NDP Leader Andrea Horwath visited a Durham business on Wednesday to call on the province to provide small business grants to open to all struggling businesses.
Horwath was at Hair Kandi in Oshawa.
The salon was initially denied access to the grant because of a typo in its application.
Owner Kandi Knight says she was approved for a small business grant in January and she was to receive the funds in 10 business days, but they never came.
She says she called, emailed and did everything she could possibly do.
That’s when she reached out to Oshawa MPP Jennifer French.
“I felt like the little kid that was bullied, Jen was the big sister that came along and really went to bat for me,” said Knight. “I know that it’s because of her going to bat for me that I received it.”
Knight’s experience is similar to others who have had a hard time accessing grants.
French said local businesses have been denied access to the program because they had to retool during COVID to survive, because they have two small family businesses, and were told they have to pick one and let the other go under, because of typos in their applications, and, in many cases, for no apparent reason at all.
“Doug Ford denied help to local mom and pops in droves refusing to throw them a lifeline,” said Horwath.
“Jobs are on the line. Families’ livelihoods are on the line. The dreams of entrepreneurs and generations-old family businesses are on the line. And Ontario’s recovery is on the line. That’s why I’m proposing a new round of small businesses grants, and, this time, I’m calling for the program to be available to any small- or medium-sized local business that’s struggling as a result of the pandemic.”
“I waited four months to receive one grant when it was suppose to only take 10 business days and now I wait for the second grant,” said Knight. “This shouldn’t be happening. Some business are generations of families that passed down their legacies and imprints on our communities.”