Our main streets are where the neighbourhood becomes a community. With the quickly changing nature of brick and mortar retail, vacant storefronts are on the rise and residents are left feeling the effects. Toronto is a unique city, with a quickly expanding population and a buoyant real estate market. This can sometimes incentivize property owners to keep a store vacant in hopes of higher profits in the future. This has a devastating impact on local businesses, which are so often the backbones of our community.
Independent businesses make up 74% of Toronto’s retail stores and employ 643,873 people. We need to do everything we can to strengthen our main streets, and it starts with the right tax policies. That’s why I’m requesting the Chief Financial Officer to report back on the feasibility of a Vacant Storefront Tax before next years budget. While this is not a complete solution, it can be packaged with future policies to incentivize and support local businesses. You can read my motion in full below: