COVID-19 Industry Update May 28, 2020

Federal Update

CECRA Now Open for Applications

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses is open for applications. Property owners in Ontario were able to officially apply on Tuesday.

The CECRA for small businesses program provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to reduce rents to small businesses. For the purposes of determining eligibility, CMHC defines “impacted small business tenants or subtenants” to be businesses, including non-profit and charitable organizations, that:

  • pay up to $50,000 per month in gross rent per location, as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement;
  • generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis; and
  • have temporarily ceased operations (that is, are generating no revenues), or have experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues. 

When the program was initially announced, there had been some questions regarding the requirement that the applicant “must own property”. CMHC’s website has since provided guidance in cases where a property owner and tenant may not be dealing at arm’s length, including where the property owner owns the small business that is its only tenant. In this circumstance, the government is allowing property owners and tenants who are not at arm’s length to be eligible for the CECRA so long as there was a valid and enforceable lease agreement in place prior to April 1, at a value that is not greater than market terms. 

To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the commercial property owner must:

  • own commercial real property which is occupied by one or more impacted small business tenants (note this contemplates many ownership structures including ground leases all of which are defined on the CMHC website).
  • enter (or have already entered) into a legally binding rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May and June 2020, reducing an impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%
  • ensure the rent reduction agreement with each impacted tenant includes:
  • a moratorium on eviction for the period during which the property owner agrees to apply the loan proceeds, and  
  • a declaration of rental revenue included in the attestation.

Applications are now being accepted through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website. Landlords must initiate the application.

For more information on the CECRA, click here for an explanation of the program from BDO Canada.

Read the Prime Minister’s press release here.


OHBA Update

Guidance on Model/Inventory Home Protocol for Members

Under the COVID-19 Ontario Regulation 82/20, it stipulates that a model home/inventory home is a part of the builder’s supply chain and therefore can generally be sold and open to the public, but operating as a retail operation for the builder. Therefore, these homes should adhere to the requirements of businesses that engage in retail sale of items to the public within the regulation.

OHBA has prepared the attached guidance document which may be useful in the development of member’s protocol for operating a model home.


City of Hamilton Update

Comprehensive Development Guidelines Revisions

Updates have recently been made to the City of Hamilton Comprehensive Development Guidelines. A copy of the City’s Development Guidelines and Financial Policies Manual can be found here.

The following is a summary of the recent changes:

A.7.6 Watermain Hydraulic Analysis Report

The report shall address water distribution systems, pressure zones, water consumption – estimated consumption, current capacities of trunk systems, phasing, net impact due to the proposed change in land use or development, need for expansion and upgrades. The requirements for this report are outlined in detail in Appendix A – Watermain Hydraulic Report.

In the case where there are unknowns (such as form of development, type of construction, etc.) the Consulting Engineer will clearly state what assumptions were made in the preparation of the appropriate study. As decisions are made and variables become known, the Consulting Engineer will be required to verify that the assumptions made in preparing the studies are still representative of the development. The study will have to be revised if the assumptions are no longer valid.

The report shall also include fire flow requirements calculated in accordance with Staff Report PW19096 – City of Hamilton Watermain Fire Flow Requirement Design Guidelines Policy to the satisfaction of the City. The template form Adequate Water Services – Required Fire Flow-RFF and Available Fire Flow-AFF – (PILOT VERSION-01) shall be used to document AFF & RFF using the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS 1999). Proponents should be aware that this can impact the form of development and / or the type of construction. It is recommended that Proponents undertake this study as early as feasibly possible in the approval process.

D.1.5 Domestic and Fire Flows Demand Design Flow

The domestic demand design flows shall conform to the latest edition of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s “Guidelines for the Design of Water Storage Facilities, Water Distribution Systems, Sanitary Sewer Systems and Storm Sewers”.

Fire flows shall be determined in accordance with Staff Report PW19096 – City of Hamilton Watermain Fire Flow Requirement Design Guidelines Policy to the satisfaction of the City and in accordance with the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS 1999).

D.1.7 Sewer Conflicts and Crossings

Generally, the watermain shall cross above sewers with sufficient vertical separation to allow for proper bedding, structural support of the watermain, and a minimum separation of 250 mm.

B.8.12 Fire Flow Analysis

The requirement for a hydrant flow test will be identified at the Formal Consultation or if deemed necessary within the subsequent approval process. Fire Flow calculations for the development shall be prepared in accordance with Staff Report PW19096 – City of Hamilton Watermain Fire Flow Requirement Design Guidelines Policy and in accordance with the Fire Underwriters Survey, 1999 to the satisfaction of the City. Additionally, a fire flow test is required at all new private fire hydrants. Additionally, a fire flow test is required at all new private fire hydrants. 

D.1.9 Hydrants

All hydrants shall be three-way hydrants. the Fire Underwriter Survey (FUS). Generally hydrants will be spaced a maximum of 150 m apart on streets with low density development, and at 110 m spacing on collector streets, high density residential streets, commercial and industrial streets. On cul-de-sacs, the fire hydrant shall be located within 75 m of the dwelling lot furthest from the street entrance. In the event that a hydrant is located on the long side of the watermain, it may be required to have a secondary valve close to the watermain as well as one at the hydrant.

On rural roads hydrants shall be spaced at a maximum 150 m distance apart unless specifically identified on the FUS. Hydrant connections (with secondary valves and blind flanges) may be installed only where the lands have not been developed.

For further information on how these revisions differ from the previous versions, please contact Kirstin Jensen at [email protected].


Webinar Updates


Webinar with DJB

The Post-COVID Workplace – Are you Prepared?

Join WE HBA with Christina Atkinson and Fran Bonomi of DJB’s Human Resources Advisory Team

THURSDAY MAY 28 | 11:30 AM-1:00 PM

Click here to register!


Mental Health Webinar with Holden & Associates

Workplace Resiliency and 5 Actions Leaders can Take

Hosted by West End HBA President, Robert Molinaro with Speaker Julie Holden of Holden & Associates Consulting Inc.


Register now!


Missed Out?

OHBA Excess Soils Regulation Webinar

On Friday May 22nd, the OHBA hosted a webinar on Excess Soils Regulation. The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks released a final excess soils regulation in December under the Environmental Protection Act as well as an amendment to the Record of Site Condition (brownfields) regulation 153/04. The MECP finalized a package of regulatory amendments that will impact the residential construction industry as the province transitions to the new way of managing and transporting excess soil.

The webinar covered the new regulations, how the regulations apply to business activities, and changes required to business practices as a result, with solutions to transition and examples of best practices.

Copies of the webinar presentations are now available and can be accessed by following the below links:

How to Use Digital Tracking to Enable Beneficial Reuse of Excess Soil – SoilFLO