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The federal government announced new programming and top-up funding for businesses affected by Covid-19 in a news release issued Oct. 9.

The Department of Finance stated in the release that there will be “new, targeted supports to help hard-hit businesses and other organizations experiencing a drop in revenue.”

The announcement comes in preparation for a potential second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and leading into the colder, darker months.

The federal government announced a rent subsidy and other top-up funding for businesses and employees on Oct. 9  
NNSL file photo

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy 

Among the components of Friday’s announcement was the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which will provide “simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021.”

The Government of Canada states that the rent subsidy is intended to go “directly to tenants, while also supporting property owners.”

“The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until Dec. 19, 2020,” states the release.

A spokesperson with the Department of Finance Canada told NNSL Media that the program will actually last to June 2021, but the terms may change after Dec. 19.

Claims can be made retroactively between Sept. 27 and Oct. 24.

“The part of rent subsidy announcement that I like is to learn that businesses will be able to apply directly, which is a huge improvement,” said Deneen Everett, executive director of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce.

Rene Comeau, executive director of the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce, also welcomed the announcement

“For the new rent program, the changes are welcome and it is good to see the understanding that there would be more of an uptake if the onus is on the tenant, not the landlord,” she stated, acknowledging that landlords also need assistance.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy 

The federal government is also offering an extension of the wage subsidy program to June 2021. It intends to provide protection to businesses trying to keep employees on the payroll while also helping to rehire workers.

“The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020,” the release states, adding that the intent is to create more than one million jobs nationally and restore employment to the level it was before the pandemic.”

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The announcement also included an expansion of access to interest-free loans for businesses and not-for-profits under the Canada Emergency Business Account loan.

The Oct. 9 announcement allows for an extended interest-free loan of $20,000, on top of the $40,000 loans already available. A Finance Canada spokesperson stated that the government is working with 220 financial institutions across the country to allow for funds to be provided.

A new deadline to apply was also announced, which is Dec. 31.

If the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, $20,000 is forgivable.

Comeau stated that the increase in amount that will be forgiven is welcome but added that “many businesses are still very stressed about the ability to repay after six months of minimal to no revenue.”

RELATED COVERAGE: NWT Chamber of Commerce implores Premier to put moratorium on commercial rent evictions

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University...

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