Local businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic need additional support if a second wave scenario occurs, said the leader of the official opposition during a stop in Brampton last week. Flanked by local MPPs, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath urged support for a new plan, “Save Main Street,” which aims to provide a lifeline to local businesses through dedicated funding and safe reopening costs.
“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, who met with the owners of Ken’s Quality Care Clinic, a struggling local business in south Brampton, before the announcement.
“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.” The press conference came as the province’s Financial Accountability Officer highlighted the issue of money earmarked for pandemic supports that hasn’t been spent, said Horwath. “We need to rush critical investments to the front lines… 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,” said Horwath, who indicated that the Save Main Street Plan would also place a ban on commercial evictions, as well as include a 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy. Andria Barrett, President of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, said that local businesses will need support during the second and subsequent waves.
“We’re 100 per cent in support of this,” Barrett said during the announcement. Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks at a press conference outlining the “Save Main Street” plan on Oct. 1, 2020. (Photo Courtesy of Kevin Yarde MPP)