Sally Kang, owner of Sushi Eben-Ezer in Maple Ridge, and her husband James McDevitt, have started a petition asking the federal government to change the requirements of CECRA. (THE NEWS-files)

Maple Ridge restaurateur starts petition asking feds to change rent assistance program

Want CECRA to include business owners leasing from government landlords

A local restaurateur is petitioning the federal government for rent assistance after finding out she is ineligible because her business is located on government property.

Sally Kang, owner of Sushi Eben-Ezer, located in the Maple Ridge Business Centre at 22470 Dewdney Trunk Road, owes her landlord five months of rent since COVID-19 restrictions forced her to close the doors to her business on March 17.

However, Kang was told she was ineligible for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, CECRA, established by the federal government, in partnership with the provinces and territories, to help small business owners impacted by COVID-19 with rent, because her landlord is the City of Maple Ridge.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge business owner ineligible for emergency rent assistance because of location

CECRA allows eligible commercial property owners to reduce rent for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 by a minimum of 75 per cent from April to June or forgive it entirely.

Now Kang, and her husband James McDevitt, have initiated a petition asking the federal government to change the requirements of the program to include business owners who lease commercial property from government landlords.

READ MORE: Pandemic-related restaurant closures take an emotional and financial toll

“This has resulted in a great loss of wages as the business owner, Sally Kang, who has stopped all business operations on good faith due to COVID-19 and due to the fact that the government of Canada wanted people to self-isolate to flatten the curve,’ read the online petition.

The couple are hoping other commercial business owners across the country and their customers to get behind the petition, along with those in Maple Ridge.

“We would like a call out to all Maple-Ridge business owners also affected in the same way as we are to petition the government together,” said McDevitt.

An electronic petition can be found on the House of Commons petition website, petition number e-2717.

So far the petition, started July 15, has garnered 50 signatures – the most, 35, in B.C.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton has authorized the petition.

It closes for signatures at 3 p.m. on August 14.

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