OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — An agreement with provinces and territories to lower rent by 75 per cent for small and medium-sized businesses for April, May, and June has been reached, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday.
The support will help businesses that have been struggling amid the pandemic due to closures or reduced revenue.
“I can announce that we’ve reached agreements with all provinces and territories to lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been strongly affected for COVID-19, for April, May and June,” Trudeau said.
The program is for businesses paying less than $50,000 a month for rent and have temporarily ceased operations or experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.
The support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses 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 pledge 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.
The federal Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. will administer and deliver the program.
Provinces and territories have agreed to cost-share total costs and ensure implementation of the program. They will cover up to 25 per cent of costs, subject to terms of agreements with Ottawa.
It is expected the new program will 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.
Trudeau said to expect an announcement later on rent for larger businesses