Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau unveils rental assistance for small businesses, loosens loan qualifications

Prime Minister says the program changes come in response to businesses saying not enough is being done

The federal government says it will be expanding the emergency loan program to allow for more businesses to be eligible, while also rolling out a new program to assist with rent and lease costs.

On Thursday (April 16), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that businesses who spent more than $20,000 and $1.5 million on payroll in 2019 will be eligible to receive a loan through the Canada Emergency Business Account.

The CEBA, rolled out last month, gives eligible businesses a $40,000 loan with $10,000 in forgiveness – previously for business with payrolls between $50,000 and $1 million.

Trudeau said that more than 195,000 loans have been approved for small and medium sized businesses since its initial roll out.

Trudeau also announced a new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, which he said will help small businesses pay their rent for April, May and June.

ALSO READ: Trudeau announces pay top-up for essential workers, expands emergency benefit

Trudeau said more details will be on the way after the federal government convenes with individual provincial leaders.

On Wednesday, the Trudeau government announced an expansion to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to include workers who have seen their hours cut due to COVID-19, instead of just those who have lost their jobs all together.

Trudeau will be hosting a weekly meeting with premiers from across the country, which will likely touch on care for seniors and the acquirement of personal protecting equipment.

While Thursday’s announcement from federal government promises more support, its main relief programs so far are a $40,000 interest-free loan and 75 per cent wage subsidies, though it has also called on landlords to be accommodating.

“We continue to call on landlords to exercise compassion and refrain from evictions during this difficult time for businesses and all Canadians,” said Ryan Nearing, press secretary to Small Business Minister Mary Ng.

He said earlier this week that both Ng and Finance Minister Bill Morneau are listening to small business owners and entrepreneurs and that they “continue to explore options to provide support in these unprecedented times.”

– with files from the Canadian Press


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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