Ontario Introducing Changes to The Commercial Tenancies Act to Protect Small Businesses

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TORONTO — The Ontario government announced Monday that it intends to act to protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19. 

The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, temporarily halt evictions of businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020. The government intends to bring this legislation forward as soon as possible.

In partnership with the federal government, Ontario is committing $241 million to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses, which is providing more than $900 million in support. CECRA for small businesses provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial landlords to help cover 50 per cent of commercial rent for tenants for the months of April, May and June 2020.

The tenant will be responsible for covering up to 25 per cent of rent, so that up to 75 per cent of the rent is covered.

“We need everyone working together to overcome COVID-19,” says Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Commercial tenants who can pay their rent, must do so. Landlords should work with their tenants to come to an agreement and use this joint program. Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we need them to flourish.”

If passed, the proposed legislation would make it illegal to evict a commercial tenant until August 31, 2020.  

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