Saskatoon

Sask. announces eviction protection for small businesses

The provincial government has brought in an eviction moratorium for small businesses across Saskatchewan.

Move meant to support businesses hurt by COVID-19

The provincial government has brought in an eviction moratorium for small businesses across the province. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Saskatchewan government has announced an eviction moratorium for some small businesses in Saskatchewan.

On Friday, the province said eviction protection would be effective immediately.

"We encourage landlords and tenants to work together," said Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison in a news release.

The moratorium on evictions applies to landlords who were eligible to apply for the federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rental Assistance program but chose not to.

The federal assistance program began accepting applications from commercial property owners last week. 

The program provides rent relief for businesses that have lost at least 70 per cent of their revenue as a result of COVID-19.

In return, the program will loan landlords 50 per cent of the total rent amount, which will be forgiven if the landlord agrees to not recover the rent when the program is over.

Business groups across Saskatchewan are lauding the provincial policy.

"This moratorium fills a policy gap by adding a layer of desperately needed protection for the small business operators of our province," said president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association Jim Bence.

"Before the Saskatchewan government action, there was very little incentive for landlords to engage with tenants on rent relief. Now, I think there will be tremendous motivation for both parties to come to the table and negotiate."

In March, the province temporarily suspended residential evictions.

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