Government extends rent relief for small businesses

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The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses is being extended by an additional month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September.

All provinces and territories participate in this initiative, which is a collaboration between them and the federal government that provides rent supports to small businesses most in need. Current CECRA application deadlines will be extended to accommodate this extension.

“Across Canada, small businesses are working hard to grapple with this crisis so they can serve their communities and provide jobs,” stated Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland. “While small businesses’ needs are evolving, many still require support to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why we are extending the rent relief provided through CECRA by an additional month.”

As of September 7, more than 106,000 small business tenants have been supported, representing over $1.32 billion in rent support.

The government is continuing to process thousands of applications worth hundreds of millions of additional dollars of support, and is encouraging property owners to continue to make use of CECRA for eligible tenants, and to work to provide flexibility where possible to their tenants as they recover from the crisis. The federal government also continues to support the provincial banning of commercial evictions during the pandemic.

It is expected that this will be the final extension of the CECRA program, but the government has stated that it is exploring options to support small businesses as they face the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the challenges of fixed costs at a time when health concerns and precautions prevent many businesses from operating at full capacity.

Existing applicants will need to reapply for the month of September. New applicants will have the choice of applying for the three-month initial period, four months, five months or six months.

Additional details about the extension will be available on the CMHC website this week.