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Advocate for Rent Relief to Your MLA/MPP

Posted On April 22, 2020 @ 3: 00 am / Updated On August 11, 2020 @ 11: 45 pm

By: Trisha Sarker

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) has been striving to keep our industry well informed and provide solutions when dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. The purpose of our trade association is to protect and promote fitness businesses. As such, we have hired a government relations firm, Grassroots Public Affairs, who is currently lobbying the Federal Government on our behalf for rent relief. FIC has also hired a public relations agency, The Neighborhood Agency, who is helping bring attention and pressure to landlords across Canada to help retailers abate rent. However, YOUR HELP IS NEEDED TOO. We need club owners and operators to connect with Provincial or Territory leaders. In connecting with your MLA/MPP, you will be supporting our efforts to ensure that the fitness industry survives through this pandemic.

On April 16, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced new measures to support Canadian businesses. The following announcement was made:

[The Government of Canada is] Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.

As the issue of rent relief falls provincially due to property owner-tenant relationships, all club owners and operators are encouraged to contact their local MLA/MPP and advocate for rent relief. FIC has created the following template for you to use and edit with your own testimonial.

LETTER TEMPLATE


Dear Mr./Ms. [full name of MPP or MLA], MPP/MLA:

I am the [owner/operator] of [name of club], which is a fitness facility in your constituency that caters to [number of members] members. Since March [XX], 2020, our facility has been closed and unable to serve our members due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also had to lay-off [number of employees] employees during this time.

We are extremely supportive of the Federal Government’s announcement of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA). However, understanding that property and rental issues are handled by the Provincial Government, it is vital that the requirement for rent relief in [your Province/Territory] is available. Without it, our business will suffer and possibly close – which is devastating for not only the economy and our employees but also the physical and mental health of our community.

Landlords need to support non-essential retail tenants by seeking mortgage deferrals from their banks and passing those savings onto retailers to allow them to survive when they have been mandated to close for public safety. Australia announced on April 7, 2020, the Commercial Tenancies Code where landlords cannot terminate a lease or draw on a tenant’s security, and landlords will be required to reduce rent in proportion to the trading reduction suffered by the tenant. In the USA, the International Franchise Association (IFA) requested on April 3, 2020, the Forbearance and Rent Abatements “to promote economic recovery and relieve financial burdens incurred during the pandemic, IFA is urging governors to issue Executive Orders that prohibit landlords from terminating a commercial tenancy or evicting a tenant for a 90-day period.” Fitness Industry Council of Canada, the trade association that represents the Canadian fitness industry is encouraging the federal government to adopt similar programs in Canada; however, this movement needs to start at the provincial level.

We need your help to ensure that our businesses can stay open through this pandemic. We need to know that our Provincial Government will work with the Federal Government to provide a solution for rent relief for non-essential businesses such as ours.

Yours sincerely,

[your name and contact information]

**The bold text indicates areas to specify.**

FIND YOUR MLA OR MPP: 

        BC:  click here
        AB:  click here
        SK: click here
        MB: click here
        ON: click here
        QC:  click here
        NB:  click here
        NS:  click here
        PEI: click here
        NFLD:  click here
        YT:  click here 
        NT:  click here
        NU:  click here

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Trisha Sarker

As the executive director of FIC, Trisha provides strategic counsel for Fitness Industry Canada's corporate affairs and professional communications. She also produces articles for various publications, manages event coordination, and executes national campaigns. 

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