CFIB statement on lockdown extensions in Toronto and Peel

Toronto, February 19, 2021 — With today’s announcement of extended lockdowns for Toronto, Peel and North Bay until at least March 8, the Ontario government has once again chosen to use small business as cannon fodder, renewing its reputation as the least small business-friendly government in the country during the pandemic.

With the extended lockdowns in Toronto and Peel, small businesses will enter their fourth straight month without the ability to serve customers in-store. As of March 8, retailers, gyms, and hair salons will have been closed to in-store customers for 105 consecutive days in Toronto and Peel. Indoor dining in Toronto will not have been allowed since October 10, 2020—149 days. 

Meanwhile, despite providing zero evidence to support it is safer, the government has consistently chosen to keep Walmart and Costco open to in-store customers for the entire pandemic. 

Being asked to just hang in there a little longer is an unacceptable and downright insulting response to the thousands of employers and their tens of thousands of employees whose livelihoods are on the line.

Almost every other province opened schools and businesses—or didn't close them in the first place—while COVID-19 numbers continued to fall. In fact, Ontario businesses—particularly those in the GTA—have been locked down longer than the vast majority of jurisdictions around the world. 

It is unconscionable that this government has not come up with an alternative to lockdowns, while dismissing even the most modest proposals to allow for a limited head count or by-appointment in-store service. 

Ontario’s small businesses deserve better. 

We call on the Ontario government to reverse course and keep its commitment to reopen small retailers immediately in Toronto, Peel and North Bay and to provide a clear plan to reopen all remaining sectors in these areas in the coming weeks.

-Dan Kelly, President & CEO

-Ryan Mallough, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario

-Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact: Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region, including 42,000 in Ontario. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at