In this photo taken on March 25, 2020, streets of downtown Victoria were quieter than usual in the wake of physical isolation mandates from the provincial and federal governments. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)

Businesses hard-hit by COVID-19 to get 75% in rent cost relief: Trudeau

Government to cover 50 per cent, with expectation that 25 per cent be absorbed by property owners

The federal government has announced rent relief for small- and medium-sized businesses hard-hit by COVID-19, with 50 per cent supplemented by governments and an expectation that property owners absorb the other 25 per cent.

Wearing a red tie in honour of the victims in the recent Nova Scotia shooting rampage, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed details about the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program on Friday (April 24) outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.

“If you had to close up shop because of public health recommendations, if you don’t have a lot of money coming in because people aren’t spending much these days, you may be worried about keeping your office space,” Trudeau said.

The rental assistance was first announced on April 16, but the federal government needed to convene with individual provincial leaders, who have jurisdiction over rental rules.

“The government will cover 50 per cent of the reduction, with the property owner covering the rest,” Trudeau said.

To be eligible, small and medium-sized businesses must have a monthly rent cost of less than $50,000 and be experiencing at least a 70-per-cent decrease in revenue due to the pandemic.

Non-profits and non-government organizations are also eligible. Rent support will be retroactive for April, and be available for May and June.

The program will operate through a rent forgiveness agreement between the business owner and mortgaged property owner. The agreement must stipulate that the property owner will reduce rent by at least 75 per cent over the three months, as well as pledge not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.

Trudeau said business owners who cannot afford the remaining 25 per cent in rental costs can apply for the one-time business loan announced in March, which allows for eligible businesses to borrow $40,000 with one-quarter forgiveness.

Trudeau pledged that options for larger businesses will also be made available in coming weeks.

This week, Saskatchewan announced it would be reopening some businesses on May 4, as part of a five-phase plan.

Starting May 4, dentist offices, optometry clinics and physical therapy providers can open, while some retail stores might be allowed to operate as of May 19.

The rental assistance comes as newly released data from the federal government shows that there have been more than seven million unique applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit – the federal emergency aid program which gives eligible workers $2,000 a month in funds amid the pandemic.

That means that $22.4 billion has been paid out through the program, which has a budget of $24 billion.

Trudeau is scheduled to hold a conference call with provincial and territorial premiers this afternoon, at which he is expected to raise another issue that is under provincial jurisdiction — the tragedy unfolding at under-staffed long-term care homes where more than half of Canada’s deaths from COVID-19 have occurred.

– with a file from The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Virtual public hearing set for developer with plans to subdivide Willow Street lot

People can submit comments in advance, or call to be added to a speakers list, ahead of June 3rd hearing

Cyclist in his 50s victim of fatal crash near Hope Thursday

Police have ruled out speed, impairment as factors after a tractor-trailer struck a man in his 50s

68-year-old solo hikes the HBC Heritage Trail

Allan Lynde decided on a 74-kilometre trek from Hope to Tulameen, 50 years after his last big hike

Hope’s fitness businesses prepare to get moving again, in a new COVID-19 reality

As order closing gym and indoor fitness facilities lifts, going to the gym will look differently

Council briefs: Back to the drawing board for Hope’s solid waste bylaw

Council talks 711 Water development, extended cafe patios, dealing with discarded needles

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Abbotsford International Airshow opening 50-year-old time capsule

Bronze time capsule was put together to commemorate AIA as Canada’s National Airshow

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read