Businesses can apply for the CERS rent-relief program starting Monday
BUSINESSES STRUGGLING TO pay the bills because of the Covid-19 pandemic will be able to start applying Monday for a long-awaited new commercial rent-relief program offered by the federal government.
The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) replaces the federal government’s Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program launched in April, which saw a low take-up among businesses because the program required landlords to apply for the benefit on behalf of tenants. The new CERS program allows tenants to apply directly to the federal government.
The CERS will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25 per cent available to the hardest-hit firms. The CERS is retroactive to September 27, 2020.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents thousands of small companies across the country, is welcoming the new rent program as long overdue for firms hard hit by COVID-19.
However, it is criticizing the government for not opening it to businesses that would have qualified for the previous rent-relief program, but could not access federal funds because their landlords chose not to apply.