The Ontario government has proposed new legislation that will freeze rent payments in 2021 and extends the recently expired eviction ban for businesses.
The draft legislation called the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act will freeze rent in most rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units to help relieve the financial burden for tenants.
The act also contains language that will extend the temporary moratorium on eviction for commercial tenants. The eviction ban was enacted on May 1 and it expired Aug. 31. The proposed new law, the ban would apply to small businesses eligible under the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA). This helps small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to rebuild and grow as Canada continues to reopen. This will also ensure business owners are not locked out of their premises or have their assets seized.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the bill is a way for the government to show support for families, workers, and small businesses that are working to recover from COVID-19 impacts. “This crisis is far from over and the threat of a second wave is real, as are the challenges it will bring. That’s why we need to take the necessary steps now to help families keep a roof over their heads and small businesses keep their doors open,” he added.
Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, added: “We know that families are continuing to be impacted by COVID-19. We know landlords have worked hard to be accommodating and have made sacrifices. We know that by continuing to work together, we will move past this extraordinary time and get Ontario back on track.”
The proposed bill will also create a single register of voters for municipal and provincial elections. This is expected to improve accuracy, reduce costs, and reduce delays during elections.