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Trudeau unveils rent relief for businesses forced to shut down during pandemic

Last Updated Apr 24, 2020 at 10:05 am MDT

A closed store front boutique business called Francis Watson pleads for help displaying a sign in Toronto on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce today significant rent relief to help businesses that can't afford to pay their landlords at a time when their operations are shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an agreement with provinces and territories to lower rent by 75 per cent for small and medium-sized businesses affected by COVID-19.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments payable by eligible small business tenants 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 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a pledge not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.

The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent

Trudeau said businesses paying less than $50,000 a month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations, or have experienced at least a 70-per-cent drop in
pre-COVID-19 revenue, qualify for the subsidy.

-with files from The Canadian Press.