Ontario passed legislation to temporarily ban commercial evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, the Province passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants.
The legislation applies to small businesses that are eligible for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA), which provides forgivable loans to commercial landlords for three months.
The ban is retroactive to May 1 and lasts until August 31, and will protect business owners from being locked out or having their assets seized during the pandemic.
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“We know COVID-19 has had a significant impact on small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
“This legislation will allow us to protect small businesses and help them get back on their feet so they can continue to create jobs and participate in the rebuilding of the provincial economy.”
The Province said they encourage landlords and tenants to participate in CECRA for small businesses.
The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses, as the program requires landlords to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants and commits them to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
The CECRA program started in April, which allowed the government to provide forgivable loans covering 50% of rent to property owners if they reduce rent by at least 75% in April, May, and June.
The tenant will be responsible for covering up to 25% of rent so that up to 75% of the rent is covered.
The Ontario government allowed a ban for residential evictions in March.