Latest Ontario Restrictions Devastating Small Businesses

The Ontario government’s decision to extend and expand lockdowns across the province – including home improvement retailers this time – is another big hit in a long line of crushing blows to small business owners, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “Ontario has now expanded the most anti-small business lockdown measure in the country. No other province in Canada closes small businesses while allowing big box stores to sell similar goods in-store,” says Ryan Mallough, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Ontario. “Our members are dumbfounded as to why their government continues to feel that it is safer to buy a book, bracelet, or pair of shoes at Walmart or Costco than to buy the same items at their quiet, local independent retailer. Its data shows that over a third of Ontario businesses say their business will not survive a second lockdown. It recommends that the Ontario government immediately top up the federal Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to up to 100 per cent for businesses in lockdown zones; immediately top up the federal Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to up to 100 per cent for businesses in lockdown zones; expand eligibility for the Ontario PPE grant to all businesses, regardless of size or sector, and substantially increase the value from the current $1,000; and increase funding to the $600-million program for energy and property taxes to reflect the additional volume of businesses in lockdown. “Let’s not forget that the government chose to close small businesses, so they cannot be expected to survive without full economic support. Nothing short of 100 per cent support for affected businesses will get them to the other side of COVID-19,” says Dan Kelly, CFIB president.