Freeland to face questions on coronavirus bill that provides new rent relief

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will face questions Thursday from senators scrutinizing the government’s latest bid to provide pandemic aid to hard-hit businesses.

Freeland is scheduled to testify early Thursday afternoon to the Senate’s national finance committee that is reviewing the aid bill, known as C-9.

The House of Commons agreed last week to pass the proposed package of measures quickly, but none can be enacted until the Senate passes it as well.

Bill C-9 would extend the federal wage subsidy until next summer, cancelling a previously planned decline in its value, as well as expanding a popular business loan program.

The legislation would also redo a program for commercial rent relief that was widely criticized because its original design needed buy-in from landlords, many of whom did not participate.

And it would also provide top-up help for businesses whose revenues crash because of local lockdowns, similar to those being imposed in parts of the country right now as COVID-19 case numbers rise.

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