Working people and small business owners in Brampton have already been hit hard by the financial crisis created by COVID-19, and the second wave has begun. Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition NDP, was in Brampton Thursday to fight for her Save Main Street plan to be instituted before businesses are hit again.
Horwath has released Save Main Street: A Plan for Jobs and Financial Security for Working People.
“A lot of working folks here in Brampton and around the province are just a paycheque or so away from their pantries going bare, rent or mortgage going unpaid, or having to crack open their retirement savings to make ends meet,” said Horwath.
“It’s clear that folks need financial security to get through the second wave of COVID-19 – including direct supports for workers and businesses – and then we’re going to need to create more good jobs than ever before to help people get back on track.”
Horwath was joined in Brampton by Andria Barrett, President of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, and Ken Manning, the owner of Quality Care Clinic. Manning had to dip into his savings to keep his company afloat during the first wave, but as costs piled up, and existing programs let him down, Manning laid off his staff. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, he shut it down — and would need help to get back in business.
Meanwhile, Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer revealed that the Ford government is sitting on billions of dollars which was earmarked for pandemic supports he’s not investing.
“Doug Ford has been trying to save a buck, instead of preparing for the second wave of COVID-19 infections,” said Horwath. “Now, we need to rush critical investments to the front lines – small businesses like Ken’s, entrepreneurs and family-owned operations, ethnic media outlets, working families. That’s how we get people through the next wave, and give them the stability they need to come out of this pandemic healthier, more prosperous, and ready to power the economy forward.”
The NDP’s plan includes a ban on all commercial evictions, a 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy, sick days for all, a fund to help businesses with safe-reopening costs or remote-work set-up costs, an auto-insurance grace period for taxis and commercial auto insurance rebate, an end to insurance gouging and insurance denials, and a dedicated fund to help businesses that face historic barriers, including barriers to accessing capital, as recommended by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce. Horwath is also fighting for an Ethnic Media Stabilization Fund, to ensure community media sources can continue to operate during this rocky period, and continue to keep their staff on the payroll.
Andria Barrett, President of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce
“We support the NDP’s Save Main Street plan. Not every business survived the first wave and those that did, will need support during the second and any subsequent waves. The NDP plan calls for a fund to help businesses with safe-reopening costs, remote-work set-up costs, and a dedicated fund to help businesses that face historic barriers. We’re 100% in support of this.”
Keeping workers on the payroll
- A ban on all evictions, lockouts or eviction threats by commercial landlords, in place until the pandemic ends
- A utility payment freeze for small and medium-sized businesses
- A stand-alone emergency 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy, up to $10,000 per month
- A fund for businesses that face historic barriers
Keeping workers safe
- A safe re-opening and remote-work set up fund for small and medium-sized businesses
- A Made In Ontario paid sick days plan for all
Building the she-covery
- Cap class sizes and school bus capacity to keep kids safe, and moms working
- Create more, safer non-profit and public child care spaces
- Create a dedicated re-training fund and Office to Advance Women Apprenticeship
Stopping insurance gouging
- Institute an auto-insurance grace period for taxis and car-sharing drivers
- Stop insurance gouging, stop insurance corporations from denying coverage based on COVID-19, stop insurance companies from denying business interruption claims
- Mandate commercial vehicle insurance rebates
- Keeping restaurant jobs afloat
- Limit food delivery fees