New Rent Relief Coming for Canadian Businesses Hit by COVID-19

rent relief
Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels

New rent relief measures are coming for Canadian businesses struggling with the impacts of COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday.

Trudeau said a revamped commercial rent-relief program will help businesses offset the cost of rent by covering up to 65% of eligible expenses for companies and up to 90% for those subject to localized lockdowns.

“While some parts of our economy are recovering, others continue to struggle with reduced revenues, increased costs, and uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the federal government said in a statement.

The government said it plans to introduce legislation to provide support that would help these businesses safely get through the second wave of the virus and the winter, cover costs so they can continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery.

“Canadian businesses and workers have shown tremendous resilience in adapting to the challenges posed by the global pandemic. With the country now in the second wave of this virus, our government knows businesses and workers need continued support,” said Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

“We were there to help businesses when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and we will continue to give them the support they need. As we get through this difficult situation, we will keep taking action to support our businesses, protect jobs, and keep Canadians safe and healthy.”

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According to the Canadian government, the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will provide rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy would be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners.

The new rent subsidy would also support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020.

The government said it’s implementing a top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25% for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65% subsidy.

Trudeau said the government is also extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire their workers. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 % of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

An expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will also be implemented, enabling businesses and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000.

Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Additionally, the application deadline for CEBA is being extended to December 31 of this year.

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