Landlords should be “taken out of the equation” of Canada’s Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) because they do not actually participate in the program in practice, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
Department of Finance data showed that the federal small-business rent relief plan has paid out approximately $367 million in funding to around 42,000 tenants as of July 17. The CFIB said that overall participation in CECRA remained too low, however.
As initially planned, CECRA will split the monthly rent obligations for businesses affected by COVID-19 between tenants, landlords, and the government.
“[But] fairly early it became apparent that there were some serious challenges with the design of this program, with the design being so reliant on landlord participation,” said Laura Jones, executive vice president of CFIB. “We have some businesses that have benefited from the existing program because their landlord has participated in the program. Then, there are other businesses [that] are not able to access the help they need because their landlord either can’t or won’t participate. That’s just unfair and arbitrary.”
Aside from these administrative difficulties, CFIB criticized the program’s stipulation that only businesses who have lost at least 70% of sales during the coronavirus outbreak would qualify for rent relief.