The Chamber is adding our voice to calls for a better approach to helping businesses struggling to pay their rent. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program runs out today, and there is still no plan to replace it. CECRA never really provided the urgent help needed by many businesses. It was complicated and restrictive, and failed to consider that businesses need to plan over a longer-term than month-to-month. The sudden end of the program will also hurt businesses that are seeing improved revenue but are not back to pre-pandemic levels.
"We know that economic recovery is being led by businesses that are able to find innovative ways to adapt and carry on, but many businesses will need time as they slowly return to the level of activity they need to cover their hard costs," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "In Greater Victoria, our tourism and hospitality sectors especially need help to survive the devastating loss of business that resulted from the ban on international visitors."
The Chamber is calling on the federal government to work with the provinces on an improved plan to provide long-term help for businesses struggling to pay commercial rent. Governments had time over the summer to learn from those landlords and tenants who were able to make use of CECRA, as well as those that couldn't make the program work.