We are joining forces with other BIAs to advocate for additional support for tenants and property owners during the COVID-19 crisis, so that they'll be able to weather the storm and stay in business.

Small businesses are not only the backbone of the economy. They're also a huge facilitator of culture. Communities have stories,; character because of small businesses. Their importance to everyday life cannot be over-emphasized. This is why they're worth saving. Join the campaign to get political representatives to give some more support to the small business sector. We want them to stay alive, fighting and thriving!

Key Messages:

  • Small businesses are the backbone of Toronto’s economy and many are one day
    away from turning off the lights for good.
  • In less than 24 hours, rent is due for the first time since the government-imposed
    shutdown. With businesses closed and no revenue coming in, small businesses
    – both tenants and landlords – cannot afford to make rent and cannot afford to
    miss that income. They could lose everything.
  • Bottom line: unless government steps up and provides real rent relief to stabilize
    small businesses, one in four small businesses in Toronto will go bankrupt
  • We’re asking government to do the right thing and support small businesses by:
    o Putting an immediate freeze on lock outs. The provincial government
    has done this with residential tenants, we’re simply asking for the same
    rules to apply to small businesses. Right now, landlords can seize
    property after 48 hours of nonpayment, after 5 days they can sell property
    and after 16 days they can change the locks with no notice. This is not
    acceptable.
    o Create a rent relief fund immediately. Mortgage deferrals may not apply
    to commercial properties and the additional programs announced by the
    federal government are weeks if not months away. Small businesses just
    don’t have that long. Rent strikes are only arising because the government
    has provided no option or relief, we need the federal and provincial
    governments to step up now.
  • We’re deeply appreciative of the supports put in place for our employees, but
    with no revenue and no rent relief we will be unable to pay our rent or our
    employees, defeating the purpose of these programs.
  • It’s important to understand, just as small businesses are struggling to make rent,
    small landlords are equally vulnerable if tenants don’t pay. Many small business
    owners have taken funds against our personal homes to start up or grow their
    businesses, so not only are their businesses at risk, so are their homes.
  • No small business owner, be they a tenant or a landlord, should have to choose
    between keeping the lights on or feeding their families.
  • We’re asking the government to step up, do the right thing and provide rent relief
    to stabilize small businesses, so we don’t have to turn off the lights.

The BIA has prepared the following draft copy for use across applicable social media platforms. Users and businesses should feel free to adapt as appropriate to suit their natural voice on social media, although verbatim copy-pasting is equally as effective.

The campaign has been structured around the hashtags #keepthelightson and #smallbusinessrentrelief. These hashtags will work across all platforms. 

All referenced visual assets are enclosed.

In cases where elected leaders are referenced, you can
choose from any of the following social media handles to tag. This will help
bring your post to their attention:

  Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn
Mayor
John Tory
@JohnTory @John Tory @johntory @John Tory
Premier
Doug Ford
@fordnation @FordNation @fordnationadougford @Doug Ford
Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau
@JustinTrudeau @Justin Trudeau @justinpjtrudeau @Justin Trudeau

Draft Social Posts

Twitter Post

Due to character count, users should identify a single
elected leader from the table above and tag them where indicated. Users wishing
to tag more than one elected leader should consider using the Twitter Thread
option below:

It's Rent Day, and we’re nervous. We're 1 day away from
turning off the lights for good. While closed without revenue, we need
#smallbusinessrentrelief from [INSERT: LEADER TAG]. Small businesses like us deserve the same
protections as renters so we can #keepthelightson.

[INSERT:
IMAGE]

Twitter Thread

More adept Twitter users may wish to post a series of
connected tweets as a thread. Instructions for how to thread a series of tweets
properly, so that other users can see the full set, can be found
online here
.

It’s Rent Day, and we’re nervous. We’re just one day away
from turning off the lights for good. Unlike renters, commercial tenants like
us could face property seizures and lockouts in just a few days without
#smallbusinessrentrelief.

[INSERT:
IMAGE]

[THREAD]

We’re asking [INSERT: LEADER TAGS] to
help small businesses like ours to #keepthelightson by putting a freeze on
lockouts and creating a rent relief fund. This isn’t just about us: just as small businesses struggle to make rent, small landlords
are vulnerable if tenants don’t pay.

[THREAD]

The bottom line is: We need government
support now. No small business owner, be they a tenant or a
landlord, should have to choose between keeping the lights on or feeding their
families.

Facebook/LinkedIn Post

The following text can be used on either Facebook or
LinkedIn. The BIA recommends users select one of two concluding sentences as
indicated: 

It’s Rent Day, and we’re getting nervous. [INSERT: SMALL BUSINESS NAME]
is only one day away from turning out the lights for good. Without revenue,
many small businesses like ours will be struggle to make rent this month.
Unlike renters, the government hasn’t brought protections for commercial
tenants. Under the law, we could face asset seizures and lockouts in just a few
days. We recognize that many landlords depend on rent payments from tenants,
and the only solution that will help us #keepthelightson is
#smallbusinessrentrelief from [NTD: LEADER TAGS]. We need a freeze on lockouts and a rent
relief fund immediately.

[INSERT
EITHER: No small
business owner, be they a tenant or a landlord, should have to choose between
keeping the lights on or feeding their families.

OR

We’re
asking the government to step up, do the right thing and provide rent relief to
stabilize small businesses, so we don’t have to turn off the lights.]

[INSERT:
IMAGE]

Instagram Post

The following copy can work either as post to the user’s
main Instagram feed, or an Instagram Story. If posted to the main feed, the BIA
recommends using a high-resolution image of the storefront. If posted to
Instagram Story, the BIA recommends using the text below on a solid-colour
background, and sharing a second Story with the attached campaign image:

It's Rent Day, and we’re nervous. We're 1 day away from
turning off the lights for good.

We need #smallbusinessrentrelief from [INSERT: LEADER TAG].

Small biz deserves the same protections as renters so we can #keepthelightson.