The information stated here is believed to be accurate at May 11, 2020. The program details may change at any time. Readers should check for updates, and obtain advice from their professional advisors about their particular situations.
COVID-19 Relief Updates and Reminders
This e-Newsletter addresses three sets of benefits for tenants, and four which may be available to some landlords.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Landlords may want to make sure tenants know they need to reapply every four weeks. CFAA understands that many applicants received eight weeks worth of benefits in mid-April: four weeks to cover March 15 to April 11, and four weeks covering April 12 to May 10. Those tenants will need to apply again now to obtain their benefit for the period May 11 to June 6.
Landlords with outstanding rent arrears may want to inquire politely if tenants have applied for and received their CERB money, and encourage the payment of the rent from that money.
Originally a person had to have lost all their income to qualify for the CERB, but that was changed so that a substantial income loss qualified.
The CERB has been a tremendous support for tenants and their ability to pay their rent.
Other automatic benefits
In May, the federal government is delivering a double payment of the HST credit to many people. For those who qualify, the extra payment will range from $200 to $400.
A boost of $300 per child to the Canada Child Benefit will also be delivered in May.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
Many employees with few or no hours are now receiving the CEWS from their employers. That provides a payment of up to $847 per week, (less taxes, EI and CPP), rather than the $500 (with no deductions) paid out as CERB. To qualify an employer must show a revenue loss as shown in the Table.
Revenue Loss Threshold
March 15 – April 11
April 12 – May 9
May 10 – June 6
Few landlords are likely to qualify for a CEWS subsidy to pay employees, but some might.
For more information, see https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
The federal government has a program of interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for eligible small businesses, whether incorporated or not. That should include some landlords.
If the loan is paid back by the end of 2022, $10,000 of the loan will be forgiven. To qualify, a business has to have a payroll of at least $20,000 per year, including taxable benefits such as a rent subsidy or free rent for a superintendent. To qualify with their payroll, most landlords would need to be operating more than 12 or 16 rental units.
If is not necessary to prove a shortfall in revenue, although clearly the program is meant to help those with revenue shortfalls. The amount forgiven will likely be treated as income.
For more information, visit https://ceba-cuec.ca/.
The federal government created the CECRA to help small businesses pay their commercial rents. It will also help commercial landlords gain up to 75% of the rent.
The relief can be applied retroactively. Under the program, the commercial tenant would pay at most 25% of their rent for April, May, and June, and the landlord must forego at least 25%. Between them, the federal government and provincial governments will provide forgivable loans paid to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of the April, May, and June rent payments.
If more than 25% has already been collected, a landlord and tenant may agree that the excess will be applied to rent after June. That can help in situations where the business re-opens but does not achieve its normal revenue, which will presumably be common.
At this time, in Ontario, mixed use properties are eligible only if the property has at least a 30% commercial component. FRPO is investigating having that limit lifted. There was a limit preventing the application of the payment to landlord “profit”, but that has been lifted.
For more information, visit https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
The RRRF is providing $675 million to give financing support to small and medium-sized businesses that are unable to access other COVID-19 business supports, through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). The funding aims to mitigate financial pressures experienced by businesses and organizations to allow them to continue their operations, including paying their employees.
For more information, visit http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/icgc.nsf/eng/h_07682.html.
The funding is being made available through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies