The federal government unveiled a new plan last Friday to help commercial tenants struggling with a loss of revenue due to the pandemic.
The Chamber had called on government to replace the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), which expired last month. It suffered from low uptake and had faced criticism from many business that found it exceptionally difficult to implement.
The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will be provided directly to eligible tenants, unlike CECRA which relied on buy-in from landlords. The government touts CERS as providing "simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021."
"A program that is easier to access is good news for many commercial tenants that are struggling right now," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "The new plan is an improvement and allows businesses to plan for the winter and spring. We'll have to see how it's rolled out, and how well it works for our most vulnerable businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector."
Also announced Friday was an extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, and an expanded Canada Emergency Business Account offering access to an interest-free loan of $20,000 in addition to the initial CEBA loan of $40,000.