ACTA commends the federal government’s announcement that commercial rents would be eligible for relief as part of the new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance –CECRA.
“Rent has been one of the most significant expense issues identified by ACTA travel agency members,“ said Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA. “With the federal government’s announcement of an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the CECRA for small businesses, it should help those storefront travel agencies weather impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The program will lower rent by 75 per cent for businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent which have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID revenues. Travel agencies will have to work with their landlord as it is expected that the CECRA will not be operational until mid-May. Further details will be announced soon.
“The caveat is that tenants who need rent relief can only get help if their landlords join the program -- and currently there is no national ban on commercial evictions,” said Paradis. “New Brunswick is the only province to have banned commercial evictions under its state of emergency. ACTA along with a number of other associations will continue to lobby the federal government and other provincial governments to follow New Brunswick’s lead.”
Loans for commercial property owners
The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June. The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.
“ACTA will also continue to lobby the government on the fact that our industry will lag behind other industries in recovery and an extension of this program will be required,” said Paradis.
Last week, ACTA launched a new letter writing campaign that addresses asking government for specific aid for the travel agency sector. In just over 24 hours, more than 1,500 letters were emailed to MP’s, the Prime Minister, key Cabinet Ministers, members of the COVID-19 Cabinet Committee, and MPP/MLAs by travel agencies and travel agents. Step by step instructions, along with a sample letter, are provided on the ACTA website to assist agents who wish to submit a letter.
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