By: Surjit Singh Flora
BRAMPTON, ON (April 24, 2020) – Today, the results of Brampton’s advocacy efforts were realized as the federal government announced it reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
The new CECRA program will provide much-needed support for small businesses in Brampton and is a measure the City has been advocating for since the announcement of closures of non-essential businesses. On April 1, Mayor Brown sent a letter to Premier Ford and Minister Clark advocating for rent relief for small businesses. Rent relief has been a key ongoing issue for small businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March. When polled during an Economic Support Task Force Small Business Tele Town Hall held on April 17, 73 per cent of participants indicated that they had not received any form of rent relief. It is an issue that has been discussed with federal and provincial representatives at all of the Mayor’s COVID-19 Economic Support Task Force meetings.
The Mayor’s COVID-19 Economic Support Task Force is one of four task forces set up to support Brampton residents and businesses as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. The Economic Support Task Force is responsible for coordinating recommendations and measures to support business relief efforts in Brampton. The Task Force, which has representatives from the federal and provincial governments, as well as partners like the Brampton Board of Trade, Downtown Brampton Business Improvement Association (BIA), and Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), has been active in supporting Brampton’s businesses since the onset of COVID-19. The Task Force has held two tele town halls with small businesses with a combined total of 500 businesses participating, and two more with the restaurant sector and larger businesses. In addition, staff have responded to approximately 1,200 inquiries from Brampton businesses since the onset of COVID-19.
Patrick Brown, Mayor, City of Brampton said, “Our businesses are critical to the overall wellbeing of our community, and we have been doing all we can to support them and advocate for them since this COVID-19 crisis began. We are pleased to see that our efforts are leading to tangible measures that will make a difference for our business community. I’d like to thank the federal and provincial representatives on our Economic Support Task Force, MP Kamal Khera and MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria, as well as the Brampton Board of Trade, Downtown Brampton BIA, and Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, for working with us to find solutions. COVID-19 has proven to be an economic tidal wave, and we need to partner to support our residents and businesses.” –
And Paul Vicente, Regional Councillor, Wards 1 & 5, City of Brampton and Co-Chair, Mayor’s COVID-19 Economic Support Task Force said, “This has been a very stressful time for everyone – and particularly our business owners and operators. We have been very engaged with our business community throughout this crisis, and we have heard about their concerns. They are concerned about their businesses, their employees, and their futures. We will continue to support them now and as we all look to recovery and our new normal. We are pleased that this new program will provide significant and immediate relief for many.”