B.C., feds to provide small-businesses rent subsidy through loans to landlords

Provincial government to contribute $80 million of the $300 million initiative

The B.C. government has provided more details on how the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program – announced earlier today by prime minister Justin Trudeau – will work locally.

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said in a statement that the funding will take the form of “forgivable loans” given to landlords to cover 50% of an eligible small-business tenant’s rent. If the landlord is then able to lower the tenants’ rents by 75% or more, the loan will be forgiven, James said.

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That means the landlord will be encouraged to cover 25% of the rent reduction while the B.C. and federal government support the remaining 50% – an initiative that will see B.C. small businesses receive more than $300 million in government funding relief.

The province is contributing about $80 million of that funding, and the program will get underway “in mid-May” despite earlier announcements that it will cover the rents for the months of April, May and June. Funding will be administered federally through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

“This program is not just about providing relief for people today, it’s also about planning for our future and making sure that businesses and local economies are ready to be part of B.C.’s economic recovery,” James said in the statement, adding that the province is still working with Ottawa on the details of the program.

Lisa Leslie, director of communications for the B.C. Ministry of Finance, said that because of the program’s nature as a federally led initiative with provincial cost-sharing, the province is still catching up on the details of the initiative.


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