Doug Ford is not a fan of landlords right now. It sounds like residents aren't the only ones having a few issues with certain property owners in the province. As the Premier spoke to reporters on May 19, he had some very strong words for "greedy" Ontario landlords.
The federal and provincial governments have announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses, where landlords are able to receive government-issued funds to cover 50% of the rent and have tenants pay 25%.
That leaves just 25% for landlords to pay themselves, but it seems like that's not enough for some commercial property owners.
And Ford came down hard on Tuesday on those who may be looking to take advantage of the current situation.
"A message to all these landlords: Don't force my hand," Ford warned in Tuesday's briefing. "Work things out because I'm trying to compromise here.
"We're giving you 75% of what you're asking for. Nothing drives me more crazy than greedy landlords taking advantage of people and small business owners that are just trying to keep their head above water.
"Let's see what happens when the federal government rolls this out later this week. Let's see how the landlords react. Again, I'm trying to be fair but don't push me," the Premier added.
Landlords are being asked by the government of Ontario to essentially forfeit 25% of the monthly rent they expect to get due to the financial hardships tenants are experiencing with loss of revenue.
But it seems Ford is entirely unsympathetic to the landlords' loss right now, with plenty more on his mind.
"These big landlords want to take advantage of small little companies and people who are struggling? I'm gonna come down on them like they've never seen before," doubled down the Premier.
"Cooperate. It's not going to be forever, it's going to be a few months to help people out. You have an obligation to do that as a landlord."
This could be seen as something of a turnaround in opinion for Ford, given that just a few weeks ago, he was criticizing a tenant-led campaign to skip rent payments for April, although his plea remains the same: discouraging people from taking advantage of the situation.
Though some businesses across the province have already started to reopen their doors for customers while practicing social distancing measures, others might not be able to survive into the summer if restrictions and closures remain the same.
A survey conducted on small business owners in Toronto just a few weeks ago found that only about one in three businesses are expected to last until July.
Only 9% of those who were surveyed thought they could last indefinitely.
In fact, some of the most beloved restaurants in the city have already decided to close for good.
One example is Vesuvio Pizzeria and Spaghetti House, which has been a fixture of Toronto's west end for 63 years.
"My heart breaks for these restaurant owners," Ford said to the Toronto Star in April.
"A lot of them are small, family-run companies. One in 10 may not reopen, and I imagine it would probably be higher than one in 10."
With Ford sticking up for Ontario's small businesses, they may have a better chance of staying afloat during these uncertain times.