Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced Thursday additional measures to help Canadian businesses get through the COVID-19 crisis, including expanded loan eligibility for small and a new commercial rent assistance program for small businesses.
Trudeau said the new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small business tenants for the months of April, May, and June.
“To implement this program, we have to work with the provinces and territories as they govern rental relationships and we hope to have more details to share soon,” Trudeau said.
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The federal government is also opening up the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account, he said.
The previously announced loan program, which offers businesses up to $40,000 in a government-backed loan, will now be available to businesses with payrolls worth between $20,000 and $1.5 million. Previously, the interest-free loan was for those with payrolls worth between $50,000 and one million.
Up to $10,000 of the loan is non-repayable.
“This is money entrepreneurs and employers can use to cover operational costs and help with other immediate needs,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau said 195,000 loans amounting to about $7.5 billion have been approved since the loan program opened for applications a week ago.
These measures are part of the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which has committed more than $107 billion in support to Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the pandemic, Trudeau said.