TORONTO — NDP MPP Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale) is calling on the Ford government to immediately enforce and expand a ban on commercial evictions to protect small businesses. Bell held a virtual press conference Friday with business owners in Kensington Market, where more than a dozen small businesses have been forced to shutter due to the pandemic.
“Too many business owners have lost their livelihoods during COVID-19, and the ones that have pulled through are fighting to survive, living with the looming threat of eviction," Bell said. "Doug Ford has refused to enforce a ban on commercial evictions during the pandemic, or to give businesses direct financial support to see them through lockdowns and restrictions."
Danica and Darwin Miranda, the owners of Thai martial arts studio Krudar Muay Thai for 15 years, were recently evicted from their Augusta Avenue location. “We have poured our life savings into our business just to stay afloat, under a promise from the Premier and Minister of Finance that they would be there for small businesses,” said Miranda. “Commercial tenants are being evicted while they wait for relief."
Ashley Giesecke, owner of the venue ROUND on Augusta Avenue, was evicted after falling behind on rent after her landlord refused to participate in the federal rent relief program “My business was forced to close because of COVID-19 on March 15," Giesecke said. "Eight months later, I have not received any federal or provincial support for rent or any other business costs. Without notice, my landlord changed the locks."
The NDP’s Save Main Street plan includes a ban on all commercial evictions, a 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy, sick days for all workers, a fund to help businesses with safe-reopening costs or remote-work set-up costs, and more.