On October 9, 2020, the federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), the replacement for the recently expired Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.
The CERS program will provide rent and mortgage relief to small and mid-sized businesses, charities and non-profit organizations that have experienced a reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is designed to be more easily accessible than CECRA, which required landlords to apply on behalf of their tenants. CERS allows eligible tenants to apply for themselves.
For applicants that have experienced a decline in revenue of at least 70 per cent, CERS will cover a percentage of fixed property expenses (including rent and interest on commercial mortgages) on a sliding scale up to 65% until December 19, 2020. Those that have seen revenue drop by less than 70 per cent will receive a gradually decreasing level of support.
On top of the 65% subsidy, organizations that were required to shut down operations by a mandatory public health order will also be eligible for a 25% top-up subsidy. The program will be available until June 21, 2020 and program parameters will be adapted at the end of 2020 for 2021. Organizations will be able to make claims retroactively for the period from September 27, 2020 to October 24, 2020.
The federal government will be introducing legislation to implement CERS in the near future.
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