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Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

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What is the CERS?

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will provide rent and mortgage support to small businesses affected by COVID-19. The subsidy will be administered by the CRA and will provide support directly to tenants.

Most recent update: Applications for CERS opened on Monday, November 23. See our timeline for all updates on rent relief

Program Overview FAQ Our advocacy

CERS Program Overview

How the program is administered: CERS is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on a period-by-period basis, with each period spanning 4 weeks (a CERS Claim Period). Here is a current schedule of CERS Claim Periods:

CERS Claim Periods
Period 1 Period 2 Period 3 Period 4 Period 5 Period 6 Period 7 Period 8 Period 9
Sep 27 to Oct 24, 2020 Oct 25 to Nov 21, 2020 Nov 22 to Dec 19, 2020 Dec 20 to Jan 17, 2021 Jan 18 to Feb 15, 2021 Feb 16 to Mar 15, 2021 Mar 16 to Apr 12, 2021 Apr 13 to May 10, 2021 May 11 to Jun 7, 2021

Amount businesses can receive: The subsidy will be available on a sliding scale (with a maximum amount of 65%) for businesses that can demonstrate a revenue loss up until December 19, 2020. An additional top-up of 25% (maximum possible subsidy of 90%) will be available for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority.

Program duration: September 27, 2020 to June 2021

How to apply: After using the CERS calculator, you must apply through either the CRA portals: MyBusiness Account (MyBA) and Represent a Client.

When to apply: Like the CEWS, businesses will need to apply for the rent subsidy after the month has passed. This means, for example, that applications for November support will not be available until December. Claims can also be made retroactively to cover the period September 27 to October 24, 2020.

Application deadline: 180 days after the end of each claim period.

Eligibility criteria: See the FAQ below for details.

How to calculate: See the FAQ below for details. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is my business eligible for the CERS?

CERS is available for both renters and property owners. To determine if your business is eligible, you need to:

  1. Own or rent a property that is:
    • real or immovable (not for domestic purposes); and
    • in Canada, used by your business for its ordinary activities
  2. Have eligible rent expenses totalling no more than $75,000 per location per period and $300,000 per entity per period
  3. Be an eligible entity, including a/an:
    • Individual
    • Taxable corporation or trust
    • Registered charity
    • Partnership of eligible employers
    • Non-profit organization
  4. Have experienced a revenue loss during a CERS claim period
  5. Have a payroll account as of March 15, 2020 (or have been using a payroll service provider) or have a business number (BN) as of September 27, 2020.

Note: Non-eligible properties include:

  • residential properties such as your home or cottage used by you, your family or other non-arm’s-length persons
  • properties you own that are primarily used to earn rental income from arm’s-length parties

Note: If your landlord received funding through CECRA, it does not impact your eligibility for the CERS.

What expenses are eligible to be covered by the CERS?
If you are a renter: If you are a property owner:
*Note: properties that are primarily used to earn rental income from arm’s-length parties do not qualify
  • Gross rent, or rent based on a percentage of sales or other similar structure
  • Regular instalments of operating expenses (i.e. insurance, utilities, common area maintenance expenses, customarily charged to the lessee under a net lease)
  • Property taxes and similar taxes (i.e. school and municipal taxes)
  • Regular instalments of other amounts payable to the lessor for ancillary services (i.e. parking fee)
  • Property taxes (including school and municipal taxes)
  • Property insurance
  • Interest on commercial mortgages used to purchase real property, as long as the debt obligation does not exceed the lesser of:
    • lowest principal amount secured by one or more mortgages on the property at any time it was acquired or
    • the cost of the property.


  • For renters: Only amounts paid or payable to an arm’s-length party are considered eligible expenses.
  • For property owners: If you earned any revenue from sub-leasing space to arm’s-length parties, you must subtract that revenue from your eligible expenses.
  • Expenses must fall within the claim period you are applying for. Note: the CERS calculator prorates eligible expenses to 28 days.
  • Eligible rent expenses are limited to those under agreements entered into before October 9, 2020 and must be in writing.
What rent expenses are not covered by the CERS?


  • Sales tax (e.g. GST/HST)
  • Amounts paid as, on account of, in lieu of payment of or in satisfaction of damages
  • Amounts paid under a guarantee, security, or similar indemnity of covenant
  • Payments arising due to default under the agreement by the eligible entity
  • Interest and penalties on unpaid amounts
  • Fees payable for infrequent items or special services, and
  • Reconciliation adjustment payments


Does my rent need to be paid to qualify for CERS?

No. CERS is based on the amount payable (owed) in each claim period, NOT on the amount paid. However, you must attest to pay your rent bill within 60 days of receiving your CERS.

How do I calculate my CERS?

To calculate CERS, businesses will need to calculate their revenue loss and multiply this by a number determined by the government to calculate the amount of rent subsidy that they will receive. The calculation is as follows:

Those with up to 50% revenue loss will get 0.8 times their current revenue loss as a subsidy.

  • For example, if your revenue loss is 50%, you will multiply this by 0.8 to receive a 40% rent subsidy.

Those with a revenue loss between 50% and 70% will get 40% plus 1.25 times the incremental amount of loss above 50%.

  • For example, if your revenue loss is 60% you will get a CERS of 40% + (1.25x10%) = 52.5% rent subsidy.

