"IDA Canada is calling on all parties to commit to support the economic and social recovery of our downtowns and main streets through more long-term and sustainable initiatives," says Kate Fenske, the Chair of the International Downtown Association – Canada (IDA Canada) and CEO of Downtown Winnipeg.
For much of the past year and a half, Canadian downtowns and main streets have been notable not for their dynamism, but for their desolation as wave after wave of the COVID pandemic has washed over the country. Business ranks have been thinned, but downtown and main street business improvement associations (BIAs) and their partners are working hard to sustain businesses and inject some new-found joy and excitement to the streets.
Canada’s Downtowns and Main Streets and the businesses which comprise them are integral to this country’s identity and are essential to the social, economic, and cultural recovery and future growth of our communities. "Some federal COVID relief/incentive programs have been essential in keeping our businesses open, for which we are very thankful," says IDA Leadership Group member and Directrice Generale, Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Tasha Morizio, "but other programs have been short-term and have not provided the far-sightedness to ensure a complete and sustainable recovery of our businesses and downtowns and main streets."
Members of IDA Canada – those who manage and shape the commercial cores of cities and towns – have three requests of the new government and they are seeking a response from all parties before the election.
- That the economic and social recovery of Canada’s downtowns and main streets become an important priority of the new government.
- That federal programs and actions related to the recovery of Canada’s downtowns and main streets contribute to stemming climate change, be socially balanced, culturally dynamic, racially integrated, and innovatively robust.
- That ‘community well-being’ become a higher priority for the new government. This would include – amongst a range of social priorities – strengthening support for creating affordable housing, developing a national strategy on mental health, establishing a national task force on the growing national opioid crisis.
View the Federal Election Priorities for Downtowns & Main Streets HERE.