2024 Ontario Budget Submission

Enhancing Fairness and Stability for Ontario Businesses

>> The Better Way Alliance proposes smart business supports for 2024 and beyond.

2024 is a critical year for supporting Ontario’s small businesses. They are carrying more debt than ever in continually difficult market conditions – along with that, commercial rent is rising fast.

Main street business can’t create and maintain decent work jobs if we can’t afford rent!

The Better Way Alliance (BWA) has submitted our recommendations for Ontario’s 2024 budget, urging the provincial government to introduce reforms in commercial rent policies to foster fairness and stability for small businesses. Emphasizing the urgent need for standardized commercial leases, capping unfair rent increases, and promoting out-of-court dispute resolutions, the BWA outlines a strategic plan aimed at revitalizing Ontario’s main streets and supporting the backbone of the economy: its small businesses.

Standardized Commercial Leases in Ontario

The Better Way Alliance proposes a significant reform to the Commercial Tenancies Act by advocating for the mandatory use of a standardized lease template for all commercial rentals across Ontario. This initiative aims to demystify the leasing process for small business owners, ensuring that leasing terms are transparent, fair, and understood by all parties involved. By reducing the complexity and potential for disputes inherent in the current system, where lease agreements can often extend to over 70 pages, this measure seeks to lower legal costs and foster a more equitable commercial leasing environment.

Restricting Unfair Commercial Rent Increases

In response to the volatile nature of commercial rent prices, the Better Way Alliance recommends the implementation of legislation designed to cap rent increases during lease renewals and renegotiations. This policy is intended to offer financial predictability and stability for small businesses, making it easier for them to plan, budget, and invest in growth without the fear of sudden, exorbitant rent hikes. For landlords, this creates a framework for sustainable lease agreements and long-term tenancies, contributing to a balanced commercial rental market that benefits the entire province.

Developing Out-of-Court Dispute Resolution

Recognizing the financial and operational strain that litigation can impose on both landlords and tenants, the Better Way Alliance suggests establishing an accessible, efficient out-of-court dispute resolution mechanism, such as professional mediation. This approach aims to resolve disputes quickly and affordably, preserving business relationships and reducing the reliance on the overburdened court system. Professional mediation offers a practical alternative that could lead to fairer outcomes and maintain the vibrancy of Ontario’s main streets.

The Better Way Alliance (BWA) is a coalition of Canadian business owners advocating for progressive economic policies and practices.

Focused on promoting sustainable business growth and ethical employment, BWA champions reforms that benefit businesses, workers, and local communities. Through collaboration, advocacy, and leadership, BWA aims to influence policy and inspire businesses to adopt fair work practices, believing that success should not come at the expense of employee well-being or societal welfare.

The BWA’s commitment to creating a fairer, more inclusive economy is a key voice in discussions on business responsibility and economic reform in Canada.