Courtenay-Alberni MP worries businesses won’t survive pandemic

In a May 20 statement, the NDP says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not budge when asked repeatedly by reporters why it does not adopt the party’s proposal to provide commercial rent relief directly to small business tenants rather than restricting application to landlords.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns has heard from many small business owners whose landlords are not willing or able to participate in this program. Other countries are providing emergency relief directly to tenants. Similarly, other countries and two Canadian provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, have declared an eviction moratorium to allow time for tenants to work with landlords to resolve rent issues.

The Prime Minister responded that he hopes that landlords will recognize the importance of supporting their tenants through this difficult period.

“This is disappointing,” Johns said. “Instead of designing programs to make sure no one is left behind, the government continues to design complicated programs that cut people out. Small businesses have waited five weeks now and they’re frustrated that the government is still tone deaf to their concerns.

“We’ve told the government repeatedly that many landlords simply won’t play ball,” Johns added. “Many businesses are helpless to save their livelihoods because their landlords won’t apply.

“We’ve been asking the government to negotiate an eviction moratorium similar to actions taken by other countries for weeks now. This is not good enough. We are very worried many businesses won’t make it through this pandemic.”

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