New rent relief program needed for businesses, CFIB says

by Stephen Dafoe

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA, which lowered commercial rent up to 75 per cent, comes to an end Sept. 30. This according to information n the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ latest member survey.

The survey indicates only 20 per cent  can continue without rent relief, with 57 per cent saying it would significantly increase their odds of staying open. Another 16 per cent indicate rent relief would offer them only marginal help and two per cent are planning to close regardless of government assistance.

“Rent relief is still a game changer for many businesses who are working to bridge back to recovery, and it should be an urgent priority for government,” said CFIB Executive Director Laura Jones. “Winding down CECRA was a good decision, but now we need a better rent relief program to take its place.”

The CFIB survey found roughly one in five of their members qualified for and had their landlords participate in CECRA. Another 31 per cent were unable to get help either because their revenue loss was not sufficient (16 per cent) or they qualified but their landlord did not apply (15 per cent).

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“CECRA had a deep unfairness built into it that was crazy-making for businesses that needed the help and qualified based on revenue losses but were shut out because their landlord didn’t apply. Rent relief is long overdue for a fix,” Jones said.

As such, CFIB is caling on the Liberal government for a new program that is not dependent on a landlord participating. They are asking that a new program would continue throughout the fall, and longer for the most severely affected Canadian businesses.

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