Where’s the rent relief for small businesses – like hair salons? Can we really reopen?

It’s great to see the government is taking extreme measures to prepare our businesses to reopen, as many prepare for the green light from our provincial government and our health officials. We have to thank them for taking continued steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to flatten the curb. 

For hair salons, the future in unclear. As a salon business owner of 20 years in the north Toronto area, it puzzles there are still no answers or relief for small businesses.

On April 24, the government announced the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program. This 25/75 announcement came as relief to many small business owners. However, one of the biggest problems is that the commercial rent assistance program is reliant on the landlord applying for it. Many landlords and owners are NOT.

So, what are we supposed to do? The cards are in the hands of these landlords. In my case, after repeated conversations with my landlord they’re just not interested. They just want their rent paid and the city wants to receive their tax payment.

Today, Ministry spokesman, Scott Blodgett, said “We urge tenants to speak with their landlords and work together to find solutions that work for everyone. The federal government and provincial and territorial governments urge property owners to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.”

Bottom-line, we have spoken to our landlord many, many times and the reality is they won’t budge.

I was shocked Mayor Tory stated there couldn’t be any further extensions for the city taxes.

If we are still being mandated to be closed, how are we expected to pay our April taxes that were deferred to June 1st, May deferred to July 1st. If there is no business, there is no revenue; therefore, no payments can be made, it’s simple math. 

In most cases landlords expect their tenants to pay the terms to date with no exceptions, and the city of Toronto expects the same.

The $40,000 loan was an option from the federal government - for those who qualify that is. But who wants to put themselves into further debt? Usually a loan is to help the growth of your business. Incurring more debt isn’t the solution.

Although they say, it’s interest free until December 31, 2022 what about the monthly fees associated with the loan? What happens if the business simply can’t afford to repay the loan? Although they say if you repay the balance of the loan “survival loan”, it will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). It’s hard to believe the federal government will give away free money. 

Please share with me your experience? Have you reached out to the Mayor or Premier? Did you get any satisfaction?

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