patio toronto

Ontario wants to make it easier for businesses to build and extend patio spaces

Toronto loves squeezing every last second out of patio season, with al fresco dining under outdoor heaters and enclosures still preferable to the indignity of sitting inside for even an hour.

Patio space has been in scorching demand since the easing of lockdown restrictions, and restaurant owners have been scrambling to maximize outdoor dining space with indoor seating limitations affecting their bottom line.

It could soon be easier for restaurants to create new or extend existing patios through new measures being proposed by the province, aimed at promoting recovery after a tough economic period for Ontario.

Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction (a cabinet position that almost seems like a self-aware Ford government parody) introduced Ontario's Fall Red Tape Reduction Package and revealed the Supporting People and Businesses Act on Thursday.

When you extract all the populist buzzwords from the announcement, what you're left with is a long list of changes aimed at easing the burden businesses have experienced since early 2020.

"Cutting red tape and modernizing our regulatory system will help people and businesses meet the demands of today, while positioning them for a brighter tomorrow," said Tangri.

Included in the proposal is a line that will come as welcome news to restaurateurs across the province, stating that permanent changes would "set the groundwork for the government to allow licensed restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses create or extend their outdoor patio spaces."

If passed, the act would make it both easier and faster for restaurants, bars, other hospitality businesses to apply for and expand patio spaces.

The act also seeks to make it easier for people to be approved as volunteers, allowing greater access to veterinarians, improving the province's Second Career program, and changes to healthcare regulations that are touted as able to clear the backlog of appointments that has built up since 2020.

Another standout in the proposed act is a plan to develop a pilot program for non-electric and electric-assist large cycles with an eye towards increased tourism, which sounds like it could be similar to the ill-fated scooter pilot program in Toronto.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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