CECRA applications open May 25, 2020

Today, the federal government announced that applications for the CECRA will open on May 25, 2020 at 8:00 am EST. 

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to: 

  • reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants 
  • meet operating expenses on commercial properties 

Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020. 

What is CECRA? 

With CECRA for small businesses, as a landlordyou still collect a portion of your gross rent. 

For a tenant paying $10,000 per month: 

  • CECRA for small businesses will cover 50% of the rent ($5,000). 
  • Your tenant will pay up to 25% of the rent ($2500).
  • You forgive 25% of the rent ($2,500). 

This means you get up to 75% of the rent or $7,500 of rent per month for April, May and June. 

CECRA for small businesses offers you a forgivable loan for 50% of the value of your small business’ rent each month. The loans will be forgiven if you comply with all applicable program terms and conditions – including agreement to not recover (the 25%) forgiven rent amounts when the program is over. 



Details about eligibility can be found here, and are summarized below: 

What is an eligible property owner?  What is an impacted small business tenant? 
The commercial property owner must: 

  • own commercial real property which is occupied by one or more impacted small business tenants 
  • enter (or have already entered) into a legally binding rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May and June 2020, reducing an impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75% 
  • ensure the rent reduction agreement with each impacted tenant includes: 
  • a moratorium on eviction for the period during which the property owner agrees to apply the loan proceeds, and   
  • a declaration of rental revenue included in the attestation 


Impacted small business tenants are businesses — including non-profit and charitable organizations — that: 

  • pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement) 
  • generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level) 
  • have experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues ** 


NOTE: Eligible small business tenants who are in sub-tenancy arrangements are also eligible, if these lease structures meet program criteria. 


** Small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same period in 2019 to measure revenue losses. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020. 




How to apply 

Property owners will be able to register for access to the portal and application form beginning May 25, 2020, on the following staggered schedule. The deadline to apply for the CECRA after registering is August 31, 2020. 

Day  Who should register? 
Monday  Property owners who are located in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program 
Tuesday  Property owners who are located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program 
Wednesday  All other property owners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories 
Thursday  All other property owners in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec 
Friday  All 


What you need to apply 

There are a number of documents property owners will need to prepare as part of the application process. Sample documents can be found here. CMHC has advised that these sample documents are for illustrative purposes only. The final versions of the documents will be available when the application portal opens. 

When applying, a property owner will need to submit the following documents: 

  1. Tenant’s or Subtenant’s Attestation and Integrity Declaration 
  2. Property Owner’s Attestation and Integrity Declaration 
  3. Rent Reduction Agreement 
  4. CECRA Small Business Property Owner Forgivable Loan Agreement 

HGA Recommends

Property owners should reach out to tenants who may qualify for the CECRA to determine if those tenants are eligible, and rent reduction agreements and attestations should be drafted for all Eligible Tenants once the form of those documents are finalized in accordance with the CMHC portal. 

HGA recommends that legal counsel from HGA Law sought to advise and assist with the drafting and execution of those agreements.  

Other questions about CECRA can be directed to Natalie Pon.