May 26th, 2021

Reopen and stay open: NDP calls for provincial funding package for local business and jobs

A new, improved round of the OSBSG, and cash for people to go to restaurants, tourism businesses

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and the Official Opposition are calling for funding to help local businesses make it to their re-opening day, and stay open — including a new and vastly improved round of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, and a tax credit for visiting Ontario-owned restaurants and Ontario tourism businesses.

“With weeks to go before re-opening, local businesses and the people who work there need and deserve support to get back on their feet. With a package to champion local businesses, we can keep workers on the payroll, help businesses make it to their re-opening day, rebuild Ontario’s battered main streets, and help entrepreneurs keep their dreams alive,” said Horwath.

“This long, painful lockdown is the result of Doug Ford’s poor pandemic choices — not the choices of local business owners. The Ford government needs to spend the money to help them make it through, so they can contribute to a strong Ontario recovery.”

The Official Opposition is calling for:

  • A vastly improved third round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments Unlike Doug Ford’s earlier choices, this time, the government must not leave any business behind – providing a new payment to bridge to reopening every small or medium-sized local business that’s experienced revenue decline in the third wave, compared to pre-pandemic.
  • A $1,000 tourism and local restaurant tax credit The Travel Ontario Tax Credit bill from NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) gives families a $1,000 tax credit to visit qualifying tourism businesses in Ontario, including qualifying purchases at restaurants, to hotels, outfitters and attractions.
  • Targeted re-opening support for personal care and service-based businesses Especially impacted by necessary public health measures, personal care businesses like salons and service-industry businesses like restaurants need access to a Safe Reopening Grant in order to open, and stay open.
  • Access to forgivable loansBusinesses may need access to capital to re-open and drive economic recovery.


Catherine Fife, NDP Finance critic (Waterloo)
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the drivers of Ontario’s economy, and create the majority of Ontario’s jobs. But they’re the most at risk of not making it to their re-opening day. With a local business support package, we can save those businesses, champion Ontario’s incredible entrepreneurs, save countless jobs and create new jobs. The NDP’s positive proposal is a package that will help Main Streets thrive, and keep food on the tables of working folks and local business owners.”

Ian Arthur, NDP critic for Small Business Recovery and Reopening Main Street (Kingston and the Islands)
“We’ve all seen the for-lease signs on Main Streets all over Ontario. It’s time to reverse the heartbreaking gutting of our neighbourhoods and communities, and stop the loss of local businesses and jobs. We can Save Main Street — and if we do, local businesses will drive Ontario’s economic recovery.”

Taras Natyshak, NDP critic for Job Creation and Economic Recovery (Essex)
“We have lived through longer, more painful shutdowns because Doug Ford didn’t want to spend the money on hotspots, and he didn’t want to spend the money to protect working folks. This time, let’s make sure businesses have everything they need to open for good — preserving and creating more good jobs for more Ontario workers.”

Michael Mantha, critic for Northern Development and Tourism (Algoma—Manitoulin)
“Tourism industries have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, but they were excluded from the first round of government support, and have been given just half as much help as other Ontario businesses. The NDP’s package of supports ends the practice of leaving tourism behind, and gives hotels, outfitters and attractions a foothold to a successful reopening, as soon as it’s safe.”

Wayne Gates, MPP and author of Travel Ontario Tax Credit Act (Niagara Falls)
“Restaurants, bars and hotels are desperate for the day they can re-open safely — but too many are at risk of closing permanently and drowning in debt. The province has the power to stop that from happening. Our tourism can once again be a job-creating, community-building economic driver — but only if they have a partner in government, willing to invest in Ontario’s future.”


  • According to the CFIB, “Ontario’s small businesses are only at 27 per cent of normal revenues, so they’ll need provincial and federal relief programs for the foreseeable future to help them survive. Many business owners have invested their personal life savings in their business’s survival, but that personal well has now run dry, and government programs are drying up, too.”
  • The NDP estimates this package of supports will cost $2.2 billion.
    • A new, improved round of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is expected to cost more than $1.7 billion once previously-excluded businesses are supported
    • The Travel Ontario Tax Credit is estimated to cost $150 million