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By Darryl Stewart

How the pandemic is impacting businesses, landlords and non-profits, and which I am worried about the most

I am:

  • Part owner of a small ice cream factory and retail store
  • A commercial landlord
  • A board member of two non-profit organizations
  • Part owner of two software companies, one that serves essential services, and one that serves mainly small businesses

  • Being all these things gives me a unique, multisided perspective on the current pandemic situation. 

    As the part owner of small ice cream factory and retail store, my partners and I face a huge cut in revenue, but no cut in rent, utility costs, lease payments, and wages for the partners who run and rely on the business.  We need help.

    As a commercial landlord, I have small businesses as some of my customers.  I am the one charging them rent when their revenue is down or, in some cases, gone altogether.  I need most of that rent to cover mortgage payments and operating costs. They need help, or I need help to help them.

    As a board member of two non-profits, I have no immediate worries.  Both have strong financial situations. I do worry about their future funding in a downturned economy and from governments that are going to have to figure out how to pay back the stimulus money that is required right now.  Both are good in the short term, but have long term concerns now.

    As part owner of the Inclusion System – software for managing people in the community social service sector – I feel okay.  These are essential services and we do important, cost effective, work for them. Our growth will slow down through this crisis, but the future looks okay.

    As part owner of IBEX Payroll, I am worried for our small business customers. We are seeing layoffs at a level we have never seen. Some businesses are slowing way down, some stopping altogether, and many worried owners may lose it all if they are not supported through this.

    The most pressing need I see is for no interest, no payment (for now) loans for small businesses to help tide them over and support for workers left with no income. I hope these are on the way for all those I lead and serve.

    IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant. 

    Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

    This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.