We live in a society that did not blink once when it came to bail out banks and automotive companies, even when they dug themselves in a hole. However, when small businesses face economic uncertainty in a pandemic, which was no fault of their own, we are slow to respond with help. Ironic, when we consider that 70% of our workforce is employed by small businesses.
One problem we Canadians often run into is our desire to compare ourselves to the US, which by most accounts is a low bar when it comes to fighting Covid. Likewise, as Ontarians, we often like to compare ourselves to Quebec, another low bar in this struggle. Instead, we should look at the rest of the world, which is turning to VAT (their equivalent to Ontario’s HST) cuts to counter the economic downturn caused by Covid.
There is a strong case that the right amount of HST reductions may help the restaurant and hospitality sectors. Germany provides an exemplary economic plan which includes VAT reductions. Reducing the VAT (our HST) is “a simple and direct way to encourage individuals to start consuming again, quickly” states economist Pascal de Lima. Therefore, Canada and Ontario should follow Germany’s lead and include GST/HST/PST reductions as part of our economic recovery plan.
To end on a positive note, one of the best things about living in Parkdale-High Park is all the wonderful restaurants and local businesses we have in our neighbourhood. For example, I’m lucky to live just steps away from Aztec’s Mine, which makes delicious authentic Mexican cuisine. Like many small businesses they are family-owned and operated. And I am certain they and our local businesses could use your clientele during these trying times.