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Liberals extend commercial rent-relief program for last time

Last Updated Sep 8, 2020 at 10:00 am PDT

FILE: Many businesses have been forced to shut down or scale back their operations amid the coronavirus pandemic. (CityNews Vancouver)
Summary

The commercial rent-relief program has been extended one last time

The Liberals say officials will be looking at other options to help small businesses when the program expires

The rent-relief program provides forgivable loans that cover half of rent for eligible small businesses

OTTAWA — The federal government is extending its commercial rent-relief program one last time.

The Liberals say the program that aims to help small businesses with their rent or lease costs will be extended for this month, unveiling the details one week after rent was due.

In a release, the government says the one-month lifeline is a “final extension” for the program and that officials are looking at other options to help small businesses.

The rent-relief program provides forgivable loans that cover half of rent for eligible small businesses, and also requires landlords to waive a further one-quarter of what they’d otherwise be owed.

Property owners have to apply for the help, but take-up has lagged expectations and spending is projected to fall far short of the nearly $3 billion the Liberals have budgeted.

The government says that as of the start of this week, the program had provided over $1.32 billion in aid to more than 106,000 small-business tenants.