CFIB: Ontario doubles down on unfair and ineffective business restrictions

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COVID-19 Impact on Business

TORONTO – Dan Kelly, the President of the Canadian Federation for Independent Business states, “Incredibly, the Ontario government made the deep unfairness in lockdown rules even worse by implementing a new curbside pick-up and delivery curfew of 8 pm for small businesses, while exempting big box stores like Walmart”.

Kelly charges, “Walmart, Costco and Amazon can continue to sell non-essential goods in-store or deliver them to Ontarians with no additional changes, but small retailers will not be allowed to hand a product to a customer outdoors or even deliver one after 8 pm. How this will help stop the spread of COVID-19 is anyone’s guess”.

The CFIB states that “No other province has locked down small retailers while handing huge competitive advantages to big-box stores.”

Across the province businesses impacted by the lockdown, first in effect from December 26, 2020 and now extended for at least 28 days from January 14, 2021, are still waiting to be able to apply for the province’s $10k to $20k support grant.

The lockdown will impact thousands of small businesses across Ontario as efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 continue.

There are many across Western Ontario, where COVID-19 numbers are far lower than provincial hotspots like Toronto, Peel Region, and other hot spots where virus spread is continuing at massive levels.

The reason for the province wide lockdown including Western and Northern Ontario is stated as being from tracking travel which saw people leave lockdown areas to go to areas which are more open.

Small to medium sized businesses, and some specific sectors, photographers, landlords who are not major corporations, small service businesses shut down by the decisions made by government are going to need help, serious help.

Seasonal businesses, downhill ski areas in Ontario where lost revenues this year, like fishing and hunting outfitters need help.

For outfitters, the problem is likely to be one that will last for years. There are no trade shows this year, and with the border shut, the American customers are in effect shut out from even looking at putting down deposits for a 2021 trip. If the pandemic continues, as the virus continues to mutate, it is hard to see a real light at the end of the tunnel to make this happen.

Ontario has moved to end evictions for renters. The Premier has repeatedly said that this isn’t a reason for tenants to not pay rent. The decision has moved some landlords, not the big corporate landlords, but the small “mom and pop” landlords who have a house they used to live in that they now rent out as a second income.

There has been no protections instituted for those landlords, who are not really small business owners.

There is a lot of work needed to be done to ensure once this pandemic is over, the economy and the people are on a fairly solid footing.

None of the small business owners and entrepreneurs are responsible for the pandemic, but they are paying a huge price in the battle to end the pandemic.