Canada Shouldn't Reopen Economy Without Worker PPE, Trudeau Says

Canada Shouldn't Reopen Economy Without Worker PPE, Trudeau Says

Many businesses and industry groups have been calling on the federal government to provide assistance when it comes to commercial rent.

The feds say the new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will lower rent costs by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.

Details of how the program will be launched were scarce, but Trudeau did confirm that government will be responsible for half of that rent relief, while property owners collecting rent will take care of the other 25 per cent. Ottawa was able to announce the deal after individually negotiating with each province and territory, Trudeau added.

Kelly said 70 per cent of the CFIB's 30,000 members pay monthly rent for their business premises and, of those, 55 per cent report that they can't afford to pay their rent next month.

"They are the backbone of our families, our communities, and our economy", Trudeau said in a prepared statement.

Landlords might not bother with the program if it means absorbing some losses, even if their tenants badly need the help, the federation said.

Also Saturday, the outspoken premier of Ontario blasted a group of about 100 protesters as a "bunch of yahoos" after they rallied in front of the provincial legislature in Toronto to denounce stay-at-home measures and demand businesses reopen.

"April 1st was a big cliff for a lot of small businesses and May first was going to be another big cliff", says Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Catherine Holt.

Some businesses suggested it may not be enough anyway. For those, Trudeau suggested taking advantage of the Canada Emergency Business Account, which will allow them to access up a loan of $40,000.

The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business' rent by at least 75 per cent for April, May and June.

The provincial government's investment in this plan is part of their larger approach to supporting businesses throughout the pandemic, called Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.

He also expressed optimism that once the pandemic passes, the economy will bounce back. Recognizing that "some industries have been hit harder than others", he added: "People will need to travel again".

These would include comprehensive testing and contact tracing, but Trudeau reiterated the need for PPE to ensure workplace safety.

Related Articles