Canadian Provinces Implement Moratoriums on Commercial Rent Evictions to Help Businesses

Date:

Share post:

More provinces have announced moratoriums on commercial rent evictions to help retailers and small businesses across the country survive the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic but Ontario has still not ventured in that direction.

Saskatchewan and Alberta were the latest provinces to announce that initiative.

Jon Shell, co-founder of the grassroots coalition Save Small Business, supported by about 40,000 small businesses across Canada, said it has been obvious to many in the small business community since late March that moratoriums on commercial rent evictions are both critical for the recovery and a moral obligation.

“But provincial dithering has led to massive unnecessary stress for small business owners. Many simply gave up while Premiers waited to act. Some were evicted. No one should be proud of this — they should be embarrassed at how long it took them to take this logical action,” he said.

“In Ontario, Doug Ford continues to yell at landlords on TV instead of acting. He continues to abandon small business without explanation. Hopefully now that every other province is coming around he will finally choose to follow.

“We are hearing very positive signs from B.C. landlords looking at CECRA now that the evictions ban is in place. It’s incredibly important that rent relief is paired with an evictions moratorium and we are not at all surprised to see more uptake of the program in B.C. now that it’s in place.”

Karl Littler, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs at the Retail Council of Canada, said that although Ontario does not have one yet, the province is looking seriously at it.

“The reason a moratorium is helpful is by temporarily suspending the landlord’s ability to threaten — or actually conduct — an eviction while seeking to extract more rent than the tenant can afford to pay, not only will that lead to a more balanced position in negotiation on rent as between landlord and tenant but it is also likely to have landlords take a serious second look at the value of the 75 percent rental income under the CECRA (Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance) program,” said Littler.

“A landlord who takes the position that it doesn't matter that my tenant has been shut by public order for weeks or months and has had little or no income from the property is being unrealistic — and in RCC's view . . . is subordinating both their tenants' and their own medium and long-term economic interests to the impulse to try a cash-grab by threatening eviction.”

On Friday, the Alberta government said many Alberta businesses are facing challenges paying their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to feel the economic pressure even as their businesses reopen.

To help ease the economic pinch, the government is planning legislation to ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The new measures will help address shortfalls in the current Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, and will give eligible business owners peace of mind as they reopen and help with the provincial economic recovery. Additional details are expected to be finalized during the current summer session, it said.

“It’s great that provinces are moving on commercial eviction protection. We’ve been asking for this since March and it’s a critical protection, particularly since landlords have all the power in the CECRA program. Having said that, rent relief is still a giant mess that needs a clean up. Commercial eviction protection is part of the clean up but other things need to happen too. CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) needs to clean up their long wait times and complicated application process. And the federal government needs to make more money available directly to tenants through programs like CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account),” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The Retail Council of Canada said it applauds the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan for listening and responding to the needs of small and medium-sized retail businesses with the recent announcements of moratoriums on commercial tenant evictions.

Rent relief remains a priority issue for RCC as retailers of all sizes with severely-reduced revenues have no ability to pay their rent. With many landlords across the country choosing to ignore the involuntary nature of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, store closures are inevitable, it said.

Over 225,000 Albertans and 68,000 Saskatchewanians worked in retail stores in 2019. That's why the Alberta and Saskatchewan moratoriums on commercial rent evictions are such important investments into the provinces' economic futures, added RCC.

“We are grateful to the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments for their swift action in helping Alberta's 17,500 and Saskatchewan's 4,900 retail businesses continue to survive and operate during these extraordinary times," said Diane Brisebois, President & CEO, Retail Council of Canada. "Eliminating the fear and threat of eviction over unpaid rent allows business to focus on their recovery. We encourage all provinces to follow suit in enacting a similar moratorium in the interests of retailers across the country.”

Michael Kehoe, Lead Ambassador in Canada for the New-York based International Council of Shopping Centers, said commercial landlords have the ability to enforce their ability to collect rent under their leases and many have been doing so during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

“In an era where tenant retention is critical to ensure that consumers have stores and restaurants to return to as the safety measures are being lifted the legal may be different from the practical,” said Kehoe, a veteran of more than 40 years in the industry and broker/owner of Fairfield Commercial Real Estate in Calgary.

