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The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

On April 24, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government has reached agreements in principle with all the provinces and territories to provide commercial rent relief to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”) would provide forgivable loans to commercial property owners who reduce rent payments for small businesses by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement for April (retroactively), May, and June 2020. The landlords would also be required to commit to not evicting the tenant during the three months in which the rent forgiveness agreement is in place. The loans would be equal to 50% of the monthly rent payments in those months.

Eligible small business tenants would be those that pay commercial rent payments of up to $50,000 and have experienced a 70% or more drop in revenues as a result of COVID-19 (as compared to pre-COVID-19 revenues) or have temporarily ceased operating. The CECRA will also be available to non-profits and charities.

The Prime Minister also stated that the government will soon announce rent relief measures for larger businesses as well, and that today he would begin discussing the gradual reopening of the economy with other members of the government.

The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program

On April 24, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that Ontario has partnered with the federal government to deliver emergency commercial rent relief to small businesses in Ontario and their landlords, with $241 million in funding from the Province and $900 million in total funding. The benefits and eligibility requirements are the same as those set out under the CECRA.

Moreover, the Premier also stated that he will be speaking with the Prime Minister in hopes of developing measures to provide residential rent relief.

Finally, the Premier announced that Ontario will be releasing a framework for reopening Ontario’s economy early next week, but was clear that it will involve a gradual and measured approach.


Small businesses in Ontario that have been impacted by COVID-19 and that pay $50,000 or less of commercial rent per month should contact their landlord to determine whether they are willing to apply for the OCECRA and/or encourage them to do so. Under the program, the commercial tenant and landlord would each cover 25% of the rent payment, while the provincial and federal government would cover 50% (12.5% and 37.5% respectively). Taking this proactive step may provide much needed financial relief to small businesses during this challenging time by reducing the rent that they must pay, which would help them remain viable and keep employees on the payroll.

This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues. This information is not intended as legal advice.