Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario

Emergency rent subsidy needed urgently to save struggling London businesses

Published on September 28, 2020

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Peggy Sattler (London West) has urged Doug Ford to introduce an emergency rent subsidy immediately to save small businesses that are struggling to survive the pandemic. During question period Monday at the Ontario legislature, Sattler said businesses like Mustang Sally’s in London were promised rent relief through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) only for their landlord to withdraw from the program leaving them on the hook for three months of backdated rent.
“Sally Anastasiadis and her family have been a mainstay of London’s food and hospitality industry for 35 years. They operate three local businesses, including Mustang Sally’s, just down the road from my constituency office,” said Sattler.
“In April, Sally’s landlord reluctantly agreed to enroll in the commercial rent relief program. Earlier this month, however, Sally was told that full rent would be due for July, August and September because the landlord had unilaterally decided to withdraw from CECRA. Sally invested in personal protective equipment (PPE) and was able to keep 20 staff on the payroll because she believed rent control would continue. She now feels like she has been tricked.”
“Instead of relying on the goodwill of landlords, will the premier implement a standalone emergency commercial rent subsidy to help struggling businesses like Mustang Sally’s make it through the pandemic?,” Sattler asked.
Sattler told the legislature that Mustang Sally’s is just one of many London businesses that have received no support from the federal government’s rent subsidy program.
“Many London businesses did not get any commercial rent relief at all, like Jean Coles of Sport Clips, because their landlords refused to participate in the program. Fixed overheads and soaring insurance costs, coupled with a steep decline in revenues, is putting many well-established businesses at risk. Some have permanently closed, like the Four Seasons Restaurant, after more than 25 years in London West. As patios close and COVID-19 case counts rapidly rise, London restaurant owners like Jess Jazey-Spoelstra of Craft Farmacy fear they won’t survive the winter without additional government support,” said Sattler.
Sattler demanded to know why the Ford government is still refusing to offer the direct support that small businesses desperately need to make it through this crisis and keep their staff on the payroll.
“Why is this government sitting on the $6.7 billion that has been allocated to help with the pandemic instead of using that funding to save jobs and keep small and medium-sized businesses afloat?,” Sattler asked the premier.