On July 31, 2020, the Federal Government made two short but important announcements regarding two COVID-19 Economic Response Plan programs. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program was extended by one month and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will conclude this fall.

Following an initial one month extension to cover July, the CECRA, which aims to encourage landlords to provide eligible small business owners with subsidized rent reductions, has been extended through August. Participation in the one-month extension is voluntary and the eligibility criteria remain the same. Those who qualified under the original CECRA eligibility requirements of a 70% revenue decline in April, May and June can apply for the one-month extension soon without having to reassess if they continue to have a 70% revenue decline in July or August.  Existing applicants need to reapply for the month of August by September 14th, 2020.  New applicants have the choice of applying for the initial three-month period or four or five months and need to do so by August 31, 2020.

The CERB currently has an end date of September 26th, 2020 and more details on how it will conclude are expected by the end of August.  The Federal Government hopes to transition everyone who needs the CERB to an updated Employment Insurance (EI) program which includes access to training, the ability to earn more money while receiving the benefit in addition to a parallel benefit for contract and gig workers.