TORONTO — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to news that the Premier will announce the new plan for lifting COVID-19 restrictions next week:
“The Premier will roll out the red carpet for big vendors but when it comes to the needs of small businesses, he turns a blind eye.
Many small businesses are struggling. Only 37 per cent of Ontario’s small businesses are at normal revenues and the average COVID-19-related debt is $190,000.
But yet there has been no new funding since April. And when it comes to enforcing vaccine certificates, small businesses have been abandoned by the province.
That’s why I am renewing my call for:
- Legal protection for small businesses to enforce vaccine certificates
- Funding support for the additional technology, staffing and training costs needed to properly implement and enforce vaccine certificates
- A third round of funding from the Small Business Support Grant and expanded eligibility criteria to access the grant
Throughout the pandemic, the Premier has shown a pattern of favouring big box stores and big corporations while the independent businesses that make up our mainstreets suffer. Whether it’s Walmart, Shoppers, Costco, or now big sports teams and stadiums. Ontario is open for business — but only if you can afford well-connected lobbyists.
The Premier needs to urgently announce a reopening plan to give small businesses adequate time to plan for new capacity limits. And he needs to be clear with concrete guidelines on how we can safely increase capacity limits.
The Premier has left small businesses scrambling and out to dry far too many times this pandemic. He needs to get this right.