On October 9, 2020 the federal government announced a new program to help small businesses cope with the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)) is meant to replace the previous program targeted at rent assistance (the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program) which ran from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020.
Specific details including the launch date and application process are expected to be announced in the next few days. Here is what we know so far:
- CERS is targeted to support businesses, charities and non-profits who have suffered a revenue drop.
- CERS will subsidize a percentage of eligible fixed property expenses including rent and interest on commercial mortgages., on a sliding scale, for qualifying organizations up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses.
- A top-up of 25% of eligible expenses in addition to the 65% maximum will be offered to organizations that have been temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority.
- CERS will be retroactively applied to cover the period starting September 27, 2020.
- Support will be provided directly to tenants
- Separate support will also be provided to property owners (details to be announced)
- Applications will extend through June 2021 and will be available through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The intention of the program is to be flexible. If conditions worsen, support will increase. If conditions improve, support will decrease.
Updates will be provided as more information is known.