The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) is calling for additional support for small and medium enterprises in border communities.
The Chamber says businesses in communities who have been hard hit by the COVID-19-related border closure need funding to offset their losses.
The full release from the SSMCOC reads as follows:
Today, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce released a call for additional SME rent relief support for the border communities that have been hit hard by the border closure.
“Businesses in border communities rely significantly on cross-border trade, movement of people, and related business opportunities,” says SSMCOC CEO Rory Ring. “Many of our local SMEs depend on revenue that is generated through tourism, outside dollars spent by American visitors and tourists.”
“Typically, SMEs operate with a very small profit margin. Losing that business revenue is not sustainable in most cases. This is true for SMEs in most of the border communities. Due to the eight-month long border closure, several SMEs have suffered significant business reductions and losses,” Ring explains.
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce has been in contact with other border-city Chambers of Commerce, as well as the Ontario and Canadian Chambers of Commerce for collaboration and backing on this initiative.
To date, the response has been positive and encouragement for this additional support continues to spread in other border communities across the country.
“Recent government support for businesses via rent relief directly to the tenants is a step in the right direction,” adds Michael Stone, President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.
“In addition to the up to 65 per cent rent subsidy, the government announced an additional 25 per cent for businesses that have been hardest hit. Since the border closure has had a devastating effect on SMEs in the border region, we, along with our fellow border-community Chambers of Commerce, are urging the federal government to allow these Canadian businesses within a 100 km radius from a border crossing to claim the additional 25 per cent rent subsidy. This will go a long way in supporting many of these SMEs that are on the brink of closing.”
To date, this initiative has received support from the following Chambers: the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, the Leamington District Chamber of Commerce, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.