Supports available for businesses and individuals to help with rent payment issues during COVID-19.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
The Government of Canada introduced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses. This program lowers rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
Eligible businesses whose landlords choose not to apply for the federal CECRA program will be protected from evictions due to unpaid rent payments for the duration of CECRA.
Applications for CECRA are currently open. This program will be taking applications until August 31, 2020. Apply online.
Obligations Around Commercial Leases
If you aren't looking to continue operating at the present location, it's recommended to give notice to the landlord under the original terms and close down according to those terms.
If your lease still has 12 months to go, look at specific clauses within your lease and determine your options.
If you have more than 12 months to go, speak to your landlord and assess if there’s any room for flexibility. This article by Benchmark Law Corporation—"Covid-19 and Your Lease"—is a good summary of the legal obligations on both sites pertaining to commercial leases.
Other Sources of Financial Help
Alternatively, businesses can ease financial difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic by applying for programs such as the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA). CEBA is a $25 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
The B.C. government introduced the BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) program to provide a temporary rent supplement to residential renters of up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords.