On Friday, October 9, further COVID-19 relief measures were announced outlining the expansion of existing programs and creating a new program, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). Details are still forthcoming, but we have some insight into the framework of these program changes and additions.
The intention of the CERS program is to replace the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, which – as you’re likely aware- expired at the end of September and did not appear to have the uptake or the results intended to help commercial property tenants. The new program should be more targeted and administered by the Canada Revenue Agency to provide direct assistance to commercial tenants and property owners (businesses, charities, and non-profit organizations) with assistance for rent or mortgage interest. Up to 65% subsidy may be available for most organizations with an additional 25%, up to 90%, for organizations forced to shut down due to the mandatory public health order. A revenue decline of 70% or more will maximize the subsidy available, with a sliding scale to provide a smaller percentage of subsidy relief for organizations with a smaller decline. This subsidy will apply retroactively from September 27, 2020, through June 2021.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be further expanded as well, including a freeze on the current 65% maximum subsidy rate for periods up to December 19, 2020. CEWS is also extended to June 2021, with details of the program for periods after December 19 still to come.
Another program will also be extended, with the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) being expanded in several ways. The application deadline will be extended from October 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020 and amounts available increased. An additional loan amount of $20,000 may be available, increasing the loan to $60,000 from $40,000, and the forgivable portion increased up to $20,000 from $10,000. The repayment deadline to access the partial loan forgiveness will be December 31, 2022, which remains unchanged. Conditions for the availability of the additional amounts have yet to be released.
Despite the recent rise in case numbers and increased restrictions, these new and expanded programs will provide substantial relief for which many people, businesses, and organizations can be thankful!