OTTAWA – As November 1 approaches and rent is due, small business owners are still waiting for the support that the Liberals promised weeks ago. Today, NDP Critic for Small Business Gord Johns is again calling on the government to actually deliver this much-needed help and to back-date rent relief so our businesses can survive the pandemic.
“Rent is due in less than a week and business owners are still waiting for the government to help them. As if small business owners haven’t been through enough, they’re watching this government play politics and threaten to call an election instead of supporting the people driving our local economies,” said Johns. “The government doesn’t seem to get it. The Liberals need to get legislation tabled to support small businesses now.”
Since the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) was introduced, business owners have been excluded from accessing the help they need because the government’s criteria is too restrictive. The commercial rent program only allows landlords to apply and requires businesses to prove they lost 70 per cent of their revenue. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimates that approximately 400,000 businesses should have qualified for CECRA, but only 128,000 were able to receive benefits.
In a letter to Minister Freeland, Johns asks the government to immediately introduce a commercial rent program that is tenant-driven with lower loss thresholds, pointing out that a business that loses 50 per cent of its revenue still needs help. New Democrats are also calling on the government to back-date rent support to March to save thousands of businesses failed by the Liberals’ CECRA program.
“Businesses, especially in the tourism sector, struggled throughout the summer without regular revenue and without help from the government. It’s almost November and the government is still standing by while their program fails thousands of businesses owners,” said Johns.“The Liberals have to stop making promises and start taking action to support small businesses.”