Read my letter from Sudbury Star about the need for additional support for businesses and non-profits.
Businesses and non-profits deserve more support
Greater Sudbury: I want to thank all of you for doing your part to flatten the curve and support one another during this crisis. This has been a challenging time for many Sudburians.
For small business owners in our community, this pandemic has had an extra layer of stress. Over the last few weeks, I’ve spoken with many businesses and non-profit organizations worried they won’t be able to re-open with the rest of Ontario’s economy. Businesses that have temporarily closed in order to keep our community safe are struggling to pay their rent. Many are counting down the days, worried about how long they will be able to keep going.
The federal wage subsidy program and loan options are a welcome relief, but these programs simply are not enough to save many of Sudbury’s small businesses. Far too many businesses impacted by this pandemic won’t qualify for support. Many others that do qualify are concerned about their ability to pay back the loan as their business struggles to recover.
Local small businesses shouldn’t have to choose between closing permanently or sinking so far into debt that they won’t be able to recover. Our community’s non-profit organizations and services should be able to focus on helping people, not worrying about how they’ll stay afloat. They deserve more than half-measures and empty promises.
The provincial government asked businesses to shut down for the greater good; now it’s time for the government to offer a lifeline to help these businesses recover. Despite calls for direct supports — such as rent relief — from business owners, advocacy groups, and the Official Opposition MPPs, the provincial government has continued to stand by while longstanding businesses in our community face mountains of debt and the fear of eviction.
As the MPP for Sudbury, I will continue to fight for the real rent relief that local businesses should have had two months ago. That is why my NDP colleagues and I have proposed a Save Main Street plan that would give businesses and non-profit organizations up to $10,000 a month in rent subsidies. Our plan would also ensure that there is a utility payment freeze, a remote-work setup fund, and a designated emergency fund for those who have faced historical barriers to accessing traditional capital.
Small- and medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations play an important role in Sudbury. They provide jobs, services and culture to our community. Their recovery after this crisis is essential to getting our economy back on track.
You can count on me to keep fighting for the supports that the businesses and organizations in our community deserve.
As always please do not hesitate to reach out. I can be reached at JWest-CO@ndp.on.ca or 705-675-1914.
Jamie West, NDP MPP for Sudbury
NDP critic for the Labour Relations Act
See the original version in Sudbury Star here.