Ottawa plan could cover half your business rent
May 1, 2020
Contractors and home builders who rent commercial space could share in the new Canada Emergency Rent Assistance program, which will lower rent payments by 75 per cent for small businesses hit by COVID-19 for the next three months.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement during his April 24 morning address to the nation.
In a statement two days earlier, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said an April 18 survey of members showed more than half would not be able to cover their May 1 rent.
Home builder showrooms are among the commercial space that is largely vacant, or closed down, during the pandemic.
The program currently will be eligible for small businesses in April, May and June.
In order to be eligible, the business must currently be paying less than $50,000 per month on rent and have suffered significantly under the COVID-19-induced economic lockdown.
Trudeau explained the federal government will be responsible for half of that rent relief, while property owners collecting rent will take care of the other 25 per cent. Ottawa was able to announce the deal after individually negotiating with each province and territory, Trudeau added.
He also noted that Ottawa is still looking at similar relief for bigger companies, and another announcement will be expected in the coming days.
In addition, Trudeau added that Ottawa will begin engaging with each province to discuss the standards, guidelines and requirements for a gradual reopening of the economy. The approach will be on a province-by-province basis, Trudeau said, because COVID-19 has impacted areas of Canada differently.
Trudeau stressed that the process will not be immediate, and people need to remain vigilant to prevent losing the progress made so far against the pandemic.
“I want to be clear that getting back to normal will not happen overnight,” he said. “It will not be like flipping a switch.”
Trudeau said Ottawa is moving as fast as it can to provide rental support to Canadian businesses at risk of disappearing permanently, but added that the scale of the COVID-19 crisis means that not everyone will be saved.
“We know certain businesses are extremely hard hit,” he said. “But we also see that this is the greatest economic impact and event of our lifetimes. It’s going to be extremely difficult.”
Trudeau noted that the Canadian economy was doing well before the pandemic, and the goal now is to salvage as much of that as possible.
“This is an event that put us into deep freeze - into hibernation, as it were - and everyone had to stop and hold while we let this wave of COVID pass through,” he said. “We will be there to make sure that as many as possible of our businesses will be able to bounce back afterwards.”