The Prime Minister noted that the federal government has reached a cost-sharing agreement with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses that have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying small commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of monthly rent payments for April, May and June. The loans will be forgiven if the owner agrees to reduce eligible businesses’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three months.
All businesses that have had to temporarily cease operations and pay less than $50,000 per month in rent or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues will be eligible for the rent relief. The program is also being made available to non-profits and charities who have been impacted by the pandemic. For more details please see here.
Unfortunately, the new commercial rent support program has massive gaps that leave businesses out. For example, only landlords whose commercial tenants have lost 70 per cent of their income will qualify. Our caucus has been calling for a 75 per cent provincial rent subsidy with direct payments to tenants. It’s critical for the economy, for jobs, and for the culture of our communities that small and medium-sized businesses make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ontario government provided more details on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s rent-relief announcement earlier this morning. The province is committing $241 million of what is a total $900 million federal-provincial partnership to help Ontario small businesses and landlords pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online, providing more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).
The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.
This targeted application intake features two funding streams:
- Bring Your Business Online. Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions.
- Develop Online Business Opportunities. Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects.
The Ontario government also announced that it will be introducing the framework for reopening Ontario’s economy early next week.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said they are working on a framework to bring back Transit Windsor services to support residents as the economy restarts.
There were 16 new cases of COVID-19 in the community confirmed Friday. Windsor-Essex now has 541 confirmed cases. Three more local residents have died due to COVID-19, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced Friday bringing the total number of deaths up to 35.
I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend. Please continue to practice social distancing, washing your hands, and looking after yourselves.