With June 1st looming on the horizon, half of Canadian business owners say they are worried they won’t be able to pay rent next month due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has recently conducted a survey which reports that half the respondents feel they need further assistance to afford the upcoming cost of rent.

Additionally, 55 per cent of respondents felt that rent relief could make the difference between their business surviving COVID-19 or not.

“We’ve been asking for rent relief since March. Even when CECRA applications become available we know that program will leave businesses without the help they desperately need,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president.

“The closer we get to June 1st, the more stressful things are getting and the more business failures we will see. We’re begging governments to move quickly to create additional help outside of CECRA.”

On April 24, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government unveiled details of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, which is aimed at helping small businesses pay their landlords.

However 65 per cent of small businesses say governments have been too slow in providing rent relief, and 67 per cent agree that more Canada Emergency Business Account funds should be forgivable.

Last Week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced plans to expand the eligibility requirements of the Canada Emergency Business Account to provide more small businesses with access to interest-free loans.

“Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account to cover many more businesses is a great start and it’s urgent this be implemented in time for June 1st,” said Jones.

“We would now like to see the government increase the forgivable portion of CEBA which would go a long way to cover the CECRA shortfall.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across the country.