Reports destined for next week’s executive committee are recommending making a pandemic-relief program for struggling Toronto restaurants a permanent fixture on city streets.
Launched last year to allow closed restaurants the ability to serve limited numbers of customers in curbside and parking-lane patios, city staff are recommending CafeTO become a permanent program for eligible eateries, and that fees to establish such patios be waived next year.
“CafeTO has been one of our most successful pandemic relief programs,” Mayor John Tory said during a Wednesday morning press conference.
“It has positively impacted on our city, it has positively impacted on hospitality businesses that call Toronto home, and that’s because we took the decision — simple as it may seem — to turn parking spaces into much-needed patios.”
A second report going before the committee lays groundwork to establish a new small business tax class in the city, starting in 2022.
The report recommends applying a 15% property tax reduction for small businesses currently within the commercial tax class — funded by a 0.85% property tax increase to commercial businesses that don’t quality for the new classification, making the movie a revenue-neutral one for the city.
The report says the move would benefit about 25,000 small businesses in the city, or 60% of commercial properties in the city.
The criteria to qualify includes having assessed values under $1 million (that limit rises to $7 million for businesses in the city’s downtown core, waterfront of ‘designated growth cetnres,’ and exist on lots less than 7,500 sq. ft.)
Both reports must pass muster at next Wednesday’s executive committee meeting before moving on to city council for final approval.