The Evolution of Canadian Federal Rent Relief

Following the unpopular CECRA program, the federal program has created a direct to tenant federal rent subsidy (the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, or CERS). This program mirrors the federal wage subsidy (CEWS) in both its application process, and that it determines compensation based on percentage revenue decline. It also boasts several other advantages over the previous program.


Commercial Real Estate Professionals and any business who owns or rents property should learn more about the program and its benefits.


Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

Announced at the end of April, the program should be commended for being a rapid response to one of the larger expenses for many small businesses. However the program had several issues:


(a) Required that businesses had lost 70% of revenue in April, May and June in order to be eligible[1], excluding many small businesses (for example, ones that had transitioned to online sales) with no sliding scale

(b) Required landlord led applications on behalf of the tenant, increasing uncertainty and risk (including the fact that the program opened in May, so businesses had to guess their June revenue)

(c) Requirement of landlords to forgive 25% of rent

By the time details came out, landlords had often worked out separate deferral agreements

(d) Eligibility was limited to small businesses


The program implementation was rushed and did not include commercial real estate groups who were expected to implement the program. While many landlords did take part, other landlords were criticized for not wanting to be a part of the flawed program. The issues were amplified when frustrated provincial governments instituted blanket evictions moratoriums, making it so that even tenants who could pay, no longer had to.

In the end, the program