Submitted by Ryan Donnelly
JUNE 10, 2021 VOL. 2 ISSUE 21
Fort Erie MPP Wayne Gates was on hand to talk about the local impacts of the NDP plan to support small businesses, including a new and vastly improved round of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, and a tax credit for visiting Ontario-owned restaurants and Ontario tourism. The event was held digitally at Tide & Vine, a restaurant that has been closed for nearly 15 months due to the lockdowns.
Business across Niagara have been hit by the lockdowns and local Fort Erie businesses have not been spared.
Nino D’Ambra of D’ambra Hair and Aesthetics on Garrison Road is one of the business owners hoping to see a third round of funding.
“We absolutely support these efforts. Businesses like ours need this third round of grants to bridge the gap caused by the latest lockdown,” said D’Ambra.
Gates said the NDP’s plan was echoing the concerns of businesses in Fort Erie. “There’s two parts of what we’re saying today, the first is that businesses need a third round of the Business Support Grant immediately. The Premier never should’ve allowed a third wave to happen but it did unfortunately happen and now we have businesses barely hanging on, they need another round of funding to bridge that gap and to save the jobs of their employees. Make no mistake about it, without this funding we may see a lot of familiar businesses that have been in our community for decades go under – that can’t be allowed to happen.”
At the onset of the pandemic the Ontario Government released the Ontario Small Business Support Grant which provided businesses with up to $20,000 in funding to survive the lockdown. The Grant was expanded to a second round and automatically given to businesses who applied for the first. Additionally, a specific tourism industry related grant was released last week by the Government.
Gates was joined by Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath for the announcement. The two also discussed Gates’ ‘Travel Ontario Tax Credit Act’ he tabled with the aim to encourage families to explore the Province of Ontario and play a role in revitalizing the local tourism industry.
“The second part of this is tourism, in our Region you can’t have an economic recovery plan without it. 1 in 5 Niagara jobs are related to tourism and most of those workers have been out of work for over a year,” said Gates. “So I decided to table a new approach to solving this problem. We have a beautiful province to explore, my bill would create a tax credit that says every dollar you spend taking your family on vacation can be claimed as a tax credit up to $1000 dollars. That means if a family goes away for a weekend, or just spends one night in the Falls, they can get a tax credit for those receipts. This way we give our local families a much needed vacation after such a hard year but above all, we get money flowing back into tourism and protecting those jobs. That’s how we rebuild tourism from the ground up.”
Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath joined Gates in stressing that the supports were needed urgently. “With weeks to go before re-opening, local businesses and the people who work there need and deserve support to get back on their feet. With a package to champion local businesses, we can keep workers on the payroll, help businesses make it to their re-opening day, rebuild Ontario’s battered main streets, and help entrepreneurs keep their dreams alive,” said Horwath. “This long, painful lockdown is the result of Doug Ford’s poor pandemic choices — not the choices of local business owners. The Ford government needs to spend the money to help them make it through, so they can contribute to a strong Ontario recovery.”
Businesses who have any questions about the Small Business Support Grant or The Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant are encouraged to contact MPP Gates’ Office.