Those with 70% or more revenue loss will receive a 65% rent subsidy.

Revenue Loss Rent Subsidy Calculation
Up to 50% CERS = Revenue loss % x 0.8
Between 50% and 70% CERS = 40% + [1.25 x(Revenue loss - 50%)]
70% and greater CERS = 65%

Note: businesses required to shut down due to a public health order are eligible for a maximum 90% subsidy.

Use the following table to estimate your CERS:

Revenue Loss (%) Base Subsidy Total Subsidy % = A + B
Top-Up Subsidy: Shut down due to public health orders?
A. Base Subsidy: For revenue loss 0%-50%:
Multiply by 0.8
B. For revenue loss >50%:
Multiple incremental amount over 50% by 1.25%
No Yes
10% 8% - 8% 33%
20% 16% - 16% 41%
30% 24% - 24% 49%
40% 32% - 32% 57%
50% 40% - 40% 65%
60% 40% 10% x 1.25 = 12.5% 52.5% 77.5%
70% 40% 20% x 1.2 = 25% 65% 90%
80% 40% 25% (maximum reached) 65% 90%
Is my business eligible for the top-up?

Your will be eligible for an additional 25% top up if you business is forced to temporarily close or significantly restrict operations for one week or longer due to a COVID-19 related public health order.

The public health order must require you stop or restrict business activities. Restricted activities must account for at least 25% of total revenues at the relevant location during the prior reference period.

Example 1: A restaurant is required to close its dine-in service due to a public health order, but is allowed to remain open for take-out service. The restaurant’s dine-in revenues must have accounted for at least 25% of revenues during period 1 to be eligible for the top-up in period 2.

Example 2: A clothing retailer is required to completely close and therefore has no revenues for a given period. The retailers with receive the 65% subsidy, plus the 25% top-up for a total of 90% rent subsidy for the period(s) they are completely shut down

Restrictions that do not qualify your business for the top up:

  • Requiring masks for staff and/or customers
  • Restricted or reduced hours of operation (i.e. bars and pubs required to close before midnight)
  • Seating capacity limits or physical distancing requirements


How do I calculate my revenue loss for a CERS claim period?

Revenues for the CERS are calculated in the same way they are for the CEWS. To calculate your revenue drop, you can choose one of the following two baseline revenue options:

  • General approach: compare your business eligible revenue for the claim period month in 2020 you are applying for with your eligible business revenue for the same month in 2019; OR
  • Alternative approach: compare your business eligible revenue for the claim period month in 2020 you are applying for with your average eligible business revenue for the months of January and February 2020


What do “arm’s-length and “non-arm’s length” mean?

You will have to determine whether the relationship between property owner and tenant/subtenant is at arm’s length or non-arm's length because it will change the amount of subsidy you are eligible for.

Non-arm’s length relationships can be more simply viewed as family, significant others, partnerships, or businesses where one partner has controlling interest/voting shares.

Arm’s-length relationships can be viewed as any other individuals or corporations that are treated without preference, and with no blood, trust or controlling relationship.

Should you still be uncertain if your relationship is not at arm’s length, check CRA’s website.

What is an affiliated entity?

An affiliated entity is an organization that directly or indirectly controls another entity. An example of this would be a parent company or a subsidiary company.

Does CERS cover my missed rent from May to September?

The missed rent from May to September is not included in this program. CFIB continues to advocate to make this available to those who have fallen through the cracks of support.

What kind of documentation do I need to prepare for my application?

To prepare, ensure that you have access to your MyBA or Represent a Client and that the appropriate people who deal with this information (those applying on the business’ behalf) have the proper authorities. Before you start your application, you should have your:

  • monthly qualifying revenue amounts from 2019 and 2020
  • the eligible expenses broken down by business location
  • property address
  • name and contact information for your
    • mortgage holder (for property owners)
    • landlord (for renters)
  • Affiliated entities will also require:
    • Number of affiliated entities in the agreement
    • Percentage assigned to you under the agreement with your affiliated entities
    • Business number of each affiliated entity
    • Percentage assigned to each affiliated entity under the agreement
How long will it take to receive my CERS?
  • Direct deposit: 3-8 days after filing your claim.

Cheque by mail: 7-17 days after filing your claim (mail service dependent). Ensure your address on your MyBA is up to date as this is where your cheque will be sent.

CRA will begin processing applications starting on November 30th, so the earliest CERS funds will be received on December 4th.

What happened to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)?

CERS will replace the CECRA, which ended on September 30, 2020 for new applications and October 30th for extensions. Should you have received CECRA funding this will not impact your CERS. For more information on the CECRA program, view our previous CECRA FAQ. Please note that the program is no longer available, meaning that our FAQ are no longer being updated.

Other CERS resources

What is CFIB advocating for on rent?

What we have achieved:

  • We pushed for the CECRA to be replaced by a program that would be simple and delivered directly to the tenants.
  • We are working with CRA to ensure they are aware of the issues that existed with the previous CECRA program.

What we're pushing for:

  • Pay 50% of rents retroactively for those who qualified for CECRA from April to September but did not get the support due to the landlord’s lack of participation. 
  • Ensure new rent support (CERS) is simple. 

What you can do to help:

  • We’ve pushed the government to make some progress, but we're still fighting for better relief measures. Add your voice today.


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