COVID-19 Support for REALTORS®: Changes You Need to Know About

Please note: the federal government is constantly updating their 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.

There have been many changes since Parliament returned on Wednesday, September 23, with the federal government fine-tuning some financial support programs and completely overhauling others.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has been advocating for many of these program improvements since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and are pleased to see our recommendations adopted. For REALTORS® and brokerages who have been counting on financial support to get through tough stretches over the past few months, here are the changes you need to know about:

Enhanced Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) addresses personal bank account issue

After it was initially announced an expanded CEBA would add $20,000 to the original $40,000 interest-free loan—with an additional $10,000 of the total amount forgivable—the government also moved to make CEBA available to businesses currently operating out of a non-business banking account if they proceed to open a business banking account.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) comes to an end, CRB applications open

The CERB came to an end in the fall, as the federal government launched a revamped Employment Insurance (EI) program with the capacity to take on most CERB recipients.

The government also rolled out a parallel program, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), for employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19, but are not entitled to EI benefits. Recipients will have to reimburse 50 cents of the CRB for every dollar of net income they earned above $38,000 on their income tax return.

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) were also launched. For more information on transitioning from CERB to other programs, visit the Employment and Social Development Canada site.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) gets replaced

Due to lower than anticipated use of the CECRA, the government opted to turn the page and make funding accessible to tenants directly with the announcement of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).

CERS will support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. The government intends to table legislation to implement CERS shortly.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) not going anywhere

The government announced their intention to extend the CEWS until June 2021. The current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65% of eligible wages will remain the same until December 19, 2020. Legislation to extend CEWS is expected shortly.

The measures covered in this article 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.