TORONTO, April 30, 2020 /CNW/ - Retail Council of Canada (RCC) issued an open letter today to Premiers across the country to draw attention to the urgent need for an immediate moratorium on commercial evictions and distress actions such as changing locks and seizing inventory. The magnitude of retail business to Canada's prosperity cannot be understated -- there are some 145,000 retail locations across our country which employ 2.1 million people.
RCC congratulates the federal government for the recently announced Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance(CECRA) program for small businesses and we anticipate a broadener relief program in the days ahead for retailers of all sizes who are struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also applaud landlords who are currently discussing rent relief agreements with their retail tenants. Despite this, we remain deeply concerned many landlords may choose to ignore this voluntary program, which will inevitably result in a vast number of store closures.
The government institute an immediate moratorium on commercial evictions and distress actions, retroactive to April 1, 2020 and extending to August 31, 2020, in order to match the end of the CECRA program application period (OCECRA in Ontario);
A mechanism be created for small businesses who qualify for CECRA to notify their provincial government of landlords who decline to participate in CECRA; and
Provincial support for impending federal efforts to create a broader rent relief program for retailers of all sizes that have experienced a significant decline in sales. The current program does not include larger businesses that have seen revenue reductions of less than 70 percent, are paying more than $50,000 a month in rent for any given location, or have annual gross revenues of more than $20 million.
At some point, we are all going to come out on the other side of this pandemic. When we do, all levels of government will be focused on economic recovery and our retail members, who represent over 45,000 independent, regional and national retail establishments, will be core to operationalizing that rebound. Collaboration with all governments on support and relief measures to support our efforts will be key.
Diane Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
About Retail Council of Canada Retail is Canada's largest employer with 2.1 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $76 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were $377 billion in 2019. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.RetailCouncil.org.
SOURCE Retail Council of Canada
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