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The federal government has announced that Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will be extended by one month helping eligible small businesses in September. CECRA application deadlines are being adjusted to accommodate the extension.

Property owners are encouraged to continue to make use of CECRA for eligible tenants and to work to provide flexibility where possible to tenants. The federal government also continues to support the provincial banning of commercial evictions during the pandemic.

Businesses who qualified for CECRA based on existing program parameters will be able to apply soon for the additional one month based on having at least a 70% revenue decline for April, May and June, without reassessing whether they continue to have at least a 70% revenue decline in July, August or September.

CECRA provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners, whether they have a mortgage on their property or not. The loans cover 50% of three to six monthly rent payments from April through September.

Loans are forgiven if the qualifying property owner agrees to reduce their small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent reduction agreement. The tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.

Existing applicants will need to reapply for September. New applicants will have the choice of applying for the three-month initial period, four months, five months or six months. Eligible small business tenants are businesses that are paying less than $50,000 per month in gross rent in a given location, with annual revenues of less than $20 million and who experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues for the April-June period.

This will be the final extension of the program. The government is exploring other options to support small businesses in the area of fixed costs at a time when businesses are not operating at full capacity.

As of September 7, 2020, more than 106,000 small business tenants have been supported by the program, representing 994,000 employees, for a total of over $1.32 billion in rent support.

More information: CMHC website.