Today NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath held a kitchen table chat by video conference with small business owners in Ontario who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Horwath heard from Mark Furukawa in Hamilton and Melissa Durrell in Waterloo.
Furukawa is the Owner/Operator of Dr. Disc, an iconic Hamilton storefront which sells new and used CDs, LPs and DJ equipment. COVID-19 has forced him to close up shop for now and lay off his staff of three in order to ensure social isolation, and manage his other business expenses.
Durrell is Owner of Durrell Communications. She is doing her best to keep her staff on the payroll, but she is feeling the squeeze of paying rent on the company’s large, prime office space in uptown Waterloo while it sits empty.
To help Ontarians like Durrell and Furukawa, Horwath and the NDP continue to call for provincial support for small and medium-sized businesses, charities and community-based non-profits. The NDP’s Save Main Street plan proposes:
- A 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy up to $10,000 a month for three months
- A utility payment freeze
- A remote-work set up fund for small-businesses, which could help them with things like setting up an online retail operation, or buying laptops and software for staff
- An auto insurance grace period for taxis and car-sharing drivers, established in partnership with the insurance industry and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority
- A designated emergency fund for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced historic barriers to accessing traditional capital, as proposed by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce