FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is calling on Ottawa City Council to include rent relief for tenants, and income support for workers, in a list of support measures meant to help those impacted by the occupation. The motion, made public on Twitter by Mayor Jim Watson, has a large focus on businesses but mentions nothing about residents or workers affected by the occupation. Different supports in the motion include: tax deferral for retail businesses, free marketing for businesses, and free on-street parking.
“Many low income workers reached out to us saying that as a result of the occupation, they were not able to work and as a result would not have enough money to make rent.” Said Sam Hersh, a Board Member of Horizon Ottawa. “So we’re a bit confused (but not surprised) as to why free parking was prioritized, for example, over rent relief for tenants or income support for workers.”
Although Horizon Ottawa is supportive of some measures presented in the motion to support hard-hit business, such as free transit and funding support, it remains unclear whether any of the money given to businesses will funnel down to their employees who were also, if not more, hard-hit as a result of the events of the past three weeks.
“The motion presented by council does a lot for businesses but ignores renters and workers who were one of biggest victims of this past month’s occupation.” Said Hersh. “Workers and tenants have already been left out of pandemic measures in the past and this council cannot let it happen again. They need to add extra measures to help those most in need.”
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