Help small businesses survive the covid-19 epidemic through Commercial rent/lease relief

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There are 1.15 million small businesses in Canada. We are the backbone of the economy contributing just under 40% of the GDP. Approximately 8.3 million Canadians are employed by small businesses and over 3 million in Ontario alone. As small business owners, many of us have taken the risk and invested everything we have (physically, financially and emotionally) into our businesses. We offer services and products, create jobs and provide tax revenue for the cities, provinces, and country and its citizens. We are not multi billion corporations, but rather average citizens with families depending on us not to fail.

The covid-19 pandemic has affected us all, and although the government is trying to look after us on a personal level, I feel they have failed to address the actual needs of small businesses; namely the ability to pay for lease/rent and utilities while being forced to keep our doors shut.

Many landlords are not willing to work with us during these trying times with rent relief or deferral. I understand their point as well where they need the revenue to make their own payments but as most business are not making any money, it is impossible to pay and we risk being evicted. It is very unfair that we, as small business owners, who have had a great repayment/payment history are now unable to pay through no fault of our own.

The government needs to step in and produce legislation forbidding them to evict us, and provide some direct relief for small businesses. They have done this on the personal side but not for commercial rents/leases. Although I acknowledge there are some relief programs for small businesses, none of the solutions address the immediate needs we have. I urge you to sign this petition so that we can raise awareness and make enough noise for our politicians to be motivated enough to act swiftly before many of our small businesses are forced to shut our doors which in turn will contribute greatly to the deterioration of our economy.