Commercial rent assistance: entrepreneurs will be able to get the subsidy without paying first

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland promises that entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the Canada Emergency Rent Grant (SUCL) will be able to do so without having to first demonstrate payment of their rent.

“We have an interim solution to ensure that the rent payable is considered an eligible expense from day one,” she said Thursday, testifying in the Senate committee.

The Senate is examining Bill C-9, which aims to extend the wage subsidy until next summer and to set up a new commercial rent assistance program, after a first version sharply criticized.

This measure will cover up to 65% of rent or mortgage payments from contractors hard hit by the pandemic, and those who have to close their doors due to containment measures will qualify for an additional 25%.

However, the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Dan Kelly, noted that entrepreneurs will have to demonstrate, as a first step, that they have paid their monthly rent to receive the SUCL.

“I fear that many cannot demonstrate the payment of rent and that a liquidity problem prevents them from obtaining the subsidy,” he wrote on Twitter last week. Many rely on the subsidy money to pay their rent, but it will be more complicated now that the aid is retroactive. ”

During her testimony before senators on Thursday, Freeland said she asked the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to accept the requests even if the rent had not been paid in advance. At the same time, she let it be known that a bill would be quickly introduced to officially correct the situation.

“Given that this is our clear intention expressed publicly, we are confident that the CRA will consider the rent payable as an eligible expense as soon as the new program is launched. There will be no delay, ”she added.

Conservative Senator Denise Batters jumped on the ball to criticize the “flawed” program proposed with Bill C-9.

“Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says […] that the Trudeau government will quickly table ANOTHER bill with a correction! Is she hoping the third time is the right one? ” she quipped.

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