The importance of retail business to Canada’s prosperity cannot be understated — there are some 145,000 retail locations across our country which employ 2.1 million people.
Retail Council of Canada (RCC) congratulates the federal and provincial governments for introducing a rent relief program for small businesses and expects to see further relief to support all retailers who are facing hardship and liquidity challenges and who are struggling to keep their businesses afloat during this crisis. We also applaud those landlords who are currently discussing rent relief agreements with their retail tenants, but we are concerned that, because the rent-relief program is voluntary, many landlords will ignore the program and put retailers at risk of closing their doors.
RCC requests that:
- The government institute an immediate moratorium on commercial evictions and distress actions including changing locks and seizing inventory, retroactive to April 1 and extending to August 31, to match the end of the CECRA program application period: (OCECRA in Ontario)
- A mechanism be created for small businesses who qualify for CECRA to notify their provincial government of landlords who decline to participate in CECRA; and
- Provincial support for pending federal efforts to create a second rent-relief program, to provide rent relief to all retailers that have experienced a significant decline in sales – as the current program does not include those businesses of any size that have seen revenue reductions of less than 70 percent, are paying more than $50,000 a month in rent for any given location, or have annual gross revenues of more than $20 million.
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