VANCOUVER -- The federal government has extended rent relief for commercial property owners for the month of July, and the B.C. government says its order protecting commercial tenants from eviction also continues to be in place.

The measures are intended to help businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Finance Minister Carole James said the provincial eviction ban “will remain in place for the duration of the federal rent assistance program.”

"The ban will continue to protect small businesses in British Columbia that would be eligible for rent relief but whose landlords have not applied, and it will encourage landlords to apply for the joint federal-provincial relief program,” James said.

“It is important for B.C. businesses to know that they may not be evicted if they have lost at least 70% of their pre-pandemic revenue and would qualify for the CECRA.”

The federal CECRA program provides forgivable loans to commercial property owners, covering 50 per cent of monthly rent payments. The program is for commercial building owners whose tenants experienced financial hardship during April, May, June and July.

Many businesses had to shut down completely or partially during those months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. B.C. has now entered Phase 3 of its reopening plan, but many businesses are still struggling to recover and adapt to new workplace regulations.

James urged commercial landlords and tenants to work together as the landlord applies for the CECRA.

The federal government has also made some changes intended to simplify the application process for the CECRA. The government says it will no longer claw back money if businesses get insurance payments, and will also no longer claw back provincial rent supports.

Existing applicants who had such payments clawed back will now have the money “restored to their forgivable (CECRA) loan,” according to the federal government.