Ontario puts temporary halt on evicting commercial tenants
By CANADIAN VENDING
Good news for Ontarian vending and coffee industries that may have had trouble meeting rental or lease fees during the pandemic: The Ontario government passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19.
The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020.
“We know COVID-19 has had a significant impact on small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in a statement. “This Legislation will allow us to protect small businesses and help them get back on their feet so they can continue to create jobs and participate in the rebuilding of the provincial economy.”
Landlords and tenants are encouraged to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses, as the program requires landlords to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants and commits them to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
CECRA for small businesses provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial landlords for the months of April, May, and June 2020. Small business landlords would be asked to forgive at least 25 per cent of the tenant’s total rent, tenants would be asked to pay up to 25 per cent of rent and the provincial and federal governments would share the cost of the remaining 50 per cent.
“Pausing evictions of commercial tenants is another way we are supporting small businesses and providing much needed relief as we work to reopen the economy,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance and Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. “Working with the federal government, we are providing more than $900 million in relief to tenants and landlords in Ontario through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses.”