QUEEN’S PARK — A day after the Premier ignored the request from five large business groups to freeze commercial evictions, Mike Schreiner spoke out in legislature on behalf of local independent businesses facing eviction.
“June 1st is only a few days away and more than half of small businesses in Ontario say they will not be able to pay the rent without more help from the province, according to the CFIB,” said Schreiner.
“This includes a community leading small business in Guelph who pays a living wage, supports local charities and buys food from local farms,” he added.
Schreiner spoke out in support of the Neighbourhood Group, which operates five restaurants in Guelph and Waterloo region, employs 150 people, sources 80% of its food from local farmers and has raised over $1 million for charities.
While two of their landlords are offering to work with them, two others are sending threatening letters refusing to participate in the rent relief program.
“This is a model business for how to treat workers and the environment while supporting the local community. I’m so disappointed that the Ford government is refusing to make a simple change that will help keep them and other small businesses in business,” said Schreiner.
Schreiner says the biggest problem with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rental Assistance program is that it leaves tenants at the mercy of landlords, who can choose not to participate.
The interim solution, which Schreiner and small businesses have been pleading for, is to issue a temporary freeze on commercial evictions.
But the Government has refused, saying that it would rather wait-and-see how the program rolls out.
“The Premier’s threats to landlords will not matter at the end of the day if small businesses get kicked to the curb. He should use his power to save small businesses today,” said Schreiner.