Waterloo Region’s civic leaders, along with Waterloo EDC and other local partners, have created the Business and Economic Support Team of Waterloo Region (BESTWR) to help businesses of all types and sizes address COVID-19-related challenges.
In addition to Tony LaMantia, President & CEO of Waterloo EDC and Chair of BESTWR, the leadership group includes Iain Klugman (Communitech), Ian McLean (Greater KW Chamber of Commerce) and Greg Durocher (Cambridge Chamber of Commerce). The supporting cast includes the Region and all area municipalities and representatives from many other organizations engaged in supporting our local businesses and economy.
“Collectively, this group will be a point of contact for governments as they make rapid decisions to support the evolving economic and business environment, and will help to promptly disseminate these decisions to our business community. We will also be advocating on behalf of Waterloo Region firms to ensure their urgent needs and concerns are heard, clearly articulated and addressed,” said LaMantia.
The first official action of BESTWR was to release an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, followed with an editorial in the Waterloo Region Record, encouraging the following steps:
- Subsidize wages to protect jobs, based on the model established in the United Kingdom.
- Backstop Canadian banks to enable them to extend zero- or low-interest loans to small and medium-sized businesses.
- Postpone upcoming Harmonized Sales Tax/Goods and Services Tax remittance payment.
- Defer mortgage and rent payments for individuals and businesses while business operators have limited or no cash flow.
- Support the charitable and not-for-profit sector through direct liquidity support and allowing capital-gains-exempt donation of shares to charitable organizations.
- Protect residential and business property taxpayers by passing provincial legislation permitting deferred payments.
The full text of the open letter is available here.
Read the full editorial in the Waterloo Region Record here.
The group encourages local businesses to continue to reach out to their existing economic development contacts with any enquiries or needs.
A full press release announcing the creation of BESTWR is available here.