61% of Toronto’s small businesses will close within next few months without needed rent relief

Toronto, ON – A survey of small business tenants and landlords across Toronto shows that 61% of businesses who took the survey will close down for good within the next three months if they only have the current relief programs in place to sustain them. 76% will close within five months without rent relief.

561 businesses and 137 landlords took part in the survey which was developed by the Broadview-Danforth Business Improvement Area (BIA). Half of Toronto’s 83 BIAs participated.

The results show:

  • 62% of the businesses indicated the current federal wage subsidy program does not help them as they are closed due to the pandemic
  • 74% of landlords who took the survey said they did not receive all of April’s rent from their tenants
  • More than 75% of landlords and 84% of business tenants said that a rent relief program is what would be most helpful

While Prime Minister Trudeau noted last week that commercial rent relief was coming, no further details have been provided.

“Before this survey we could only speculate on the impact of the pandemic on our Main Streets. Now we know that without rent relief many businesses simply will not be able to re-open,” said Ward 14 City Councillor Paula Fletcher. “The clock is ticking for the future of small business in this city.”

Ginger Robertson, owner of The Edmund Burke and Off the Hook, said, “What we really need is rent relief. Both businesses and landlords agree that loans and wage subsidies are not enough. We need to be able to pay rent and that’s becoming extremely difficult.”

Nathan Hynes, owner of The Auld Spot Pub on Danforth, is concerned about what neighbourhoods will look like after the pandemic. “Without any rent relief assistance, many of us will have to shut down. Our main streets won’t look the same when we come out of this. The survey clearly shows what’s not working and what’s most needed.”

The survey also showed that businesses who have been running for many years are vulnerable. “We saw that 38% of the businesses that took the survey are long-term, well-established businesses which have been open for more than 10 years, meaning even these businesses are under threat of closing down,” said Philip Kocev, Broker at iPro Realty Ltd. and Treasurer of the Broadview-Danforth BIA.

Survey Results from Small Business Tenants

Survey Results from Landlords

Key Stats from Survey