“Everyone in the commercial real estate transactional chain should be working together at this critical time to avoid jeopardizing the survival of small business. I do not feel that provincial government mandated moratoriums on commercial evictions are practical. Our consumer real estate industry has been built on a free market economy and now is not the time for government mandated controls on tenant and landlord matters.

All parties must be working together with communication channels open at this critical time to ensure the survival of our favourite shopping and dining venues.”

The Alberta government also announced Friday that it is committing up to $200 million in funding for eligible businesses and non-profits to access up to $5,000 to offset a portion of their relaunch costs. These funds can be used for implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, (such as physical barriers, personal protective equipment, and disinfecting supplies), rent, employee wages or replacement of inventory. The program’s online application is expected to be available in the coming weeks. Program details, including eligibility, are being confirmed.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From Retail Insider

The Body Shop Canada Goes into Restructuring and will Close 33 Stores [Article Includes Expert Analysis]

The UK-based retailer filed overseas last month, and its Canadian operations will now be downsized as part of a restructuring that will see many stores remain open for now.

One Bloor East in Toronto Secures Nike Flagship and Mango as Key Retail Tenants [Exclusive]

First Capital REIT has leased-out the entire retail podium at the iconic Yonge and Bloor corner, including space to another new tenant in the main-floor space formerly occupied by Nordstrom Rack.

Anatomy of a Leader: Ken Keelor, CEO of Calgary Co-op

After moving to Canada from India in 1995, Keelor began working at Save-on-Foods and then other major retailers as his career progressed upwards.

Unprecedented Opportunity for Canadian Retailers to Sell to Consumers in China Online

China is the world’s largest online consumer market, and it is projected to grow for years to come.

Modern Golf Opening Innovative Golf Social Experience in Downtown Toronto’s First Canadian Place [Interview]

The 8,500-square-foot Financial District space will feature multiple bays, bars, lounge areas, and partnerships with Food Dudes for food and beverage offerings, marking a significant shift in the company's growth strategy.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Gears Up for Nationwide Expansion in Canada with Innovative Store Formats [Interview]

New locations in new markets are planned, including a mix of Doughnut Café concepts and manufacturing locations for the public called 'Theatre Hubs'.

Robson Street in Vancouver in Flux as New Retailers Prepare to Open Stores [Feature]

The street is seeing new retailers prepare to open, including a prominent corner that is about to see some very big changes and a potential luxury mall nearby cancelled.

Wendy’s Bold Dynamic Pricing Move Has its Positives and Negatives [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses the unusual move by Wendy's in the US to implement dynamic pricing, and how it could benefit the business while potentially turning off consumers.

Growing Crisis in Retail Inventory in Canada as Factory Direct Liquidates Stores [Interview]

The founder of A.D. Hennick & Associates says he's seeing overwhelming demand to liquidate inventory, indicating a concerning trend in the industry as more retailers look to insolvency.

Here’s What We Can Learn from Canada’s Response to Inflation in the 1980s and 1990s [Op-Ed]

Younger, poorer households have disproportionately suffered because their price index is skewed more toward food and shelter, say the authors.

Food Preferences in Canada Changing as Millennial and Gen Z Demographics Shift [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses Canada's aging population and how younger consumers are shifting the grocery food landscape.

Henry Singer Unveils Downtown Edmonton Flagship Store at the ICE District, Featuring a Bar, Barber and Shoe Shine [Photos/Interview]

Jordan Singer discusses how the upscale menswear retailer recently relocated its Edmonton flagship store from Manulife Place into a 10,000 square foot space at the base of Western Canada's tallest building.

