Mayor says working to protect local business during pandemic

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Mayor Jim Watson says the city must find ways to support the city’s small businesses, in a statement following a tele-conference meeting with Ottawa’s business leaders yesterday (March 16).

‘’Through these very challenging times, we must come together to find ways to support Ottawa’s small businesses, restaurants, tourism operators and special events – as well as their employees, who are all hurting deeply as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Watson released in a statement.

 Following a call with the heads of business improvement areas, the Ottawa Board of Trade, le Regroupement des gens d’affaires, Ottawa Tourism and Ottawa Festival Network, the mayor has struck an Economic Partners Task Force, which he will will co-chair with Coun. El-Chantiry, a former small business owner and the mayor’s representative with BIAs. The Task Force will advise staff in many departments on how the city can help the business community as the pandemic evolves.

“Ottawa is fortunate to have a number of proactive and credible business organizations who will be valued partners and contributors in these efforts,” Watson said.

  • The Economic Partners Task Force will be composed of the following leaders of our business community:
  • Mark Kaluski, Chair, Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs)
  • Sueling Ching, President and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade
  • Lise Sarazin, directrice générale, Regroupement des gens d’affaires (RGA)
  • Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism
  • Carole Anne Piccinin, Executive Director, Ottawa Festival Network

City staff are currently assessing ways the city can help small business owners get through this crisis. The Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development team will be leading this initiative and working with the Task Force to maintain open lines of communication, as well as assess and roll-out a number of measures to support locally owned shops and restaurants.

For its part, the Finance committee is evaluating if the city is in a position to enact tax deferral measures that would help some small businesses manage their cash flow and payroll obligations.

“The City of Ottawa is committed to working with all its economic development partners over the coming weeks, as we help support our restaurants and small business owners get through this pandemic,” Watson said. “We will also be there to help with the economic recovery once our community overcomes these challenging times for all.’’

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