Majority of small businesses say rent relief would significantly increase the odds of staying open
WITH THE CANADA Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) coming to an end, small businesses need a new rent relief program, finds the latest survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
According to the survey, only one in five commercial tenants say they can continue to operate without rent relief. The majority (57 per cent) say rent relief would significantly increase the odds of staying open. A further 16 per cent say relief would marginally increase the odds of staying open and 3 percent will likely shut down with or without rent relief.
“Rent relief is still a game changer for many businesses who are working to bridge back to recovery, and it should be an urgent priority for government,” says Laura Jones, executive vice-president at CFIB. “Winding down CECRA was a good decision, but now we need a better rent relief program to take its place.”
The survey found a number of businesses who still need help but had been shut out of CECRA either because their revenue loss qualified but the landlord did not apply (15 per cent) or because they didn’t qualify based on revenue (16 per cent). One in five (23 per cent) qualified based on revenue and had their landlord participate in the program.
“CECRA had a deep unfairness built into it that was crazy-making for businesses that needed the help and qualified based on revenue losses but were shut out because their landlord didn’t apply,” adds Jones. “Rent relief is long overdue for a fix.”
CFIB is recommending a new rent relief program that is easy to apply for and:
- Is independent of landlord participation
- Continues through the fall, longer for severely affected businesses
- Includes a top up for business owners who met the 70 percent CECRA revenue loss criteria but whose landlords did not apply for the program
“The more otherwise healthy businesses we lose today, the harder it is to build back tomorrow. Fixing rent relief is one of the most critical things we can do for economic recovery. We are pleading with government to take the fear out of October 1st for small business owners and let Halloween take its rightful place as the scariest day of the month,” concludes Jones.