Alberta has joined other provinces, the territories and federal government in a program to help small businesses pay rent.
Many Alberta businesses have been required to close or limit their operations in order to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in revenues being drastically reduced and in difficulties for many job creators.
The new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will give certainty to small businesses by providing 50 per cent of monthly commercial rental costs. Eligible landlords and tenants would each be responsible for 25 per cent of the remaining costs.
“We know a number of Alberta’s businesses are struggling during the pandemic. Our partnership with the federal government will provide much-needed relief to small businesses on their rental payments. Small businesses create jobs – and are extremely important for our communities and our economy.”
Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism
“Many of Alberta’s businesses have been taking measures that affect their bottom line in order to protect public health and we recognize this contribution. In addition to small businesses, rent relief is on its way to charities and non-profits – which provide critical services in our communities, especially during these difficult times.”Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
About the CECRA:
- CECRA will provide a loan retroactive to April 1 to qualified commercial property owners supporting 50 per cent of rent for April, May, and June of this year.
- The loan will be forgivable if the property owner and tenant come to a rent forgiveness agreement that lowers the eligible small business’s rent by 75 per cent for the three months and includes a moratorium on eviction.
- The program is anticipated to be running by mid-May and will be administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
- Qualifying small businesses will be required to:
- pay less than $50,000 in rent
- have been asked to close, or near-close their operations due to COVID-19
- be experiencing at least a 70 per cent decrease in revenues
- CECRA will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
- The province expects to commit up to $67 million, with the remaining and majority of costs being covered by the federal government.
Further details on CECRA will be shared by CMHC in the coming weeks when final terms and conditions are available. Until that time, property owners are encouraged to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.