The Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act, 2020

Published on September 25, 2020

Since the very beginning of COVID-19, the government has called on landlords and tenants to come together and be reasonable with each other – and landlords and tenants across the province have shown the Ontario spirit by doing just that. Minister Clark and the Ontario government have introduced the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act that would, if passed, freeze rent in 2021 for most rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units. The bill would provide the vast majority of Ontario’s tenants with financial relief as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.


We know landlords have worked hard to be accommodating and have made sacrifices. Tenants across Ontario who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, should not have to worry about rent increases. This includes Ontarians living in mobile homes, land lease communities, rent-geared-to-income units, and most retirement homes. This legislation would ensure that the vast majority of families do not see a rent increase next year as we work towards our economic recovery.


The Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act also proposes to change the Commercial Tenancies Act to extend the temporary ban on evictions for commercial tenants. The ban was initially in place from May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, to align with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This temporary ban would continue to apply to businesses that are eligible for federal-provincial rent assistance through the CECRA for small businesses, but their landlord chose not to apply for the program. The ban will protect small businesses from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19.


Extending the ban on commercial evictions would allow Ontario to continue to protect small businesses and help them get back on their feet, so they can create jobs and help rebuild the economy.


This proposed legislation would also create a single register of voters for municipal and provincial elections, which is expected to be more accurate, could mean fewer corrections for voters at polling stations, fewer delays for people on election day, and may reduce costs for municipalities.


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