Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
Update as of May 20, 2020
Today, the Prime Minister announced that applications to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA) will open on May 25, 2020. The program will reduce rent for the months of April, May (retroactive), and June by 75 percent for eligible small businesses who have been affected by COVID-19, as long as their commercial property owner/landlord participates. Eligible small businesses include small businesses that:
- Pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement);
- Generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level); and
- Have experienced at least a 70 percent decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues.
While the CPA has pressed the federal government to provide support in the form of grants, not loans, and to include a mechanism for small businesses to apply for commercial rent relief directly, the program has been structured as a loan which requires participation of the commercial property owner/landlord. To date, there is no recourse for a small business whose landlord declines to participate in the program.
While the CPA is disappointed in the limitations of the program, we hope that it will provide support to as many small businesses as possible who need help paying commercial rent during this difficult time. To that end, we’ve drafted this letter for small business owners to customize and send to their commercial property owners/landlords requesting their participation in the CECRA program.
The CPA will continue to follow this issue, to raise concerns with the government, and to provide appropriate updates as they become available. More details about the CECRA program are available here.
Canada Emergency Business Account
Update as of May 19
The CPA has been pressing the federal government to make changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to broaden eligibility to include contractors, sole-proprietors, and businesses who pay income through dividends. On May 19, the Prime Minister announced that the criteria for CEBA is being expanded again to include these business models. In his announcement, the Prime Minister specifically mentioned physiotherapists as an example of the intended beneficiaries of this change.
While some of the details are still being worked out with financial institutions and will be made available soon, the CPA is pleased to see the government make these meaningful changes to CEBA. These changes will help many physiotherapy businesses access much needed credit to address operating costs as they contend with reduced revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the expanded program is not yet open for applications, additional details on eligibility requirements are available here.
The CPA welcomes this expansion of CEBA, but believes changes are still needed to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance programs. The CPA will continue to press the federal government for changes to these programs and will provide appropriate updates as they become available.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Support for Research
Update as of May 15
Today, the federal government made two announcements concerning the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and also announced support for research institutes performing non-COVID-19 related research, which were not previously included in federal government supports.
First, the CEWS will be extended beyond the original June 6 deadline. The program will now be in place to support qualifying businesses until August 29, 2020. Over the next month, the government will also consult with business and labour representatives to determine whether and how further adjustments to the program respecting the revenue decline threshold, incenting jobs and growth will be made.
Second, the government announced that CEWS eligibility will be expanded to include additional categories of businesses. These new categories include:
- Partnerships that are up to 50 percent owned by non-eligible members;
- Indigenous government-owned corporations that are carrying on a business, as well as partnerships where the partners are Indigenous governments and eligible employers;
- Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations;
- Registered Journalism Organizations; and
- Non-public colleges and schools, including institutions that offer specialized services, such as arts schools, driving schools, language schools or flight schools.
The government is also introducing legislative changes to CEWS which are intended to:
- Provide flexibility for employers of existing employees who were not regularly employed in early 2020, such as seasonal employees;
- Ensure that the CEWS applies appropriately to corporations formed on the amalgamation of two predecessor corporations; and
- Better align the treatment of trusts and corporations for the purpose of determining CEWS eligibility.
More details on the CEWS program extensions are available here.
Funding Announced to Help Canada’s Academic Research Community
The government also introduced $450 million in support for Canada’s academic research community, which will enable university and health research institutes to retain their staff and maintain essential research-related activities during the pandemic. More details on this investment are available here.
CPA’s Continuing Advocacy
The CPA welcomes the investment to protect the work of academic and health research institutes, and is pleased to see the expansion and extension of CEWS. While these measures will help additional Canadians, there are still categories of businesses and employees who are excluded from the government’s financial support programs. This includes businesses and sole-proprietors whose income comes from dividends, and the many contractor and sub-contractor business models in place in physiotherapy clinics and health care businesses across Canada. Further, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program still has not opened for applications and does not stand to meet the direct rental assistance needs of small businesses whose landlords choose not to participate. The CPA continues to press the federal government for changes to these critical support programs, changes that will enable physiotherapists to access the necessary supports to ensure they remain financially viable in order to provide essential services to our communities as they recover from the pandemic. The CPA will continue to follow and advocate on this issue, and will provide appropriate updates as they become available.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
Update as of April 24, 2020
The CPA has been actively working with the offices of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Small Business to call for a fast, flexible program which would provide the support small businesses need for commercial rent obligations. In their design of the program, we’ve asked the government to make grants available, rather than loans, and to include a mechanism for small business owners to be able to apply directly for rent relief without needing to be fully reliant on their landlords/commercial property owners’ willingness to seek the benefit. We raised that flexibility and accommodation on the part of landlords and commercial property owners is not universal, thus, in some cases, dependency on the willingness of the property owner to incur debt to provide a rent deferral or reduction option stands to leave small businesses in a precarious position. We will continue to advocate for direct relief to be made available to small business owners who need the support to ensure they are able to continue to provide physiotherapy services in our communities once business activities are permitted to resume.
Today, the Prime Minister announced more details about the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program being rolled out to support small businesses struggling with the impacts of COVID-19. The federal government has reached an agreement with all of the provinces and territories to provide a rent relief program which will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses who have been significantly affected by COVID-19 for the months of April, May, and June.
The following details have been provided to date:
- The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
- The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
- Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
The CPA will continue to follow this issue, to raise concerns with the government, and to provide appropriate updates as they become available. While application details have not been released yet, the government has provided a few more details on the administration of the program available here: Prime Minister announces partnerships with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses.
Canadian Emergency Response Benefit and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
Update as of April 17, 2020
The CPA has been actively working with various federal government departments to advocate for changes that support small businesses facing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the CPA called for changes to the criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to be expanded to enable the programs to be available for a variety of business and income models, including those with contractors, sub-contractors, and those whose income comes from dividends, for example.
On April 16, the Prime Minister announced that the criteria for the CEBA, is being expanded to include companies with payroll between $20,000-1.5 million. Although it doesn’t go far enough, this news is most welcome. The CPA is continuing to actively advocate for the criteria for both the CEBA and the CEWS to be further extended. Additional information on the CEBA can be accessed here:
Further, the Federal Government announced that it is introducing a Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program to provide support for small businesses to help pay their rent in the months of April, May, and June. This program will need to be developed in cooperation with the provinces and territories as they are responsible for issues related to rent. The information released to date indicates that this program will provide commercial property owners with access to credit (loans), who will in turn forgo or reduce the rent to small businesses. In our engagement with the federal government, the CPA has been calling for a commercial rent relief program and will continue to advocate for a program that will meet the needs of our members.
A few additional details on the CECRA are available here:
Today, March 27, the Prime Minister announced that there are additional new measures to support small businesses and help them protect the jobs that Canadians depend on and pay their workers and bills during these difficult times.
To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada will:
- Announce a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This should help businesses keep and return workers onto their payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will be shared before the end of the month.
- Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It should help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
- Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so that they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
- Launch the new Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee Program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.
Additional information on eligibility and requirements is available here: Backgrounder