(Mayor Jim Watson at COVID-19 press conference, March 2020. Photo: City of Ottawa)
“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,” said Mayor Jim Watson.
The Mayor has formed an Economic Partners Task Force, which he is co-chairing with Councillor El-Chantiry, a former small business owner and the Mayor’s representative with BIAs. The Task Force will advise City staff in many departments on how they can help the business community as the pandemic evolves.
The local business leaders joining Watson and El-Chantiry on the Economic Partners Task Force are:
- 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
As the COVID pandemic progresses, city staff are currently assessing ways to help small business owners get through this crisis. The Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development team will be leading the 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 Department 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.
Watson further stated, “We will also be there to help with the economic recovery once our community overcomes these challenging times for all.”
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