Federal Update: Rent relief, community support and virtual classes.

Kitchissippi Times file photo.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have had many (virtual) meetings with small
business owners, representatives of Business Improvement Associations and
non-profit organizations in Ottawa Centre regarding the supports they need to survive
this challenging time.

Last week, the federal government reached an agreement with the provinces to
introduce a new rent relief program help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
For qualifying businesses, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
gives forgivable loans to cover 50 per cent of rent payments for April, May and June.
The loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to cut the rent by at least 75 per
cent for those months and promises not to evict the tenant. To qualify, small
businesses, non-profits or charitable organizations must pay less than $50,000 a month
in rent and have lost 70 per cent of revenues, compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.

We’ve also launched the Emergency Community Support Fund to provide
additional resources to charities and non-profits so they can adapt to the new realities
and difficulties brought on by COVID-19.

Our government also announced more than $1 billion for a national medical research
strategy to fight #COVID19. This funding will support vaccine development,
production of treatments, testing and tracking of the virus.

COVID-19 has been very difficult and frightening for many of us. It’s normal to feel
scared, anxious, or stressed. You’re not alone – we’re in this together. Please reach out
to your support network or find the best online or phone service that fits your needs.
If you are dealing with physical, emotional, sexual or other kinds of abuse at home text
(613) 704-5535 or chat online at unsafeathomeottawa.ca. This service is available
seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to midnight.

To connect with younger students, I have been holding weekly virtual classes on
Facebook Live Friday’s at 1 p.m. They are fun and educational and the provide a short
break for parents who are still adjusting to the homeschool situation.
We’ve also covered Civics, Climate Change, Careers, the United Nations and “Kids and
COVID-19”. All the past lessons can be found on my on my Facebook page or YouTube

As well, my staff and I are working to ensure many organizations in Ottawa Centre will
benefit from the Canada Summer Jobs program and be able to hire students.

In the coming weeks and months, I will continue to work hard to try and ensure the
support everyone needs to recover from this unprecedented crisis is there for you.
We are in this together, Ottawa Centre!

– Catherine

* My Constituency Office is virtually open and ready to support and serve you.

Phone: 613-946-8682

Email: Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca

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