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Millions of jobs on the line as commercial rent subsidy set to expire, business groups say

Last Updated Sep 30, 2020 at 10:04 am PDT

FILE - A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program is set to expire on Thursday

Businesses are expressing concern that no new plans have been announced to help them with rent amid COVID-19

Business groups say they want a long-term plan to keep them afloat through the winter

OTTAWA – Businesses across the country are expressing their concern that federal help with rent is set to dry up, just a day before rent is due.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program will expire at midnight Thursday.

Some business owners have claimed the program has been too restrictive and has depended completely on the cooperation of the landlord, which didn’t always happen. However, despite having complaints about flaws with the current program, many businesses have said they still need the rent relief.

The deputy prime minister had promised the government was working on a new rent relief program, and the government house leader has hinted help is on the way.

“I can tell you that we’re not going to let them down,” Pablo Rodriguez said.

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Aside from that, business owners say there’s been little in the way of new information as we approach the deadline.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce warns millions of jobs are on the line if small- and medium-sized companies don’t get assistance as the second wave of COVID-19 hits, and many businesses are being forced to close with rising case counts.

They want a long-term plan to keep them afloat through the winter.

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says he doesn’t want to see the Liberals once again try and jam a bill through parliament on a tight timeline.

“All the 338 of us have been elected for some purpose, and this purpose is to analyze and improve laws,” he said. “This government must not be allowed to do whatever it wants.”

There is still time for the government to introduce legislation later on Wednesday.