(Reuters) – The Canadian government will extend its coronavirus rent-relief program for small businesses into September, the Globe and Mail reported late on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the policy discussions.
Officials in the government are also working on options to reform the program, the website reported, adding that the extension of the program was meant to be an interim measure.
No-one was immediately available to verify the report.
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program offered loans to landlords of entrepreneurs worth half the tenant’s rent from April through August, if tenants pay a quarter and the landlord absorbs the remaining quarter.
However, the program requires landlords to apply, which has prompted low uptake and left many tenants powerless to get relief as their landlords refuse to make applications.
Canada had also rolled out the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to offer broad support to the millions of Canadians who lost their jobs amid coronavirus shutdowns.
The government put the CERB program in place because the traditional employment insurance (EI) system could not handle the rapid influx of new applicants as millions of people were laid off, or lost work hours, due to COVID-19.
Many people also did not qualify for traditional EI.