Mary Ng, Canada’s small business minister, revealed the likelihood of renewed government funding for commercial tenants following the expiry of the current program at the end of the month. Ng guaranteed that the Liberals would step in to help in some capacity though she didn’t confirm if the relief would take the form of a forgivable loan.
Ng wants business people to know that they are going to get this [payment], but they should be listening intently. She added that they are working so that they can make sure they get that additional support. In covering the cost of rent for September, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance initiative has been extended for eligible small businesses. Ng said rent is an area not of federal jurisdiction, and they work very closely with their provincial colleagues and partners.
According to Tuesday’s press release, as the government explores options to support small businesses that face the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this would be the final extension of this program. The options include the challenges of fixed costs at a time when health concerns and precautions prevent many businesses from operating at full capacity. The rent-relief program requires landlords to waive a further one-quarter of what they would otherwise be owed and also provides forgivable loans that cover half of the rent for eligible small businesses.
Spending is anticipated to fall far short of the nearly $3 billion the Liberals have budgeted because the take-up of the program overall has lagged behind expectations. When it comes to supporting small businesses, Ng said nothing is off the table to consider a redesign of the program, given its slow adoption.