commercial rent relief ontario

This is the latest on commercial rent relief for small businesses in Ontario

Ontario won't be re-opening anytime soon, but many Toronto businesses aren't sure they won't be able to last a few more months.

Last week, the Federal government announced the launch of the Canada Commercial Rent Asisstance (CCRA)

Coupled with the recent eligbility expansions for CEBA, the program could potentially be extremely helpful when implemented, but independent businesses are still in the dark as to exactly how they'll be tackling next month's largest expense: commercial rent. 

As of April 16, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced the CCRA, few details regarding who qualifies for the program, how much will be provided, how it will be administered, and what the terms will be, have been announced. 

A news release from the PM's office defines the CCRA's purpose as this: "The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June." 

But the program's implementation, says Trudeau office, "will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships." 

To date, Doug Ford's government has yet to make an official announcement on how they'll be working with the Federal side to provide those loans, and has yet to respond to the flood of questions from small and medium businesses alike. 

The financial assistance that is available right now doesn't address commercial rent.

So far, they've offered support like five months of interest and penalty relief for most provincial taxes, until August 31, 2020, off-peak rates for electricity bills all day, and deferred Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments for up to six months. 

And while the Province has banned non-residential evictions during this time, calls to do the same for commercial rents have yet to happen, leaving both landlords and tenants to navigate the details of their agreements without any legal guidelines. 

Without any firm announcements, a number of small business initiatives like #KeepTheLightsOn or #SaveMainStreet are calling on the Province to provide up to 75 per cent commercial rent subsidies, and halting all commercial evictions. 

But delayed action has already seen the permanent closure of small businesses citywide, and according to one survey, likely many more before Ontario re-opens for business again. 

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