The Canadian government has announced additional support for small businesses to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic, including rent support.
“Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account and making sure businesses can afford their rent is the smart thing to do. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and will keep our economy strong in this uncertain time,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau April 16.
The new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses will seek to provide loan, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April, May, and June.
The program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will now include businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. The previous range was $50,000 to $1 million.
The CEBA is provided to an organization through that specific organization’s financial institution, which would be providing the loan in cooperation with Export Development Canada. The loan will be interest-free and 25 per cent of the loan is forgivable (up to $10,000) if the organization repays the loan on or before Dec. 31, 2022. If the loan is not repaid by then, the resulting loan terms would be decided by each financial institution.
Since the initial launch April 9, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, adding up to more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses.
“We will always be there to support our Canadian businesses. That is why we are working closely with the business community to make sure that our emergency measures are as effective and inclusive as possible,” said Trudeau.
The programs are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which has promised more than $107 billion in support to Canadians and businesses.