Govt. aid programs helpful but more assistance needed, says ACTA

ACTA applauds rent relief program, calls for ban on commercial evictions

TORONTO — ACTA is commending the federal government’s rent relief plan, which would help small businesses pay their rent for the next three months.

The new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, the details of which were announced April 24 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will lower rent by 75% for businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and that have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID revenues.

CECRA will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June. The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.

The small business would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.

“Rent has been one of the most significant expense issues identified by ACTA travel agency members,” says Wendy Paradis, President of ACTA. “With the federal government’s announcement of an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the CECRA for small businesses, it should help those storefront travel agencies weather impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Travel agencies, adds Paradis, will have to work with their landlords as it is expected that CECRA will not be operational until mid-May.

“The caveat is that tenants who need rent relief can only get help if their landlords join the program – and currently there is no national ban on commercial evictions. “New Brunswick is the only province to have banned commercial evictions under its state of emergency,” says Paradis.

As such, ACTA will continue to lobby the federal government and other provincial governments to follow New Brunswick’s lead. This is in addition to ACTA’s newly-launched letter writing campaign that is calling on the government for specific aid for the travel agency sector. In just over 24 hours, more than 1,500 letters were emailed to MPs, the Prime Minister, key Cabinet Ministers, members of the COVID-19 Cabinet Committee, and MPP/MLAs by travel agencies and travel agents.

For information on how to submit a letter, go to