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Coronavirus: Ontario announces urgent rent relief funding for small businesses, landlords

Coronavirus: Ottawa and Ontario announce small business rent relief
WATCH ABOVE: Ottawa and Ontario announce small business rent relief. Travis Dhanraj reports.

The Ontario government announced Friday that it is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford said his government is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA).

“Today more help is here for small businesses,” Ford said at a press conference at Queen’s Park on Friday. “We’re delivering emergency commercial rent relief to our small businesses and landlords. In total over $900 million will go towards these businesses to make rent and keep people employed.”

“I want to be very clear. If you are working, if you have an income, if you’re able to, you must pay rent,” Ford warned.

READ MORE: Trudeau announces rent relief of 75% for small businesses affected by coronavirus

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Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to provide assistance to small businesses, landlords amid COVID-19 pandemic
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to provide assistance to small businesses, landlords amid COVID-19 pandemic

The government said OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent shortfalls because their tenants have been impacted by COVID-19.

They added that owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April, May and June by at least 75 per cent and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

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Ford also spoke about residential tenants who also will face rent payments come May 1. Ford said he will be calling upon the federal government for a plan on that.

The premier also said that his government will release the framework for reopening the Ontario economy, early next week.

As of Friday, Ontario reported 640 new coronavirus cases, totaling 13,519 cases with 763 deaths.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to release reopening framework early next week, Ford says
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to release reopening framework early next week, Ford says