Businesses in B.C. that are eligible for rent support from the federal government will be protected from evictions as part of a new policy adopted by the provincial government.

“The federal launch of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program has been a welcome step in B.C., but we heard from small businesses that they need us to help fill a gap that has left some of them unable to get the support they need,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “We’re listening to small businesses and have their backs. Preventing landlords who are eligible for CECRA from evicting tenants can encourage landlords to apply for the program and give some temporary relief to businesses who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

The province said that eligible businesses whose landlords choose not to apply for the CECRA program will be protected from evictions due to unpaid rent until at least the end of June.

As well, the order made under the Emergency Protection Act restricts termination of lease agreements and repossession of goods and property.

“Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020. The CECRA loans to landlords will be forgiven if the landlord complies with program terms and conditions, including an agreement to not recover forgiven rent amounts when the program is over,” said the B.C. government.

The province added that the CECRA program provides relief to small businesses suffering financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.