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.
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.
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.