Saskatchewan Announces Temporary Moratorium on Eviction of Commercial Tenants

On June 5, 2020, the Saskatchewan government announced commercial eviction protection for certain small business tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commercial eviction protection program has been implemented by way of ministerial order pursuant to The Emergency Planning Act (Saskatchewan) and is effective immediately.

The moratorium on commercial evictions applies to landlords who are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”) program but have not done so. Many commercial landlords have chosen to not make use of the CECRA program for a variety of reasons. As a result, some provinces have implemented other ways to protect tenants who have defaulted on their lease obligations during the COVID period. We have previously discussed the eligibility requirements of CECRA here.

In Saskatchewan, landlords who are eligible but have chosen not to apply for CECRA are now prevented from exercising any of the following remedies for a tenant’s failure to pay rent:

  1. any right of re-entry to the leased premises;
  2. giving notice of re-entry or notice of termination of the lease;
  3. distrain the tenant’s property for rent due; or
  4. taking any steps to rent the leased premises to a third party on the tenant’s behalf.

The restrictions that have been placed on landlord’s remedies do not apply in the following circumstances:

  • if the tenant has abandoned or deserted the leased premises;
  • if the lease expired before June 4, 2020;
  • if the lease expires at a time when the commercial eviction protection program is still in effect, then the restrictions cease to apply at the time of expiration; and
  • if the tenant consents to the landlord taking any of the actions set out in (i), (ii) or (iv), above.

Whether you are a commercial landlord or tenant, the programs implemented by both the provincial and federal governments have introduced material changes to the contractual terms of your lease. MLT Aikins can assist you in navigating your landlord-tenant relationship including CECRA applications and negotiating rent deferral agreements.