DIANE Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, on Monday opened the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to receive applications from qualifying organizations. These organizations can now apply directly for the subsidy for the period from September 27 to October 24, 2020, through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Business Account, or Represent a Client portals. Applications for the second CERS period (October 25 to November 21, 2020) will open on November 30.
In response to concerns raised by stakeholders about the program, the government is proposing to amend the CERS in order to allow applicants to include eligible expenses in their CERS application before the expense has been paid. This means that organizations can include rent and other eligible amounts already paid in respect of a claim period as well as amounts that are payable for the claim period when submitting their CERS applications. Amounts that are not paid at the time of the application will have to be paid no later than 60 days after payment of the subsidy.
The CRA has launched a CERS online calculator and application form that are designed almost identically to those of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The calculator guides applicants through a step-by-step process that allows them to determine the subsidy amount they can claim, based on the information they enter. The CERS web pages include detailed information about eligibility requirements, how payment periods are structured, and how the subsidy is calculated.
The CRA will collect applications over the coming days and, on November 30, process applications received to date. Qualifying organizations whose claims successfully clear the CRA’s automated verification system and that are registered for direct deposit should expect to begin receiving payments starting on December 4. In cases where the CRA does not have enough information on file to process a claim, it will ask organizations to provide it with additional information so that it can verify their eligibility before it processes their application.
The CRA said it recognizes and appreciates the important role that stakeholders are playing in providing feedback on how the CERS program will operate. It said it looks forward to continuing to work closely with businesses, non-profits, and charities and their representative organizations as it devlivers the CERS program.
Lebouthillier said: “I’m proud that the Canada Revenue Agency is once again stepping up to deliver another important program to businesses, charities, and non-profits that will help them get through the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERS is the seventh program delivered by the CRA since the start of the pandemic, and they have incorporated all the lessons and feedback from previous programs to provide businesses, charities and non-profits with tailored support that is easily accessible and meets their needs. Canadian small businesses owners and employees can always count on the CRA to put people first, especially during their time of need.”
Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, added: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, our government has provided continued support to businesses and workers. With the application process for the rent subsidy and Lockdown Support now open, employers impacted by COVID-19 will be able to access the help they need to get through the winter and the second wave of the virus. We will continue to do what it takes to support Canadians through this crisis.”
- The new CERS is a successor to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) and delivers direct, targeted, and accessible rent support to qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19 without the need to claim the assistance through their landlords.
- The new rent subsidy supports businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses.
- Qualifying organizations that were required to shut down or significantly limit their activities under a public health order will have access to Lockdown Support, a top-up subsidy of 25%, meaning that they could receive rent or property expenses support of up to 90%.
- Eligible expenses include commercial rent, property taxes (including school taxes and municipal taxes), property insurance, and interest on commercial mortgages (subject to limits) for a qualifying property, less any subleasing revenues. Any sales tax (e.g., GST/HST) component of these costs is not be an eligible expense.
- The rent subsidy parameters apply until December 19, 2020, with future parameters in 2021 to be adapted and targeted as needed.
- Applicants can visit CRA login services to create a My Business Account or Represent a Client account and apply for the CERS.