Wakeham says Rent Relief Program Fails

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Wakeham says Rent Relief Program Fails to help NL Businesses
“The Provincial Government can do more to assist businesses with rent relief. It is time to eliminate the Liberal red tape and get the money that you have promised into the hands of the tenants to help them with their businesses,” said Wakeham.
Monday, June 1, 2020

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

 

St. John’s, NL (June 1, 2020) – PC Official Opposition Finance critic and MHA for Stephenville-Port au Port, Tony Wakeham, says that the Rent Relief Program is failing to support many NL businesses. Changes are needed to allow tenants to apply rather than landlords so that small and medium sized businesses can be directly supported.

According to the Canadian Federation of Business, NL has the lowest number of businesses open in the country. With doors closed, NL business do not know how they can pay rent and fear eviction. While the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program aims to provide assistance with 75 per cent of rent expenses, many businesses will not qualify or the landlord is not willing to participate.

“The rent assistance program is simply not working for many NL businesses. The Federal Government has put money right in the hands of those who need it, why can’t they do the same for businesses who are struggling to meet rent payments? The best people to negotiate with landlords are not the Federal Government or the Provincial Government. It is the tenants themselves” said Wakeham.

Wakeham went on to say time is running out for businesses who are now facing the start of another month where rent is due.

“The Provincial Government can do more to assist businesses with rent relief. It is time to eliminate the Liberal red tape and get the money that you have promised into the hands of the tenants to help them with their businesses,” said Wakeham.

On May 11, the PC Opposition announced an action plan to address the financial crisis facing businesses. Changes to the rental relief program to allow tenants to apply rather than landlord was one of the key actions. To date this gap in rent relief has not been addressed.

 
See Backgrounder
 

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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BACKGROUNDER
 

Wakeham Outlines Actions Needed Now to Ensure the Survival of NL Businesses
 

St. John’s, NL (May 11, 2020) – PC Official Opposition Finance critic and MHA for Stephenville-Port au Port, Tony Wakeham, is outlining immediate actions needed to address the financial crisis facing businesses in this province.

Wakeham says measures are needed to address short-term cash flow challenges, ensure the safe return to operations and help businesses adapt to new conditions. While some measures have been put in place, alarm bells are being raised by many businesses that further inaction will be fatal to them. Some specific actions needed include:

 

· Supports to acquire personal protective equipment so operations can safely resume;

· Changes to the rental relief program to allow tenants to apply rather than landlords;

· Refund and/or waive of worker’s compensation premiums and other fees;

· Changes to provide for more time to recall employees laid off as a result of COVID-19;

· E-commerce program to help NL business move to online operations, where feasible;

· A “Buy Local” Campaign and other incentives to support businesses including the tourism sector.

 

“With the loss of 29,000 jobs, the goal must be to get these people back to work. Businesses are the backbone of our economy and the job creators. It is imperative that Government act now to help businesses survive in the short-term so that the jobs will be there for people to go back to work. How many job creators are we going to let die before we take action? The recent hiring of Paul Mills, an individual with ties to the Liberal Government, does nothing to address the immediate concerns of businesses. It means more time reviewing and studying rather than listening to businesses and acting,” Wakeham said.

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