Updated on December 16, 2020.
The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and Lockdown Support provide subsidies to help cover a business’s rent or mortgage interest, property tax and insurance retroactive to September 27, 2020. CERS provides a subsidy of up to 65 percent and the Lockdown Support provides up to an additional 25 percent if a business is required to shut down due to public health restrictions.
Who is eligible for the CERS and Lockdown Support?
The CERS and Lockdown Support will be available to businesses that meet the definition of an “eligible entity”, which includes individuals, taxable corporations and trusts, non-profit organizations and registered charities. The definition of “eligible entity” is the same one used in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) rules. Additional details can be found in Grant Thornton’s CEWS downloadable resource. To claim the CERS, an eligible entity must also be a “qualifying renter” and meet the following requirements:
- Submit the CERS claim on or before 180 days after the end of the qualifying period
- Include an attestation by the individual with principal responsibility for the financial activities of the eligible entity
- Meet one of the following three criteria:
- Have a payroll account as of March 15, 2020 or have been using a payroll service provider.
- Have a business number on September 27, 2020 and provide records and other information to support the claim to the government.
- Meet other conditions that may be prescribed in the future.
It should be noted that many small businesses that may not have been eligible for the CEWS (e.g., a self-employed individual with no employees) may still be eligible for the CERS and the Lockdown Support, provided the criteria discussed below are met. Businesses of all sizes that rent or own property should consider whether it might make sense to apply, regardless of whether they have applied for or received the CEWS.
How do I apply for the CERS and Lockdown Support?
The CERS and Lockdown Support will provide subsidies directly to qualifying renters (and property owners), without requiring the participation of landlords (in contrast to the CECRA, which required landlords to apply).
The application for the CERS and Lockdown Support is available on CRA's website. Applicants will be required to create a CERS (ZA) number, which will allow the applicant to receive the subsidy through this account. The application can be made through CRA’s website using either:
- My Business Account, or
- Represent a Client
A new form, RC665, is required to be completed with the application. Similar to the CEWS form RC661, it contains elections and statements that must be attested to by the person with primary financial responsibility for the applicant.
The application portal for each qualifying period opens once that qualifying period ends.
For more information, read the full PDF:
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Grant Thornton LLP wants to caution that these rules are still new and continue to evolve as the government continues to re-evaluate the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We may still see changes to these measures—as well as new measures—as the government attempts to address the issues that have been raised by us and the tax community. Therefore, any analysis included herein reflects our knowledge as of the date and time of this publication and may no longer be applicable if changes do occur. You should proceed with caution before making any decisions.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
Created in response to COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS or subsidy) provides savings to employers through a subsidy equal to 75% of employee wages on the first $58,700 per employee, up to a maximum of $847 per week, with no overall maximum for the employer.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
In response to COVID-19, a new program called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was established to provide $2,000 per month (i.e., $500 per week) to workers who qualify for the benefit for up to 16 weeks.