Councillors Bradford and Fletcher call on provincial and federal governments to protect small businesses unable to pay April’s rent

This sign in the window of Queen Street East business in the Beach tells the story for many business owners who have had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Susan Legge.

East Toronto councillors Brad Bradford and Paula Fletcher are making their voices heard on the need to provide extra supports for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Beaches-East York Councillor Bradford and Toronto-Danforth Councillor Fletcher have sent letters to the provincial government calling for such supports.

In Bradford’s letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, he urged a halt to the issuing of any eviction orders to small business owners in April.

“I’ve spoken with and received feedback from almost 300 Toronto small business owners. Their biggest concern is the urgent need for support with April rent and stabilizing their leases,” Bradford said in the letter.

“While I’m optimistic about the resilience of our small businesses and our ability to bounce-back, additional support is needed from the Province” in three key areas to ensure a stable recovery, he wrote.

Those three areas are immediately stopping eviction orders from being issued for April rent; supporting landlords and tenants by giving lenders clear direction to offer commercial mortgage deferrals, and ensuring municipal property tax deferrals achieve the maximum effect; and taking legislative and/or regulatory actions to allow businesses to access support through interruption of business insurance due to the pandemic, wrote Bradford.

In late March, Fletcher hosted a conference call with BIAs in her Toronto-Danforth ward to hear their concerns on the impact COVID-19 is having on small businesses.

“Out of that meeting came a plan to organize a campaign to lobby the government to help small businesses,” she said in a recent newsletter. “One of the more urgent issues is that of businesses who cannot afford rent on April 1st being locked out.”

Fletcher has endorsed a letter created by the Toronto-Danforth BIA and the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) to be sent to the provincial and federal governments calling for small businesses that are unable to pay their April rents to be protected.

Local residents are encouraged by Fletcher to download the letter ( ) and send copies to the Premier Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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