April 24, 2020 By PrintAction Staff
Canada’s federal government has announced a new program to provide rent relief to businesses that can’t afford to pay their landlords at a time when their operations are seriously curtailed or shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Called “Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance,” the program is expected to lower rent by 75 per cent for affected small businesses, and will be provided in partnership with the provinces and territories, which have jurisdiction over rents.
The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments payable by eligible small business tenants experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June.
“The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place,” the Prime Minister’s office said in an April 24 statement. “The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.”
Provinces and territories will cover up to 25 per cent of costs, subject to terms of agreements with Ottawa. They will also ensure implementation of the measures.
The new program is expected to be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenant’s payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.
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