Small businesses make up ninety-eight per cent of Ontario’s businesses and employ
eighty-eight per cent of our workforce. In short, they are the backbone of our economy.
Yet when the small businesses in our riding were closed, the big box stores were
allowed to stay open. Credit card companies also took the opportunity to raise their
rates for point-of-sale purchases. Today, closed storefronts can be found across
Many of our communities are desirable places to live because of the easy accessibility to
local shopping. We need to encourage a return to that. Ontario Liberals have proposed
incentives to do so such a three month provincial sales tax holiday for small businesses
to encourage customers to come back and spend.
At the same time, Ontario lost 355,000 jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The results have been felt in many households across the province.
Food bank use has skyrocketed. Youth employment remains roughly double the Canadian average. A
disproportionate amount of women have had to drop out of the workforce in order to be at home with younger children who were not at school.
Two of the hardest hit and slowest to recover sectors of our economy include accommodation and food services. These are sectors where youth, less educated workers, women, recent immigrants and temporary employees are most likely to be
paid hourly wages. With these sectors slow to recover, this group continues to struggle.
These are many who are in danger of being left permanently behind.
To help, we need an extension and expansion of the provincially-funded paid sick leave program, to ensure workers have access to 10 paid sick days.
We also need a universal licensed child care program to help mothers return to the workforce.
These are our friends, neighbours and family. More now than ever, they need our support.