Applications open for Canadian rent relief program for small businesses

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Applications for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) opened today, allowing landlords to apply to the federal government’s relief program.

The CECRA is meant to help small businesses maintain rent payments, as many small businesses across the country have been hard hit by the effects of the current global pandemic. The now-open application portal is accessible through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which is responsible for administering the rent relief program.

The program was announced mid-April and is meant to help lower rent for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) affected by COVID-19. The CECRA allows SMBs to pay just 25 percent of their monthly rent, with governments and property owners absorbing the other 75 percent.

Eligible commercial property owners are being offered unsecured, forgivable loans in order to allow them to reduce rent and help them meet operating expenses on commercial properties. Property owners are required to offer a minimum of a 75 percent rent reduction for the months of April, May, and June, retroactively. Small business tenants that have been impacted by COVID-19 and are paying less than $50,000 per month in gross rent, with annual revenues of less than $20 million, are eligible for the program. The tenants must have experienced at least a 70 percent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is working on a rent relief program for larger companies, with details set to be shared “soon.”

More details on the CECRA are expected later today.

According to the CMHC it is expecting “a large volume of applications” for the rent relief program and to manage the volume has asked property owners to apply on specific days. Registration is broken down by province.

As of Monday, property owners located in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec, with up to 10 tenants that are eligible for the program, can apply. Property owners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario (also with up to 10 eligible tenants) can apply Tuesday. The applications open up to all property owners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the Territories, as of Wednesday, followed by Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec on Thursday.

More details on the CECRA can be found here. The deadline to apply is August 31.

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Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.