A lease sign hangs in the window as a cyclist walks past a commercial store Monday August 31, 2020 in Ottawa. The federal government is expanding the life of commercial rent-relief program one last time. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Liberals extend commercial rent-relief program for last time

The rent-relief program provides forgivable loans that cover half of rent for eligible small businesses

The federal government is extending its commercial rent-relief program one last time.

The Liberals say the program that aims to help small businesses with their rent or lease costs will be extended for this month, unveiling the details one week after rent was due.

In a release, the government says the one-month lifeline is a “final extension” for the program and that officials are looking at other options to help small businesses.

The rent-relief program provides forgivable loans that cover half of rent for eligible small businesses, and also requires landlords to waive a further one-quarter of what they’d otherwise be owed.

Property owners have to apply for the help, but take-up has lagged expectations and spending is projected to fall far short of the nearly $3 billion the Liberals have budgeted.

The government says that as of the start of this week, the program had provided over $1.32 billion in aid to more than 106,000 small-business tenants.

The Canadian Press

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