Federal rent relief for businesses hurt by COVID-19 extended, but local MP wants revenue-loss rules eased

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said the revenue-loss requirements of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program should be brought down to 50 per cent.

By ALI RAZA

Federal rent relief for businesses struggling under COVID-19 has been extended for July 2020.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses was extended for rent covering July 2020 – but only for tenants approved in the application for April, May, and June are eligible for the extension.

The revenue loss requirement of 70 per cent remains in place, consistent with the provincial moratorium on commercial evictions of businesses experiencing a 70 per cent revenue drop.

As only landlords are permitted to apply, there remains more work to be done to ensure further participation.

“The approved funding to date is significantly below the initial allocation of program funds,” Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said.

“I’ve written to Finance to ask that the program be extended and that the eligibility criteria be adjusted that tenants can qualify if they’ve seen a 50 per cent drop in revenue.”

Initially announced April 24, CECRA applications began increasing following the province’s announcement of a moratorium on commercial evictions on June 8.

As of June 28, more than 15,000 applications have been approved or funded – covering $186 million of rent support for more than 24,000 tenants across Canada.

“The challenge for many businesses for this particular support is the requirement of loss of revenue at 70 per cent,” Erksine-Smith said. “It would be fair to adjust the criteria to make it flexible for businesses.”

Erskine-Smith added that the “real challenge” for CECRA participation was “not having the commercial eviction moratorium in place early.”

He hopes the extension with the possible adjustment to qualification, will ensure more participation in the program.

CECRA is a joint program between the provincial and federal government, which means adjusting criteria requires more than one level of government to approve.


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