As October 1st looms, new rent relief program needed

Majority of small businesses say rent relief would significantly increase the odds of staying open

Toronto, September 29, 2020 – With the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) coming to an end, small businesses need a new rent relief program, finds the latest survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). According to the survey only one in five commercial tenants say they can continue to operate without rent relief. The majority (57 per cent) say rent relief would significantly increase the odds of staying open. A further 16 per cent say relief would marginally increase the odds of staying open and 3 percent will likely shut down with or without rent relief. 

“Rent relief is still a game changer for many businesses who are working to bridge back to recovery, and it should be an urgent priority for government. Winding down CECRA was a good decision, but now we need a better rent relief program to take its place,” said Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President at CFIB. 

The survey found a number of businesses who still need help but had been shut out of CECRA either because their revenue loss qualified but the landlord did not apply (15 per cent) or because they didn’t qualify based on revenue (16 per cent). One in five (23 per cent) qualified based on revenue and had their landlord participate in the program.

“CECRA had a deep unfairness built into it that was crazy-making for businesses that needed the help and qualified based on revenue losses but were shut out because their landlord didn’t apply. Rent relief is long overdue for a fix,” added Jones.

CFIB is recommending a new rent relief program that is easy to apply for and:

  • Is independent of landlord participation 
  • Continues through the fall, longer for severely affected businesses 
  • Includes a top up for business owners who met the 70 percent CECRA revenue loss criteria but whose landlords did not apply for the program

“The more otherwise healthy businesses we lose today, the harder it is to build back tomorrow. Fixing rent relief is one of the most critical things we can do for economic recovery. We are pleading with government to take the fear out of October 1st for small business owners and let Halloween take its rightful place as the scariest day of the month,” concluded Jones. 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

Source CFIB data
These are preliminary results for COVID-19 recovery survey – September 2020, a new CFIB online survey started on September 24, 2020, completed by 4,513 CFIB members. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at