Canadian Manufacturing

Rent relief becoming make-or-break for many businesses, majority say more help needed

Provinces urged to put in place temporary commercial rent protection

May 13, 2020  by CM Staff

TORONTO – A majority of small businesses – approximately 79% – have said they need more help with rent, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s weekly COVID-19 survey.

80%  of respondents support relief going directly to tenants if landlords do not apply and 88% support provinces putting in place temporary eviction protection.

“It’s becoming very clear that CECRA is not working for some businesses that are in the precarious position of having significant revenue losses but a landlord that has decided not to apply when the program becomes available,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president, in a prepared statement. “The design of the program puts these tenants between a rock and a hard place and stress is through the stratosphere.”

CFIB is calling on the federal government to create a pressure relief valve where tenants with landlords who do not intend to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) can access the 50% government portion of the rent relief directly.

Advertisment

CFIB said in a statement they will continue to call on provincial governments across Canada to put in place temporary commercial eviction protection for tenants who were in good standing with their landlords prior to the COVID-19 emergency and to reduce property taxes.

“Continuing to ignore the issue is kicking small businesses while they are down,” said Jones. “They should also be stepping up on direct relief.”

Key survey results include:

  • Nearly half of small businesses have seen revenue declines of 70% or more
  • Two thirds of businesses are concerned about having enough cash flow to meet their rent, payroll and other fixed costs
  • 77% of small businesses believe government should make emergency money available to businesses that have been hard hit by COVID-19 to cover their fixed costs
  • 7% of businesses are worried about being evicted, but that number jumps to 16% for businesses in the hospitality sector and 13% for businesses in arts and recreation