Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Brings Relief to Small Business Owners

Written by Heather Bowie, CPA, CA on Nov. 24, 2020

The new rent subsidy for businesses will bring welcome relief for many of our business clients affected by COVID-19.

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19 may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses.  Claims can be backdated to September 27, 2020 and continue until June 2021.

  • CERS covers up to 65 % of rent for businesses, charities and non-profits affected by COVID-19
  • Your business could be eligible for Lockdown Support of an additional 25 % during a public lockdown order of a week or more
  • Funding goes directly to your business, not to your landlord

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible to receive the rent subsidy, you must meet all four of the following criteria:

  1. Meet at least one of these conditions:
  • You had a CRA business number on September 27, 2020; or
  • You had a payroll account on March 15,2020, or another person or partnership made payroll remittances on your behalf; or
  • You purchased the business assets of another person or partnership who meets the second condition, and have made an election under the special asset acquisition rules (these rules are the same for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – CEWS); or
  • You meet other prescribed conditions that may be introduced; there are no prescribed conditions at this time.  Note: If you do not have a business number but you qualify under condition b or c, you will need to set one up before you are able to apply for CERS.  You do not need a payroll account to apply for CERS.

2. Are an eligible business, charity, or non-profit (eligible entity).

  • Click here to check which types of businesses, charities or non-profits are eligible
  • If your business, charity or non-profit is related to another eligible entity, you may be considered an “affiliated entity” which may affect your calculations for the subsidy.

3. Experienced a drop in revenue

Your drop in revenue is calculated by comparing your eligible revenue during the reference period with your eligible revenue from a previous period (baseline revenue).

There is no minimum revenue drop required to qualify for the subsidy. The rate your revenue has dropped is only used to calculate how much subsidy you receive for these periods.

If you applied for and received the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), you must use the same method to determine your revenue drop used for the base CEWS for periods 5 or later.

4. Have eligible expenses

To apply for CERS, you must have a qualifying property that your business owns or rents and uses in the course of ordinary business activities. Click here to see if your property qualifies for the subsidy.  Only certain expenses are eligible for CERS; click here for a list of eligible expenses.

Calculate your subsidy amount by clicking here and following the instructions.

Note: A CERS application must be filed no later than 180 days after the end of a claim period.

Periods you can apply for

Open to apply right now:  Claim period 1: September 27 to October 24, 2020

Upcoming Claim Periods: 

  • Claim period 2: You may apply on November 30, 2020
  • Claim period 3: You may apply on December 23, 2020.

How to Apply

  • Sign up for My Business Account
  • Review your mailing address and other contact information in your My Business Account
  • Create a CERS (ZA) number
  • Set up direct deposit (direct deposit payments take 3 to 8 days where a cheque will take 14 days)

Contact your KWB accountant today to learn how we can help you to apply for CERS, or you can contact the Canada Revenue Agency here.

Source:  Canada Revenue Agency

Heather Bowie, CPA, CA


Heather completed her Bachelor of Commerce with an accounting major at the University of Alberta. She articled with a mid-sized national firm, during which time she received her CA designation.

Over the years, Heather has achieved a variety of work experience including as an online facilitator for the CA program, senior accountant in industry, and as a practice reviewer for CPA Alberta.

With KWB, Heather is a Manager and also leads the development of our advisory practice, Onsight Advisory.

Away from work, Heather and her husband own an HVAC company in Sherwood Park allowing her to understand business from both the client and the accountant perspective.

Heather has an amazing husband and two teen daughters who are growing way too fast for her liking. In her spare time, Heather enjoys attending her girls’ sporting events and dance performances, keeping active, and playing board games.

Heather's Contact Information

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