The Liberal administration will be extending its pandemic fiscal assistance program for small businesses to help beleaguered ventures cover September rent costs.
Initially slated to end back in June, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) mandates governments to shoulder 50% of rent, while landlords and tenants cover 25% each.
Eligible businesses must have experienced a 70% revenue decline for April, May, and June, either on an annual basis or when compared to their January-February average. Businesses that qualified during the original period will still be eligible without the need to evaluate if the 70% revenue decline lasted beyond June, BNN Bloomberg reported.
“Our government recognizes that while small businesses’ needs are evolving, many still require support to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chrystia Freeland, deputy prime minister and finance minister. “That is why we are extending the rent relief provided through CECRA by an additional month, to ensure that Canadian businesses hit hardest by COVID-19 get support when they need it most.”
The federal government said that no further extensions are planned. Official records indicated that as of Sep. 7, more than 106,000 small businesses have participated in the program, with over $1.32 billion disbursed as rent assistance.
“This will be the final extension of this program as the government explores options to support small businesses as they face the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic – including the challenges of fixed costs at a time when health concerns and precautions prevent many businesses from operating at full capacity,” the government said in a statement.