The City of Montreal says hundreds of merchants have taken advantage of the financial aid programs it has put in place.
But they’re calling on more businesses to apply for aid.
The city has a $3 million relief fund but has only given out $1 million.
“That means we still have $2 million available in grants for local merchants, so if you need help please contact PME Montreal,” said Luc Rabouin, member of Montreal’s Executive Committee responsible for economic development.
The programs aim to support businesses through the pandemic.
The owner of chocolate factory Etat de Choc Maud Gaudreau says the $10,000 grant she obtained from the city has helped her business stay afloat this summer.
It allowed her to update her website and keep her employees.
But she says she still has to pay her tax bill due in September and she worries she’ll have to use part of that grant to do so.
She’s asking the government to delay tax collection for a few more months.
Municipal taxes were originally due in June but the city pushed the deadline to Sept. 1.
“Maybe give us just this break of three more months to go through the holiday season, then we will see how it goes,” Gaudreau told Global News.
The Canadian Federation of Independant Businesses (CFIB) says Gaudreau is not alone. More than 60 per cent of its members said in a survey they’d like the deadline to pay their taxes to be pushed back again.
“It is kind of ironic that you have to borrow money from the city to pay the city and this is true for many, many businesses, including the ones in downtown Montreal because of the value of the property the taxes are really high,” said Gopinath Jeyabalaratnam, a senior policy analyst with the CFIB.
The city says it can’t afford another tax deferral because it’s not allowed to run a deficit in its budget.
“We need this money just to be able to offer the basic services to Montrealers,” said Rabouin. “The only way to help them is to have financial support from another level of government.”
The CFIB did praise the work the city has done in order to help local business but said the city and the provincial government will have to review their financial aid plans in order to better help struggling merchants.