Canada's NDP


July 22nd, 2020

MP Gord Johns presses government to open commercial rent relief program directly to tenants

OTTAWA — Today in the House of Commons, Member of Parliament Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni) called on the government to allow commercial tenants apply directly for rent relief rather than rely on their landlords to access the funds on their behalf.

“Although the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program has been extended, it hasn’t been fixed”, MP Johns told Minister of Finance Bill Morneau in the House of Commons today. “Just 12% of landlords have actually gotten rent relief for their commercial tenants”, he added.

The CECRA was announced by the federal government in partnership with provincial governments on April 24. The program is intended to assist small and medium businesses to meet their rental obligations but is only available to business owners if their landlords participate. The take-up on the program has been very low as most landlords have declined to apply.

“In just ten days, their rent is due again and they still need help”, Mr. Johns said before asking the Minister: “Will the government fix this mess of a program and let tenants apply for the CECRA so their businesses can survive?” The Minister replied that the government will continue to consider improvements but did not undertake to consider opening up benefits directly to commercial tenants.