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John Tory Commits to Expanding Support for Small Businesses

September 16, 2022

John Tory Commits to Expanding Support for Small Businesses, Builds on Action Taken to Lead Toronto into Strong Economic Recovery

Today, John Tory announced that, if re-elected, he will build on action he has taken to support Main Street and small businesses by expanding and increasing the small business tax break he led City Council in approving, and making it easier for businesses to open, renew and stay open.

“Every locally-owned cafe, restaurant and shop we have contributes to the vibrant and diverse culture that makes our city one of the most liveable in the world,” said Tory. “These small businesses are the backbone of our economy and were some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Now, with rising interest rates and inflation, they are once again feeling added financial pressure in the face of economic uncertainty.”

Tory’s announcement today commits to four key actions to help small businesses manage increased costs brought on by inflation, rising interest rates and economic uncertainty:

  1. Expand the first-in-Ontario Small Business Property Tax Subclass, established by Mayor Tory during the pandemic, so that even more businesses, particularly those in Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), are included and able to receive the tax reduction.
  2. Increase the tax discount for the small business subclass from 15 to 20 per cent, and work with the Government of Ontario to ensure that they match the same discount on provincial property tax bills, so that eligible small businesses can put more money towards managing increased costs brought on by inflation.
  3. Direct City Hall to identify ways to cut in half the time it takes to approve licences for new restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and other eating and drinking establishments with seating.
  4. Appoint a member of City Council as the Mayor’s Champion for Red Tape Reduction with a mandate to identify and spearhead efforts to make it easier for small businesses to open, renew and stay open. This Councillor will report directly to the Mayor, and focus on two initial priorities:
    • Examine the user experience for businesses seeking licensing and permitting at City Hall, identifying where processes can be consolidated into a one-stop shop. Then, lead a procurement challenge with local Toronto technology companies to create a one-window platform.
    • Review the City’s digitization efforts and identify any remaining services for businesses that can be digitized.

Key actions taken by the Mayor to support small businesses during the pandemic include:

● Launching the Small Business Property Tax Subclass in 2021, and successfully advocating for the Government of Ontario to match Toronto’s program and provide a 15 per cent discount to eligible small businesses for provincial property taxes.
● Creating the CaféTO program, which has proven to be an effective way to support small business through the pandemic and beyond - providing many businesses with new or expanded patios that have increased revenue generation opportunities.
● Successfully advocated on behalf of businesses for $18 million in COVID-19 emergency support from the federal government to support Toronto’s Mainstreet Recovery and Rebuild Initiative.

“Toronto, like all big cities around the world, is facing tough economic challenges. Simply put, there is no strong economic recovery without a strong, thriving small business community. I know that after the pandemic, businesses are worrying about heading into more uncertain economic times. If re-elected, I’m committed to continuing to work with other governments and my City Council colleagues to build upon the solid foundation developed over the past eight years and ensure Toronto comes back stronger than ever before.”

Additional Quotes

“Strong and vibrant main streets are the heart of our communities. As neighbours, we've stepped up to see small businesses through their most difficult times. Now, we're keeping that support going to ensure they come back stronger than ever. We all want Toronto to be a city where small businesses can thrive. With the leadership of Mayor Tory, the City is doing just that. Today's announcement will bring continued progress on key areas: removing barriers for entrepreneurs, making it easier to do business in the city we love, ongoing collaboration with our Provincial and Federal counterparts, and putting more money back into the pockets of mom-and-pops. It's how Toronto's economic engine will continue to grow and keep our main-streets thriving.”
Brad Bradford, Candidate for Beaches East-York

"I think I speak for a lot of people in the small-business community when I say that I appreciate how responsive the City has been under Mayor Tory’s leadership over the past few years of the pandemic. CaféTO is a great example of how nimble the city can be when led with vision and purpose. For some time now, small business owners have been talking about the spread between various tax rates and the unfair burden it places on main-street businesses. Mayor Tory is the only one to address the problem head-on and give small businesses, property owners and the neighbourhoods they serve a fighting chance."
Billy Dertilis, Owner of Red Rocket Coffee and Chair of the Danforth Mosaic Business Improvement Area.

“John Tory has made it his mission to support small businesses, and his commitment today to expand the Small Business Property Subclass and cut more red tape at City Hall will build on action he’s taken to lead Toronto’s strong economic recovery. The success of the neighbourhood food store, barber shop or boutique are important to their community and contribute to the overall success and fabric of our city. Small businesses have been through challenging times with more economic uncertainty ahead, and it’s great to see Tory maintain his commitment to supporting them in a third mandate.”
Gary Crawford, Candidate for Scarborough Southwest

“John Tory has been a champion for small businesses, and there is no clearer example of this than his leadership during the pandemic. He worked with the provincial government to create a first-in-Ontario tax break on municipal and provincial Small Business property taxes. He created the CaféTO program, supported the expansion of the Digital Mainstreet program and secured $18 million in relief funding for small businesses. Today’s announcement builds on John Tory’s support for small businesses and will help to ensure they are around and able to fully participate in, and fuel, a strong economic recovery.”
• John Kiru, Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas

"Navigating the pandemic has been exceptionally difficult for small businesses, and with inflation on the rise, the challenges continue to mount - John Tory recognizes this. Small businesses are the economic heart of Toronto’s communities and we must ensure that we are doing everything possible not only to help them get by, but get ahead. The four key actions put forward by Tory will help to mitigate these pressures and unlock new pathways to success for small businesses across the city.”
Michael Thompson, Candidate for Scarborough Centre