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Holders of surface dispositions on public land will be able to have their rent waived for 2020-2021 to ease the burden of economic disruptions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a GNWT news release on Monday morning.

Rent relief will be available for all holders of existing recreational, residential, and commercial and mining surface dispositions on public land, as announced by Shane Thompson, Minister of the Department of Lands.

Commercial and industrial leases include various businesses such as diamond mines, bulk fuel companies, small contractors, trucking companies, tourism operators, fish plants, outfitting camps, sawmills, lodges and others.

“I support the fair and equitable treatment of all leaseholders on public land.  They are each impacted by the current crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic affects all NWT businesses, residents, governments and non-government organizations. This rent relief initiative will help limit expenses and keep cash available for immediate needs in this time of uncertainty,” said Thompson.

While surface dispositions are usually leases there are a small number of other types of dispositions that are eligible for relief, such as easements or licenses of occupation.

The relief measures applies retroactively from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021.

“This will allow all leaseholders to receive the same rent relief as those who received it at the beginning of the pandemic. The rent relief does not apply to new applications received after April 1,” the release said.

“If you have already paid rent that was due during this period and your account is in good standing, your payment will automatically be refunded.”

The rent measures will be rolled out later in May and will leave more than $2.7 million in the pockets of NWT residents and businesses. It is aimed at complementing other GNWT economic relief actions of the last few weeks.

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Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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