Montréal, June 8, 2020 – The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal applauds the additional $50 million in assistance for the city’s businesses as well as the additional funds for the rent assistance program announced this morning by Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s Minister of Economy and Innovation, Chantal Rouleau, Quebec’s Minister for Transport and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region, as well as Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante.
This additional money for existing provincial and federal programs echoes some of the measures suggested in the action plan to maintain the vitality of the downtown core that was submitted last week by the Chamber and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership. However, we believe that aspects of these programs will need to be adapted to help businesses in the downtown area.
“Last week, we presented a plan with eight actions to help merchants in downtown Montréal who have been hit hard by the crisis due to the extended drop in business traffic. The action plan proposed changes to the two programs that were part of this morning’s announcement. The additional funds announced are necessary, as they will help more businesses in the city. This decision responds to our request for special attention to be paid to the particular situation of downtown Montréal’s commercial base,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.
“While the increase in loan guarantees is a good sign, we are concerned about business owners’ potentially high level of debt. We are asking the government to remain very vigilant to ensure that as many businesses as possible can recover financially after the crisis,” added Mr. Leblanc.
“We applaud the provincial government’s decision to cover half of property owners’ costs under the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance measure. As we pointed out in last week’s action plan, rent was one of the major burdens that needed to be alleviated for business owners. This decision, combined with the restriction against evicting business tenants for not paying rent, will provide a strong incentive for property owners to make use of the rent subsidy measure. In the specific context of the downtown core’s challenges, we are asking both levels of government to consider extending the rent assistance program to September. Unlike other commercial areas, downtown Montréal will continue to be hit by a major drop in business traffic for several months,” explained Michel Leblanc.
“For nearly three months now, the governments of Quebec and Canada and the Ville de Montréal have been implementing unprecedented measures to respond to the health and economic emergency. This morning’s announcement is further evidence of the collaborative spirit and responsiveness of decision-makers at all levels. Downtown Montréal will continue to be a source of concern in the coming weeks. The action plan that we recently submitted with the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership proposed implementing a major activity program to attract customers to the sector’s commercial arteries. We are waiting for decisions to be issued soon regarding the configurations and activity program that will be developed for the downtown area to attract optimal customer numbers in the coming months,” concluded Mr. Leblanc.
About the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)
With a network of over 8,000 members, the CCMM is active on two fronts: being the voice of the Montréal business community and delivering specialized services to businesses and their representatives. With its finger on the pulse of current events, it acts on issues that are decisive for the prosperity of the city’s businesses. With the support of the Acclr experts, the CCMM’s goal is to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes, at home and around the world.
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Coordinator, Strategy and Public Affairs
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4015
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