Europe storefront

The City of Toronto has agreed to accommodate small businesses by modifying its sidewalk marketing by-law. Now stores will be able to showcase things like fruit and flower out in front of their stores, perfect for the summer months ahead.

Below is a transcript of OCSA CEO Dave Bryans’ comments to the Councillors who approved the changes, thanking them for keeping local businesses in mind when making their decision:

My name is Dave Bryans and I am the CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss our Association’s perspective on the proposed recommendations on sidewalk marketing displays.

I’d also like to extend my thanks to the City for conducting meaningful consultations with industry, our Association and the many small businesses across Toronto.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association represents the economic interests of over 6500 family run stores in Ontario with over 2,300 located in the City of Toronto. Our membership is made up of corporate chains, regional chains and independents.

Our stores welcome over 725,000 Torontonian customers daily and we employ over 18,000 people in the city. We take great pride in being ‘responsible community retailers’ working with all levels of governments and are an integral part of every neighbourhood in Toronto.

The OCSA supports the recent recommendations made by the Municipal Licensing and Standards division in their March 31st report.

Harmonizing Toronto’s sidewalk marketing display rules will make it easier for small businesses to operate and be compliant.

We appreciate the approach the City has taken to ensure that small businesses aren’t saddled with excessive financial or onerous administrative burdens under this new proposal. This shows that the City understands the important role that convenience store small businesses and their sidewalk marketing displays play in our neighbourhoods.

In most cases, these displays complement the visual appeal of a storefront and the city block, like the fruits, vegetables and flowers outside of an OCSA member’s storefront. These colourful and appealing displays are a sign of healthy businesses and a welcome sight for many in neighbourhoods across Toronto.

The OCSA is pleased that the proposed recommendations including a 15-year phased in approach to permit fees for existing holders and new applicants. We are also pleased that the City did not simply adopt the fee frameworks in place in other jurisdictions, which would be untenable for Toronto small businesses. As well, we recognize and appreciate the removal of a separate application fee, which will help reduce the financial burden and red tape that so often stifles small business growth.

The OCSA encourages this Committee and City Council to adopt these recommendations and we thank the City for its thoughtful approach to this subject.

Thank you for your time. I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have.