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

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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.