Parties agree to fast-track rent relief bill through Commons by week’s end

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Parliament

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have reached an agreement with opposition parties to fast-track a long-awaited bill to provide businesses with direct access to emergency rent relief.

Under the agreement, Bill C-9 will be passed by the House of Commons on Friday; it will still need to be approved by Senate before it can be enacted.

The bill replaces the government’s previous rent relief program, which was widely criticized because it needed buy-in from landlords, many of whom did not participate.

The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy is intended to allow commercial tenants to apply directly for rent and mortgage-interest support.

Until Dec. 19, it would cover up to 65 per cent of eligible expenses for businesses, charities and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Claims could be made retroactively for the period that began Sept. 27.

Businesses that are forced to shut their doors due to the pandemic would be eligible for another 25 per cent.

The bill would also extend the federal emergency wage subsidy until June 2021.

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