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Windsor-Essex Chamber Calls for Additional Support for Border Communities

25 November 2020

Caitlin Hildenbrand

Today, the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Rakesh Naidu, released a call for additional rent relief support for the border communities that have been hit hard by the border closure.

“Businesses in the border region rely significantly on cross-border trade, movement of people, and related business opportunities,” said Naidu.  “For SMEs based in the Windsor-Essex region, approximately 25% of revenue is generated through American visitors/tourists. Typically, SMEs operate with a very small profit margin. Losing 25% of business revenue is not sustainable in most cases. This is true for SMEs in most of the border communities. Due to the 8-month long border closure, several SMEs have suffered significant business reductions and losses.”

The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce has contacted other border-city Chambers of Commerce, as well as Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber of Commerce representatives for collaboration and backing on this initiative.  To date, the response has been positive and continues to spread across the Country.

“The recent government support for businesses via rent relief directly to the tenants is a step in the right direction,” added Naidu.  “In addition to the up to 65% rent subsidy, the government announced an additional 25% for businesses that have been hardest hit. Since the border closure has had a devastating effect on SMEs in the border region, we are urging the federal government to allow these Canadian businesses within a 100 km radius from the border crossing to claim the additional 25% rent subsidy. This will go a long way in supporting many of these SMEs that are on the brink of closing.”

To date, this initiative has received support from the following Chambers:

Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, Leamington District Chamber of Commerce, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce & Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.