COVID-19: Rent Relief, Wage Subsidy Extension, & Student Benefits

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA)

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during the months of April, May, June. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will administer and deliver the CECRA.

The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.

Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID revenues.

It is expected that CECRA will be operational in mid-May, with applications opening in the second of May 2020. The deadline to apply for the CECRA is August 31, 2020. It will be open to eligible property owners.

In order to be eligible for the program, the property owner will be required to meet the following criteria

  • the applicant must own property that generates rental revenue from commercial real property located in Canada;
  • the applicant is the property owner of the commercial real property where the impacted small business tenants are located;
  • the applicant has a mortgage loan secured by the commercial real property occupied by one or more small business tenants;
  • the applicant has entered or will enter into a rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May, and June, 2020, that will reduce impacted small business tenants’ rent by at least 75%;
  • the rent reduction agreement with impacted tenants includes a moratorium on eviction for the period of April, May, and June 2020;
  • the applicant declared rental income on either their personal or corporate tax return for tax years 2018 and/or 2019.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended to the end of August 2020. Additional information on the CEWS extension will be provided soon.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provide emergency financial relief to students and recent graduates who are unable to work, or unable to find work, due to reasons related to COVID-19. It is also available for those who are working but not making more than $,1000 (Gross) over the four-week period for which they are applying.

The CESB provides $1,250 per month for eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.

The CESB benefit will be available from May to August 2020. Eligible students can begin applying directly through their CRA online account.

In order to be eligible for the CESB benefit, individuals will be required to meet the following criteria:

  • You did not apply, receive, nor qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for the same eligibility period
  • You are one of the following:
    • Canadian citizen
    • Registered Indian
    • Permanent Resident of Canada
    • Protected person
  • You are enrolled in a post-secondary educational program (at least 12 weeks in duration) that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate or,
    • You completed or ended post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later or,
    • You completed or expect to complete high school, or received, or expect to receive your high school equivalency in 2020, and have applied for a post-secondary program that starts before February 1, 2020
  • You are looking for, but cannot find work due to COVID-19 or,
    • You are currently working during COVID-19 pandemic, but your income from employment and self-employment has been $1,000 gross or less during the 4-week period you are applying for

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