More than half of small businesses won't be able to pay rent for May


More than half of small businesses will not be able to pay rent for May without additional financial support.

Despite the fact the Federal Government announced it would work with the provinces to help with rent, many small-business owners are concerned about how they’ll be able to keep their doors open—metaphorically speaking.

Additionally, the details regarding how the Government intends to deal with those who can’t afford to pay their rent remains unclear.

Currently, only one in five businesses in Canada are operating at full capacity; the rest have had to close—either fully or partially.

Further, the number of business owners who won’t be able to pay their rent has risen from 25 per cent in March to 58 per cent in April—and many are concerned they may need to close permanently.

“Last week the federal government announced a new rent program, I know many business owners are anxiously waiting for the details as the stress of having bills mount with no revenue is getting more intense,” Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), said in a news release.

According to a survey from CFIB, 92 per cent of business owners believe provincial governments should provide protections to commercial tenants and forbid evictions during the pandemic.

Moreover, 91 per cent of owners believe for rent assistance to work, it has to be in the form of grants or rent forgiveness, not just loans and/or deferrals.

“At this point, deferring rent isn’t going to cut it, businesses desperately need rent forgiveness to help pay bills.

Provincial governments have ordered many small businesses to close but very few have taken any steps to help owners with the costs of paying rent on a location they cannot open,” Jones said.

“April 1 was scary, and it’s important to get the right government relief in place fast to prevent May 1 from being a nightmare on Main Street,” she added.

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