Federal government releases rent relief for businesses forced to close

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OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce today a major rent reduction to help businesses that cannot afford to pay their owners at a time when their operations are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal assistance should be provided in partnership with the provinces and territories, which have jurisdiction over rents.

Small and medium-sized businesses, most of which have been closed since mid-March, are asking for relief as the May 1 deadline for their next rent payment approaches.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business President Dan Kelly told the House of Commons finance committee on Thursday that he is awaiting an announcement today.

Kelly said 70% of the 30,000 CFIB members pay monthly rent for their business space and 55% of them say they cannot afford their rent next month.

Kelly said struggling businesses need a non-repayable rent subsidy, not loans or deferred rent payments.

He hoped that the federal government would cover at least 75% of the monthly rent owed by businesses that were forced to close in order to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

He urged the government to make rent relief “widely applicable” to all small and medium-sized businesses, without imposing a large number of onerous eligibility criteria which he said would encourage some business owners to “give up” .

“If we do, I think we are likely to have the majority, not all, but the majority of our small businesses manage to get through the emergency phase of this (pandemic),” he said. told the committee.

“Remember that businesses have been ordered to close in order to protect society, and it is deeply unfair to bear the costs of keeping real estate open and paying these bills when they are essentially unable to earn a living. returned.”

Trudeau is also scheduled to hold a conference call with the provincial and territorial premiers this afternoon, during which he is expected to raise another issue of provincial jurisdiction – the tragedy unfolding in underserved long-term care homes where more than half of Canadians deaths from COVID-19 have occurred.

Trudeau promised last week that the federal government would raise the wages of front-line workers in institutions for the aged, but said it should be done in consultation with the provinces. The issue was discussed at last week’s Premiers’ conference call, but there was no solution because not all provinces have the same serious problems plaguing long-term care homes in Canada. Quebec and Ontario.

Since then, the situation has deteriorated, with the two largest provinces calling on the federal government to send soldiers to help care for people in long-term care facilities.

During his daily briefing on Thursday, a visibly upset Trudeau described the situation as “unacceptable”.

“We miss our parents, our grandparents, our elders, the greatest generation who built this country. We have to take care of them properly, “he said.

“In Canada, we should not have soldiers who care for the elderly. Going forward, in the weeks and months to come, we will all have to ask tough questions about how it happened. We will all have to do more to overcome this terrible situation. “

Trudeau is also expected to take part in a virtual vigil tonight for the 22 people massacred by a single gunman dressed up as an RCMP officer in northern Nova Scotia this past weekend.



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