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Federal government extending small business rent relief program

Thursday, July 02, 2020 @ 4:16 PM | By Terry Davidson

Canada’s government has extended its rent relief program for small businesses by a month.

On June 30, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will be extended to cover July.

“The government has agreed with all provinces and territories to implement the one month extension,” states a news release. “This will provide important relief for small businesses that continue to experience financial hardship, and also allow property owners to maintain rental income and keep tenants in their commercial properties as the economy gradually restarts. Applications will continue to be processed through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website.”

Those who qualified for the CECRA can voluntarily apply for the extension “based on having a 70 [per cent] decline in revenue decline for April, May and June” due to the COVID-19 health crisis. 

In addition, the government will stop deducting from the CECRA loans any non-repayable amounts being received by the owner or tenant from insurance or other rent subsidy programs.  

Existing applicants who have experienced this will have any previous claw-backs restored to their CECRA loan.

The CECRA provides commercial landlords forgivable loans covering 50 per cent of monthly rent payments payable by small businesses experiencing financial hardship in April, May, June and, now, July.  

The loans will be forgiven if the owner reduces the tenant’s rent by at least 75 per cent — as is called for in the CECRA rent agreement — and the tenant covers what is remaining, up to 25 per cent of the rent.

“The government continues to monitor the effects of the pandemic on the economy and how the historic support we have provided through the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan is working,” said Morneau. “We are boosting our support for small businesses and property owners by extending the rent relief provided through CECRA by an additional month to ensure that they are poised to rebound in the post-pandemic recovery.”

Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng said simplifying the CECRA application process and extending the program improves “another vital COVID-19 relief program to reflect the realities that small businesses are facing during this difficult time.”

“This support will be there for them as many businesses and shops begin to restart and reopen safely in our communities in the weeks to come,” said Ng. “Our government will continue to support Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs every step of the way.”

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