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Business rent subsidy could provide major help to Grande Prairie businesses: Chamber

The chair of the board for the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce believes the latest round of subsidy funding released by the federal government will be a huge helping hand to Grande Prairie and area businesses. The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses for businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Larry Gibson says when you start seeing companies like Hudson’s Bay unable to afford their rent, it’s a little more widespread than just medium and small businesses. The department store was recently evicted from its Toronto location for non-payment of rent.

“So when subsidies and programs like this are either modified or come out, it’s absolutely huge for our businesses to keep them going through this,” Gibson says. “Every bit helps, but 65 per cent is certainly an excellent number for those businesses to help them get through this with everything they can. We’ve heard it loud and clear from a lot of them, it’s week-to-week or month-to-month with the impacts they’re facing because of this.”

Gibson suggests that, despite optimism from business owners earlier this year, a bit of doubt has started to creep back in as the COVID-19 situation across the province continues to worsen.

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“A few months ago we were starting to get some optimism, people getting back out, and sales increasing. Now, with the second wave and the numbers we are seeing around the province and the country, everyone is starting to get nervous again and sales have dropped off, no doubt about it.”

Gibson wants to give special thanks to business owners across the Peace Country for their diligence and hard work as they continue to climb uphill against forces well and truly beyond their control.

“The cliché is we are all in this together, but to see our regional partners all band together and do what everyone can, sing the same song and have the same message is an excellent thing to see through this for sure.”

The new subsidy is the successor to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, which was released by the Trudeau Government earlier this year. Business owners can learn more about the program and fill out an application on the Government of Canada website.

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