TORONTO AND WATERLOO — Davenport MPP Marit Stiles and the NDP's Economic Growth critic Catherine Fife (Waterloo) say Business Improvement Areas (BIA) are growing frustrated that the meagre and inadequate small business program Ford touts in his talking points doesn’t exist yet — leaving struggling businesses with no help.
"Small businesses have been decimated during the pandemic. Many local businesses that have not yet been forced to close are barely hanging on," Fife said. "Doug Ford has refused to provide the financial supports they need to keep workers on the payroll, pay their rent, and make it to the other side of this pandemic. Compounding this pain, the meagre and inadequate small business program Ford keeps bragging about in his talking points doesn’t actually exist right now.”
An *email from Small Business Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria’s office to a Davenport-area BIA confirms the government is “aiming to have the portal open by mid to late Jan” and invites the BIA to just keep an eye on social media.
"Ford is sitting on billions of dollars in COVID relief funding while businesses pile up debt, lay off workers, and board up windows,” said Stiles. “BIAs and small business owners are incredibly frustrated hearing Doug Ford spew talking points again and again about this program – which literally doesn’t exist right now.”
The Ford government has repeatedly refused the NDP's calls for direct financial support to small businsses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help cover payroll, rent and other fixed costs, and failed to implement a ban on commercial evictions for the duration of the pandemic.