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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: September 8th, 2020

Ministers Chrystia Freeland and Mary Ng have announced that Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will be extended by one month.
Information on government grants, resources, and programs, and how to apply for them, is available here.
The Government of Canada has a support page with summaries of current programs and application portals.

Vital updates:

  • Ministers Chrystia Freeland and Mary Ng have announced that Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will be extended by one month. Current CECRA application deadlines will also be extended to accommodate this extension. CECRA provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners, whether they have a mortgage on their property or not. The loans cover 50 per cent of three to six monthly rent payments for eligible small business tenants during April, May, June, July, August and September. The loans will be forgiven if the qualifying property owner agrees to reduce their small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Those who qualified for CECRA based on existing program parameters will be able to apply soon for the additional one month based on having at least a 70 per cent revenue decline for April, May and June, without reassessing whether they continue to have at least a 70 per cent revenue decline in July, August or September. Participation in the one-month extension is voluntary. Both existing applicants to the CECRA and new applicants are able to opt for the September rent reduction. Existing applicants will need to reapply for the month of September. New applicants will have the choice of applying for the three-month initial period, four months, five months or six months. Eligible small business tenants are businesses that are paying less than $50,000 per month in gross rent in a given location, with annual revenues of less than $20 million (at the ultimate parent level), and who experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues on average for the period of April, May and June.
  • At a press conference held today, Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott stated that the provincial government is putting a “pause” of four weeks on any further loosening of public health measures in Ontario. That pause does not include schools, which started reopening in parts of the province today. Elliot acknowledged community spread will likely mean spread in schools, but said the province’s approach is to limit the spread at the community level to keep the virus from entering schools. Premier Ford pleaded with Ontarians to practice COVID-19 precautions and avoid large gatherings. The Premier did not rule out a return to Stage 2 of the re-opening framework, only remarking that “we aren’t there yet.” Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said an average of 545 new cases had been reported daily over the last week, up from around 300 in July.
  • The CRTC has released a new report which finds that the vast majority of participating Canadian Internet service providers (ISPs) have met or exceeded the maximum download and upload speeds they advertise. The Government of Canada encourages Canadians who are interested in participating in the next phase of the project to submit a request at Measuring Broadband Canada.

Reading recommendations:


If you are showing symptoms, contact your health care provider, call the Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248, or chat to Public Health online. For testing, call 905-378-4647 ext. 42819 (4-CV19) for information on test centres in Niagara and to book an appointment.

Remember that a COVID-19 test is only a snapshot of your health on the specific date and time the swab was taken. No testing is perfect and a negative result doesn’t mean you haven’t been exposed to COVID-19. You can still develop symptoms days after your test was taken.

It is important that everyone practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Maintain a 2-metre distance from other people. When maintaining distance is impossible, wear a mask or face covering. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. If you have recently traveled outside the country, you are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Previous updates can be accessed here.

Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.