Trudeau launches Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses

Justin Trudeau.

Led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the federal government along with provincial and territorial partners are taking action to protect Canadians and businesses from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re partnering to introduce significant measures to ensure that small businesses have the resources to make it through these difficult times. The feds have reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. The government also provided further details on the program:

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June of this year.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three corresponding months under a rent-forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

“More help is on the way for our small businesses across the country,” said Trudeau. “They are the backbone of our families, our communities and our economy. That is why we will continue working closely with provinces and territories to make sure that Canadian businesses have the support they need during these difficult times.”

Bill Morneau.

Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance, added: “Small businesses are an integral part of our economy and are vital for families and communities across the country. Many businesses are facing economic hardship and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank and commend the many property owners who have already taken action to help their tenants during this crisis. Today’s program will provide forgivable loans to commercial property owners, who in turn will lower the rent of tenants to keep them prepared to bounce back when this crisis subsides.”