Province bans commercial evictions... for now
The Ontario government is putting a temporary ban on commercial evictions to help small business owners who are struggling to pay their rent amid the COVID-19 fallout.
Premier Doug Ford says the moratorium applies to small businesses who qualify for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, where their revenues have dropped at least 70 per cent due to the pandemic.
Ford outlined the details at a news conference, saying the ban will take effect for evictions as of June 3 and last until Aug. 31.
Ontario joins British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia as provinces that have implemented some form of a commercial eviction ban.
Last month, five business groups co-signed an open letter calling for the Ontario government to impose a commercial eviction moratorium during the pandemic, warning that many small and medium-sized businesses were at risk of closing as June rent came due.
The organizations included the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association, Restaurants Canada and the Retail Council of Canada.
Toronto Mayor John Tory issued the following statement:
"Today, the Government of Ontario announced that they will ban all commercial evictions.
This ban is absolutely the right thing to do – I have called for it repeatedly and City Council has requested that the province take this action.
I want to thank Premier Ford and the provincial government for introducing this ban to help protect businesses in Toronto and across Ontario.
Over the past few months, I have advocated on behalf of commercial tenants by calling for a ban on commercial evictions as a way to provide relief for businesses during these challenging times. This form of support will help businesses who are struggling to pay rent due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Earlier in the pandemic, the Province announced a ban on residential rental evictions which continues to help residents who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Throughout my conversations with the Premier I have made it clear that a ban on commercial evictions was the next step to take in protecting businesses in our city.
Businesses of all sizes across the city have been at risk of shutting down or have experienced huge financial losses due to COVID-19. Removing any worry of being evicted during these difficult times will help allow businesses to stay open as we transition into the reopening phase of this pandemic.
I continue to call on landlords to do everything possible to support their tenants and to apply to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program. As I have said before, it’s better to have a tenant who will pay their rent when they can than no tenant at all.
I also encourage businesses and residents who can afford to pay their rent, to continue to pay their rent – it is the right thing to do and it will help their landlords along with those who need real rent relief right now.
As Mayor, I know we need to do everything we can to protect our city including business owners so that we can come back stronger than ever as the restart begins. I am confident that this step will help protect our main streets and make sure we are in the best position for a strong recovery."