Canadian Retail Sales Dip: Year-End Drop in Discretionary Spending [J.C. Williams Group Analysis]

2023 Canadian retail sales ended in a lacklustre way, with controlled consumer spending amid a tumultuous year.

Landlord QuadReal Launches Pickleball Courts in Commercial Properties to Create Consumer Experience [Interview/Photos]

The initiative helps revitalize and re-imagine spaces using sustainable development practices, while incorporating the latest technology to enhance the visitor experience, blending physical and digital elements.

Canadian Consumers Willing to Switch Grocery Stores while Seeking Bargains: Study [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that a new survey offers a rigorous look into the preferences and behaviours shaping the future of grocery shopping in Canada.

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

RECENT articles

The Body Shop Canada Goes into Restructuring and will Close 33 Stores [Article Includes Expert Analysis]

The UK-based retailer filed overseas last month, and its Canadian operations will now be downsized as part of a restructuring that will see many stores remain open for now.

One Bloor East in Toronto Secures Nike Flagship and Mango as Key Retail Tenants [Exclusive]

First Capital REIT has leased-out the entire retail podium at the iconic Yonge and Bloor corner, including space to another new tenant in the main-floor space formerly occupied by Nordstrom Rack.

Anatomy of a Leader: Ken Keelor, CEO of Calgary Co-op

After moving to Canada from India in 1995, Keelor began working at Save-on-Foods and then other major retailers as his career progressed upwards.

Unprecedented Opportunity for Canadian Retailers to Sell to Consumers in China Online

China is the world’s largest online consumer market, and it is projected to grow for years to come.

Modern Golf Opening Innovative Golf Social Experience in Downtown Toronto’s First Canadian Place [Interview]

The 8,500-square-foot Financial District space will feature multiple bays, bars, lounge areas, and partnerships with Food Dudes for food and beverage offerings, marking a significant shift in the company's growth strategy.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Gears Up for Nationwide Expansion in Canada with Innovative Store Formats [Interview]

New locations in new markets are planned, including a mix of Doughnut Café concepts and manufacturing locations for the public called 'Theatre Hubs'.

Robson Street in Vancouver in Flux as New Retailers Prepare to Open Stores [Feature]

The street is seeing new retailers prepare to open, including a prominent corner that is about to see some very big changes and a potential luxury mall nearby cancelled.

Wendy’s Bold Dynamic Pricing Move Has its Positives and Negatives [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses the unusual move by Wendy's in the US to implement dynamic pricing, and how it could benefit the business while potentially turning off consumers.

Growing Crisis in Retail Inventory in Canada as Factory Direct Liquidates Stores [Interview]

The founder of A.D. Hennick & Associates says he's seeing overwhelming demand to liquidate inventory, indicating a concerning trend in the industry as more retailers look to insolvency.

Here’s What We Can Learn from Canada’s Response to Inflation in the 1980s and 1990s [Op-Ed]

Younger, poorer households have disproportionately suffered because their price index is skewed more toward food and shelter, say the authors.

Food Preferences in Canada Changing as Millennial and Gen Z Demographics Shift [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses Canada's aging population and how younger consumers are shifting the grocery food landscape.

Henry Singer Unveils Downtown Edmonton Flagship Store at the ICE District, Featuring a Bar, Barber and Shoe Shine [Photos/Interview]

Jordan Singer discusses how the upscale menswear retailer recently relocated its Edmonton flagship store from Manulife Place into a 10,000 square foot space at the base of Western Canada's tallest building.

Canadian Retail Sales Dip: Year-End Drop in Discretionary Spending [J.C. Williams Group Analysis]

2023 Canadian retail sales ended in a lacklustre way, with controlled consumer spending amid a tumultuous year.

Landlord QuadReal Launches Pickleball Courts in Commercial Properties to Create Consumer Experience [Interview/Photos]

The initiative helps revitalize and re-imagine spaces using sustainable development practices, while incorporating the latest technology to enhance the visitor experience, blending physical and digital elements.

Canadian Consumers Willing to Switch Grocery Stores while Seeking Bargains: Study [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that a new survey offers a rigorous look into the preferences and behaviours shaping the future of grocery shopping in Canada.

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.