been pleading for help from the province for months, and they don’t know how much longer they can keep their doors open and workers on the payroll without it.

“Yesterday, the government told small businesses in places like Niagara and Northern Ontario and Prince Edward County that they are on their own. It looks like Doug Ford has just been stringing small businesses along, suggesting help was on the way when he is still pinching pennies to save a buck, promising support and then throwing up roadblocks so almost no one can access it.”

The NDP has been calling for direct support for struggling small businesses since April, when it launched a plan to Save Main Street. The plan calls for a commercial rent subsidy, a freeze on utility payments, a fund for remote work set-up and safe re-opening, and much, much more.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to help small businesses stay afloat right now,” said Horwath. “People’s jobs and livelihoods are on the line, and so is Ontario’s economic recovery.

“If I were premier, I would be giving small businesses the direct support they need right now, and Ontario’s NDP won’t stop fighting until they get that help.”