February 9, 2022
The Honourable Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building - Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Ford,
I am writing you today to amplify the voices of small business owners that are not receiving the proper support they were promised through your government support programs such as the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Since the beginning of the pandemic, business owners in Windsor Essex have gone to great lengths to keep their businesses viable during these unprecedented times.
Small business owners were hopeful that your government would support them through the pandemic. Yet in 2021 when the first small business grant was announced, many small businesses were left out of any financial aid due to the red tape and narrow parameters of qualification.
Small business owners are entrepreneurial by nature. When the pandemic hit many were successful in pivoting their business online, or with a delivery service. Some were able to join forces with other local small businesses to offer services and goods to consumers while the first few waves of the pandemic hit. Business owners have done everything they can to ensure they could stay open and continue to serve the community. Yet when these entrepreneurs turned to your government for support they were denied due to the restrictions of the program.
You may also recall that many businesses that were successful with applying for the small business grants were left waiting months for funds to flow. Many had difficulties communicating with the program administrators and contacted my constituency office for assistance. Now the application portal for the newest Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant has yet to open.
Ontario’s New Democrats have supported small businesses and shared clear recommendations during the pandemic through our Save Main Street Plan, as well as other legislative and policy recommendations. I wrote to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedeli, in April of 2021 outlining the many flaws of the now closed program and asked for re-evaluation.
I ask that you open the portal for the Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant and get the funding flowing immediately. Ensure that the administration of the program runs smoothly and that small businesses can receive direct financial support to pay their staff and keep their doors open. For many, this support will be the deciding factor of whether they can remain open or must close forever.
I strongly urge you to take action immediately.
Lisa Gretzky MPP
CC: Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade