Reducing crime, adopting construction mitigation top small business priorities for next Toronto mayor

Toronto, June 15, 2023 – Toronto’s small businesses say reducing crime (68%), adopting a construction mitigation policy (66%), and improving public transit (53%) are their top priorities for the next mayor, according to new survey data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Toronto’s small businesses are facing an uphill battle coming off of three extremely difficult years. It’s clear that they want their next mayor to prioritize bringing people and vibrancy back downtown,” said Riley Locke, CFIB policy analyst for Ontario. “Small business owners are looking for policy ideas that will ensure customers and workers feel safe and are able to easily move around the city. They’re also clearly fed up with the never-ending construction disruption that continues to plague Toronto. Everyone loves improved transportation, but the city needs to step up to help heavily impacted businesses survive until construction projects are finished. That includes direct financial help for the hardest hit businesses.” 

While Toronto businesses have been paying close attention to the mayoral race, 62% have yet to decide which candidate will get their vote with just over a week to go.

Small business owners also want their next mayor to take a ‘do no harm’ approach to new costs and fees as small businesses continue their recovery. An overwhelming 83% oppose property tax increases as a revenue-generating tool, 87% oppose introducing a municipal sales tax, and 68% oppose introducing a commercial parking levy.

“Now is not the time to increase Toronto’s small business tax burden,” said Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB director of provincial affairs for Ontario. “That not only means no new taxes, it also means keeping and improving good policy that’s already in play, like Toronto’s small business property tax subclass. The city also needs to focus on working with small business owners, not against them. That means cutting through red tape in programs like CaféTO, allowing businesses to focus on their customers, instead of endless paperwork.”

CFIB encourages all Toronto small business owners to vote on election day (June 26) and looks forward to working with the next mayor on behalf of the city’s small business community. 

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB
About CFIB 
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region, including 38,000 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