Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

Provincial investments needed to keep Main Street afloat

Published on April 6, 2020

NDP’s Horwath proposes a Save Main Street plan 

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said small and medium-sized businesses, charities and community-based non-profits need more help to make it through the COVID-19 storm, and the provincial government should offer that lifeline.

 “Many small and medium-sized businesses, non-profits and charities are counting down the number of days they can keep their heads above water since COVID-19 has taken away their revenue,” said Horwath. “We not only want them to survive, we want them to be able to keep staff on the payroll as much as possible.

“The federal wage subsidy program and loan options are a welcome relief, but still leave small operations unable to pay the rent and bills without sinking into debt. The provincial government can solve that problem.”

Horwath’s said small and medium-sized businesses, charities and community-based non-profits should get help from the province, including:

  • A 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy up to $10,000 a month for three months
  • A utility payment freeze
  • A remote-work set up fund for small-businesses, which could help them with things like setting up an online retail operation, or buying laptops and software for staff
  • An auto insurance grace period for taxis and car-sharing drivers, established in partnership with the insurance industry and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority
  • A designated emergency fund for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced historic barriers to accessing traditional capital, as proposed by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce.

The cost of the Save Main Street plan is estimated to range from $850 million to $1.15 billion. 



Mandy Brouse, Co-Owner, Wordsworth Bookstore 

“After 35 years in the publishing business, we want to protect our employees' jobs and help protect against any employment uncertainty for those who have worked so hard for our company. Knowing there might be a commercial rent subsidy would absolutely enable us to retain our dedicated staff and ensure their employment stability" 

Melissa Durrell, Durrell Communications

“Small business requires an immediate program of rent assistance, or this province will see both landlords and small businesses going bankrupt together. A rent subsidy of up to 75% would allow me to maintain our place of work and execute a recovery plan that keeps all my employees on payroll.”