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Rent relief for small businesses, landlords on the way from feds and province

'We’ve seen businesses forced to close and lay off many staff members,' says local MPP; 'We’re helping to ensure businesses can start up quickly when the time is right'
BradfordToday_Spotlight Title Image_James McNeill

The Ontario government is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords.

The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA), to unlock a total of more than $900 million of relief.

“The vast majority of Ontario’s small businesses and landlords are struggling during this extraordinary public health emergency,” said Premier Ford at a press conference Friday afternoon to announce this new measure. “That’s why we are doing everything we can to support them through these tough economic times, so they can hit the ground running when we are in a position to open up the provincial economy. I want to thank the federal government for partnering with us to help our small businesses and commercial landlords.

"I look forward to working together to also provide much-needed support to residential renters ahead of May 1.”

The OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75 per cent and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

“It’s welcome news to the business owners and landlords that I have spoken to,” said Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. “Business owners have feared not being able to pay their rent bill, while landlords have wondered how they will pay their mortgage. Today’s announcement is an innovative solution that brings together the provincial and federal governments, along with business owners and their landlords, to preserve Ontario’s economic competitiveness. Both renters and landlords look forward to the application being made available by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which will administer OCECRA.”

Partnering with the federal government on the OCECRA builds on the provincial government’s approach to supporting business during COVID-19. As part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the government has implemented a series of cash flow supports amounting to $10 billion to help support jobs and the economy.

“Small businesses have faced serious challenges during this crisis. In Barrie, Springwater, Oro-Medonte, we’ve seen businesses forced to close and lay off many staff members,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie—-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. “This partnership between the provincial and federal government allows us to help support commercial renters during these exceptional times.”

“To help stop the spread of COVID-19, businesses have closed their doors and employees have stayed home and that has been working, but it has also created significant financial hardship,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. “By subsidizing rent payments, reducing taxes, extending deadlines, and eliminating penalties and interest, we’re helping to ensure businesses can start up quickly when the time is right.”

The Ontario government has also worked with the federal government to develop the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank.

This program will help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans.

Quick facts

The Province’s $241 million investment in OCECRA is part of the $17 billion Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.

The government has retroactively, to Jan. 1, 2020, raised the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption to $1 million from $490,000 for 2020, providing additional EHT relief of up to $9,945 per eligible employer.

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, Ontario reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate from 3.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent.

Additional resources

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses

See how your organization can help fight COVID-19. Information and advice to help your business navigate the economy during COVID-19.

Learn more about Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.



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