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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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Prime Minister’s remarks on the opening of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program

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Hello, everyone.

As a country, we‘re making progress in the fight against COVID-19.

But we have to remember that the situation remains very serious.

We’re not out of the woods yet.

As we move into the summer, we’ll have to keep adjusting our routines.

Our cities will have to adjust and change.

And our approach will have to be tailored to each community.

That means the rules and public health recommendations you’re asked to follow may be different depending on where you live.

And that can be confusing.

But, right across the country, one thing stays the same: everyone has a responsibility to themselves and to the people around them.

So, keep practising physical distancing.

This is how we protect ourselves, protect our loved ones, and protect the most vulnerable. 

Moving forward with reopening must happen gradually and carefully.

And the right safeguards must be in place, including testing and contact tracing.

This is key to keeping us safe and keeping the situation under control.

What reopening means for you and for your family will be different for everyone.

Just take the realities facing small business owners.

Some are ready to open their doors as soon as they get the green light that it’s safe to do so.

But for many more, getting back on their feet will be a challenge.

And one of the biggest concerns is paying rent.

That’s why we created the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program.

This benefit will provide forgivable loans to landlords, so that they can lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19.

It will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

As of 8:00 a.m. this morning, applications have now opened.

If you’re a landlord with up to 10 eligible tenants, and you’re located in the Atlantic, B.C., Alberta, or Quebec, you can apply today at cmhc.ca.

For landlords in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the Territories who have up to 10 eligible tenants, tomorrow’s your day to apply.

Landlords with more than 10 tenants will be able to apply later this week.

To landlords: please apply.

And to business owners: make sure you’re holding up your end of the bargain as well.

Whether it’s this rent support or the wage subsidy, we have put several programs in place to help businesses and we will continue to work on other ways to support them.

The Canada Emergency Business Account can help you pay your rent on time.

And the wage subsidy, which we’re extending through the summer, can help you rehire your workers.

We’re all in this together. And together is how we’re going to get through it.

Today, I want to announce that we are launching a phone line with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to help you navigate these uncertain times.

Vulnerable small businesses and entrepreneurs, including charities and non-profit organizations, will be able to get help from an accountant or a financial advisor by calling the Business Resilience Service at 1‑866‑989-1080.

This initiative is especially for those organizations that may not have access to financial advice.

And to take the pressure off during tax season, we are also extending the deadline for certain income tax returns.

For those who have to file a T2 Corporate Income Tax Return or a T3 Trust Income Tax Return in June, July, or August, you will now have until September 1 to file.

Every day, in every part of the country, hardworking Canadians build prosperity and growth in their communities.

To come out of this crisis, our country needs workers – people like you – more than ever.

Our government knows that.

And we know that you deserve to be treated fairly on the job.  

This is something that I spoke with the leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, about yesterday.

Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills.

Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries.

That’s why the government will continue discussions with the provinces, without delay, on ensuring that as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, every worker in Canada who needs it has access to 10 days of paid sick leave a year.

And we’ll also consider other mechanisms for the longer term, to support workers with sick leave.

Later today, I will be back in Parliament as we continue moving forward with our plan to get Canadians the support they need.

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, we’re working to make sure you can focus on what matters most: getting back to work safely, adapting to new realities, and keeping yourself and others safe.

You will drive our recovery.

And as you do, we’ll be in your corner, every step of the way.

Thank you very much.