The Federal Government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement a rental assistance program for small businesses. The Ontario government is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). This program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
Details of the program are outlined below. The Chamber will do its best to keep you up to date on how the program will be rolled out once it is announced.
- The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
- The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.
- Businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations
- Businesses who have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
- The OCECRA is expected to be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenant’s payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.
More details on the Province's announcement can be found here.