Letter to Ottawa Members of Provincial Parliament
The Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) represents the 19 BIAs in our greater Ottawa region. Within, there are approximately 6,400 businesses that are collectively represented – most of whom are bricks and mortar.
A majority of these businesses are small businesses that are facing a financial crisis during this pandemic, as you already know. The Ontario Small Business Support Grant has been well received and a ‘life preserver’ for thousands of businesses in the province. However, there are discrepancies that have been brought to our attention with the grant application process. These discrepancies are resulting in small businesses not receiving the grant at a time that is most critical.
Of the responses we received within one week (42 as of April 22, noon), the following issues have been reported:
- accepted, but still waiting for the funds (some for months)
- accepted, but have some complications in follow-up and cannot access support (nothing received)
- no acceptance or decline (no response to the application)
- declined with unfounded or no explanation
As businesses endure a provincial lockdown, once again, this direct financial aid is needed now.
Some specific examples provided by the businesses:
Barrhaven BIA Retailer: Applied and have been deemed ineligible when we enquire on the website. When we call a person that answers says there is nothing they can tell us. Called 4 times, talked to 4 different people with no satisfaction.Have been locked down 3 times,so could really use help and the funds.
Preston Street BIA Restaurant: We had to re-apply a second time because they said it did not go through the first time. We applied the 2nd time (within the timeframe allocated) and it says submitted. But it neither says we are getting the funds or that we are not getting the funds. When we call to speak to someone, they tell us to keep waiting as it’s still being processed…but we initially applied for this in late winter…and still nothing.
Wellington West BIA Cafe: They had asked for extra paperwork, which I submitted to them but I still haven’t heard back.
Manotick BIA Restaurant: Applied January 2021, as of today April 16 2021 still have not received funds
Kanata Central BIA Retailer: no funds recv’d and cannot contact anyone for support over 2 months of trying
In addition, we have received information from businesses outside of BIAs.
We urge that you please connect with your respective BIA businesses, and:
- review eligible applicants who were either declined with unfounded or no explanation;
- speed the process of application reviews for those waiting for acceptance; and
- ensure that the funds for approved grants are flowing quickly and smoothly.
Should you wish to acquire the list of specific businesses that have been affected, please contact me or your respective BIA office.
Thank you for your support of our local small businesses.