Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new rent relief program today to help businesses forced to shut down due to the global pandemic, as some provinces begin to lay out plans to open their economies. The plan will provide loans to cover up to 75 per cent of the rental cost through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. A portion of the loan will be non-repayable.
The NDP have been pressing the government to deliver rent relief. In a statement Friday, the NDP said loans alone “are not going to cut it.” The statement said, “Businesses can’t afford more debt.”The NDP says the proposed rent support should also be extended to residential rent.
Small- and medium-sized businesses, most of them shuttered since mid-March, have been clamouring for relief as the May 1 deadline for their next rent payment looms.
Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIC) president Dan Kelly said 70 per cent of the CFIB’s 30,000 members pay monthly rent for their business premises and, of those, 55 per cent report that they can’t afford to pay their rent next month.
Under the plan the government will pick up half the rent for business paying less than $50,000 per month. The business will be responsible for 25 percent and the landlord will absorb the remaining 25 percent.