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Alberta legislation aims to safeguard businesses from eviction

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 @ 2:25 PM | By Ian Burns

Alberta has introduced legislation to safeguard businesses from eviction as the province continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill 23, the Commercial Tenancies Protection Act, would protect eligible commercial tenants from having their leases terminated due to non-payment of rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If passed, the Act would also prevent landlords from raising rent and charging late fees and penalties on missed rent.

“Alberta has the most generous support models for small businesses in Canada, but we know that more supports are needed,” said Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir. “We’re listening to Alberta’s business community, and we’re responding to their needs. If passed, these protections will provide businesses with more protection as they reopen and rehire staff as we move through the phases of relaunch and recovery.”

The legislation and upcoming regulation would cover the period from March 17 to Aug. 31 and would apply to commercial tenants with tenancy agreements that would be eligible for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program program, but whose landlords have chosen not to participate; and commercial lease agreements where tenants have had to close their business due to public health orders or have had their business revenue decline by 25 per cent or more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If passed, any late fees, penalties or rent increases imposed on a commercial tenant by their landlord between March 17 and Aug. 31 would need to be reimbursed, however, the legislation would not undo any evictions or lease terminations that happened before the legislation was tabled.

The Act would also help ensure landlords don’t miss out on deferred rent by requiring tenants and landlords to work together to develop a rent payment plan for missed payments. More information can be found here.