The Personal Care Business (PCB) sector has been one of the most highly impacted by the COVID pandemic. Many of these businesses are in Business Improvement Area (BIA) districts and contribute significantly to the economic and vibrant heart of these areas.
As a result of continued full shut down of these businesses, there is a very large threat to their viability and many of these businesses will not be able to re-open without significant support and regulatory change to allow these businesses to open and serve the public again.
The loss of this sector of PCBs would be devastating to the health and wellness of the community and have a major affect particularly on women who are both most of the workers in this sector, owners of PCBs and customers of these businesses.
The Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT), the five Mississauga BIAs and Alliance Personal Care (APC) are asking for IMMEDIATE action by all orders of Government to save this business sector.
Definition of Personal Care Businesses
There are many types of services that are included and provided by Personal Care Businesses. These include medical spas and clinics, traditional spas and salons, hair salons and barber shops, nail salons and body art shops including tattoos and piercings.
Our group has identified several issues that we believe the elected officials in the City of Mississauga need to know as it relates to the PCB sector, how it operates, provides health and wellness services to people and the financial impact that full closure has had over the past year.
The shutdown of these businesses has led to an increased underground economy, loss of tax revenue for Government, health and safety issues as a now unregulated situation has unfolded including services being provided in homes and by mobile units.
The ability of both Peel Public Health and local by-law enforcement to inspect, regulate and ensure health and safety in PCBs is now in serious doubt as proper commercial, publicly accessible business locations have been closed.
PCBs are highly regulated through regular inspections by Peel Public Health, the requirement for annual business licenses and other operating protocols. This sector was practicing many COVID protocols before COVID was an issue including use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), one-on-one safe operating practices and strong and effective cleaning and disinfecting practices.
In fact, many would argue that PCBs have even higher health and safety protocols than do doctor, dentist, and other health professionals places of business. Yet those can remain open serving the public during this pandemic.
Further, these “medical” services are deemed essential while similar services provided in many PCBs are not. The Provincial Government should deem services provided in PCBs as “essential services.”
And, Medical Officers of Health have consistently reported that COVID cases cannot be linked to PCBs and that they are not the cause of spread into the community.
The PCB sector is now on the verge of collapse and the most recent Stay at Home Emergency Order which has no end date announced, could be the final nail to completely close these businesses.
Call to Action
Each Order of Government can do things RIGHT NOW to help support this sector financially, operationally and from a health and safety perspective. We call on you and your Governments to act today.
- The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan has been welcomed and helpful. It has however placed a mountain of debt on these businesses. We call on you to make this loan a We also ask for further grants to PCBs that have been closed for the most part of 2020 and continue to be closed in 2021. We further ask that the application period be extended to December 31, 2021.
- The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) has again been a welcomed program. However, as PCBs have been closed for more than 300 days, with no income to the business, we call on the CERS to cover 100% of rent and make it retroactive to September The CERS should be extended to December 31, 2021 to cover rent while the PCBs are in lockdown.
- The Ontario Small Business Support Grant (SBSG) of up to $40,000 is appreciated by the PCB sector particularly because it is a grant and not a loan. However, the PCB sector has been the longest one in lockdown and $40,000 simply is not enough support. Many businesses received the SBSG whether they were open or closed during the lockdown. We call on the Ontario Government to again double the SBSG for the PCB sector to $80,000 and eligible until December 31, 2021. This grant may need to be extended beyond December 31, 2021 until such time as PCBs are back to a pre-COVID situation.
- In some cases, PCBs who rent their business location have been able to work with the landlord of rental payment issues. However, we call on the Ontario Government to instate a Commercial Eviction Stay Order until at least July 31, 2021.
- The Ontario Government also established a program to cover costs for PPE at Much of the PPE purchased by PCBs has now expired or has not been able to be used. We call on the Ontario Government to increase the amount to claim for PPE expenses from $1,000 to $3,000.
- PCBs provide important health and wellness services for the We call on the Ontario Government to deem services provided in PCBs as “essential services.”
- After the Stay-at-Home Emergency Order expires, we expect that the Province will move back to the Colour-Coded Zone framework. We call on the Ontario Government to commit that a Grey-zone re-opening will permit PCBs to open with limited capacity as referenced in the regulations. All PCBs should be able to perform all services that they offer without any restrictions. And when PCBs are allowed to re-open, we would request that in the event of a change in the colour zones, PCBs be permitted to remain open in all colours permanently as they simply do not have the economic resilience to sustain another erratic open/close cycle.
Region of Peel
- Peel Public Health has been conducting inspections of PCBs for many years before the COVID The Region’s colour-coded public notification program has been well received by operators of PCBs and the general public. We call on the Region of Peel to recognize the success of this program, that PCBs operate in a healthy and safe way and that they provide essential services to the public.
- COVID cases and community spread have not emanated from the PCB sector. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh has said this many times. We call on the Region of Peel Council to officially recognize this through a resolution passed at at Council.
City of Mississauga
- PCBs are required to pay an annual Business License to the City of Mississauga to legally PCBs have been mostly closed during 2020 and continue to be closed for at least the first half of 2021. We call on the City of Mississauga to waive the 2021 license fees for PCBs given they have for the most part not been open for business for close to one year. The City of Mississauga should give credits to businesses who paid the business licensing fee for 2020 and 2021 given the fact they were closed for business most of that time.
- By-law enforcement plays a very important role in keeping our community healthy and We call on the City of Mississauga to have by-law enforcement investigate and where appropriate lay charges for illegal PCB operations in residential homes or other areas where this service is not permitted under the Zoning By-law.
- The Mayor and Members of Council play a very important role in influencing decisions at the Federal and Provincial Government that affect cities. We call on the Mayor and Members of Council to strongly convey to the Provincial Government that PCBs be permitted to re-open and stay open as soon as possible.
- Many PCBs and other businesses are in BIAs. Other jurisdictions across the country have recognized the financial impact on businesses in BIAs and have provided support by covering the BIA levy for We call on the City of Mississauga to investigate the feasibility of covering the 2021 BIA levy for the five Mississauga BIAs and look at funding programs at the Federal and Provincial Governments to cover the cost.
Many owners and operators of PCBs are New Canadians and immigrants to Canada whose first language may not be English or French. Government programs and applications can often be complicated and therefore do not get the uptake. We call on all Orders of Government to ensure that their programs and applications forms are multi-lingual, easy to understand and access and provide direct phone line assistance in multiple languages to assist business owners navigate the application process and effectively submit applications for support.
Our Coalition is very deeply concerned about the viability of the PCB sector whenever the COVID pandemic is over. It will take many years – even decades possibly – for this sector to be back to a strong financial footing and providing its important services to the public.
Governments must act TODAY on all the recommendations provided herein to support PCBs in the City of Mississauga.
Please agree to offer your support, speak with your colleagues, and put action into words.