By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced rent relief measures for small businesses across the country.
In partnership with Canadian provinces and territories, the federal and provincial governments have reached a tentative agreement to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses.
The program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses affected by COVID-19.
CECRA will also provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments for businesses experiencing financial hardship in April, May and June.
The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business’ rent by at least 75 per cent for April, May and June. This will include a term to not evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The remainder will be covered by the tenant, up to 25 per cent.
Eligible businesses are those which pay less than $50,000 per month in rent, and who have temporarily shut their doors, or have experienced a drop of at least 70 per cent in pre-COVID-19 revenues.
The support is also available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
Amanda MacDonald, the executive director of the Downtown Oshawa Business Improvement Area, calls the announcement “encouraging.”
“The recent rent relief measures, announced today by the prime minister, are an encouraging sign that both Ontario and Canada recognize that small business is big business in this country,” she says. “We are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and while the announcement was welcomed, we look forward to further details and will continue to push for additional support to help main street businesses.”