Commercial rent relief portal will open on May 25 for landlords and tenants

Landlords and tenants can access federal rent relief portal by May 25

The federal government unveiled more details about commercial rent relief for small- and mid-sized businesses.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced the joint-provincial program two weeks ago.

Trudeau says that on May 25 a new online portal through CMHC will be open and landlords and tenants will receive their benefit “quickly” afterwards.

The Prime Minister is encouraging landlords and tenants to go to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp for more details on what’s needed to get the benefit.

Trudeau also implored landlord’s to opt-in to the program. “If you are a landlord and you and your tenant are eligible, please apply,” Trudeau said.

The Prime Minister was asked during Wednesday’s media briefing from Rideau Cottage, why the federal government would not just give commercial rent relief directly to tenants rather than landlords? “We need the landlords as a part of the solution,” Trudeau said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a stern warning on Tuesday to commercial landlords not opting into the program.

Related: A rent bailout and fetching food yourself may keep local restaurants from shuttering

Ford warned big landlords not to force his hand. The premier was responding to reports on landlords refusing to participate in the federal government’s commercial rent relief program.

“Don’t force my hand, I’m trying to compromise here. We are giving you 75 per cent of what you’re asking for,” Ford said.

However, the province has not put a moratorium on commercial rent evictions during the pandemic.
One out of every two Canadian restaurants say they may have to close because of rent debt. Restaurants Canada says the problem with rent relief is that it depends on landlords “choosing to participate”

Rent relief is provided to eligible landlords who choose to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program. The CECRA requires landlords to reduce rent by at least 75 per cent, forego rent profit for April, May and June and place a moratorium on evictions for three months.

The tenant would then pay 25 per cent of their rent and the federal government *in conjunction with the provincial government* covers the other 50 per cent.

James Rilett is the Vice-President of Restaurants Canada (formerly CRFA), an advocacy group who describe themselves as ‘the voice of foodservice’ in Canada.

Rilett says unfortunately the rent assistance program depends on landlords choosing to participate. “We are currently working with municipal, provincial and federal governments on rent relief gaps and access to working capital and labour,” added Rilett.

Related: Big businesses can now apply for bridge loans

Applications for the large employer emergency financing facility (LEEFF) program opened today. The financing program helps big business in Canada secure bridge loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau continued to make it clear on Wednesday that these were bridge loans and “not bailouts.” The prime minister calls the federal government a “lender of last resort.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been calling for support for Canada’s hard-hit oil and gas sector, saying the LEEFF program “falls short.”