Financial strip: A trickle down effect on Bay Street?


Toronto's financial district. (Heather Morrison)

heather52.jpgBy Heather Morrison, G20 citizen blogger

Last week's CBC article G20 spending offers trickle down benefits featured Simon Tucker, who argued that Toronto businesses stood to benefit from the G20. His theory was that the public money paid to companies hired to do work for the summit would trickle down into the rest of the city's economy.

An interesting take but, I feel, a short-sighted one. Yes, there may be a number of workers brought into the city prior to the summit; however, during the meeting itself and the days leading up to it, Toronto will likely be a dead zone.

 Many businesses in and around the security zone are shutting down operations, either giving their employees the time off or requesting they work from home. They stand to lose money in both preparation and lost productivity.

Yossi Kaplan, a condo and loft specialist for Harvey Kalles Real Estate, is closing all operations in downtown buildings, and even some in the city's west end, during prime property selling season. "I won't be able to do any viewings, staging, listing or anything else for my downtown properties," he said. When asked how this summit would impact him financially, he replied: "It's as if I am closing shop for two full weeks of business."

Leon Dreff, who works for a global insurance company on Bay Street, said his company has mandated work-from-home days on Thursday and Friday this week and has spent significant time and money to prepare for the summit. "Our IT department has been working overtime to get our systems prepared. As a global company, taking two days off during an otherwise regular business week is not good for business," he said. The partial closure of Bay Street seems by itself to outweigh any possible benefit trickling down from outside workers.

Tourists and residents have been advised by municipal leaders not to visit or stay in Toronto during the summit. This brings another hit for the city's economic state.

Overall, the financial impact of the G20 on Toronto will likely be huge. It is not possible to estimate the actual effect just yet, but to say that Toronto businesses stand to gain from this event seems misguided at best.

Are you a Toronto business owner? Do you stand to make or lose money from the G20?

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