The Ontario government is putting a temporary ban on commercial evictions for businesses struggling during the pandemic, in a June 8, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ontario government halts commercial evictions in COVID-19 pandemic

TORONTO — The Ontario government is putting a temporary ban on commercial evictions to help small business owners who are struggling to pay their rent amid the COVID-19 fallout.

Premier Doug Ford announced the moratorium on Monday which applies to small businesses who qualify for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA), where their revenues have dropped at least 70 per cent due to the pandemic.

Ford outlined the details at a news conference, saying the ban will take effect for evictions as of June 3 and last until Aug. 31.

The province’s emergency commercial rent program launched in April to help small businesses pay their landlords, but it relied on the landlords themselves to apply, leaving the tenants hanging in the balance if they didn’t.

“I was clear with commercial landlords — you have to be fair and help out everyone,” Ford said.

“But we still heard about some landlords who just didn’t get the message.”

Some landlords have said they weren’t interested in covering part of their tenant’s rent as part of the CECRA program, either because the application process was too difficult, or they didn’t want — or couldn’t afford to — swallow the 25 per cent loss that would come from a program that supported 75 per cent of the rent owed.

Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said the temporary ban on evictions was “a long time coming and took a lot of convincing” in the ranks of the provincial leadership.

His organization was among five business groups that co-signed an open letter in May calling for the Ontario government to move swiftly to support many small and medium-sized businesses who were in danger of missing their June rent payments.

“Hopefully (the halt) will now motivate more landlords to participate in the CECRA program, which has been a real mess in the absence of commercial eviction protection,” Kelly said.

Ontario now joins British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia as provinces that have implemented some form of a commercial eviction ban.

NDP economic growth critic Catherine Fife called the halt on commercial evictions too little, too late.

“There’s no excuse for Ford’s failure to act while businesses were going under and workers were being laid off,” she said in a statement.

“Now, the protection is too restricted…business owners need a broader ban on commercial evictions, plus some direct supports to help them make it to the other side of this pandemic.”

Toronto mayor John Tory said the ban on commercial evictions is the sensible “next step” in protecting businesses in the city.

“Removing any worry of being evicted during these difficult times will help allow businesses to stay open as we transition into the reopening phase of this pandemic,” he said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2020.

BusinessCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

As postponed NHL season resumes, some fans say the lure of parties will be strong

EDMONTON — As hockey fans gear up for a truncated season to… Continue reading

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

Look out, Mars: Here we come with a fleet of spacecraft

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Mars is about to be invaded by planet… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Opinion: Anxiety is on the rise as COVID-19 support dries up

The interview with Navdeep Bains kicked off with pandemic pleasantries about how… Continue reading

Garage sale

Our Lady of Peace Parish will hold a multi-family garage sale fundraiser… Continue reading

Washington NFL team dropping ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

WASHINGTON — The Washington NFL franchise announced Monday that it will drop… Continue reading

Canadian forward Evelyne Viens savours NWSL debut at Challenge Cup

A prolific goal-scorer in college, Canadian forward Evelyne Viens has kicked off… Continue reading

In libel case, Depp says Heard hit him with ‘haymaker’ punch

LONDON — Johnny Depp accused Amber Heard of hitting him with a… Continue reading

Kelly Preston, actor and wife of John Travolta, dies at 57

LOS ANGELES — Kelly Preston, who played dramatic and comic foil to… Continue reading

Canmore RCMP respond to multiple hiking injury calls this weekend

EMS and RCMP responded to three separate and unrelated hiking accidents in Kananaskis Country.

You can’t put a price on memories

Some people would rather buy something than sell something. Some people are… Continue reading

Most Read