Federal government announces extension of rent relief for small businesses

Details on the September extension will be available on the CMHC website on Wednesday, September 9

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng, on Tuesday announced that Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September. All provinces and territories continue to participate in this initiative and collaborate with the federal government to provide rent supports to those small businesses most in need. Current CECRA application deadlines will also be extended to accommodate this extension.

Across the country, thousands of small businesses that were forced to close or were especially hard hit have been able to use CECRA to help cover rent and position themselves to reopen as the economy reopens. As of September 7, over 106,000 small business tenants have been supported, representing 994,000 employees, for a total of over $1.32 billion in rent support.

The government is continuing to process thousands of applications worth hundreds of millions of additional dollars of support. Property owners are encouraged to continue to make use of CECRA for eligible tenants and to work to provide flexibility where possible to their tenants as they recover from the crisis. The federal government also continues to support the provincial banning of commercial evictions during the pandemic.

Freeland said: “Across Canada, small businesses are working hard to grapple with this crisis so they can serve their communities and provide jobs. Our government recognizes that while small businesses’ needs are evolving, many still require support to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why we are extending the rent relief provided through CECRA by an additional month, to ensure that Canadian businesses hit hardest by COVID-19 get support when they need it most.”

Ng added: “As we work to safely reopen our economy, our government understands that things are still tough for our small business owners and that rent remains a major expense. That’s why we are extending the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance by one month to include September. We will continue to be there for our small business owners as we rebuild.

Quick Facts

  • Those who qualified for CECRA based on existing program parameters will be able to apply soon for the additional one month based on having at least a 70 per cent revenue decline for April, May and June, without reassessing whether they continue to have at least a 70 per cent revenue decline in July, August or September. Participation in the one-month extension is voluntary. Both existing applicants to the CECRA and new applicants are able to opt for the September rent reduction.
  • CECRA provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners, whether they have a mortgage on their property or not. The loans cover 50 per cent of three to six monthly rent payments for eligible small business tenants during April, May, June, July, August and September.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the qualifying property owner agrees to reduce their small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent under a rent reduction agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Existing applicants will need to reapply for the month of September. New applicants will have the choice of applying for the three-month initial period, four months, five months or six months.
  • Eligible small business tenants are businesses that are paying less than $50,000 per month in gross rent in a given location, with annual revenues of less than $20 million (at the ultimate parent level), and who experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues on average for the period of April, May and June.
  • Details on the September extension will be available on the CMHC website on Wednesday, September 9.