Updated rent subsidy program for businesses rolls out

Starting Monday, the federal government’s updated rent subsidy program is accepting applications directly from qualifying organizations.

The program is now called the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).

When it was called the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, the program relied on landlords to apply for the benefits on behalf of their tenants. The CBC reported that resulted in low uptake across Canada.


Under the refreshed CERS, businesses, non-profits and charities that have seen revenues drop due to Covid-19 can apply for support to cover up to 65 percent of eligible expenses.

Organizations required to shut down or significantly reduce their activities due to public health orders can also apply for lockdown support, which is an additional 25 percent top-up subsidy – meaning it’s possible for up to 90 percent of rent or property expenses to be covered.

Eligible expenses include commercial rent, property taxes and insurance, and interest on commercial mortgages.

Organizations apply directly through their Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business account and can use the CRA’s online calculator to determine their subsidy amount.

The first application period covers expenses from September 27 to October 24. The second application period, which opens on November 30, will cover October 25 to November 21.


Applications received over the next week will be processed on November 30. Organizations should begin receiving funding for the first period by December 4.

“In response to concerns raised by stakeholders about the program, the government is proposing to amend the CERS in order to allow applicants to include eligible expenses in their CERS application before the expense has been paid,” noted the federal government in a news release.

“Amounts that are not paid at the time of the application will have to be paid no later than 60 days after payment of the subsidy.”

These new rent subsidy parameters will be in place until December 19, at which time the federal government will review the program and make changes for 2021 as needed.