ontario commercial eviction ban

Ontario is finally banning landlords from evicting small businesses

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced today that he plans to introduce legislation to ban commercial evictions for all those who qualify for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) — something small business owners and other advocates have been demanding for months.

Speaking during his daily press briefing at Queen's Park Monday, Ford said he has urged landlords to be fair to small business tenants time and time again, but some still haven't gotten the message.

"Our small businesses are struggling right now. And for them, making rent is top of mind," he said. 

"That's why we worked to get $900 million to help businesses with commercial rent relief. And as I was clear with commercial landlords, you have to be fair and help out everyone. But we still hear about some landlords who just didn't get the message. Well, I'm here for the little guy. That's why I've ordered legislation to ban commercial evictions for those who qualify for the commercial rent relief program."

The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, apply for evictions that took place on or after June 3 and last until August 31. 

Small businesses that would qualify for the commercial eviction ban are those that pay no more than $50,000 in gross rent each month per location, are experiencing at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID‑19 revenues (determined by comparing revenues in April, May or June 2020 to the same months in 2019, or by comparing to average revenues for January and February 2020), and generate $20 million or less in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level). 

"Our small business owners are the backbone of our communities and now, more than ever, we all need to support them," he added. 

"So please, get out there and buy local. Support your local small businesses. We all need to support others right now, and together we will come back stronger than ever before."

Meanwhile, some are criticizing how long it took the Ford government to introduce this commercial eviction ban considering how many small businesses have been forced to shutter since the pandemic began.

The Ontario NDP issued a statement ahead of Ford's announcement with a list of some of these businesses, adding that this ban comes far too late to save those that have already been evicted.

"Doug Ford pretended that tough talk was all business owners needed to help them avoid eviction, and keep their business from going under," the statement reads. 

"Unfortunately for small businesses across the province, the Conservatives refused to step up with direct rent subsidies or a ban on evictions — and with Ford poised to finally say something on commercial evictions Monday, it's too late for many businesses have already closed their doors for good, going under while getting no help from the province."

Toronto Mayor John Tory, who has repeatedly called on the province to issue an eviction ban of this kind, issued his own statement today welcoming the news.

"This ban is absolutely the right thing to do – I have called for it repeatedly and City Council has requested that the province take this action," he said.

"Businesses of all sizes across the city have been at risk of shutting down or have experienced huge financial losses due to COVID-19. Removing any worry of being evicted during these difficult times will help allow businesses to stay open as we transition into the reopening phase of this pandemic."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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