Ottawa, January 3, 2022 — With recent news of returning to Stage 2:Ontario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen businesses are once again facing public health measure restrictions that are damaging to both their financial and mental health.
Understandably, we have seen officials issue statements on the concern over mental health of children not returning to school.
A great population of youth and adults must be addressed with concerns over mental health:
- The thousands of staffers who are facing a 3rd or 4th layoff from their job in less than 2 years; and
- The thousands of business owners impacted by another wave of lockdowns and restrictions, adding an inability to deal with an uncontrollable growing mountain of debt.
The decision is not a mere closing of doors or reduction of income, it is a huge impact on livelihoods. This is a financial and mental health crisis.
With such devastation, OCOBIA is seeking the support of all levels of Government for the hardest hit sectors.
We request the Provincial and Federal Governments to implement the following:
- Immediately release grants to all businesses impacted by capacity or closure restrictions
- Immediately open the portal to allow for rebates for property taxes and utilities to be processed expeditiously
- Re-impose the commercial eviction ban, which expired on December 31, 2021
- Forgive HST owing to all hardest hit businesses
- Forgive debt owing for COVID-19 related Federal loans or extend the interest-free payback date
- CEBA currently has 33% forgiveness, interest-free until December 31, 2022. Increase forgiveness to 50% or greater, and extend interest-free payback to December 31, 2024
- HASCAP does not have any loan forgiveness, Government is a guarantor for lenders – negotiate with lenders on behalf of hardest hit sectors for forgiveness and interest free debt
- Provide immediate temporary income support to employed and self-employed people who cannot work due to a COVID-19 capacity restriction or closure
- CEWS does not work if a business makes zero revenue due to closure. This could be changed to 100% subsidy for the lockdown
- The Emergency Lockdown payments of $300 a week do not support cost of living
The existing measures currently in place will not see businesses through the end of this pandemic. The greatest measures need to be taken.
OCOBIA supports and echoes the statements from these Business Organizations:
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/media/news-releases/cfib-statement-ontario-reintroducing-business-restrictions
Ontario Chamber of Commerce (and Ottawa Board of Trade): Letter PDF
Links to measures in place to support businesses and employees:
Ontario tax rebates: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs#section-0
Canada supports for businesses and workers: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html