An East Toronto councillor and MPP are calling on the provincial government to step in and help small businesses that may be facing eviction orders this month.
Thursday, April 16, is the day when commercial landlords can lock the doors of business tenants who have not been able to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher and Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns are asking Ontario Premier Doug Ford to “step up to Save Main Street Businesses” and give small businesses owners a chance to able to get through the pandemic instead of being closed down.
“This could mean boarded up stores along the Danforth, Queen, Gerrard and Pape as well as commercial streets throughout Toronto,” said Fletcher in a press release on April 15. “Without action, it could take years for small businesses to recover.”
She pointed out that in March, the provincial government moved to protect residential tenants from eviction during the COVID-19 crisis, but no such protections have been extended to small business owners.
Phillip Kocev, treasurer of the Broadview-Danforth BIA, said many small business owners are in a desperate situation as their income sources have “evaporated” during the pandemic and the provincially mandated closures of non-essential businesses.
“With very small profit margins as it is, many face losing their location in days if there isn’t a protection on evictions. Without rent relief it will take years for them to recover, if at all,” said Kocev, who is also a Broker at iPro Realty Ltd.
Dave Watson, who is the owner of Eastbound Brewing Company and a member of the Riverside BIA, echoed those comments.
“We need the premier to step in and help our businesses survive this pandemic so we can return to providing jobs and services once it’s over,” he said in the April 15 press release.
MPP Tabuns said Premier Ford has a number of means at his disposal to help small businesses facing evictions and also their landlords who are losing rent money, and he should implement them immediately.
“Premier Ford can act fast to put laws in place protecting commercial tenants from being evicted,” said Tabuns in the press release.
“He can bring in commercial rent subsidies to protect small businesses and their landlords for the next few months, and he can keep our main streets from being devastated. Action now can protect our businesses and our communities. It is in the premier’s hands.”