COVID-19: More Support for REALTORS® and Brokerages

Please note: the federal government is constantly updating its website as new information is announced. Remember to check Canada’s official coronavirus webpage and CREA’s COVID-19 online hub to stay up to date.

Following another busy month for the federal government, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is pleased to provide an update on extensions and expansions to programs that will help our members get the support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. CREA continues to lobby for further adjustments to existing programs that would ensure no REALTOR® or brokerage needing support is left behind.

The latest announcement came Monday, June 29, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government’s intention to extend the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses by an additional month. The federal government is currently working with provincial and territorial counterparts to that end. On Tuesday, June 16, the Prime Minister announced the extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks, making the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks. The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 over a four-week period for eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced due to COVID-19.

More details about the CERB are available on the Government of Canada’s website. REALTORS® who are unsure if they are eligible for the CERB are encouraged to contact the government about their personal circumstances by calling the toll-free telephone line at 1-800-959-8281.

Meanwhile, despite an initial delay, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced on Thursday, June 25, that the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) would be available through Canada’s large banks the following day. The expansion makes the program available to more businesses, such as sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses relying on contractors, and family-owned corporations paying employees through dividends rather than payroll.

CREA previously highlighted the need to capture a diversity of business models and consider expenses other than payroll in our written brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. For more details about the program, visit the CEBA website.

Finally, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) in partnership with the Government of Canada. The CBRN provides tools and resources for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as guidance on COVID-19 financial support program options and eligibility. Brokerages seeking more information about the CBRN can visit their website or call 1-866-989-1080.

These measures are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The government is constantly assessing the evolving situation and is likely to introduce additional measures as it deems necessary. We are monitoring the implementation of existing measures and continue to advocate on behalf of REALTORS® as new initiatives are developed.

This article is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you need professional advice you should consult a lawyer, accountant or other qualified professional.