Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath was in Windsor-Essex County Sunday touting her party's plan to help small businesses in Ontario get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As the official opposition, the New Democratic Party is doing everything we can to urge Mr. Ford and the [Progressive] Conservatives to be more pro-active in providing support to businesses," Horwath said.
Horwath, who was touring the region Sunday, spoke about her party's Save Main Street plan from the Atlas Tube Centre in Belle River. She said she'd held a video call earlier in the day with small businesses in the region and it was clear that "folks were really hurting."
She said the NDP plan was first put together in April and it would cost taxpayers between $850 million to $1.15 billion, according to the party's calculations.
It calls on the Ford government to implement five different measures of relief for companies affected by the virus.
- A 75 percent rent subsidy, up to $10,000, for three months for businesses that are seeing decreased revenue.
- A utility payment freeze.
- A fund to help workers work remotely, upgrade workplaces to make them safe and offer personal protective equipment.
- A grace period on auto insurance for taxis and car-share drivers.
- A designated emergency fund for small businesses and entrepreneurs who "have faced historic barriers to accessing traditional capital" — a measure proposed by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce.
CBC contacted the Premier's office asking for a response to the plan pitched by the NDP but the office did not immediately respond.
In a press release from June 30, the government re-announced a $150 million dollar investment in rural broadband as a way to help businesses access a greater pool of customers.
The provincial government has also put in place a ban on commercial evictions for businesses that have been "significantly impacted" by COVID-19 restrictions.
Should have been better prepared: Horwath
Horwath also called out the Ford government for not being better prepared for the issues surrounding COVID-19 in the agri-farm sector. She pointed specifically toward a decision to allow migrant workers to continue to work even if they'd tested positive but were asymptomatic.
"The outbreaks that are happening now, I believe, are a direct responsibility of Mr. Ford, and his government's lack of pro-activity when it comes to preventing those outbreaks from happening," she said.