On June 17 the government of Ontario passed the Protecting Small Business Act which temporarily halts or reverses evictions of commercial tenants and protects them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19.
The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020.
“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.”
Landlords and tenants are encouraged to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (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.
“Pausing evictions of commercial tenants is another way we are supporting small businesses and providing much-needed relief as we work to reopen the economy,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance and Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. “Working with the federal government, we are providing more than $900 million in relief to tenants and landlords in Ontario through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses.”