THE EMPLOYERS' EDGE
COVID-19: Federal Government Announces Rent Relief for Small Businesses
On April 24, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the government’s latest initiative to support small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CERA”) program will help eligible small business cover their rent for the months of April, May, and June.
Under the CERA program, commercial property owners will be able to access forgivable loans to cover 50% of the applicable rent periods. The loans, which would go directly to the mortgage lender, will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce eligible businesses’ rent by at least 75% for the duration of the program. The provinces and territories will contribute up to 25% of the total cost of the CERA program, as well as manage its implementation. Practically speaking, for a given commercial property the business renting the space will still be required to pay 25% of the rent, the property owner will pay 25%, and the remaining 50% will be covered jointly by the federal government and province or territory.
A business is eligible for rent relief if it pays less than $50,000 per month in rent, has had to temporarily cease operations, or has experienced at least a 70% reduction in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Charities and non-profit organizations are also eligible for the CERA program.
Importantly, the CERA program is contingent on the property owner agreeing to reduce rent for eligible businesses.
The team at CCPartners will continue to update our readers and listeners on the CERA program, and all other pertinent developments related to COVID-19 through our Employers’ Edge Blog and Lawyers for Employers Podcast series.