QUEEN'S PARK – In the Legislature, MPP Peggy Sattler (London West) urged the government to address the urgent need for fairness in commercial rent as small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Speaker, over the last two years of COVID, small businesses that have struggled to stay afloat are far from being in the clear. It’s not only that revenues are still down and soaring inflation is driving costs up, but small business owners are also facing unfair and exorbitant increases in commercial rent.
Huma Sohail owns Tandoori Eh!, a restaurant in the Hyde Park area of London West. She borrowed to get up and running in February 2020, just one month before the global pandemic hit. Her restaurant, like so many others, is still hanging by a thread, and she is working around the clock to repay her loan and avoid losing her livelihood. But what’s hurting Huma the most is the recent $2,000 increase in her monthly rent, an increase of more than 25%. There are five other businesses in the same commercial plaza. All are struggling to pay the rent increase and wondering if they can stay open.
This government’s refusal to address commercial rent fairness will result in many more small businesses closing, with more local jobs lost and more communities doing their best to recover without a thriving business core.
Small business owners like Huma did their part to get us through the last two years. This government should be doing everything possible to make sure that they can survive the next two years and beyond."